Bright Space: Opening Act for Modesto Pinot’s PalettePinot's Palette
Lisa Cook is the first to admit she has a problem. It all started when she and husband Jim opened a Pinot’s Palette® paint and sip studio in Modesto, California, and things spiraled from there. But her secret isn’t a dark one. Indeed, her very bright problem is that she’s completely out of wall space at home, with hand-painted art gracing every nook and cranny.
Lisa grew up as the daughter of a professional artist, and her dad made sure all his children took six years of art lessons. So she’s not new to the art world. But she and Jim are new to business ownership, with their Pinot’s Palette studio recently marking its tenth month in business.
During her 25-year career as a paralegal, Lisa had always harbored a longing for entrepreneurship. And when Jim neared retirement age from his career in the semi-conductor industry, the couple felt the time was right to take the leap, though they weren’t quite sure what venture they should pursue.
Leaning In and Listening Up
While they pondered business ideas, Lisa saw post after social media post from her friend’s daughter-in-law, who works at the Pinot’s Palette in Livermore, California. The posts intrigued Lisa, who had never tried a paint and sip class before. Up for adventure, Lisa went to the Livermore studio, and she was hooked. Not only did she have a good time painting, she was impressed by the atmosphere of the studio and the franchise’s business potential.
Jim and Lisa put in a franchise inquiry and were enthused by the information headquarters provided. But what really reassured them about their Pinot’s Palette plunge was contacting other studio owners. “I called five different studios asking if this is a good business and not one avoided me,” Lisa says. “I feel like if they had something to hide, they wouldn’t have been so eager to talk to me.”
Leslie Warren, the owner of the Livermore studio where Lisa attended her first class, became a particularly helpful mentor. “Leslie was so helpful and encouraging,” Lisa says. “I don’t know if we would have bought our studio if it wasn’t for her.” Leslie and Lisa developed such a close friendship that they now call each other frequently with questions, and they recently initiated a monthly lunch to discuss business ideas.
Becoming the Talk of the Town
Lisa also enjoys forming friendships with her customers. “It’s rewarding that we have a lot of repeat customers, many who become our friends,” Lisa says. “They love their paintings, and they love spending time in our studio.” In fact, the studio’s opening has gone so well that fellow Modesto business owners have told Lisa that their studio is the “talk of the town.”
And Lisa has found a convenient outlet for her painting penchant. Though still working full-time as a paralegal while Jim manages the studio, she joins him during evenings and weekends to teach classes. She loves dabbling in her artistic side, collecting more paintings for her art-filled walls. But even more, she finds pleasure in building community and helping customers relax and enjoy themselves for a few hours.
And those simple joys sum up Jim and Lisa’s goals for their studio. “We want a fun place for the community to come to,” Lisa says. “We want them to have such a good time that they want to come back.”