Some entrepreneurs start businesses. Our founders started an industry with their wildly successful paint and sip business.
People have been using painting as a means of creative expression for as long as people have existed. People generally learned to paint one of three ways:
- Fine arts school
- Self-taught by trial and error
“The whole process of using painting as entertainment, using painting as a vehicle to engage with your friends, your family, your loved ones, people you want to meet or date, just makes sense,” says Richard Leveille, Chief Development Officer. “This is just a great business for that. It’s a fun business, and people love what we do.”
For that, and everything Painting with a Twist stands for, we have Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney to thank. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast area were devastated. Deano and Maloney, who became friends when their children attended kindergarten together, wanted to come up with a plan to help out their community, their neighbors and their families.
“I’m from a very entrepreneurial family,” says Deano. “Everybody owns their own business. I’ve had two or three businesses — I did catering. I had a restaurant. I had a jewelry company.
“And so, once Renee and I became friends we started thinking about, like women do, ‘What little business can we open?’”
Deano had been the president of a non-profit art association, and Maloney had been commuting two hours a day to manage a large orthodontic practice that was too far away from her family. They wanted to invest their time and energy into something meaningful, something that had purpose and something they were mutually passionate about. And, frankly, something that would generate some revenue – Deano wanted to send her son, Ryan, to camp, and Maloney had her eyes on an expensive pair of cowboy boots.
“This friend of mine who’s an artist called me and said, ‘I know you and Renee are looking for something to do. I heard about this. What do you think of this?’ And, I was like, ‘I’m not an artist, and neither is Renee. And I said, ‘Who’s going to come do that? I’m scared to death to try and paint something in front of people.’”
But the more the two women batted around the idea, the more it made sense. “We liked the idea because we loved art, and then I thought, well, why can’t we drink while we do it? That would get rid of what we have termed as ‘white canvas anxiety.’” – Renee Maloney
They started the prototype paint and sip business in 2007, which would become Painting with a Twist when they began franchising in 2009. It was a phenomenal hit.
“We rented a little space in Old Mandeville, and it pretty much took off. You know, Renee and I were very active volunteers in the school, so the teachers came, the stay-at-home-moms came, and because it was primarily a nighttime business, the working moms came. It was a success right from the beginning.”
As for the purpose part of their business? They established Painting with a Purpose, a monthly event held at every studio in which proceeds are donated to a local cause. Since 2007, Painting with a Purpose has raised over $5 million for local charities.
Painting with a Twist pioneered the paint and sip franchise business and continues to dominate the field to this day. Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 has ranked Painting with a Twist No. 1 in the category every year for six consecutive years. More than 2,500 artists are employed across franchised locations nationwide.