IFA’s @OurFranchise campaign highlights Deborah Nemec and Kelly Flowers, a mother-daughter team that owns Pinot’s Palette locations in Kansas City.
By J.P. Carroll and Radim Dragomaca
Kelly Flowers and her mother Deb Nemec have figured out one of the best-kept secrets to a healthy daughter-mother relationship: open a franchise together. Flowers was working for a trade magazine, and like her mother, was looking for a change of pace. Nemec felt it was time to leave her former career “and find something that would have me more in town on a permanent basis, and I wanted it to be something fun,” she said.
The idea to open a paint-and-sip franchise (mixing cocktails with art lessons) first came to Nemec when on a trip to Austin, Texas. She “thought it was so much fun” visiting a paint-and-sip franchise and getting the full experience. As Nemec began to think more seriously about pursuing her franchising dream, she asked herself a variety of different questions, including: “Could I do it better? Do I want to compete against them? Or, is it better to join them?” Ultimately Nemec, along with her daughter, concluded that it was best to pursue the infrastructure and brand name recognition that a franchisor brings, and selected Pilot’s Palette, the paint-and-sip brand that started May 6, 2009 in Houston, Texas. Nemec and Flowers opened their first Pinot’s Palette in April 2013 in the Kansas City suburb of Leawood, Kan.
Find out more about franchise opportunities at Pinot’s Palette.
The mother-daughter duo has figured out that while working with one another is greatly rewarding, it comes with a set of unique challenges in navigating both the personal and professional relationship. “The biggest thing is, I wear the mother hat but must also respect my child, who is now also an adult, a good friend, and a business partner,” Nemec said. Something that Nemec believes has been essential to maintaining a positive working relationship with her daughter is that “communication is always respectful.” Flowers added that she and her mother have ultimately decided to “approach business as business” and that the two of them “don’t have filters, but [also] don’t take things personally in terms of feedback from one another in [terms of the] business.”
While Nemec and Flowers believe that the Pinot’s Palette business model is strong and successful, custom celebratory and charitable events have allowed them to add a unique take to the Kansas locations. An example of Nemec and Flowers’ innovative and distinct management style was a Muffins for Moms event on Mother’s Day weekend. “In the morning, we offered classes for younger children to come in with parents and paint together for a Mother’s Day celebration. We had juice and muffins. Also, we do offer children’s classes on a regular basis,” Nemec said. Charitable work has also been an important endeavor for Nemec and Flowers who have raised money for the local Kansas City SPCA chapter.
Related: Franchise opportunities in the specialty retail category.
It’s clear that Nemec and Flowers have made Pinot’s Palette their own. The Leawood location turned into such a success that the franchisees went on to open another location in Prairie Village, Kan. With each paintbrush stroke and sip of wine, a mother and daughter grow closer, and a community becomes more culturally prosperous.
Radim Dragomaca is a Manager for VetFran, a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association. J.P. Carroll is an Editorial Intern at the International Franchise Association.
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