Pinot & Picasso: 13 studios in 12 months

By Sarah Stowe | 21 Jan 2020 View comments

It’s the latest trend for a fun night out: releasing your artistic talents on canvas with a glass of wine and good friends for company. Entertainment franchise Pinot & Picasso can attest to the popularity of painting workshops with a boozy twist, no art experience required.

The franchise is surging ahead with 10 franchises across its home town Sydney, two in Victoria and one in Queensland opened in its first 12 months. And it’s showing no signs of slowing down, with a portfolio of Melbourne territories up for grabs this year.

Director James Crowe told Inside Franchise Business the key to growing the brand is putting the right people in the right places. “Assembling an agile team built around consolidating procedures and a growth mentality” has delivered for the brand.

Who can buy a Pinot & Picasso franchise?

Founders Aaron Carrasco and James Crowe developed the paint and sip business as a secondary income and that’s how the pair target incoming franchisees. Young couples and those ready to add a retirement nest egg are particularly attracted to the business, although there is diversity of background and age across the existing franchisee network.  

There’s no set mould for the ideal franchisee but Crowe and Carrasco are looking for people who are energetic, fun, and enjoy customer service. Franchisees don’t need to be artistic.

“Aaron and I aren’t artists. We find the right people – students, teachers – to fill that space.”

Franchisees essentially play a management role (about 10 hours a week) and don’t need to facilitate the art sessions for the business to be profitable, though artistically-inclined operators can cut costs by taking on that hands-on job.

How is Pinot & Picasso different?

Pinot & Picasso’s innovative brand ambassador initiative aims to add art credibility to the brand. Franchisees can partner with influential local artists who help engage the community in exchange for an equity split in the business. Studios in Newcastle and Melbourne have been the first to engage a local artist to fly the brand flag.

The franchisors invest in running major events to promote the brand, in venues like the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, rather than spending on national advertising campaigns.

What does it cost, what do you get?

It will cost under $100,000 to invest in a franchise, and franchisees pay 8 per cent royalty – there is no marketing levy. 

The franchisors use a strict criteria to help franchisees source the right studio and engage a third party to negotiate the lease, which the franchisee holds. 

Training includes website back-end, local area marketing, and learning about creating the Pinot & Picasso experience.

Crowe says “We talk about ourselves as an entertainment brand rather than an art business and we want the experience to be consistent throughout. Staff are facilitating everyone having a really great time.”

Territories available

The business is now poised to develop the Melbourne market with up to 25 territories outlined including:

  • Werribee
  • St. Kilda
  • Mornington
  • Frankston
  • Brunswick
  • Essendon

A key goal for this year is to add 10 multi-unit franchisees to the portfolio to bring the network to 40 studios in just two years of trading.