Amelia Courtney and Erica Bridges never planned to go into business together. They originally met and became friends because their children were in preschool together. But after Courtney took a trip down South and attended a paint party at an art studio, the pair realized they had stumbled across something special.
When Courtney returned to their home in Pennington, New Jersey and showed off her painting, Bridges decided she wanted something similar to hang in her home. But because the idea of a paint party was still relatively new at the time, there wasn’t a studio offering that type of event in their area. So they decided to throw their own party. They reached out to another one of their friends who happened to be an artist, and she agreed to guide Courtney and Bridges—along with some of their other friends and neighbors—through the painting process over apps and cocktails. By the end of the night, it was clear that there was potential for this fun and simple concept to become a successful business. With that, Pretty in Paint Parties was born.
“Right off the bat, we had people telling us that they wanted to do this again. So we started traveling around to their homes and throwing parties with different paintings. Before you knew it, we had a business going,” said Bridges. “The fact that we bring the party to our customers has been huge for us. There isn’t any type of travelling or extra fee associated with that—it’s just who we are. That’s why we really stand out in the growing paint party industry.”
Pretty in Paint Parties is also unique in that it’s more than a traditional paint and sip concept. The brand hosts children’s birthday parties in addition to corporate team building events for up to 200 people. Last month, for example, Pepsi had Pretty in Paint Parties host an event at their headquarters. The brand is also incredibly focused on giving back to charity—it hosts numerous fundraising events every year where it donates 51 percent of the net profit from its parties to a charitable cause.
“It’s really important for us to remind everyone that giving back is the most important thing. This is our business, but we treat everyone like family. Having a close knit group of artists and employees makes all the difference,” Bridges said.
The brand’s unique concept has led to rapid expansion—once the word got out about Pretty in Paint Parties, Courtney and Bridges were fielding multiple requests for the brand to establish a presence in their community. So they hired independent contractors to open up other locations under the Pretty in Paint corporate name. Within four and a half years, there were 45 different locations, mainly on the East Coast.
But Courtney and Bridges realized that their home business was doing better than other locations. That’s because they owned the business themselves, and they treated it differently. So they decided to look into franchising. The model opens the door for the brand to expand with other entrepreneurs who are just as passionate about the Pretty in Paint brand, ultimately driving the brand’s growth efforts.
Right now, Courtney and Bridges are in the process of converting their model into that of a successful franchise system. They anticipate a group of their current contractors staying on board to become their first franchisees, giving the brand a jumpstart in the industry.
“Getting into the franchising industry in general has been a major goal of ours for the last year. Now that we’re here, our main mission is to help our franchisees develop their territories like we have. We pride ourselves on being a premiere paint party event company, and we’re incredibly excited to see our concept grow nationally,” said Bridges. “Beyond franchising, we’re focused on getting Pretty in Paint Parties more involved with corporate events. That’s what we really love doing—as we continue to expand, we want to make that a bigger part of our clientele. We have so many exciting things in the works, and we can’t wait to share them.”