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Pinot's Palette

Pinot's Palette
Pinot's Palette
Pinot's Palette
Pinot's Palette's mission is to bring art to the masses through a fun and entertaining atmosphere with extraordinary customer service.

Business Name: Pinot's Palette - Norfolk

Phone Number: 757-386-4679


President's Name: Tracie Williams

President's Title: President


What are your business's core values, goals, and overall mission?

Pinot's Palette's mission is to bring art to the masses through a fun and entertaining atmosphere with extraordinary customer service.

 Pinot's Palette is the upscale destination in Norfolk where you can "Paint. Drink. Have Fun." At our studio, anyone can be an artist and have fun being creative - no art experience required! In two or three hours, you can create a festive, whimsical and colorful painting while sipping on your favorite beverage.

 Our Core Values are:

Power of creativity, innovation, and fun Open and collaborative teamwork Professionalism, integrity, and quality Passion for personal development Commitment to our community and partners

 Share some unique facts and business history? What makes your business stand out?

Our typical customer believes that they have little to no artistic abilities, and the last time they painted may have been in elementary school. In a 2 or 3-hour class, our Artist Instructors are able to walk these individuals step-by-step through the evening's painting. Often our first-time customers have a bit of anxiety and fear of failure, this is where the wine and social/fun atmosphere come into play to help everyone relax.

 No detail is overlooked, we use real wine glasses, each canvas has its own studio spotlight, and the music is controlled at a comfortable and enjoyable level. Customers are cheerfully greeted individually as they enter.

 Unlike other paint and sips, Pinot’s Palette studio is set up for purely for the customer experience. Because of our professional sound system, customers don't have to struggle to hear to hear the instructor.

 What products or services do you offer companies or individuals?

For individuals, in our 48 seat Main Studio we offer our 2-3 hour weekly classes, typically Thursday-Saturday. We offer kid-friendly paintings on the weekends during the day. We also have “Open Studio” days where you can walk-in and complete one our self-guided paintings. We also offer, through our "Project Pet" experience, an opportunity to paint a painting of your favorite pet or animal. Customers send us a picture of their pet and we prepare that image on the canvas that the customer then paints, resulting in a handcrafted memory of their furry friend.

 For groups, in our 24 seat Private Party Studio (Mermaid Room) we are set-up to host private events to include birthday and bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and girl’s night out. If your group exceeds 24, depending on the schedule, we can move the event to our Main Studio.

 We also specialize in corporate events to include team-building events, and holiday parties. Some of our corporate paintings include the “Jigsaw Puzzle” where everyone paints their own painting and when each individual painting is placed together is creates a single image. This image can be customized to be your corporate or team logo. We also do collaborative paintings where people take turns painting on a large canvas, and “blind-fold” paintings where the final image isn’t revealed until the end (or at least until someone figures it out).

 We also do fundraising with our “Painting it Forward” events. Typically, we will donate a portion of every seat sold to your fundraising effort, this is a fun way for Churches, PTAs, and 501(c)(3) charity organizations to have a good time with their supporters and raise funds.


 What are the greatest obstacles and/or challenges that your business has faced? How have you and your business overcome them?

Virginia's alcohol laws are some of the weirdest and most convoluted in the country, many of which go back to the days of prohibition. The ability to Bring Your Own Beverage/Beer (BYOB) is illegal in the State of Virginia. In order to skirt around this regulation, Virginia's "Paint and Sip" industry was limited to operating in establishments (bars/restaurants) that served alcohol, or private events using ABC banquet licenses. These venues provided less than optimal experiences for both the painters, and the regular patrons of the establishment. Some studios had an unofficial policy of allowing BYOB but could not advertise and ran the risk of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) violations if caught.

 In 2015, a new Art Instruction Studio law went into effect that allowed for the serving of either two 5oz. glasses of wine or one 12oz glass of beer per class. While it was a good step forward, it is far from perfect. First off there is no logical reason for the different numbers of servings, a 5oz. glass of wine typically has the same amount of alcohol as a 12oz. glass of beer. Secondly, it does not take into account that some classes are 2 hours and others are 3 hours, so customers who prefer beer are limited to one beer for a 3-hour class.

 Even if deregulated, there is little to no chance that alcohol could ever be a major concern as we are usually only open 2-3 hours, and our core activity is painting. Deregulating would also allow us to offer lower prices to our customers who do not drink, as we currently have to cover our costs. Another benefit is that it would allow us to carry a wider selection of beverages based on our customer’s tastes.

 What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Besides making it to our Grand Opening, we are proud of the type of business we are able to bring to Norfolk and the Hampton Roads area. While we are selling a "Fun Night Out", what we are really selling are memories and moments. Too often people find themselves bogged down in the day-to-day grind, and before you know it half of the year has gone by and you hardly remember having or doing anything fun.

 Painting at Pinot's Palette allows you to slow down for a couple of hours and enjoy life with your friends and family. Maybe it is a chance to reconnect and build fun memories with your teenage kid before they leave home, or a fun way to catch up with old friends. We are focused on providing the perfect atmosphere for our customers to create these moments that will last a lifetime and commemorate them with a painting that they can hang in their home, or garage, depending on how happy they are with how their paintings turned out.

 What do you see for the future of your business?

In the near future, we are looking to getting our mobile studio up and running. Though we enjoy hosting parties at our Main Studio, many customers prefer to host events at their site, often with numbers that our studio cannot support in-house. We're also looking at expanding to other areas in Hampton Roads, opening studios in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Hampton.

 Why are you a member of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce?

In order to be a part of the business community, you have to participate in the business community, which is made up of people. In the digital age, so much commerce is transacted online, but you lose the personal touch and person-to-person relationships. The relationships I build through the Chamber, are the relationships that I count on in a pinch. The face-to-face nature of the Chamber of Commerce allows me to educate others on what services I provide, which in turn, allows them to better explain their business to me so that we can see how we can both generate more activity for our businesses.

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