published Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Chattanooga art school ArtsyU offers low-tech entertainment

Gayle Oliver, left, and Marti Brown, instructor and office manager, right, look over the shoulders of Colby Self, 12, as she works on a painting at Arsty-U. The class is one of many instructional sessions the business hosts.
Gayle Oliver, left, and Marti Brown, instructor and office manager, right, look over the shoulders of Colby Self, 12, as she works on a painting at Arsty-U. The class is one of many instructional sessions the business hosts.
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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ArtsyU
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• Name: ArtsyU

• Location: 5084 South Terrace, Suite 15, near the Rave Cinemas in East Ridge

• Contact information: 423-321-2317, ArtsyChattanooga.com

• Products/services: ArtsyU instructors guide clients through the creation of a different painting during a two- to three-hour class. Painters can sign up for a single class and will leave with their own painting. A three-hour class costs $35. Customers are encouraged to bring their own food and drinks.

• Age: Opened May 1

• Startup investment: Between $15,000 and $18,000. Owner John Brown considered opening a painting school franchise, but decided instead to put the franchise fee money straight into his business. "For the amount I would have paid for the franchise I was able to do all this," he said.

• Art's draw: Brown has been an artist his whole life. He loves having a creative outlet and expects others in the area will enjoy the same thing. "They're desperate for something low-tech, something creative and something without stress," he said.

• Target market: Mostly women use the service, but Brown will soon start offering children's birthday parties. Though women mostly attend the lessons, Brown said men shouldn't be afraid to get into painting. "Usually the women drag the boyfriends in here and then the boyfriends really enjoy it," he said.

• Lesson learned: When opening a small business, be prepared to handle the unexpected and go over budget. "Take whatever you think it's going to be and double it," Brown said. "You really have to think out everything you're going to do and put it in a step-by-step plan." When getting started, Brown figured out how much he expected to spend, then increased that by 8 percent.

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