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Becoming a Niche Store Owner – One Woman’s Story

Contributed by Kim Curtis, Pinot’s Palette Studio Owner in Fort Collins and Westminster, Colorado

Nine years ago I was a business student working on earning my MBA. I knew I wanted to own a business, but wasn’t sure where to start to realize that dream. Today I am the proud owner of two Pinot’s Palette studios in Colorado. Being part of the fastest growing paint and sip chain in North America has been incredibly rewarding and I’ve learned many valuable lessons on this journey.

Follow Your Passion and Success Will Follow 

When I made the decision to start my own business, I knew that I wanted to do something that would fuel my creativity and make me excited to go to work each day. When I first learned about Pinot’s Palette, I was immediately drawn to its fun culture and wanted to be part of this hot new approach to entertainment. While it was easy to feel intimidated entering the art world, I knew my excitement about the concept would help me get through the highs and lows of being a business owner.

The Pinot’s Palette experience is unique and enjoyable. Our customers select a painting from our gallery and then our artists walk them through step by step to recreate that painting. Guests are invited to put their personal touches on the piece, so each canvas is one of a kind true work of art. They do this all while enjoying a glass of wine. At the end of the evening, guests leave with a finished painting and memories they created with their family and friends who came with them. It’s easy to fall in love with the paint and sip concept where everyone gets to have fun, and I love seeing my customers walk out with a tangible souvenir from the class.

Surround Yourself With The Right People

When starting a business, it’s important to surround yourself with the right mentors and partners. Buying into a franchise concept set my business up for success from the start. The Pinot’s Palette headquarters team gave support through the steps of setting up the studio, helping to identify the right studio site, and providing training for our new staff.  My business background and education helped to make the move from the corporate world to small business owner.  Putting all the correct checks and balances in place is crucial to building a successful business.

Joining Team Pinot was like joining a new family. Being one of the first franchisees in the system, we rely on each other’s experiences and best practices. I also focus on building a staff of smart, talented, and driven employees who shared my vision for success. By ensuring that I had a good team in place, I knew we could overcome any obstacles that came our way.

Continually Set New Goals

Building a business is a roller coaster. I have faced a few challenges before our first studio opened, but once we got up and running it has been pretty smooth. As part of my initial plan and meeting business goals, my husband and I started working towards opening a second studio. This became a reality three months ago. We also recently acquired a mobile license, and can now do parties on-the-go. And we aren’t stopping there! I’m continually setting goals for myself and my team to find new ways to surprise and delight our customers. I look forward to seeing what the future holds. And like the motto of our business, we will continue to show our guests how to “Paint. Drink. Have Fun.”


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