Paint Nite

Paint Nite?

Paint Nite is a platform that brings friends together for a night of painting and drinks. Paint Nite is presented as an event that is for anyone, regardless of prior painting experience or artistic talent. There are thousands of Paint Nite events every month at local bars all over the world. During the experience, guests spend two hours creating their unique painting while having drinks and conversing with one another. The creators of Paint Nite view the company as more than the typical paint and sip company. They proudly believe that the Paint Nite community consists of creative entrepreneurs, local artists sharing their passion, and local bar and restaurant owners looking to connect with their community. Dan Hermann, Co-founder of Paint Nite, says that he identified a void that was being created by the digital world, and that he wanted to offer people the opportunity to have face-to-face human interaction and the childhood joy of creating things. Despite being presented as a break from the digital world, Paint Night uses social media platforms and digital business techniques very successfully to grow and promote business.

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Digital Business Strategy

The Paint Nite business model works because Paint Nite partners with the “starving artist”, as Hermann puts it. Hermann defines the starving artist as any artist who is not in the top .001%, and who is looking for a way supplement their income at night in order to continue to pursue the dream of becoming a recognized artist during the day. The Paint Nite event is held at a bar or restaurant on a night that would typically be quiet. Paint Nite uses a 70/30 business model, where the artist takes 70% of the ticket sales and Paint Nite takes 30% of the ticket sales. The bar or restaurant welcomes the Paint Nite event because it makes more money on drink sales than it otherwise would have on the particular “off” night. Hermann emphasizes that the Paint Nite business is based on a licensing model and not a franchise model. Franchises typically charge the franchisee a high flat fee between $10,000 and $100,000, and they allow the franchisee very little freedom to operate outside of corporate guidelines. In contrast, Paint Nite does not charge the artist any upfront fee, and it allows the artist to run the Paint Nite event as they see fit. Paint Nite does not need to monitor the artist’s event because the events and the artists are reviewed online and and discussed about on social media. Much like an the rating of an Uber driver or a product on Amazon, the wisdom of the crowd is essential to enjoyment and expansion of Paint Nite.

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The Social Media Tool

Hermann attributes 35% of Paint Nite ticket sales to having a successful presence and a successful strategy on social media. When Paint Nite was created in 2012 smart phones and social media apps including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were essential to the company’s launch and to its extremely fast growth. Hermann utilized three key strategies when he capitalized on social media marketing opportunities. The first strategy was to keep social media posts fun. The company’s business revolves around the concept of social interaction, creativity, and a fun night out. He wanted to communicate these ideas to anyone who comes across Paint Nite online. He keeps social media fun by posting attractive, eye catching pictures and videos and by posting pictures and videos of people enjoying their experience at Paint Nite. The second strategy was to remember that a social media presence will not make a business, but that it can have a strong impact. Hermann viewed other aspects of the business model as being more crucial to the success of the business than social media. However, he believed that social media should be utilized as a significant marketing tool to attract customers and to accelerate the growth of the business. The third piece of the Paint Night social media strategy was to engage with the target audience just the right amount. Hermann believed that it was important to engage customers without being annoying. He believes in the saying that “birds of a feather flock together,” meaning that people who are interested in Paint Nite are likely to have friends who are also interested in Paint Nite. Without an overbearing presence it is more than likely that Paint Nite will be shared amongst friends, reaching a target audience that has not been previously reached. Paint Nite currently has a social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and GooglePlus. It also runs a blog to keep the Paint Nite community up to date on the latest painting trends, the best bars, and the newest Paint Nite events.

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Since 2012 Paint Nite Revenues have grown 36,555% to reach $55 Million dollars per year. The founders credit the rapid growth to a number of factors including the desire for people to connect with each other and tap into creativity, to the licensing business model, and to the strong and effective social media presence. Above all they credit the scalability and the success of Paint Nite to the belief that is ok to be good enough, and to the belief that speed and execution are more important than perfection. Now that Paint Nite has expanded to many major cities worldwide the company is beginning to witness a slow down in growth. It has recently launched a new offering, Plant Nite, which as you may have guessed uses the same business model as Paint Nite, except it involves planting instead of painting. It will be interesting to see if Plant Nite is successful. If it is, a number of different “Nites” will likely follow Plant Nite. Paint Nite currently has a customer base that is 90% female, and the founders realize that there are opportunities in the future to create a “Nite” that targets the male demographic as well.

