Maybe you’ve been to a paint and sip night and had a seriously good time. Or maybe you’ve just heard about it and it struck you as a good idea. Either way, learning how to start a paint and sip business can be a great first step towards this potentially being your next money maker.
Since the mid-2000s, paint and sip studios have continued to gain traction as a creative and fun way to relax. If you haven’t been to one, they basically involve people sipping wine or other alcoholic drinks while they work on group painting lessons.
Let’s be honest, there’s a bit more of a focus on the drinking aspect at these events. But the art part can be fun too!
(True story: I still have the piece I created at my first paint and sip night.)
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And the paint and sip business model is projected to continue to rapidly increase in popularity, especially as world economies continue to return to pre-2020 operations.
So this detailed guide offers step-by-step instructions about how to start a paint and sip business in 2021 and beyond. It also explores some facts about paint and sip franchise opportunities.
How to start a paint and sip business
There are various important steps involved in opening a paint and sip studio. Here’s a step-by-step action list to base your efforts on:
1. Define your business model and paint and sip business plan
A paint and sip business appeals to many entrepreneurs because the model is based on a combination of fun and creativity. They are excellent locations for corporate outings, girls’ nights out, Bachelorette parties, and other casual events. So, you’ll need to give some thought to the specific business model you will develop.
For instance, some paint and sips sell alcoholic beverages on-site and others operate on a BYOB basis. Some focus more on painting instruction, and others focus more on the imbibing aspect.
Take your time and develop a unique paint and sip business plan that represents your vision.
2. Choose your paint and sip’s name
Choosing the name for your paint and sip business is important but it should be fun!
I like to brainstorm with pen and paper so that I can see the “personality” of each potential name instead of just typed text. Remember that this is your vision and there are no set rules.
Some of the most popular paint and sip franchises today are Painting with a Twist, Pinot’s Palette, Wine & Design, and Board & Brush. Just let your mind and sense of humor run free and jot down some ideas. You’ll probably be surprised at all the exciting variants you come up with!
You’re going to need a professional website if you want to succeed in any type of business today. When you do decide on the name for your new paint and sip venture, waste no time securing a domain name. This is very important because you want the URL for your business to match its name.
Personally, I use Hover for buying my domain names, as they’re very cheap, secure and have been great to work with whenever I’ve had any questions.
For example, at the time of writing this, the one below is still available – which is absolutely perfect for a paint and sip business! (I actually genuinely can’t believe it’s still available…)
3. Create your business’ website
Your business website is a very important asset for your company. After all, it may be one of the first things that potential clients see when deciding whether to book you for an event.
You can easily launch your website yourself – even if you don’t have any tech experience!
See our step-by-step guide on how to start your own site to see just how to do this in less than 20 minutes.
In particular, you’ll want to make sure your website looks as professional as possible, while matching the fact that this is a fun business to be in.
You could actually do this yourself, especially if you use a theme like Kadence. It’s free and makes it very easy for non-techies to design their own sites.
That said, you may want to consider buying a readymade theme or even hiring someone to make a custom one for you. Check sites like Fiverr for this.
If you go with the latter, choose a designer who makes you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities. Tell your website designer about your vision for your paint and sip company. “Paint” a clear picture so that the designer can deliver the best product possible.
4. Satisfy governmental regulations
Each local community in every state has its own set of ordinances that dictate how new business entities are registered. Call your local Chamber of Commerce and inquire about the laws you’ll need to meet to start a paint and sip business.
Understand that you’re going to need a paint and sip license, liquor license, insurance, building inspections, or zoning permits. Make sure that you meet all laws and regulations to ensure that your business doesn’t incur problems and/or fines in the future.
(After all, no one wants their business to turn into an illegal side hustle.)
5. Secure your business’ location
Paint and sip businesses may require physical brick-and-mortar locations if you go down the route of offering this. The alternative is those paint and sip businesses that can be booked to come to events or where you may hire different spaces for each event for people to then attend and get a new “feel” at each one.
