Painting with charitable twist
When she discovered the franchise Painting with a Twist, Andrea O'Dowd said, "I knew immediately I was going to open one." It wasn't because she needed an outlet for her artistic talents. O'Dowd's background is in business, and she had never even taken a class at any of the 60-plus studios, from New York to Utah.
"I chased the carrot for 15 years and left it all behind to chase the dream of owning my own business," said O'Dowd, who worked in business account management for Staples Inc.
During the painting part of the experience, local artists teach customers to paint a complete picture on a blank canvas. The twist is that the budding artists can sip wine and partake of simple hors d'oeuvres while creating their own masterpieces.
"No experience is required," said O'Dowd. "Everyone leaves with something that looks generally the same as the rest of the class." O'Dowd, who lives in Willowbrook, didn't just invest in three stores; she invested in the community as well. Painting with a Purpose, an offshoot of the business, encourages owners to hold fundraising events to benefit nonprofit organizations.
Although it's voluntary, most franchise owners, including O'Dowd, participate. "It's part of the mission and vision of Painting with a Twist," said O'Dowd.
"The fundraising effort has been part of the company's business model from the beginning," said O'Dowd, as the co-founders both have backgrounds in fundraising.
So far, O'Dowd has helped raise money for fostering abandoned puppies, a center for unwed mothers, a school for children with autism and more. When she first opened shop, O'Dowd had to look for nonprofits to work with, but now they come knocking on her door. "Not many organizations give 50 percent," she said.
Name: Andrea O'Dowd
Occupation: Owner, Painting with a Twist franchises in Katy, Sugar Land and Cypress
Community Connection: O'Dowd partners with nonprofit organizations to hold fundraising events, with half the proceeds earmarked for charity.
Fast Fact: O'Dowd has run two marathons and enjoys doing yoga.
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