When Lisa Ramsey had the idea to partner with the previous owners of a local business on reclaimed wood projects, the conversation eventually morphed into purchasing the entire studio. And, in a sentence, that’s how Lisa and Craig Ramsey became the co-owners of The Tipsy Paintbrush, an art studio in the heart of Historic Matthews.
The Ramseys have since transformed the studio from a typical paint and sip, now offering many different crafting options, as well as monthly kids’ nights/parents’ night out themed events, camps, fundraisers and more!
CBRbiz.com: Are you an artist yourself? How long have you been painting?
Craig: Lisa has always been somewhat creative, but I haven’t painted or truly performed much art (with the exception of sketching targets in the military) since kindergarten. I have since discovered art and am tapping into a creative side that I didn’t know I had. Lisa amazes me with her capabilities overall, but especially in applying her creativity to new projects for The Tipsy Paintbrush.
CBRbiz.com: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?
Craig & Lisa: Lisa developed a passion for entrepreneurship over the course of her stay in Charlotte, while Craig dreamed of possibilities without ever truly jumping into the deep end of that pool. This is our first true endeavor together in this arena, and it’s exciting to grow together in new ways in our relationship while striving to grow a business that meets our customers’ needs and helps them to discover facets of their character that they may not be aware of.
CBRbiz.com: When/how did your desire to be an entrepreneur and passion for painting first come together?
Craig & Lisa: This question brings about a great deal of laughter for us because we really didn’t discover our passion for art and art projects fully until after the purchase of the business. Lisa had an idea to partner with the business for some creative wood projects, but we didn’t imagine buying the business outright! Once the opportunity was on the table, we said to ourselves, “Why not?”
Once the opportunity was on the table, we said to ourselves, “Why not?”
We’re actually learning more about ourselves through this. In a city known for banking and technical programs that support that aspect of the economy, we’re discovering within ourselves (and hopefully assisting our customers and community as well) a creative side that we didn’t fully know we had. Now, if either of us goes a couple of days without exploring some creative form of expression, we feel as though something isn’t complete.
CBRbiz.com: How does The Tipsy Paintbrush differ from businesses of its kind?
Craig & Lisa: We aren’t a chain or franchise, and as a result, we are flexible and can delve into projects beyond paint on canvas, such as reclaimed wood. We look forward to being integral to how the area grows and desire to provide the best customer-focused experience for our participants, treating you like family and hopefully becoming friends.
CBRbiz.com: Which local business resources have helped you the most?
Craig & Lisa: The Red Brick Partnership in Matthews has been stellar in supporting us and helping to build our business while assisting in some strategies. The Matthews Chamber has also been extremely helpful in making some connections in addition to Carolina Trade Exchange.
CBRbiz.com: What has surprised you the most about being a business owner?
Craig & Lisa: I think both of us were expecting other local business owners to be somewhat aloof at first. In contrast, over the last couple of months we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much the local community has embraced us and given us tools and strategies to succeed. We’ve also been surprised by how many repeat customers we have at The Tipsy Paintbrush and how we’ve been embraced by so many people as we attempt to grow our business and develop in new ways.
Over the last couple of months we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much the local community has embraced us and given us tools and strategies to succeed.
CBRbiz.com: What has been the greatest challenge thus far, and how did you overcome it?
Craig & Lisa: Probably our greatest challenge is social media engagement and getting the word out about what we have to offer. We “inherited” our intern, Brooke, from the previous owners. She knows the business intimately, and we’ve empowered her to develop and implement our social media strategies. Through this new focus, we’ve connected with other local businesses to cross-promote. An example of this is our first Saturday of the month “Kids Night In/Parents Night Out” events. There are so many wonderful establishments within walking distance of our studio that we wanted to take advantage of this by offering parents date night options. Through promoting the event on social media, we’ve highlighted what other local establishments have to offer, bringing excellent business to The Tipsy Paintbrush and other local businesses.
CBRbiz.com: And what has been the greatest accomplishment? How did it feel?
Craig & Lisa: That’s tough to put our fingers on one specific accomplishment, but we both truly enjoy helping others tap into their creativity, especially if they didn’t know it truly existed. The moment you see the look in someone’s eyes where they’ve discovered possibilities or grown in areas that they didn’t know were possible is somewhat magical, especially when we host children’s events.
We both truly enjoy helping others tap into their creativity, especially if they didn’t know it truly existed.
CBRbiz.com: If you could have known one thing then that you know now, what would it be?
Craig & Lisa: That’s incredibly tough to answer in that sometimes the joy is in the journey and in the discovery. Sometimes you possess a great deal of theoretical knowledge, such as knowing that running a business requires a flexible mind, ready to participate in multiple disciplines and facets at once. It’s quite another thing to truly put that theoretical knowledge into use and grow it into experiential knowledge, applied through a multifaceted and multi-disciplinary endeavor.
CBRbiz.com: What advice would you give to an entrepreneur going into business with a family member or friend?
Craig & Lisa: Be prepared to grow and let the relationship, at whatever level it is, grow and expand in different areas. We have things individually that are our forte. By allowing someone to concentrate on their strengths, you grow by leaps and bounds. This may not always be the direction that you expect the relationship to go, but so long as the relationship is growing in a healthy manner, both the relationship and the business can grow. If ever faced with the decision over business growth or relationship growth, choose the relationship first.
If ever faced with the decision over business growth or relationship growth, choose the relationship first.
CBRbiz.com: Now let’s end with a fun question. Describe the perfect class for you. What would you paint, and what would be your beverage of choice?
Craig & Lisa: The perfect class for both of us would be something that would allow a whole roomful of people to connect and enjoy the experience together while working on something that would probably push the envelope in exploring participants’ creativity. We both enjoy a good bottle of red wine, and one of our favorites comes from right here in North Carolina, from the Owl’s Eye Vineyard outside of Shelby.
CBRbiz.com: Anything you’d like to add?
Craig & Lisa: We look forward to connecting with new friends and making you feel right at home, delivering unparalleled customer service.
Learn more about the Ramseys and The Tipsy Paintbrush by visiting them online. Follow us on Twitter @CBRbiz for most stories like this one, as well as for tools and resources to help your small business grow.