Interview: Reshma Katwa, Owner of Pinot's Palette in Lexington Center
What was your background before you owned your own franchise?
Well, my family was in the hospitality business. My father owned a restaurant, hotel and winery, so I think it was always in my blood. Prior to Pinot’s Palette, my most recent job was working in hotel sales at the Crown Plaza in Newton.
How did you select Pinot’s Palette as the franchise you wanted to open?
The idea of owning my own place appealed to me, especially a franchise where you have a support system in place from day one. When I was online searching for something, Pinot’s Palette popped up. At the time I had never heard of the concept before, but I watched the video and was intrigued.
What is the history of Pinot’s Palette?
They have 150 stores, most of them in California and New Jersey. I started my journey in 2012 doing research, in 2013 I found my space and started a build out, and I opened in 2014.
Why do you like Pinot’s Palette specifically?
It’s seasonal, so there is always fresh ideas. People love painting a snowman in December or January, but not in May!
Now, onto the big and important question, if there were three things you would advise to a franchisee, to navigate the unusual business climate we are in, what would it be?
For sure, the first and most important thing is not to underestimate the power of the community of owners around you, how supported they will make you feel, how any idea is worth vetting, and how others can provide so much information on ideas you have yet to execute. I find that resource (of other franchise owners) invaluable. We communicate mostly through a Facebook group, but also there is an annual two-day retreat.
Have confidence in the products, because the supplier agreements are already negotiated by HQ with national vendors and national marketing, so focus that time on what is best for your specific market and selling more classes
Both the other owners and the confidence in HQ provides a lot of mental support. Tap into that, and don’t go on the journey alone. There is always someone you can lean on.
You and I have talked a few times, and “community” comes up a lot. Can you give me a specific example?
Yes, we have 600 artists. That’s a lot of talent contributing towards a lot of options for painters, so it keeps customers returning.
Is there anything you dislike about the franchise business model?
Probably the only thing is that they could put another location too close to you. It hasn’t happened to me, but it does happen in CA and NJ. Right now, I am the only Pinot’s Palette in Massachusetts!
Do you have a motto you live by?
Ignorance is bliss, because if you know too much, it sometimes allows uncertainty, and then paralyzes action.
Any input for people looking to get into business in Lexington?
The Lexington community has been very supportive, and I am thankful I selected this town to open our doors