Bottle & Bottega puts the party in painting
Evanston mom Lynette Martin runs Bottle & Bottega, whch offers both public and private painting classes where guests bring a bottle of wine and spend an evening painting a mural or a live model subject. She is working to establish a permanent location. |
Updated: December 12, 2012 8:16AM
EVANSTON — Lynette Martin made a major life change last summer when she traded her high-powered career in finance as a vice president for J.P. Morgan for small business running an Evanston-based BYOB painting party studio.
Leaving a 21-year-long career in financial services where she worked for Northern Trust before J.P. Morgan, Martin moved from Chicago to Evanston with her 4-year-old daughter last summer and in August opened Bottle & Bottega, a franchised painting party concept that offers social painting classes in a host of venues all over the North Shore.
Martin doesn’t have a permanent studio yet, but has been operating instead as a mobile business hosting parties at local bars, restaurants and creative workspaces she rents out on an as-needed basis.
Bottle & Bottega offers both public and private painting classes where guests bring a bottle of wine and spend an evening painting a mural or a live model subject. At the end of the night each participant gets to take their painting with them to display at home.
“It’s all about people drinking wine, socializing with friends and learning something new,” Martin said.
Serving an area that stretches from Northbrook down to Rogers Park, Martin hosts an array of events, including date nights, family-friendly parties for children and more risqué events like bachelorette parties where a nude model poses for the ladies.
She also hosts corporate team-building events where a group of employees gets together and adds a different section of art to a mural, which serves as an exercise to encourage teamwork.
Parties last for three hours and guests are encouraged to enjoy wine and food while socializing and learning how to paint via step-by-step instruction provided by a local artist with a teaching background.
“A lot of people say they’re nervous at first because they have no experience, but once they have a little wine and sit back and relax they’re usually impressed with what they can do,” Martin said.
She plans to have an Evanston-based studio open within the next five months, but said the mobile option is working well because it allows her to travel around and host parties for customers in Winnetka or Northbrook, for example, who may not want to travel down to Evanston.
The decision to shift career gears came easy.
“I’ve always liked to dabble in creative outlets, whether it’s jewelry-making, throwing pottery, or anything artistic in nature,” Martin said. “One night I went to a mom’s night out-themed painting party and I thought, ‘Wow, this is actually a business.’”
That experience sparked her curiosity, and she started looking into franchise opportunities in 2011 before leaving J.P. Morgan in July of this year and opening and Bottle & Bottega.
“I’m working harder than ever now, but I’m absolutely happier,” Martin said. “It was a great opportunity because I no longer have to work in a tall building, and now I’m closer to the ground and closer to the community.”
For a listing of upcoming Bottle & Bottega events, visit bottleandbottega.com.