Thursday, May 31, 2018

First Show of the Year!

We'll be in the Westcott Community Center this Saturday and Sunday for our first show of the year! Come and see our new designs, sample some of the fun foods and check out this awesome collection of local artists throughout the neighborhood.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

How to Price Your Wine and Paint Classes

I had a question that I thought might help you when you are approaching local venues to pitch your class.

It's good to go in prepared, not only with your sample work, but also with a plan of how you can work together to price the classe so both you and the venue you want to teach in, will benefit.

Here is a question that Dominique asked about pricing that I thought would be helpful to anyone getting ready to approach a new place:

Q: I am starting to reach out to local wineries and wine shops to pitch them on my class. How should I price my services knowing that they will incur costs by providing their wine?
I would like to create tiered pricing packages for you have any idea where I should start? I would like to make $45 per person, because I am an experienced teacher, and I will be providing all of the supplies.

A:  It sounds like you are off to a good start with contacting potential locations to teach. You are correct to assume that the venue wants to get something out of the class as well.
The way I approach this is to figure out how much total I need to make from the class, to cover expenses: materials, supplies, travel and my pay. I then determine a per person rate from this total.

Then I look at what the going rate is for these types of classes-in this area it's $30-$45 per person. I want to make sure my price is in line with other classes in the area.

I know that most venues want to make at least $5.00 per person and possibly more, depending on what they will provide. Some places charge a room fee, but others will take a per person rate.

I work with a restaurant where we negotiated a rate of $10 per person and they provide appetizers, pizza and a drink from the bar.

You will have to be flexible on your per person rate and work with the venue to come up with a price that works for you both, but know what YOU need going into the negotiation. You will also want to establish a minimum number of students to make sure you cover costs and make it worth your time.

You also want to ask the venue if they will do any promotion or advertising of the class as well. Some may let you put up a sign or post it on their social media page.

To create pricing tiers here are some possible options:

  • Venue gets $5.00 per person and provides a drink and space (also talk up that people will likely order more drinks and food once they are there)
  • Venue gets $10 per person and provides one drink and food (appetizers, lunch, etc...)
  • Venue charges you the standard room rental fee is for the room (typically $50-$100) and guests buy their own food and drink from the menu or bar.
$45 is likely going to be the top price that people will pay, so you will want to be flexible and work within that as the total price charged per person for a 2-3 hour class.

Hope this helps and good luck!

*Don't forget to start creating your own mailing list of students from each event you hold. I'll send out a post on fun ways to do that soon!

ps: I'm making something special for you to answer all of your wine and paint/social art making questions. It's in the works and I can't wait to share it!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Home Painting Parties

I recently was asked a question about taking painting classes into people's homes. I think this is a great business model for your wine and paint business for two BIG reason's I'll explain below.

Q: Thank you for providing so much helpful information about starting a wine and paint business. I am a retired art teacher, who also worked part time at a Muse Paintbar so I am already at ease with the instructional part of the business. I purchased materials, easels, aprons, canvases, paint, brushes, etc. I thought I might like to do this in private homes (I come to you), but I am not sure if people are comfortable with painting in their homes. I could do small groups in my house but I have crazy dogs that jump. So, I am not exactly sure how to go about it.

A:  Yes, teaching in homes is totally doable and a great business model for two reasons that I love.
  1. There is no overhead to pay for the space, which saves you money.
  2. The Host does recruitment of students for you which saves you both the time and expense of promoting the class.

Here are a few things to consider when teaching in people's homes:

Hosts need to know what to expect as far as space considerations, tables, chairs and flooring concerns (you don't want to get paint on a pretty white carpet for example.) I typically set up in people's dining rooms and that works out well using the table top easels and plastic table cloths. Hosts will need to know what YOU provide and what THEY need to provide, so make sure this is clear. (A written agreement is always good for this.)

Pricing and Supplies:
I charge a per person rate for home parties, the same as if I'm hosting them in a public venue. My rate is $35.00 per person and I provide all of the art supplies needed including easels and aprons. I also have two 6-foot tables that can be used for seating or art supplies.

You may want to charge more if you have to travel longer distances, to account for the extra time and mileage expenses.

