June 13, 2013 // Franchising.com // Huntsville, Al. – As the original vision of Alabama artist, Rebekah Bynum – the success of Spirited Art® has flowed forth as seamlessly as brushstrokes from her paintbrush since day one. What once began as a simple night out for 12 ladies in the back of a friend’s office in 2007, soon evolved into a more involved art class for 40 students at a local museum. In 2009, Spirited Art found its own full-time studio space in Bynum’s hometown of Huntsville, and in the years since has become a thriving business, teaching multiple classes a day to a wide variety of budding artists. It has been so successful – in fact – that Bynum and her business partners decided to expand shortly thereafter. Over the last few years, Spirited Art has opened locations in Knoxville, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Richmond, Virginia, in order to prove their concept wasn’t just the result of Rebekah’s unique personality and teaching style. Finding success in each new venture, it soon became clear that Spirited Art would make a viable franchise concept – disproving the age-old stereotype of the “starving artist.”
Rebekah, a University of Montevallo graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Painting, is a former portrait artist and muralist. The arrival of her first child prompted the earliest stirrings of Spirited Art.
“Although possessing a great deal of talent, Rebekah always lacked confidence in her skills,” explains Terry Bynum – local commercial attorney, Spirited Art business partner and husband of the artist. “She also hated to hear other people criticize their own talents as an artist. She aspired to find confidence in herself and to encourage others to do the same. Coincidentally, this all happened after the birth of our first child, so chances are good that she was inspired to launch Spirited Art by the concept of simply hanging out with other adults and having a good excuse to shower and drink wine!”
In its simplest terms, Spirited Art is a studio offering step-by-step acrylic painting classes to a wide range of groups including adult classes, kid’s camps, birthday parties, corporate outings, and more. With a tagline that reads: “Uncork your creativity!® (But don’t drink the paint water!)®,” Spirited Art allows adult guests to bring their own wine and food to enjoy at the studio while they paint*.
The arrival of a second child and the addition of a close friend and accountant to the business partnership prompted the continued growth of Spirited Art. Andrea Bell – a former accountant for Ernst & Young and CFO for a large physicians group in Virginia – could see the growth potential for the company shortly after joining the Bynums as their business manager and bookkeeper. However, the true motivation behind the company’s expansion is about something far more elusive than success for the founding artist – the pursuit of happiness.
“There are so many talented artists and art lovers out there in the world who don’t realize they can not only operate a business centered around art, but actually support themselves doing something they love,” explains Rebekah. “We believe in our concept and have spent the last six years proving that it is possible. We want to empower people, especially women, to try and do the same. We are highly committed to the experience that our franchisees will have at Spirited Art, and are looking for someone who has a business mind, as well as a love for art and an understanding of creative people. Ideally, our franchisee is someone who is able to think with a linear mind, but also able to understand the circular, free-spirited mind. This person could be an artist, partner to an artist, or an entrepreneur who plans to hire artists.”
All of Spirited Art’s owners agree that the best part of owning a Spirited Art studio is that a franchisee can take their kids to school, work until it’s time to pick them up from school, and enjoy the best of both worlds – a balance between a fulfilling business pursuit and cherished time with family. The studio schedule is completely flexible and the majority of work may be completed at home once a franchisee’s Spirited Art staff is trained. Franchise owners are able to be an integral part of the community by offering something for everyone, as well as through charity events where Spirited Art gives back up to 50% of the night’s proceeds to a local non-profit organization.
Once a Spirited Art franchisee has been signed, they will attend a 5-day intensive training session at the company’s Huntsville, Alabama headquarters to learn everything they will need to know to run their own Spirited Art Studio. When a franchisee is ready to open their location, representatives from headquarters will travel to the studio to provide training to the staff and assist with the opening. To help them get started, franchisees are provided with the use of over 400 pieces of art, step-by-step instructions for the creation of 250+ paintings, and a 200+ page operations manual that Andrea, Rebekah, and Terry have tirelessly developed. The instructions provide an infrastructure for each class and provide support for the teacher and a good experience for the patron. They also help the owner identify a good teacher, as not all artists are meant to teach. The instructions also allow a talented, untrained person to break down a painting and possibly teach it.
“We are dynamic in that – as a small, growing company – the franchisee has direct access to the founders,” says Andrea. “We are here to help them every step of the way as they establish their business and watch it flourish. By recommending locations in strip centers near grocery stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, and the like, it makes Spirited Art a safe place at night when many of our classes are held and it makes the location highly visible to potential patrons. Our clientele is primarily made up of women and kids, but many boyfriends and husbands are roped into coming the first time… and then they are hooked. We truly offer something for everyone. There’s a little artist in all of us.”
Rebekah, Terry and Andrea have their sights set on opening up to 50 studios over the next five years. A former employee who was instrumental in their growth opened her own Spirited Art studio in Chattanooga, Tennessee last year, and Spirited Art’s first franchisee recently signed a contract to open a Spirited Art studio in Scranton, Pennsylvania later this summer. Prospective Spirited Art franchisees are invited to send inquiries to email@example.com. To learn more about Spirited Art, please visit them at any one of their current locations in Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and Arkansas or online at www.myspiritedart.com.
* This excludes the Richmond studio due to Virginia law. However, Richmond guests are welcome to order wine and food from a nearby establishment called the Wine Loft.
SOURCE Spirited Art