Franchisee Focus: Rebecca Auld

Franchise Focus-Bendigo

We’ve talked about operating a Pinot & Picasso from a completely different state, and it is now a reality for some of our franchisees! We spoke to Pinot & Picasso owner, Rebecca Auld, and her experience operating her studio from her home in NSW!

 

How did you first hear about Pinot & Picasso?

I attended this newly talked about place called Pinot & Picasso in Terrigal as part of a mothers group night out. It was our first night out since having our babies and it followed the first lot of long COVID lockdowns! So, you can imagine we were super keen to be out! I was so worried about the painting part as my artist ability stopped at stick figures – I hoped my drinking would pull me through, ha! I hoped it was a bit like playing pool, the more you consume the better the artwork will be. 

To my surprise, I loved the whole experience and was so proud of myself and my masterpiece! The experience made me feel very accomplished all at the same time of enjoying social time with friends, which was so very needed! My artwork (In the Old Gumtree) was placed in the loungeroom of our family home along with some of our children’s artworks. Kooka will soon be displayed in our Bendigo studio as a constant reminder of where it all began for us!

What convinced you to join Pinot & Picasso as a Franchisee?

I’m not sure we needed convincing as we were very keen to be part of this very clever business model and experience – I mean, who doesn’t want to drink, eat, paint, laugh and make money! After speaking with Aaron and James on a few occasions and also speaking with a couple of franchisees, we just felt it was the right fit for us and our family/business goals. The team at HQ were informative and being able to speak with other franchisees made us feel comfortable, answering all our questions (we did have a lot) and reassuring us of our decision to move forward.

What was the process like becoming a Pinot & Picasso Franchisee?

Pretty seamless really. Once we made the decision on our territory, it was all go, go, go from there! We had access to the information we needed to make some clear decisions and although the legal part is never fun, this seemed to be pretty straight forward. I attended the HQ training which really tied a lot of the early information and operational aspects together for me and then having a direct HQ contact such as Sally has been super helpful as a new Franchisee. I have met with Sally weekly in the lead up to Opening weekend and she has been a saviour in moments that mattered. HQ has done a lot of work developing the systems and processes in order to set us up for the best success!

What made you decide to operate an interstate studio?

There were not many options left for us in NSW and working remotely was not foreign to us in business so we thought why not, let’s look at another state and see what is available. We were given 5 territories as options within NSW, VIC, QLD and SA. We had both travelled to Regional VIC for work and pleasure. My husband and I both appreciate good art and great architecture and both growing up in smaller regional locations (him in the North Island of NZ); we know how important experiences such as P&P are for regional areas. It was as you would say, love at first sight when Bendigo territory was on the table – an absolute no-brainer! 

Pinot & Picasso Bendigo

You’ve done everything without even going to Bendigo. What was the process like from finding your studio to getting it open?

It has been actually very smooth considering we have never stepped foot inside the location or been able to visit Bendigo in the lead up. The local community of Bendigo is very special, which we already knew from being visitors to the region, often taken in as a local during our trips there. We did our initial search ourselves for our studio and found a few options we thought would be a nice fit. We contacted the real estate agent who was able to give us even more information about the properties that made our decision even easier.

Aaron was our go-to person for the studio and he sorted all the negotiations from there, scoring us a great deal for the location. We planned out our opening and fit-out, and had the amazing help and support from Phia, HQ’s Victorian Studio guru! Phia was our feet on the ground as the extended lockdowns in NSW not letting us out of the state anytime soon. She took videos, photos and helped find our builder for us. Phia also helped get our staff up and running! We had a vision for the studio and this was brought to life by our builder and his team of professionals. 

Our studio mural was very important to us as we really wanted it to bring to life the history that is stemmed so deeply in Bendigo. Funnily enough, I had been on the search for a mural artist since our Hello days. However, I placed our ad up for staff and this very quirky and fun loving person applied and told me of her mural she had completed recently in Bendigo – and the rest is history! She brought our vision and studio wall to life, it really is a must see! There is no mistaking which studio you are in when you look at our mural! 

We wanted people in Bendigo to have a city experience without needing to go to the city and we have many people comment to us that the studio definitely gives off that vibe. We decided to add to the Paint & Sip experience and deck out our studio with a luxe lounge area and a selfie mirror, all lit up by a gorgeous chandelier. Our partner florist brough this space to life with an amazing flower wall hang – it has to be seen to be appreciated! 

Hiring staff was my biggest concern during the whole process – something I assumed would actually be my easiest task given my background in business and HR. Being so far away and not being able to meet people personally was more difficult than I thought, as I like to build rapport and have that individual approach to recruiting the right people. We did everything virtual in the end and we have the most amazing team made of local artists and creatives who are ready to bring this experience to Bendigo!

