Couple Who Survived Hurricane Katrina Help People Unwind With New Business

Painting With a Twist expands its 'Paint and Sip' franchise

painting with a twistKermie and Algy Irvin Jr. own two Painting with a Twist enterprises in the Greater Houston area. Their businesses are part of a trend toward “lifestyle franchises,” a segment in which both franchised and independent ventures cover leisure pursuits such as jewelry-making and beer brewing. The Irvin’s have found their niche by helping people unwind with a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of wine or a soft drink in the other. The couple purchased their first Painting with a Twist franchise in December 2009 in The Woodlands, Texas, and their second in 2012 in Kingwood.

Painting with a Twist is a Paint and Sip franchise, headquartered in Mandeville, Louisiana, that currently boasts more than 125 franchises in 23 states throughout the United States. With a presence in nearly half the nation, Painting with a Twist is now claiming new territory by offering franchising opportunities in four states: Arizona, California, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

Founded in 2007 by Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney, Painting with a Twist began franchising in 2009 and provides customers with paint, a canvas, and brushes. The concept pairs instructional art with friends, wine or soft drinks, snacks, and a lively instructor to produce individual works of art. Customers pay $35 for a two-hour class or $45 for a three-hour stint at the easel, surrounded by fellow art lovers as they sip glasses of vino and produce paintings.

There’s nothing quite like a natural disaster to make you rethink your life and work. That what happened in 2005 when Kermie, 42, was working as an engineer in the maritime industry, and Algy, 43, was employed in the oil industry and as a commercial photographer. The Irvin’s lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the city that year.

That was a turning point for the couple, who relocated to Houston the following year. As part of their rebirth the couple decided to become business owners, and invested $80,000 of their own funds to open their first Painting with a Twist location. Their initial cash outlay covered the building lease and franchise fees, the latter of which includes all equipment, supplies, artist training, studio setup, and “a few months of buffer until the studio was self-supporting,” says Kermie.

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