Since 2009, Pinot’s Palette has been on the scene providing one of the most unique fun-night-out activities. During a session at Pinot’s Palette, attendees can sip on their favorite wine or drink while they mingle and paint. Although many come for different reasons (whether it be for date night, girl’s night out, or birthday parties), they all leave with a memorable experience and a hand painted masterpiece. We caught up with one of the founders of Pinot’s Palette and CEO, Craig Ceccanti, in their Houston office at 10333 Harwin Dr to get their story on how they turned their unique concept into a thriving business.
Tell us about Pinot’s Palette.
CC: Pinot’s Palette is that fun night out! We are essentially a painting class where you can drink wine or your favorite spirits. We’re a great option for date night, girl’s night out, team building events, and bridal parties. A lot of people come to Pinot’s Palette for different reasons. We started right here in Houston, TX (in the Montrose area) with a 1,000 square feet facility. We are a retail establishment where people can go online to book their classes. We’re now up to about 150 locations across the country.
What’s the history behind Pinot’s Palette? How did the idea come about ?
CC: The company was founded by 3 people, Charles Willis, his wife Beth Willis, and myself. We’re all from Louisiana and we have always liked to get out and have fun trying new things. That’s where the idea for the company got started. We liked the idea of painting and getting your hands on something creative. So, being from Louisiana, adding alcohol to that concept seemed like a natural next step.
Charles and I were roommates in Houston after Katrina. We became really good friends and the idea for Pinot’s Palette was something that was previously tossed around. But, Beth was really the one to connect the dots by saying that this was the perfect girl’s night out activity. We started working on the concept in 2009 and the concept really hasn’t changed for us. We haven’t been laser focused on being a painting class because we see ourselves as more of a fun-night-out option. We still love to do those same kind of fun and new things around town and that’s what we’re still passionate about.
What has your experience in the office space been so far ?
CC: This is actually a very important building to us. We’ve been here at 10333 Harwin Dr. since 2012. When we started Pinot’s Palette, for the first two years (2009-2011), Charles and I worked on the folding tables inside of our first locations. However, it became challenging to work out of that space and it was harder to get things done and grow the company. That’s when we decided to look for office space. When Charles moved out to the Spring/Cypress area, I was still living in the city, and we needed a mutual location that was easy for the both of us to get to. We soon discovered Boxer Property and found that there were many Boxer locations throughout Houston. We realized that we might not know where we want our permanent home to be. With Boxer, we love that we have the flexibility to commit and sign a lease in one location and seamlessly relocate to another based on where our staff was living (and where we ended up living, as well).
We first moved into this building on the sixth floor in a 600 square foot space. But as our business grew, we moved offices a year later to the fourth floor where we had 2-3 joining executive suites. Business continued to grow so we moved again to the fifth floor, where we had about approx. 2,500 square feet. And we essentially moved again, now to our current space on the second floor. It’s just about 6,000 square feet of continuous space and we were able to remodel and build it however we wanted it. It’s been absolutely imperative to our growth to be able to move into an office space that is flexible and can grow with us, because we have moved four times in the last five years! It’s great to have a partner that can help us grow based on our staffing needs and what we want the space to look like. Now, we’re in this beautiful open space that we can make our own and really have fun with.
How effective is Boxer Property at meeting your needs? Is there anything you find beneficial about the office at 10333 Harwin Dr?
CC: As a franchise system, we hold a boot camp here where our franchise owners can come in and get the training they need. Boxer has really worked with us to build out our space to what it needs to be. We do a lot of video training so we have created a mock-up of the stage that’s in front of the studio at Pinot’s Palette. Being able to recreate this training facility here for our owners has been very important.
Houston has a lot of oil and gas companies and it’s very hard to compete and afford the spaces in some of these high-rise office buildings. They’re simply just too expensive for a growing company. As a small business, you just can’t be in those kinds of spaces. Moving from a 2-3 person office space to a 6,000 square feet space is very hard to do in many of the buildings in Houston. Boxer has really allowed our company to grow in this space while providing all the amenities we really enjoy at a very reasonable rent.
I personally love that there’s a cafeteria downstairs. We work really hard here so getting out is very difficult to do. The cafeteria here is incredible and they know me by name. I love that the cleaning is all inclusive. You don’t have to worry about scheduling cleaning crews to come in as it’s all covered in your base rent along with your utilities. All things that we don’t have to worry about!
What are your top business goals for 2016?
CC: Hopefully, in the near future we’ll be owning a whole floor with Boxer! We want to continue to grow the brand, as we here at Pinot’s Palette really strive to connect with our customers. Our primary goal is to continue to touch more people in that way, while we open more locations in the US. We have about 150 locations right now, and we will be opening up a new location very soon in Toronto. We want to continue providing fun and memorable painting classes to our customers and we hope to continue touching more people’s lives as we progress.
Check out more pictures of their creative office space, below:
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