Jessica Clark and her business partner Sonia launched Life with Paint in May this year. She won the Banyule digiDECL Women in Business Award with the innovative and creative business concept of social painting nights in pubs across Melbourne. We loved the community-minded aspect of her business, and her enthusiasm for growth. As for Jess, the award appealed for its opportunity to receive business mentoring and to cowork with like-minded local entrepreneurs.
“Life with Paint runs social painting nights in pubs across Victoria, and has already expanded to Queensland,” Jess explains.
These nights involve a local artist hosting the event, guiding participants step-by-step through the artwork of the night. The atmosphere is fun, social, and very supportive.
The idea sprung from a conversation about Sonia’s six-year-old son and how much he was enjoying his school art lessons. The two friends thought that they would like to try art lessons, but their options were limited to relatively formal adult classes such as life drawing.
“Neither of us are exceptionally artistic,” Jess says. “We didn’t want to attend classes where there was pressure or a particular style to adhere to.”
They wanted a fun and social class to attend, while having a glass of wine and chatting with friends. “No pressure, no thoughts about what had happened during the day, just two hours to relax, chat, drink, and paint.”
They researched the idea in late March and discovered companies overseas doing exactly that, but nothing in Australia. So they contacted The Eureka in Richmond, planned their first event for May, and Life with Paint was born.
Jess recruited local artists, while Sonia focussed on finding great pubs for events. They ensured that all supplies, such as paint and canvases, were sourced from Australia.
They now have ten artists across Victoria and Queensland, four of whom are Master Artists, who are supplied with their own kit by Life with Paint to take to and from each venue.
The events have received a hugely positive response. Life with Paint events currently run in Richmond, South Melbourne, the CBD, Port Melbourne, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, and Geelong, as well as the Gold Coast, Brisbane and West End. The majority of events are complete sell-outs. That’s 34-38 people sitting to eat, drink, and paint at every event, every week!
Jess and Sonia intend to expand nationally over the next 12 months, and into New Zealand.
Jess is, “So happy to have been chosen for the award, and am really looking forward to my mentoring. I’ve learnt so much in such a short time – I can only imagine where we’ll be this time next year!”