Celebrating Year One as a Small Business in Montclair, New Jersey

Posted on

Juliet and Jack are Repeat Customers

After a year of learning / fun / tears / hugs / making new friends / painting and painting and painting some more, I confess that what I feel – even more so than exhaustion – is gratitude. Owning a small business in Montclair is no simple feat. I am grateful to my family for their unwavering support. I am grateful to our wonderful team of artists for sharing their talents. I am grateful to our customers for allowing us to create art with them. And I am grateful for the Wine & Design corporate and franchisee team, Montclair BID, our local small business community, and area residents and businesses who have embraced our loving approach to sip & paint. We aim to be warm, responsive and encouraging. We want you to be the most creative version of yourself when you come to our little corner of the world.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of small businesses fail within their first year. I am grateful that we get to continue past this liminal stage. With all of this gratitude in mind, I am recapping here some of our 2023 milestones as we head into 2024 and our second year in business:

  • First Artists’ Workshop – Before we opened, we held our first staff meeting with some incredible local artists, many of whom are still working with us today (Dominique, Nichole, Skylar, Molly and Asha).

First Artists' Workshop at Wine and Design, a Small Business in Montclair

  • Grand Opening – We opened on January 7, 2023 with local artist Ashley teaching her very first paint & sip class, and she nailed it! (We had no doubt she would.) It was a full room and we served sweet treats from local bakeries Stuff by SJ and Tootie Cookies. (Please click and give them your business. These are both owned by fellow girl moms like me!)
  • First Kids’ Night Out – Our first instance of Kids’ Night Out was on January 20th and we had five amazing kids with us. (They’ve all been regulars over the past year and we have gotten to see them grow as people and as artists!) Since then, KNO has grown to as many as 30 in the house!

Our First Ever Kids' Night Out at Wine & Design Montclair

  • Splatter Room Opening – We had a father and son duo sign up to splatter paint. Dad had been called away for an extended trip and he wanted to do something special. They splattered handprint t-shirts as a keepsake. A heart-wrenching (but hopeful) experience for all!

Watching Dad in the Splatter Room Handprints for Memory

  • Summer Camp – By the end of summer 2023, our art camps were sold out and we were making some wonderful art; not just painting, but also drawing, collage, decoupage, scultpure and more! In 2024, we will be running camp again, and this year we will be piloting a new camp for little fashionistas. Stay tuned! Read our 2023 summer camp recap.
  • Private Parties Galore – We have been overjoyed to celebrate our customers’ milestone events: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and more! We hosted parties for ages 2 to 90 – in studio and On Wheels.

Backyard Quinceanera Davita Team Building Event with Resin and Glitter Charcuterie Boards 27th Birthday at Wine and Design Montclair Painting Tote Bags Team Building Mural Making at Wine and Design Montclair 60th Birthday Party at Splatter Zone Stella's 6th Birthday Party at Wine and Design Montclair

  • Open Studio – It never ceases to amaze us what creativity happens at open studio. People really unwind and express themselves with just a bit of encouragement. And they get to leave the mess and bulky supplies with us!

Family Paint at Open Studio Friends Painting at Open Studio Three Friends Painting at Open Studio

  • Teambuilding – We’ve had teams of all sizes at the studio and On Wheels partake in our particular brand of team building fun. Our largest group was 90, across five states, broadcast from two locations (congratulations to Dominique for a job well done on that!). Read more about teambuilding at our studio or On Wheels.

Those are some of our big milestones. We also remember the little moments in vivid detail:

  • When Parents Painted with Their Kids – Two hours. No phones. They connected.

Mother Daughter Elephants Mother and Son at the Splatter Room Mom and Kids in the Splatter Room Mother and Daughter DIY Stranger Things Father Son Painting Mother Daughter Friends

  • When Women Bonded – Don’t get me wrong: Paint & sip is great for everyone. All ages. All ability levels. All identities. Some women and girls have found it to be especially helpful with self-expression, stress reduction and bonding. We even hosted a Mom Splatter with Macaroni Kid Clifton-Montclair in March!

BFFs Even as Little Girls Female Friends Together Again City Of East Orange Substance Abuse Treatment Program Completion Event for At Risk Mothers Making New Friends Mom Splatter 2023 Wine and Design Is a Great Place for a Hug

  • When Our Team Formed Bonds with Each Other – Some of the greatest personal moments of this year for me have been spending time with our team of artists. Sometimes, they would be on the clock and doing amazing work, nurturing artistic expression from our customers. Other times, they would just be hanging out and chatting. Asha would bring in her 3 year-old daughter to color – love it when they visit!