We had the devastating news the week before opening weekend that VIC was to head into Lockdown 6.0. We had already come to terms with the fact that we would not be attending the opening weekend with NSW in lockdown, but to hear we may not even open as planned was gut wrenching. So many people had invested so much time thus far, we wanted it to open for them as much as for us. We had 10 booked out sessions prior to opening, the community was abuzz with the news of our new studio opening in Bendigo, and our staff were excited to get painting with guests. We stayed positive albeit unsure of what would happen and to our excitement, Regional VIC was lifted and we were back into the opening planning mode as quick as we could say Pinot! Opening weekend was so much fun! All the sleepless nights, late nights working and phone calls were all very worth it.

 

What has the community been like towards your business?

We have been overwhelmed with the support from the local community. They have embraced us with open arms and are just as excited (if not more) to have us opening our studio doors in their local area. I was needing to add more tickets, sessions and even went to opening up October sessions due to the level of demand in lead up to our opening. We had sold out sessions for August and September and this mostly before anyone had had a chance to step foot inside the studio (and some of these even purchased during a lockdown!). We will always be forever grateful and thankful for their support. 

As a way of giving back to our local community, we have commenced ‘Local Thursdays’ where $5 from each ticket sold will go towards that month’s local community group/charity. Our mission is to be immersed and connected with our community, always.

 

What’s been your favourite thing about Pinot & Picasso?

There is so much to love about the P&P experience but if I need to pick one, it’s the feeling of family. There is a real sense of community and family amongst the network. Aaron, James and the team have set it up in a way that although you are part of this bigger Franchise, you still feel valued – whether you have one studio or five! 

We also have many opportunities to come together and learn from each other. I have had other Franchisees reach out to offer support which has truly been a blessing, especially when Lockdown 7.0 happened and I was able to get some hands on support from the team at Ballarat. 

 

What advice would you give to someone thinking about buying a Pinot & Picasso franchise? 

Go for it! We will not be stopping at one studio and cannot wait to get our hands on another studio in the near future. It’s been exciting, tiring, liberating, stressful, and fun all at the same time, but when you see those smiles and hear from guests to say how amazing their experience was, it is all so very worth it. We really are part of something very special – who wouldn’t want to make money while having the best time of your life!?

Franchisee Focus: Elayna D’Ermilio

FranchiseeFocus-Elayna D'Ermilio

Pinot & Picasso Wetherill Park owner Elayna D’Ermilio has been a part of the Pinot & Picasso family for over two years. Her journey from P&P Artist to our youngest studio owner is truly inspiring. 

Elayna chatted with us about her experience so far as a Franchisee with Pinot & Picasso, her biggest challenges and what she loves about the brand! 



How did you first hear about Pinot & Picasso?

“A couple of years ago, I was working for a pretty awesome guy (now a fellow franchisee) tutoring his children. In May 2019, he told me about this business he was opening and offered me a job. That business happened to be Pinot & Picasso Rouse Hill, and I JUMPED at the opportunity because I loved art, and it just sounded so fun. For  the next couple of months, I got to learn what the business was all about and along the way, I got to see first-hand what it took to open one of these studios. In June 2019, I worked as the artist for his grand opening night!”



What convinced you to join Pinot & Picasso as a Franchisee?

Fast forward 2 years, having worked for Hany as both an artist and a manager for the Hills studios, I became interested in investment and business. I spoke with Hany and his wife about this, and they simply asked the question, “Have you ever considered opening your own studios?” I kind of laughed it off at first as I never thought that kind of investment at 21 years of age would be in my reach.

 After doing my research and deciding that I wanted to take the leap, I went for it and signed for Pinot & Picasso Wetherill Park in September 2020. Going into a franchise that I had prior experience with made sense because as a uni student, I was also concerned about taking on the additional commitment. In the end, I knew that managing these studios is a flexible model which can work around any lifestyle.”



What’s it been like working for P&P as both an artist and franchise owner?

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an artist when I was working for Hany. Working is always a blast when you get to do something you enjoy. I did it all – from pop-up functions to marketing events to local business evenings. I wanted to use my experience to mould my staff to the standard I knew worked at previous studios and be as personally involved with my business as possible. 

Due to the size of my studio, we often require two staff members. Nine times out of ten, it is me and one of my other girls. At first, the plan was to work there myself for the first few months and be a backup, but I genuinely enjoy it so much that I don’t think I will ever be able to take a step back!”

 

What was the process like becoming a P&P franchisee?

“After speaking with Hany, he arranged for me to talk to Aaron and James about what the process entails and the financial commitment. After getting all the information, we talked about the location. The Wetherill Park area was perfect for me as it was close enough to home. The territory that came with it had so much potential too. I took some time to explore and think it over, but once the decision was made and the deposit paid, I was on the hunt for a studio! 