You may want to consider a deposit to secure the date, especially if you're booked solid and rely on the income from each party.  Be clear about what happens to the deposit if the class is cancelled by either party.

I require a minimum number  of guests to run the class and insure I cover my costs.  As far as maximums go, the host needs enough space to comfortably seat all of the guests so that can vary based on the house you're teaching in.

Getting started:
A good place to start is by having a friend host your first party and then work to build more parties from that first class. Once people attend one and have a great time, they are more likely to book a class. That's how I started.

If you ever attended a Pampered Chef Party or Lia Sophia or Tupperware even, you can take some cues from them as far as marketing goes. You want to give incentives to people in your first class to book the next class. Bring a calendar with you and if they sign up for a party in the next 2 months, they will get a special gift on the night of their party, as well as getting a free class themselves.

I also do a giveaway to sign up for my mailing list. This can be a small prize, like wine charms, a wine stopper or a bottle of wine, but the idea is to get all of the students onto your mailing list so you can contact them again in the future.

I take photos during the party and send out an email to the group following the event to keep the excitement going. You can also ask for permission to use the photos on social media or your website to promote your home parties.

I teach in-home parties for both painting and jewelry making and in 2017 these were one of my biggest money-makers. I would definitely encourage you to give it a try.

If you're not interested in hosting classes in people's homes and need more ideas about where you set up shop, visit this post.

I hope this gets you thinking about the possibilities of hosting your own in-home events. As always, if you have questions, just reply to this email and ask away!

Happy Creating!

ps: if you're ready to start teaching your own sip and paint classes, you can get your parties started ASAP using my quick-start guide. Grab it below and join our group of merry art makers.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Learn to Make Memory Wire Bracelets

Learn to Make Memory Wire Bracelets Online


I finally did it. The thing I had been putting off forever, making excuses about and coming up with 100 other things to do instead.


I created my first ONLINE class and I posted it to Skillshare this past Friday.

I didn't really know what I was doing, and yep, the day it went live, I realized that one of the videos had this doofy little clip hanging on at the end that should have been cut out. The lighting isn't the greatest and I say "um" and "so" a lot, but it's a start. I can work on those parts for the next class and although it was scary and not easy, I know this was a hurdle I had to get over and just get it done.

If you've ever thought of recording an online class, I encourage you to put it out there-doofiness and all. You will get better and learn as you go. I've already learned a ton from experiments with lighting, recording, re-recording, trying to keep my daughter and husband and dog out of the room while recording, shaking the table, muting the sound accidentally-it's been an adventure!

Do it even if you hate the sound of your voice, or your hair looks weird or your hands look wrinkly or whatever. Don't listen to the voice that tells you all the reasons why you shouldn't and comes up with all the other-things-you-could-be-doing-instead, like oh, you know, folding laundry or scrubbing the toilet. Do those things that scare you and do them as quickly as you can. Fear feeds on time spent thinking about it.

If you've ever wanted to learn how to make memory wire bracelets (like the photo above-you can enable the images or view it in your browser) or if you're curious about Skillshare, please stop in and check out my class.

If you use my link, you will get 2 free months of Skillshare and you can cancel anytime (so you can watch my video and then cancel if you want.) I get $10 for every person who signs up with my link and then I get paid for how many minutes my videos are watched, that's how Skillshare works.

If you're curious about Skillshare as a teaching platform, I'll be sharing more of my experience as I go along. I've joined it myself as a student and I've been having a blast watching some of the other classes-there are some really good art, jewelry making and business classes on there and I will share some of my favorites in an upcoming post.

For now, if you'd like to view the whole class, just click right here and it will take you there.

Enjoy your free class and maybe think about making one of your own?

Happy Learning,

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Adding Texture and Patina to Metal

I wanted to show you the projects we've been working on in our Jewelry 102 Class. 

My inspiration for these earrings was from a tutorial I saw in Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine this month by Kathy Combs. She did a lot of etching in her demos, which I did not do, but her tutorial on making the paint, as well as how to make your own enameled head pins motivated me to give them a try. 

Here are my versions:

These are hand cut from pure copper sheet metal and then filed, sanded and run through the Sizzix Big Kick Machine using an embossing folder.

We then punch holes and add color. We are using Ranger Patina's in class, but you can also make your own using a 50-50 mixture of craft paint and vinegar until you get a milky consistency. The turquoise earrings in the center are made using the paint mixture.

