Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

Twylla Bell says she has been an artist her entire life. However, after a career in the financial services industry, she felt her creative drive fading. When she was laid off from her prior place of employment, she decided she needed to find a career that would allow her to tap back into that creativity. Paint and sip franchise Bottle & Bottega allowed her to do just that. Here is what she has learned.

Name: Twylla Bell

Franchise owned: Bottle & Bottega in Plano, Texas

How long have you owned a franchise?

I had my first pop up event on May 29, 2014. My studio location opened for business on January 24, 2015 and my grand opening event was February 4, 2015.

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Why franchising?

I was in the financial services industry where the market and regulations were constantly changing. I felt there was a big gap in customer satisfaction and operational processes. I wanted more control in customer face-to-face interactions and how the business operated to get to a smoother balance. Having the ability to work for myself while receiving ongoing training and support from an experienced franchisor was key in getting the right balance from proven processes.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

I spent over 15 years in financial services management for Fortune 500 companies. The last position was managing three managers over 40 employees.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

I’ve been an artist my whole life and had noticed over the years that my creative process was not as strong – it felt squashed. When I was researching franchises, I was looking for ways to tap into my creativity. I chose this franchise because of the strong brand and the focus on the design element in the studio. Bottle & Bottega has an eclectic chic feel in their studio experience. It’s not walking into a college classroom where the chairs and tables are all the same and the ceiling is acoustic tile. My customers always comment on how much they love the studio design!

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

Bottle & Bottega requires franchisees to meet financial qualifications to own and operate a studio:

  • Liquid Capital of $75,000 +
  • Net worth of $250,000 +

Initial startup costs range from $94,300 to $146,100, which covers:

  • Franchise Fee
  • Architect Fees
  • Construction/Leasehold Improvements
  • Business Licenses/Permits
  • Window Signage
  • Computer/POS System
  • Equipment/Furniture/Fixtures
  • Initial Inventory
  • Security Deposits/Initial Rent
  • Pre-Opening Training Expenses
  • Grand Opening Advertising
  • Insurance Deposits
  • Legal/Professional Fees
  • Initial Three Months’ Operating Capital

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

Friends who own their own business and conducting informational interviews with franchisees is a good way to get advice and make decisions. I also did a lot of research in publications and online.

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

Finding the customer base can be tricky. There are customers that truly love what you do and want to continue to be part of the experience and knowing how to tap into that customer is key to building the right business model.

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What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

Make sure you have a business plan and financial projections to monitor your progress and make action items for sales opportunities, like partnering with other businesses.

Be honest with yourself and what you want to accomplish. Not all of your friends and family will share your passion. Even though they may have your best interest in mind, you can’t let the opinions of others stand in the way of your dream.

What’s next for you and your business?

I continue to grow my customer base and increase corporate team building events. From my own experience in planning team building events that are strategic and builds morale, it can be challenging to find them and plan. Corporate team building events with my business involve participants picking up a paint brush and following easy to understand steps from a knowledgeable and talented instructor who guides the intersection of work and art. Through this team process, colleagues begin to break down walls, build up camaraderie and share fulfillment of a job well done – all with the right mix of humor and fun. It is truly a great feeling to see the fun and discovery process on participant’s faces!

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