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Bootstrapping a Fun Social Business: Paint Nite CEO Dan Hermann (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Aug 1st 2014

Sramana Mitra: When people show up for the class, what are they buying? When they’re buying tickets to attend these events, are they buying for just the class or the drinks as well?

Dan Hermann: They’re buying a ticket to attend a class. We like to call it an event rather than a class. We have a local artist that leads the event and walks everybody through a painting. When people buy a ticket, they can choose the event from which venue it’s at, what the date is, and what the painting is. You can see all the different paintings that there are to choose from on our website, which is PaintNite.com.

Sramana Mitra: How much do these tickets cost? What are the economics of the business?

Dan Hermann: Our list price for a ticket is $45. We do sell at a discount quite often. Tickets range from $25 to $45 depending on the current deals we’re running.

Sramana Mitra: They don’t include drinks. You buy drinks at the bar out of your pocket?

Dan Hermann: That’s correct. Our deal with the bar is basically that no money changes hands. They are able to take the money from the alcohol sales and we take the money from the ticket sales.

Sramana Mitra: How many customers have you catered to so far?

Dan Hermann: Right now, every month we have about 70,000 to 80,000 people who attend our events across the US and Canada.

Sramana Mitra: What is the motivation?

Dan Hermann: I would say the motivation is fun. There’s a lot of fun.

Sramana Mitra: I guess I’m asking you a more sophisticated question. In your segmentation and email marketing, what have you learned about the psychology of your audience? You said women across age groups are one data point. What else do you know about these customers? Who are these people?

Dan Hermann: They are generally looking for something different to do with their friends. Our customer base is tired of the same old options in terms of just going to a bar or watching TV. They are looking for ways to get together and engage with one another around an experience. I think that painting sits very well with an evening out. It’s something different. It taps into the creative side of people’s brains in a way that they quite often aren’t doing when they’re at work. Most of our customer base is more the type A people.

We have a lot of non-creative people that come to the event than creative people. We tend to not do well in areas where there are tons of artists. We tend to do much better in urban areas where people are coming from healthcare, law, or more typical young professionals. They just don’t have that many outlets for their creative part of their brain.

Sramana Mitra: As I explained to you earlier, this is an entrepreneur journey story. Tell us more about how you built this company with your partner. You came up with this concept and you piloted the concept in a local bar. This is in Boston?

Dan Hermann: Yes.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Bootstrapping a Fun Social Business: Paint Nite CEO Dan Hermann
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