Paint and sip businesses have really taken off over the past decade. A few of the big names in this space, like Painting with a Twist and Pinot’s Palette, actually launched in the 2000’s. But the concept has moved into many more communities thanks in large part to franchise programs over the last several years.
If you’re unfamiliar with how paint and sip studios operate, here’s the basic gist. Most of these businesses host private parties with groups of friends, family members, or business colleagues. The business owner supplies a canvas and paints to each attendee, along with an example piece of art that everyone can use as inspiration for their own work. As for the sip portion of the event, most venues have a BYOB model, but some do offer bar service or retail options as well.
This type of business model tends to appeal to potential entrepreneurs because it mixes creativity and fun. It’s something that can appeal to a wide base of potential customers, from bachelorette parties to corporate team building outings.
Many of these studios have popped up around the country thanks to franchise programs. If you’re interested in getting started with a recognizable brand behind you, there are some options to consider below. However, you could also opt to start your own independent version of this business model, perhaps with a unique spin of some kind.
One of the hottest business trends involves both drinking and painting. Get in on the action – here’s how to open your own paint and sip studio.
Open Your Own Paint and Sip Studio
Create a Business Model
The business model for paint and sip studios can vary a bit. Many charge a standard fee for parties. Others charge by the person. Some sell alcohol on site. Others just allow you to bring your own. Before you get started, you’ll need to have at least a general
Consider a Niche
If you want to open your own independent sip and paint studio rather than opting for a franchise, you may want to consider a niche to help you stand out. For example, many of these studios are already popular with the “girls night out” crowd — so you might opt for a craft beer as your sip of choice over wine. You could also offer sip and paint for kids with juice and easy art options. Or you could even focus on date night events or specific types of art like “paint your pet” classes.
Brian Bullard of The Paint & Wine Studio National Training Center wrote, “Creating a unique business is not the matter of copying the exact model of a competing business and “painting” it a different color. If this concept is employed, the only thing setting you off from the competition is the price, and inevitably, novices believe if they copy a successful business and offer a lower price they will be successful — which couldn’t be further from the truth.”
Find the Right Location
Sip and paint businesses do usually require a physical location. And it helps if it’s somewhere centrally located. Though people usually book parties ahead of time, a location in a downtown area or business district increases the chance that they’ll actually think of your business the next time they’re planning a fun outing or special event. You may also want to offer walk-in classes during the day to supplement your earnings from evening parties. So a walkable location would help with that. You also need to make sure the building has enough space for large parties to set up easels and view your inspiration art in one large room.
Check Local Regulations
Every state and local community has their own set of rules for registering new businesses. So check with your city or local chamber of commerce to get the specifics for your area. But in nearly every case, you’ll need a business license, inspection of your location, and tax and zoning permits.
Your business model may also impact whether or not you need a liquor license. If you’re employing a BYOB model, you may not need this step. But some states and communities do require you to have one if you just allow alcohol on the premises. Some businesses have even been shut down over this mix-up, so don’t overlook this step.
Build Your Team
You don’t need to be a professional artist to run a sip and paint studio. But you should have instructors and support staff on your team who are at least a little familiar with artistic techniques. Your team should also be able to speak clearly and interact with guests in a fun and laid back way. With this type of business, you might start small with just a couple of hires and grow your team as your calendar fills up.
Invest in Painting Supplies
You’ll need a fair amount of canvases, paints, brushes, and accessories to get started with this type of business. Find a wholesaler that offers prices in line with your budget. Quality is important, but this type of business is usually focused more on creating a fun experience than long-lasting works of art.
Create a Price List
Once you have a better handle on your expenses and the types of parties or experiences you’ll offer, it’s time to create more specific prices. You should have set offerings for private parties and/or individual or walk-in events if you choose to have them. The prices should be enough to cover the paint and sip supplies and instructor pay for each session, while also contributing to your fixed expenses like rent and utilities and leaving you enough to save or turn a profit.
Build an Online Presence
Even though paint and sip businesses serve customers in person, you still need an online presence to let people know you’re there and give them information about how to book an event. At the very least, you’ll need a website and Google My Business Listing that offers your hours, location, contact information, and probably a way to book online.
However, this type of business can also benefit from an active presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Since it’s such a visual experience, customers are likely to share their creations and fun times with friends online. So if you have social media accounts that they can tag or link to, you’ll be even more likely to grow via word of mouth.
Market Your Offerings
From there, you may also want to consider marketing your business in other ways. You can take out search ads and social media ads to reach more customers online and direct them to your website where they can book a party. But you can also advertise locally in newspapers, outdoor ads, or even sponsor local events where your target market may be present.
Consider Paint and Sip Franchises
If you like the idea of starting a sip and paint studio but don’t want to start from scratch, there are plenty of existing brands with franchise programs that you might consider.
Painting with a Twist
Arguably the biggest name in this space, Painting with a Twist offers an extensive gallery of art and offers training and support for franchisees around the country. The franchise fee is $25,000 and comes with a proprietary online system, a fun culture, and economical prices for supplies. This company also now owns the Bottle & Bottega brand, another big name within the sip and paint space.
Another nationally recognized wine and paint franchise, Pinot’s Palette aims to set its model apart by focusing on customer service and training. The company is also known for its creative culture, constant new product development, and marketing. The total initial costs range from about $100,000 to $250,000 depending on location and other factors.
Pretty In Paint
Pretty In Paint, or PIP, takes the sip and paint concept out of the studio and into customers’ homes. Instead of opening a dedicated studio, you travel to your customers for private parties where they provide the food and drinks and you provide the art supplies and instruction. It’s a relatively low cost franchise, since you can avoid the lease and many expenses related to support staff. The initial franchise fee is $14,000.
Board & Brush
If you want to do something a bit different from the traditional canvas art, Board & Brush offers painting classes where customers instead paint rustic wood signs. The initial franchise fee is $25,000 and total initial costs can go up to about $90,000 depending on your location.
Wine & Design
Wine & Design currently has about 60 franchises operating around the country. So it’s one of the larger brands in the space, but still offers plenty of opportunities for growth in new markets. The initial fee is $25,000, with a discount for veterans and those bringing the brand to a new state.
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