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Bauer Business Focus

Charles Willis On The Rapid Growth Of The ‘Paint And Sip’ Industry

Pinot’s Palette opened its first location seven years ago in Houston. The combination art studio/wine party venue is preparing to go global.

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Charles Willis
Ed Mayberry
Charles Willis, president and co-founder, Pinot’s Palette

Pinot's Palette offers no-experience-required art classes – and wine parties. The Houston-based company opened its first studio in Montrose in 2009. Today, it has 157 franchise locations across 34 states, and it's about go international. Charles Willis is the company's president and co-founder. He joins Andrew Schneider on this week's Bauer Business Focus.

 

Interview Highlights:

You define your business model as the "paint and sip" industry. What exactly is that?

"Our customers pick a painting of the evening that they want to come and get taught how to paint, and they bring their own alcohol, or we'll provide the alcohol for them, and we walk them through that painting step-by-step. And at the end of the evening, they get to leave with a finished product, the painting they created, and then the memory they also created with their friends and family they brought with them."

 

How did you decide to franchise this operation?

"What we're seeing out there is there's a lot of art classes... People get really discouraged when they go and want to start learning how to paint. That's definitely not what we're doing. We're having a fun night out with friends, family, coworkers, girlfriends, etc."

 

What do you see as the next big step in your development?

"We're actually opening up our first international location [in the] earlier part of this year in Toronto, Canada, and we'll have seven more locations opening soon, and we're also looking to expand in other major markets: London, India, Australia, and ... all over Europe."

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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