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The Art of Making Money

[ 0 ] Aug. 5, 2013 | SBO Editor

Blank canvas and a glass of wine equals perfect formula for new social arty franchise.

Imagine someone handing you a paint palette and putting an easel holding a blank canvas in front of you. They ask you to create a work of art that’s symbolic of what you would consider to be a fulfilling, satisfying and rewarding career.

There would be no morose images of gray and brown. Instead, it would be vibrant and alive—oranges, reds, greens and blues—painting a visual image of the descriptives we all seek in the jobs we walk out the door to each day: Liberation. Passion. Confidence. Gratification. Opportunity. Ambition. Fun. Success.

An upstart franchise concept in Chicago is offering individuals the opportunity to transform their ambitions from idle sketching into living art.

Bottle & Bottega is a BYOB wine and art party studio where hands-on art instruction by studio artists is combined with a BYOB (bring your own bottle) concept, offering a fun, unique alternative to a typical night out that’s ideal for friends, corporate groups and special events. With each sip, even the most artistically challenged can release their inner artiste and take home a self-made masterpiece for about $40.

The business was started in March 2009 when founder Stephanie King-Myers successfully convinced her non-artistic friend that she really could paint if she had the right inspiration. With a glass of wine in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, her friend successfully created her first masterpiece while giving King-Myers the idea for a new business.

In 2010, the success, adventure and potential of Bottle & Bottega caught the attention of Nancy Bigley, who with more than 18 years of franchise leadership experience was serving as a mentor to King-Myers. In 2011, Bigley joined Bottle & Bottega as co-owner and CEO, while King-Myers serves as president and COO. A franchising program was launched that November.

Today, Bottle & Bottega—in case you were wondering, a bottega is the studio of a master artist, in which students learn by participating in the work—has two company-owned studios in its hometown of Chicago, as well as three suburban Chicago franchises. Bottle & Bottega also has franchises in Denver, Portland and New Jersey. Projections call for the opening of 30 locations within the next 18 months with 160 locations nationwide by the end of 2015. Target markets include Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Texas and California.

“Our typical franchisee has enthusiasm and passion. They have achieved success in their business careers to date,” Bigley said. “However, they’re not content any longer with their jobs and are now looking for more purpose and balance in their life.”

Bigley said franchise candidates often have backgrounds in finance, sales and marketing or event planning and project management, but they will never be confused with the office wallflower.

Bottle & Bottega’s hands-on art sessions can focus on painting, creating a mosaic, wine glass painting and more.

Guests follow a local artist who instructs them on how to sketch an image and then paint it, with step-by-step guidance to mix colors and build upon them. Guests can replicate one of the paintings in the Bottle & Bottega art book, choose a work of their own, or if they are daring, have a nude model.

“We spent a lot of time talking about the need to be different and creating strong operational systems that would enable our franchisees to launch strong,” Bigley said. “Our franchisees also recognize that just because a business looks easy to open and operate, it is still a business that requires the right skills.

“Our franchisees recognize very quickly that our operations and marketing systems, franchise training and support and our 20 years of expertise in franchise operations is what makes Bottle & Bottega the best investment out there for their future success,” Bigley continued. “They would rather be on our team than trying to compete against us.”

Each Bottle & Bottega location opens first as a mobile business, hosting parties at partner locations, private homes or corporate venues, allowing franchisees the opportunity to establish the business and also prospect their territory for the ideal studio location. Franchisees have six months to open a studio, which typically range from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet.

Bigley said Bottle & Bottega offers an exciting investment opportunity, particularly for couples. “We do believe our concept is ideal for couples,” Bigley said. “One tends to focus on finance and operations while the other works on marketing, training and guest relations. It’s a perfect balance.”


Bottle & Bottega is a BYOWine art studio offering a fun alternative to a night out. The low overhead, low initial investment cost ($64,600 to $95,400) and a unique mobile-to-studio launch program that allows franchisees to be up and running as soon as training is completed.

For more info, contact the headquarters: 2900 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60657. Phone: 760-322-9353. Website: www.bottleandbottega.com

Stephanie King-Myers, left, and Nancy Bigley, created Bottle & Bottega, an art studio that serves wine to attendees who gather for a fun, social and arty encounter.

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Category: Magazine, Small Business Opportunities, Small Business Opportunities Nov 2013