Elgin woman opening Pinot's Palette franchise in St. Charles
Intimidated didn't begin to describe how Amy Kumler felt the first time a friend asked her to try a paint-and-sip class.
An analytical-minded business professional, the Elgin resident is the first to admit she lacks artistic experience. She's more likely to be thinking through problems or making lists than exercising her creativity.
And yet, when she sat down in the art studio and started following the teacher's step-by-step instructions, she said, the methodical left side of her brain "shut off."
"It was so relaxing. It beats any massage or day at the spa I've ever done," Kumler said. "Anybody can do it, and you're so impressed with yourself when it's over, and you didn't once think about a list."
After attending monthly classes for a couple of years, Kumler decided to share the experience with others by opening a Pinot's Palette franchise at 3823 Main St. in St. Charles.
The studio is expected to open in mid-November with a public classroom and a private party room, Kumler said.
Customers can bring in their own food, and wine and beer will be sold on site, pending final approval from the St. Charles city council. Aldermen voted unanimously at the committee level to grant the business a liquor license.
The new business venture has been somewhat of a pipe dream for Kumler, who received a minor in small business management in college. But with a general marketing and sales degree, she spent her entire career up to this point working for corporate companies.
"I've always wanted to have my own business," Kumler said. "But I could never figure out what I was passionate about (so) that I wanted to do it all day, every day."
Operating a paint-and-sip business, she said, allows her to blend her analytical characteristics with a creative activity she loves.
St. Charles is an ideal market for the national Pinot's Palette brand, she said, noting the company provided ample data to help narrow down a target site and demographic. Her studio will be the sixth Pinot's Palette in Illinois, with others in Elmhurst, Naperville, South Barrington, Glenview and Chicago.
The studio will start by offering classes on weekends and some nights during the week, Kumler said. Private parties and events can be scheduled any time.
Kumler also has a mobile license, which allows the business to partner with local restaurants, offer team-building activities at corporations or travel to other events in the area.
The business will first try various types of paintings, whether it be a landscape, animals or abstract designs, Kumler said. She hopes to eventually offer other artistic classes, such as knitting chunky blankets or painting tote bags or wineglasses.
"We'll try lots of different things," Kumler said. "This is what I'm passionate about, and this is what I want to do. I want to share that experience with other people."