They’re good people and I love them. I am honored they are with me on this journey.

  • When Fiorella Accidentally Covered Herself with Yellow Paint
  • When Fiorella Accidentally Covered Herself with Yellow Paint Again
  • When the Family Resource Nework Visited – In 2023, we hosted this wonderful group of adults with special abilities on three occassions. Serena, Skylar and Meggs each had a chance to paint with these folks, and each time, we have savored every brush stroke, every giggle and every hug.

Meggs Helps with the Family Resource Network Painting Party at Wine & Design Montclair Painting with the Family Resource Network Skylar Paints with Rosa at Wine & Design Montclair

  • When Molly Graduated to Teaching with Taylor Swift Trivia – Molly started working as an artist’s assistant when she was just 15 years old. Before long, she graduated to the roll of artist and she rocked it! Nichole was right there as a “big sister” for support.

Molly Teaches Taylor Swift Painting and Trivia When Molly Became a Teacher at Wine and Design Montclair

  • When We Made a Mom Cry (Happy Tears) – Our Mother’s Day Eve Kids’ Night Out event resulted in some special paintings with heartfelt messages for moms and one mom was overwhelmed by the message she received from her 6 year-old daughter.

Hannah's Mom Cries Happy Tears

  • When Sabrina Slayer Performed at Drag Night – Love this person! Can’t wait to do this again in 2024!

Gorgeous Sabrina Slayer Drag Night Painting at Wine and Design Montclair Rachel and Sabrina Slayer

  • When Meggs and Juliet Kept a “Butt” Tally at Camp – Little kids love words like “fart”, “poop” and “butt”.  So Meggs and Juliet decided to keep a tally at art camp. I think it passed 100 that day. So funny – and memorable!

Meggs and Juliet Keep a Butt Tally

  • When Everything Went Wrong in a Single Day – Alarms, broken toilets and more! We had a very catastrophic day, which coincided with my 17th wedding anniversary. Thank you to my very patient and supportive husband Jeff for saving the day.
  • When Grandparents Visited – Of course there was the time Nana visited the splatter room – 87 years young! But there was another time when a grandparent – having seen our camp pictures on social media – looked me straight in the face and said, “You’re doing a great job. You must know that.” I cried a little and Meggs had to leave the room.

Granddad is Playing Telephone with the Kids at Mini Matisse Art Camp Wine & Design Montclair Nana Visits the Splatter Room Grandparents Be Making Us Laugh

  • When We Witnessed Good Dates – Whether first or fourth dates – or even 30-year anniversaries – we loved getting to know the people who experienced a little romance at our studio.

Enjoying a First Date at Wine and Design Montclair Open Studio with Free Onsite Parking Karen Is a Repeat Customer First Date at Splatter Zone Wine and Design Montclair

  • When Minia’s Sent a Special Message – Working in downtown Montclair is such a gift – so many delicious treats nearby! I order a lot from Minia’s across the street and the staff have become our friends. That’s why it was so rewarding to learn that the sentiment is mutual.

Minia's Sends Rachel a Special Note with Her Lunch

  • When Customers Came Back – That people would come to the studio at all was a big gamble in my mind when we opened. (Does anybody else love sip & paint as much as I do?) But when people would come back… That’s when I knew I was doing what I was meant to do. We have a few regulars and we LOVE it every time they walk through the door.

Nicole Is a Repeat Customer Twins Elodie and Abigail are Repeat Customers Luca Is a Repeat Customer at Art Camp Carla and Sara Are Repeat Customers An Entire Family of Repeat Customers Zoey Is a Repeat Customer

There are many other wonderful reasons to look back and love 2023 – our first year as a small business in Montclair. My heart is full. Thank you for being part of this special time in our lives. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

A note about the featured image – These are two of our favorite people: Juliet (age 5 when pictured) and Jack (age 10). They have been art campers with us and both had super fun birthday parties at the studio in 2023. What I love about this photo – and why I chose it to represent my first year in business – is that it was so unexpected. They’re two different kids – different ages, different genders, different schools – just sharing a laugh. When people come to the studio, this is the kind of magic we get to witness. Walls come down. Stress melts away. People connect with other people in a way they didn’t anticipate. It’s a little break from the real world. And, when I have a bad day, I think of this moment and how it represents the best of what we can do for our customers at Wine & Design Montclair.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *