Franchising USA: A Franchising Masterpiece After 6 YearsPinot's Palette
We are wrapping up the first half of the year with some impressive growth numbers. Since Jan. 1 2015, we’ve added 27 units and 8 internationally in Canada, making Pinot’s Palette the first and only international paint and sip franchise.”
Why the demand?
While other businesses focus on art classes that allow students to indulge in a drink or two, Pinot’s Palette has decided to do away with the stuffy class atmosphere altogether and make it all about entertaining people, co-founder Charles Willis said during a recent interview from Spring, TX, where he was going to visit a franchisee.
“We talk our customers through how to bring a blank canvas to a finished product over two or three hours. They take it home, hang it on the wall and brag to their friends. It’s very rewarding for people to discover their artistic talents,” Willis explained.
The business aims to keep all its outings light and entertaining and leave people with a sense of fun in addition to their own personal masterpiece at the end of the night. People generally go to the company’s website and see what painting events are coming up and decide what day to come and what painting they want to do. They sign up online and on the night they come in, the Pinot’s Palette people meet them at the door, show them where to sit and the painting instructor takes them through the step-by-step process of creating a work of art. Some locations, patrons are allowed to bring their own alcohol and other locations have a bar to serve patrons.
“We took that sort of boring art class model and infused fun into it,” Willis said. Pinot’s Palette has completely changed the paint-and-sip industry, abandoning the class structure and focusing more on the entertainment aspect of it, the co-founder said. Pretty much every other business offering paint-and-sip service is now following the Pinot’s Palette model.
The company started franchising in 2011 and currently has 130 franchisees in 33 states and is expanding into Canada. There are locations available right across the United States.
As Seen on TV
Immediately after the company began, it started seeing a large fan base develop, Willis said, and then things exploded after Pinot’s Palette’s serendipitous TV appearance. The company received a phone call from the TV network TLC shortly after they opened and TLC wanted to shoot an episode of The Little Couple TV show at Pinot’s Palette for the titular characters’ wedding anniversary show.
That episode aired and suddenly the company was getting phone calls from people all over the world interested in franchising. But, they had to say no to all these potential franchisees because they just weren’t ready to franchise at that time.
The co-founders — Willis, along with his wife Beth Willis and their business partner Craig Ceccanti — made a conscious decision to wait and hold off on franchising because they wanted to build a strong foundation for bringing on new people and have all the necessary training programs in place.
They opened their second studio in mid- 2010 and once they got their training programs in place, they started advertising for those first few franchisees in Texas, getting interest in Austin and Dallas. Eventually, the company spread outward from Texas with the plan of getting into the 10 biggest markets in the US and then using those markets as hubs to expand into the surrounding areas.
All the founders had backgrounds in project management in various fields like engineering, consulting and IT, Willis said. Beth was a clinical pharmacist doing management in the medical field. “We came together and we decided to do something that we would want to go out and do,” Willis said.
It turns out that what the co-founders wanted to do was shared by a lot of people. As Willis pointed out, people tend to want to do something different nowadays. They’ve been to the sushi restaurants, they’ve been to the movies, they’ve been out to eat and out to bars their whole lives. That kind of stuff is becoming stale and people want something different that still provides an entertaining atmosphere.
Paint and sip a different, fun business to own
“We see a lot of ‘corporate refugees’ who want a business where they find joy and fulfillment.” “We took the time to build a strong foundation for the system and are passionate about assisting our partners in their entrepreneurial journey,” Willis said.
Three years in a row Pinot’s Palette has been recognized as an FBR50 Franchisee Satisfaction Award winner by the Franchise Business Review, and the top paint and sip concept in franchisee satisfaction.
Pinot’s Palette values innovation and they encourage open and collaborative teamwork from all of our partners. This leads to a high level of satisfaction and will also ensure they can continue to meet customer demandfor years to come.
Basically, Pinot’s Palette is looking for people who are successful in their lives and who will transfer that success to their franchise and fit in with the culture of success the company is building. Pinot’s Palette is looking for people who are passionate about the paint-and-sip industry and who understand that getting a business off the ground is going to take some owner involvement.
The company isn’t just looking to grow in sheer numbers, Willis said. They want to be discerning with the people they choose to bring on board. Once they do have them on board, the company offers more than 200 hours of comprehensive training in Houston and on location for franchisees. This training includes site selection, which is augmented by an in-depth market research report that provides data, making for a more informed site selection process.
Once a franchisee has chosen a spot, the Pinot’s Palette team flies out to where they are to go over the location. The franchisees receive training for every position that they would be hiring for and beyond the initial training, there is ongoing training and support like creating localized marketing plans.
One final note, Pinot’s Palette is now expanding internationally with the signing of a master license agreement for as many as eight studios in Toronto and the Niagara Region over the next six years.