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  1. skuchma215 · ·

    I did not know anything about Paint Nite or its internal operations, I enjoyed the article. I think the rating system for “starving artists” is interesting. I can see that being very useful for people signing up to gauge what kind of experience they’re getting into. Overall, the whole Paint Nite experience seems to pair perfectly with social media. People are going to want to take pictures of themselves at this unique event and then take even more pictures of their artwork to post online afterwards. Going forward, I wonder what methods Paint Nite will try to use to attract more males to painting events.

  2. I’ve never been to a paint night, but I’ve mainly seen my friends rave about it on Instagram or FaceBook, and it’s so awesome to see exploring creative their sides and supporting local artists. I’ve never heard of Paint Nite until I moved to Boston so it’s surprising that the startup has grown large enough to expand internationally. In terms of the licensing fee with franchises, I understand that it’s a flat fee, but how long is the duration of these partnerships between Paint Nite and the franchisers? It’ll also be interesting to see how Paint Nite engages with the different social media platforms that exist in different international markets (i.e. Weibo in China).

  3. emmaharney21 · ·

    This is an awesome post! I personally have gone to the Paint Bar in Boston several times. I am also a Studio Art minor so this concept is incredibly interesting to me. Paint Bar and Paint Nite have similar business models but Pain Nite leverages social media in a way that seems integral to their business model. Both businesses are relatively new but this could already be an example of digital business disrupting a field. I think it is incredibly interesting that they partner with bars and other businesses to be the physical host of the event, and individual artists to conduct sessions. This reduces their operations costs significantly. This is a fantastic business model and a great idea. I would personally like to see how they consider expanding into new demographics. I know one thing that the Paint Bar does is offer classes during the summer or vacations for children to come and paint. This could potentially be an option for Paint Nite as well. Great blog!

  4. gabcandelieri · ·

    Great post! I had never heard of Paint Nite before but I had heard of Paint Bar. I believe the main difference is that instead of traveling to various locations with different artists, Paint Bar has fixed locations with permanent instructors. Although the concept is the same, which do you believe has the better business model? Additionally, I definitely see the value in using social media to bring people together in a physical social interaction versus a merely digital one. It is definitely refreshing to hear the growing popularity of companies that continue to find success using a core offering of face-to-face human interaction, although social media is definitely a necessity from a strategic standpoint in spreading awareness, reviews, and service descriptions.

  5. Cool post and great job detailing their business model! I’m surprised I haven’t heard of the Paint Nite platform before. I think they have a really interesting and relatively sustainable digital business model. I think their focus on social media has gotten them a long way and definitely contributes to their success. I was really shocked to see how large their yearly revenues are and it’ll interesting to see how they continue to expand their brand beyond “Plant Nite”.

  6. katieInc_ · ·

    Great post! I have never been to a PaintNite, but I have heard about it both through word of mouth and social media. I think its extension into PlantNite is such a creative extension of the company’s mission. I agree with your point that marketing its products, its painters’ stories, and the customer experience is a great way for potential consumers to become comfortable and trust that the marketed experience is indicative of the actual experience. All in all, its social media campaigns are a great way to communicate with its existing and potential consumers.

  7. bishopkh1 · ·

    I’ve never heard of Paint Nite but it has a really interesting business model. I’m curious to see how consumers react to plant nite and if those events will similarly be hosted in bars/restaurants. Thanks for sharing!

  8. magicjohnshin1 · ·

    This is incredible! I had gone to a regular painting studio with my intern team over the summer, and I was amazed at how fun painting and socializing was. It is so interesting to incorporate digital business in this realm and capitalize on the opportunity. I also like how Paint Nite provides a source of income for the artists (70% of profits for the night is a steal!). I’m sure this branding as a “creative entrepreneurs” definitely helps with attracting customers. I was always curious about sources of revenue for artists, and this is certainly an interesting and enjoyable way to do so! Cheers!

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