I'm also now obsessed! with making enameled headpins. SO FUN! Must order more opaque enamels though, my stash is mostly transparent and they don't show up well on the headpins.

For the enameled headpins, you make a balled headpin with your microtorch (I used sterling silver) and then dip the hot ball of metal in the enamel powder, torch it again and dip again until you get the size head pin you are looking for. 

I will try and make a quick video very soon to demonstrate how to make the headpins. You can see mine above in the turquoise photo as well. The little blue headpins are peeking out from the bottom.

I'm really happy with how these earrings came out. They're time consuming to make, but I think the result is well worth it. I'll be making a variety of Spring Colors to send out to stores and will be posting them in my Etsy store too. 

Is there something you would like to learn how to make? Have questions? Leave a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

15 Free and Low-Cost Places to Host Workshops

I've been teaching art and jewelry classes in Syracuse for a few years now and I've learned to be creative about finding space to host classes and workshops. Keeping the cost of the space low, helps increase your profit for each class.

Here is a list of places I have held classes, to get your own ideas flowing.
  1. Skype or Zoom-You can use these platforms to teach live classes to people who don't live in your area. It makes it a little trickier than actually being in the room with someone, but totally do-able.
  2. Private Lessons in Student's Homes-I offer private lessons and will travel to people's homes to teach. I used to offer 1:1 classes, but now I just do groups, as it wasn't cost effective to do private lessons.
  3. In a Library-I currently co-host a Mixed-Media Art Exchange Group in a Public Library. We use the space for free and are on their calendar too, so sometimes we get walk-ins from the public who saw it on the calendar.
  4. In a College Activity Center-I teach a class once a year for graduating seniors at a local college. I could also approach local colleges, particularly over the summer, to see if space is available to host a class. Some have space that is available to rent to the public.
  5. In a Non-Profit Agency-I host a local class at a non-profit agency. If you're offering a fund-raiser for a group, they often have space you can use for your class.
  6. In a YURT in the woods. OK, so these aren't generally available, but I'm lucky enough to have friends who have an outdoor classroom, called a Yurt, that they let me use for classes. We host an annual Yurt Yoga and Painting class there and I've also done kids classes there as well.
  7. In a Restaurant-I stumbled on a restaurant/gift shop that has an adorable little cottage and patio in the back, complete with plants and shade-the perfect Artists Cottage. I asked if I could host an event there and we worked out a deal for a 1/2 day painting workshop that included lunch, tea and dessert.
  8. In an Art Co-op. If you're a part of an art co-op, chances are they host classes or have considered it. Start a conversation and see where it goes. I host MANY of my classes in art co-ops I belong to. The added bonus is that people can see the work you sell and the co-ops help to promote the class and take registrations.
  9. In a Church-They often have community rooms available for public use for free, donation or low cost.
  10. In your own home-I have offered small classes and private lessons in my home every now and then. This can be a good place to get started.
  11. In a Field or Park-Set up a tent in a field or rent a pavillion in a park and teach outside  in the fair weather months
  12. In a Gift Shop-I teach art classes in a small gift shop. The owner moves items to the side and sets up small 2 to 4 person tables to make for a cozy teaching space.
  13. In a Community Center-I've rented space in a community center for very low cost. Lots of parking, accessibility and space.
  14. In a High School Art Room-I teach through a local Adult Education program offered by my school district and we use one of the Art Rooms for our class. This is actually ideal for our class and works out great.
  15. In a garage-I've both taught and taken classes held in garages. This is not unusual for jewelry making with torches or painting with messy splashing and spraying. I've also used a friend's driveway, come to think of it, and the neighbor's dog stopped over and peed on the paintings while they were drying..good and memorable times!
If you found these ideas helpful, you may be interested in my latest project, "Teaching Creative," my new website. I'm gathering posts on teaching, interviewing creative teachers and providing tons of information for creative entrepreneurs (like you!) who want to add classes, workshops, courses or retreats to your business.

You can grab the free worksheet: "32 Ways to Earn Income Teaching What You Love" and get more tips and info. on teaching your own courses, right to your inbox. Sign up below to be the first to see Teaching Creative it when it goes live and to kick-start your own classes.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Toying with the Idea of Buying a Sip and Paint Franchise?