That may actually be better for you if, say, you see your paint and sip business as being more like a weekend job.
But if you do prefer to start your paint and sip business in one set place, you won’t be surprised to hear that location is going to be a very important aspect of the business to consider. This is why you shouldn’t rush into leasing a location that is not going to suit your immediate and long-term needs.
Paint and sip studios require room for painters/drinkers to relax, let loose, and enjoy their experiences. A spacious location in a busy, safe district is ideal but can be expensive, especially for a new enterprise. You’ll have to balance physical location, spaciousness, safety, and other considerations that are budget-friendly in your unique situation.
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6. Define your services and prices
After you understand more about the expenses associated with your lease, licensing, website development, and other vital overhead costs, you’ll need to clearly define your services and what they will cost. These will vary based on the types of experiences you intend to deliver to your customers.
For example, you should decide what to charge for private parties, corporate events, and for people who just walk in off the street (if you choose to cater to that demographic).
Will you have a team or operate solo? Will you need to pay for an art instructor’s time per session? Will waiters or waitresses serve drinks? Consider rent, utilities, wages for your team, and other mandatory expenses.
Set your prices so that they cover your expenses plus allow you to turn at least a modest profit. You can then hone your pricing schedule to maximize your profits, over time, as you understand all of your business’ metrics more thoroughly.
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7. Develop your online presence
While it’s true that paint and sips are in-person businesses, your online presence will still have a lot to do with your success. Along with your professional website, you’ll need to establish some social media profiles on big-league venues like Instagram and Facebook to advertise your business. That said, Twitter and maybe even TikTok could also be good to establish depending on the target demographic of your customers.
Your social media pages will help you both attract new customers and retain existing ones. People rely on technology to keep themselves in the know. I know I use social media posting and marketing to inform my customers about upcoming events, contests, giveaways, and whatever else I can think of to entice them and let them know that I care about them!
Make sure you post key information like your hours of operation, location, phone numbers, email addresses, and social media profile links. I use an online form for booking and it is amazing! Make it easy for your visitors to get what they want and move on with their days.
And because paint and sips are largely about expressing creativity, most of your wine-sipping patrons will be all too happy to share their artistic creations with your social media audiences – which can be a great way for you, in turn, to reach even more potential paint and sippers. Make it fun!
8. Booze and painting supplies
Not surprisingly, a paint and sip business relies on a ready supply of both painting supplies and alcoholic beverages. As a business owner, you’re going to need suppliers for both, and the less expensive the better.
Research the best suppliers for paint, canvases, easels, brushes, cleaners, drop cloths – and wine!
Remember that while quality is always important, most patrons of paint and sips are more concerned with having a relaxing good time. So just search for suppliers that meet your needs without overstressing your new business budget.
Approach shopping with fun in mind first and it will all work out fine.
9. Marketing your paint and sip business
Social media marketing is definitely a vital element of almost all types of businesses today. According to Entrepreneur, at least 97% of all Fortune 500 companies engage in social media marketing on one or more platforms.
However, don’t forget that you can still advertise in traditional marketing vehicles like local newspapers, television ads, radio spots, billboards, and others that can be very cost-effective.
You could also consider hosting a local charity event. Explore your options to maximize your marketing efforts with minimal expenditure.
10. Planning your team
All businesses require more than meets the eye to make them function smoothly and profitably in the long run. It’s not always possible to do everything yourself, and even if it is, it can be exhausting and make you dread doing it again and again. You may very well need to hire some help, especially as your paint and sip business grows.
So ask yourself some honest questions about the amount of help you’re truly going to require. Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself and end up burning out. Plan your labor cost to be beneficial to your customers, yourself, and the long-term success of your operation.
And this doesn’t have to necessarily include staff in the traditional sense, especially if you’re planning to hold the paint and sip events yourself. For example, if you’d like some help in managing your online presence or in handling the administrative side of things, why not check these virtual assistant websites and get a VA rather than someone onsite?
11. Book your first event
When you launch any business that offers a service, the very first time you have a paying customer can definitely be nerve wracking.