This was definitely the most challenging part of my experience, as, at the time, there was not a lot of real estate on the market available. Whilst I was on the hunt, Head Office ensured I was equipped for when the time came. I received my training and began sourcing my staff. My previous experience with the company allowed me to start trading straight away doing pop up functions. This really supported my start as I could get my name out there by going into peoples homes and local businesses. Over that Christmas period, I ran 22 sessions with the help of my parents and partner.

But as they all say, good things come to those who wait! In December, I signed the lease for my dream studio space. Two months of designing and fitting out the studio, and bam! I had my grand opening on February 12th of this year with my first public session on Valentine’s Day!”



What have been your biggest challenges as a franchise owner?

“Being a business owner in my early twenties has also come with its challenges. There was so much to learn in terms of understanding the ins and outs of business ownership. Beyond that, I feared that I would potentially not be taken seriously when it came to negotiating with landlords, approaching fellow business owners and such. I quickly learned that I had nothing to worry about! Coming through as a franchisee of a massive brand like Pinot and Picasso, there is no way people can’t take you seriously. If anything, I was commended for pursuing this side hustle at my age!

This also may come as no surprise, but navigating the current pandemic has also been perhaps the biggest challenge so far. Going into this business last year, I knew that I was signing up with risk as COVID was not over. Still, I could not have predicted that after only 4 months of trading we would be closed until future notice. I had the experience of managing the Hills studios in 2020 during the lockdown, so I was prepared to handle the customer service side of things. Perhaps the biggest challenge now is having a positive mindset. Considering how busy we were pre lockdown, there are only good times to look forward to after getting through this!”



What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?

“Every day is different, but a typical day as a Franchisee would involve answering any email enquiries that have come through overnight first thing, followed by heading over to the studio to clean and set up for the weekend to come. 

Each week, I like to make my way around the area and do some networking. Whether that be grabbing a coffee and some lunch from our local cafe or visiting other business owners at potential pop up locations – it is important to be visually present and put back what you hope to receive into that community!”

 

What’s been your favourite thing about Pinot & Picasso?

“I adore meeting new people which has honestly been the highlight of both my time working as an artist and as a franchisee. As an artist, you get the opportunity to talk to people, ask what brought them into the session, and be a part of their celebration. I have seen many birthdays, hen’s nights, team building events and Christmas parties walk through P&P doors. They always leave raving about how incredible the experience was, particularly those who were sceptical people at first!”



Has becoming a Franchisee changed your life? If so, how?

“Becoming a Franchisee has changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined. Not only do I feel more financially independent and secure than I ever have before (or as early in my life as I could have imagined), I do feel as though I have grown as a person. I learned how to be confident and determined when making difficult decisions, and I quickly learned how passionate you become when you own something. I have never been as proud of myself as I was on my Grand Opening night.”



What advice would give to someone thinking of buying a Pinot & Picasso Franchise?

“Just like going into any business opportunity, you really want to make sure you are as informed as possible about everything to do with the brand, the owners and the overall culture of the company. For P&P, I would highly suggest that you visit a studio and have a go at a session if you haven’t already. Speak to a number of our franchise owners about their experience and ask why they chose to jump on board. Everyone has a different experience, but many of them will tell you that it all stemmed from attending a session, which honestly just goes to show how memorable the experience is. The franchisee community is willing to help!

If you are looking into purchasing a territory that may not be local to you, try and become as informed as possible regarding the culture and vibe of the local community. Find local vendors that you trust! Finally, my most significant piece of advice would honestly be to wait for the perfect studio site to come along. Don’t settle for something that isn’t ideal for you or your customers’ experience in the hopes of opening earlier.”



Does the Pinot & Picasso lifestyle sound like a dream to you? Enquire about becoming a Franchise Owner today!

Franchisee Focus: Team Orange

Pinot & Picasso Orange

Best mates Clinton, Adam and Daniel took a leap and decided to open a Pinot & Picasso studio in a popular rural destination – Orange! We have said countless times that the P&P business models gives potential Franchisees the opportunity to operate a studio from afar, and the Pinot & Picasso Orange team is a prime example of this! 

Clinton chatted with us on behalf of the team to tell us what they have loved about their experience so far as Pinot & Picasso Franchise owners!

What convinced you to join the Pinot & Picasso as a Franchisee?

“We have always been looking to start a business or invest our money in something for our future. Pinot & Picasso had some appeal because of the market access it provided as a first-time investment compared to other franchise brands. The set-up looked affordable and straightforward, and we also had some mutual friend who already invested in the brand. They highly recommended the business model during our initial decision stages.”

What was the process like becoming a P&P Franchisee? 