If you've been thinking about teaching Wine and Paint Classes, then the idea of purchasing a franchise may have crossed your mind at one time or another.

Businesses like Painting with a Twist, the first and largest paint and sip franchise in the US, have good track records of success. Painting with a Twist has maintained  its spot as the nation’s top franchise in the industry. It ranked as the #1 Paint and Sip Studio in Entrepreneur magazine’s 38th Annual Franchise 500® edition, for the fourth year in a row. (Read the full article here.)

The support and success can be tempting, but is a franchise right for you?

A few years back, an artist friend of mine started talking about opening a franchise for kids art classes, and with all due love and respect to her, I thought it was the WORST idea possible for her and here's why:

She is one of those people who never actually stops creating and just about everything she makes is spectacular. Having to limit herself to a franchise that tells you what to paint and how to paint it, would be like caging a hummingbird. She needs to fly and she needs to be in constant creative motion. It's my belief that a franchise would be too limiting to her creative spirit. Having to teach something a certain way (that isn't her way) is not something I can see her doing for very long-pretty sure she would go rogue and start spray painting the kids.

She doesn't want a "job" and she says she is not cut out for a job. She's an artist and she works when she feels like working. To have to show up at a studio and teach kids on a schedule, could quickly begin to feel like a job. In fact, franchising has been described as "buying yourself a job." All of the things she enjoys about her current lifestyle, would be gone.

She was tempted by the "proven system" and the marketing support. She was tired of always having to work hard to drum up students for her (very unique and inspiring) classes when she did hold them. She wanted really, to be able to show up and teach and run a successful business that would support her financially. And maybe it would, but my concern was that it might just crush her free-spirited-art-loving self. I would not want to see her make a huge investment, only to feel imprisoned in a year.

I suggested that if she wanted a franchise, she should start one herself and be the franchiser, the parent company, not the franchisee. She's an original and she's someone who could figure it out and then teach others how to do it.

So, what about you? Do you like a lot of structure, guidance, rules and systems? Do you want someone to tell you exactly what colors to paint your walls and what to paint during each class? There can be comfort in that. When you buy a franchise, you pay the franchisee to help you every step of the way and you exchange a great deal of control (and money) for this support. I've never owned a franchise, but I expect it's like having a business coach who keeps you on track and guides you so you succeed.

It's perfect for some people and not so good for others, like my friend. If you're thinking of buying a franchise, do your due diligence:
  • Find out if there are openings (or territories) in your area
  • Ask for a list of other owners you can talk to. Have a list of questions ready for them and talk to at least 3. Try to get a good sense of what a day in the life of an owner is like.
  • Visit a location and take a class with one of the franchisees
  • Get the structure and the vibe before you commit and make sure it's a good match with your style
  • Know the full costs, both start-up and ongoing
  • Decide if you want a location based franchise, like Painting with a Twist or a Community Based Option like Paint Nite. Each type has their pros and cons.
Ready to dive in and do some research? Here are some of the top franchises in the industry from the 2017 Entrepreneur Magazine. Each link will take you to a summary of the franchise.

Painting with a Twist
Initial Investment $89K-$143K

Pinot's Palette
Initial Investment $77K-$197K

Bottle and Bottega
Initial Investment $97K-158K

Wine and Design

If you're more like me, you would rather earn extra income on the side teaching wine and paint classes in your community or your own studio than run a full-out franchise business. You want to do it your way and you might do other things as well. These classes can be easy to get going on your own, you don't have to commit your life savings to buy a job you might not enjoy.

Trying it on your own first, might be a good way to test the waters to see if you even need the support of a franchise. Maybe what you are able to book and fill with happy students on your own, is all you actually need.

If you want to quickly get started with the do-it-yourself version contact me right here for a free, 20 minute, laser focused coaching call (no worries, I'm not selling anything and I could potentially save you 100K.) We'll review where you are right now, answer any questions you have and brainstorm ideas to get your class out of your head and onto the calendar. Getting that date booked will get you into action mode faster than anything else can.
If email is more your style, grab the free worksheet and start working toward "Getting Your First Class Booked in the Next 30 Days" and start making it happen!

Happy Painting!