And the same is absolutely true when you first start a paint and sip business! But the best way to face this is head on by booking your first event and building your experience in these.
It can actually work well if you tell the attendees that it’s your first one and so they’re essentially your guinea pigs. You could even offer them a discount to start to build your list of satisfied customers, while also asking them to give feedback at the end. That way, you’ll be able to immediately start learning what works and what doesn’t, to adjust your future events accordingly.
Is a paint and sip business profitable?
Paint and sip industry growth patterns continue to be positive, with this type of business proving to be profitable for many entrepreneurs. This is especially the case for those who have tapped into opportunities like hosting corporate events and parties, while also offering other services, like art lessons.
That is, some owners use their paint and sip locations as studios for art lessons to accentuate their earnings. Of course, you don’t have to be a skilled artist to start a paint and sip business. Remember it’s about having fun and expressing creativity in a relaxing environment.
The paint and sip business model has continued to gain traction since 2007. Undoubtedly, as world economies reopen in 2021 and beyond, paint and sip studios will continue their upward trend in popularity.
Some leading US-based paint and sip franchises are now positioned for international expansion. Modern paint and sips now offer customers amenities, including in-house cocktail bars, advanced art instruction, blacklight classes, and more diversified product offerings including high-quality art supplies and fine wines.
Paint and sip industry statistics continue to show no signs of diminishing returns in this burgeoning market space, making it a great potential income stream for a small business owner.
“Over the five years to 2022, industry revenue is projected to grow. Contemporary art lessons and socialization has become a considerable growth segment as the sheer number of people interested in learning to paint in informal settings increases; this trend is not expected to slow.”Profitable Venture
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How much is a Painting With a Twist franchise?
According to the Painting with a Twist website, aspiring entrepreneurs can expect to incur initial investments between $120,500 and $260,000. Further, you must have at least $80,000 in liquid assets and a net worth of at least $200,000.
This broad range in the amount of initial investments needed is due to differences in real estate values and permitting fees in different locations.
Painting with a Twist justifies the rather steep initial investment, stating that they have already worked out most of the details of the operation that cause most new business owners to fail. They also offer established vendors and insider information about where to rent space, how much square footage is best, and other nuances that new owners would not be privy to.
The initial investment in a Painting with a Twist franchise covers startup costs for:
- 2 months rent plus a security deposit on the location for the business
- Travel and living expenses during training
- Advertising for the Grand Opening
- Equipment, furniture, and fixtures
- Building permits and licenses
- Legal and accounting costs
- Initial inventory
Other costs covered by the initial investment include computers and software, architectural expenses, signage, leasehold improvements, and design fees. That may seem like a lot but it should be for that amount of initial investment.
Of course, you don’t have to start a paint and sip business as a franchised operation. You are free to develop your own business model to outshine even the most well-established franchise!
How profitable is Painting With a Twist?
There are now 283 Painting with a Twist franchise locations in the United States. The profitability of any one location depends on various factors including local demand, labor expenses, lease rates, and more. The company website offers no direct insights as to the profitability of individual franchise locations.
That said, the fact that it has grown so much does indicate that this is indeed a profitable way to start a paint and sip business. This is further supported by sources like Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, which is released every year.
Painting With a Twist has been ranked on that list each year since 2014, with its highest rank being in 2018 at 168. Given how many franchises there are in the US, this is a fairly impressive result.
Final thoughts on how to start a paint and sip business
Going through the process of learning how to start a paint and sip business may take some time, but given that paint and sip industry statistics are showing serious growth in this sector, it can definitely be worth it.
You could always skip a few steps by finding a paint and sip business that’s for sale or even by opening up a franchise, like Painting With a Twist. That said, while this comes with a lot of advantages from a setting up perspective, this can be more expensive than doing it yourself. As such, whichever paint night business is best for you will depend on your own situation.
But whichever way you go, it’s safe to say that this is one of the more fun businesses you can launch!
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About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured on Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a six-figure investment portfolio. Find out more.