Paint, sip, repeat. Two women, Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, built an empire from these three easy steps. Since opening in 2007, Painting with a Twist has become America’s largest paint and sip franchise, with over 325 studios across 35 states.
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“It’s a safe place for people to gather, have a drink to get together with their friends, do something creative and have an activity while they're socializing,” Deano tells FOX Business. “It’s a wonderful date night, Valentine’s Day is usually sold out across the country,” echoes Maloney.
Forbes reports that the $250 million industry is growing, with over 200 companies offering paint and sip parties. Though Painting with a Twist was popularized by celebrations like birthday parties, bachelorette parties and date nights, the company’s success was born out of tragedy.
“Hurricane Katrina hit…our community was devastated and we started looking for a way to do something for us to make us happy but to also help the community,” says Deano.
With a suggestion from a friend, Louisiana residents Maloney and Deano studied the business plans and took the leap to open their doors despite some hesitation.
“I failed art,” says Maloney. “I didn’t see myself taking an art class…but Cathy said, ‘what if we can drink?’ Well, I said for sure I can do that!” jokes Maloney.
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Their business quickly snowballed, with customers asking them to franchise.
“We opened in a recession and people were saying, ‘are you out of your mind?’…and as it turned out it was the perfect time for us to open, because people were looking for something to do to get their mind off of the problems,” says Deano.
Now, in 2017, Painting with a Twist is the leading franchise in the paint and sip category, and has been voted number one four years running by Entrepreneur magazine. They are expecting to open 60 new studios this year.
“Deep down inside it’s the people who franchise with us. They may be giving their life savings, they are really putting their faith in what you designed and you built and so really having a relationship with them and growing together…was really important to us,” says Maloney.
With total Valentine’s Day spending expected to reach $18.2 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, Painting with a Twist hopes to capitalize on Americans opening their wallets for the holiday. “Valentine’s Day is our biggest day of the year,” says Deano. They’ve even started “Galentine’s Day,” where women and their friends can let loose and celebrate the day together.
Check out Painting with a Twist’s website here and watch Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney's full interview above!