Friendship’s Brush with Business: Duo Debuts Nutley Pinot’s Palette

Friends become business partners | Pinot's Palette franchises

Friendship’s Brush with Business: Duo Debuts Nutley Pinot’s Palette

Trailblazer Colleen Carlee spent months researching potential franchises, searching for a unique and different venture, before signing with Pinot’s Palette® a few years ago. Her Montclair, New Jersey studio became the first of its kind in the entire Northeast as she introduced the town’s artistic community to the entertaining culture of upscale paint and sip.

The studio garnered so much business that she soon turned her thoughts to opening a second location. But Colleen had learned that solo trailblazing can be a challenging pursuit. Though she had never felt entirely alone in her Montclair venture—after all, she had Pinot’s Palette HQ and her fellow franchisees for support—she imagined that the studio ownership experience would be even more fun with a partner.

Nudging Toward a Partnership

Enter Mary DeCandia. Colleen and Mary had known each other all their lives, possessing the type of friendship polished to a shine by the struggles and joys of years spent together. And with that sort of foundation, the ladies knew that their friendship could survive and even thrive in the sometimes choppy waters of business partnership.

Mary, whose career had spanned human resources and the fashion business, was at a place in life where opening her own business seemed a logical step. Her kids were out of the house, and she was ready to embrace a new challenge. Besides, she spent a lot of time at Colleen’s Montclair studio as a customer, enjoying the relaxation of an evening spent painting and sipping wine. With a little gentle persuasion, Colleen encouraged her friend to “take charge of her destiny,” and a business partnership was born.

Colleen and Mary decided on nearby Nutley, New Jersey—Mary’s hometown—as the location for their studio. The area appealed to them because of its vibrant downtown area with restaurants and bars and a great community feel. And it didn’t hurt that Mary had plenty of connections in the area. “Starting this whole new business was exciting,” Mary says. “I was eager to get involved in it and become a small business owner.”

Strokes of Success

And Colleen’s dream of a better ownership experience through partnership has come true. “It’s been good working together even though it is a scary step to take on opening a new business,” she says. “Even so, if you believe in the business and think it will do well, you just kind of have to go for it. Having another person beside me has been great.”

This experience has also been less stressful for Colleen because she knows what to expect—from the inevitable construction chaos to the wonders of opening night, she’s experienced it all before. And now she gets to experience it again with a partner and friend by her side.


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