“The process was exceptionally smooth and straightforward. Whilst having business experience meant we needed less help getting our business off the ground and running, the Pinot HQ team were always ready and able to help when we needed their industry knowledge and expertise.”

What’s been your favourite thing about Pinot & Picasso?
“Having fun, hands down the most enjoyable business we have been a part of. Not only do we enjoy ourselves, but we also sell a great service that is second to none and the bottom line is, our customers have fun too! It really is a lifestyle that Pinot & Picasso sell to their franchisees.”

What’s it been like operating a studio from a distance?
“Challenging and rewarding all at the same time. The biggest challenge has been injecting ourselves into the local community and being accepted. This also meant long drives, time away from home and away from loved ones. However, we have met some amazing on this journey and made some good friends throughout our adopted community. On top of this, we have a sound understanding of our region and can quite confidently call it a second home.”

Since becoming a Franchise Owner with P&P, what benefits have you seen in life and business?
“We have seen an increase in our work life balance for the better. We have more time to do the things we love. Besides this, going to work for Pinot does not really feel like work when staff and customers all want to be there. After a few months of hard work setting up and pounding the pavement, the benefits have really paid off and the ability to now work from home is fantastic. We can see the opportunity to expand and pivot our entire lifestyle towards solely running Pinot & Picasso.”

If there was one reason to join P&P, what would it be?
“A new lifestyle.”

Does the Pinot & Picasso lifestyle sound like a dream to you? Enquire about becoming a Franchise Owner today!

Franchisee Focus: Danielle Weber

Talented artist Danielle Weber is a proud co-owner of our Pinot & Picasso Malvern studio. The Malvern studio was our first location to open in the state of Victoria, which was incredibly exciting for us! We’ve been stoked to have Danielle onboard with us and we chatted with her about her Pinot & Picasso journey as a Franchisee. 

 

What convinced you to join the Pinot & Picasso as a Franchisee?

“The concept seemed like an innovative way to share my love of creating art with many others in the community. I loved the positive, ‘family’-like vibe the Pinot & Picasso crew presented and the way in which an inclusive, fun environment was created in every session for people of all ages and backgrounds.” 

What was the process like becoming a P&P Franchisee? 

“We jumped into the partnership together quite naturally, fitting out the space with our combined efforts – so much so I painted the mural celebrating Picasso with a tribute piece to create a vibe conducive to the conviviality of the Pinot & Picasso experience.” 

What’s been your favourite thing about Pinot & Picasso?
“Getting feedback from family and friends experiencing the sessions and seeing the enjoyment of the participants week after week, including during the difficult times of 2020.”

How has your studio been received by your community?
“The community has embraced the creation of this space with local traders telling me that it brought a much needed ‘breath of fresh air’ to the precinct and added a much needed vibe to the area. Shoppers often pop in to ask about the classes and admire my artworks. Many locals enjoy a chat and share that they welcome the whole concept to their community. This is the most rewarding aspect of my involvement.” 

Since becoming a Franchise Owner with P&P, what benefits have you seen in life and business?
“The biggest benefit has been the opportunity to share the joy of painting with a larger audience. My capacity to share the love of art and the benefits it brings is far greater through these experiences.”

If there was one reason to join P&P, what would it be?
“If you like bringing enjoyment to others, this would be it. Everyone can participate and take something wonderful away with them. All participants are pleasantly surprised that they can produce a work of art, no matter how complex or simple. No one leaves disappointed and the fun to be had is contagious.”

Franchisee Focus: Mitch Revs

P&P Mitch Revs

A proud co-owner of Pinot & Picasso Newcastle studio, renowned local artist, Mitch Revs, started his journey with us a long 18 months ago. We had a chat to him about what it’s like being a part of the P&P family.

 

What convinced you to join the Pinot & Picasso as a Franchisee?

“The idea of re-connecting people with their creative side was something that excited me. As an artist, I hear people everyday say “I wish I was creative” or “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”, “You’re so lucky” – These kinds of people make up more than 50% of Pinot & Picasso workshops, and 99% of the time they leave so happy and surprised with how well their painting turned out. It is a great way for me to educate the people of Newcastle that art is not about being best in the room, it is just about expression and having fun!”


What was the process like becoming a P&P Franchisee? 

“Relatively fast & stress-free. I’m sure my experience is a lot different to others though as I joined forces with James and Aaron, therefore most of the work was done on their end.”

What’s been your favourite thing about Pinot & Picasso?
“Bringing the community together through art – and wine!


How has your studio been received by your community?
“People love our workshops. We get lots of returning customers wanting to try out all of the different paintings. It’s a challenge, it’s fun and a great vibe!”


If there was one reason to join P&P, what would it be?
“Pinot & Picasso is its own fun, creative community. If you are looking for a fun, low-investment opportunity, I highly recommend Pinot & Picasso!”

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