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Is Color Me Mine a chain?


Color Me Mine is a paint-your-own-pottery studio franchise with locations across the United States. The company allows customers to pick unfinished ceramic pieces, paint them, and then have them glazed and fired. Color Me Mine studios offer a fun activity for all ages, whether you’re celebrating a birthday party, date night, or just looking to express your inner creativity. But is Color Me Mine considered a true franchise chain? Let’s take a closer look.

What defines a franchise chain?

A franchise chain is a business model where a franchisor licenses trademarks and methods of operation to franchisees in exchange for fees and a percentage of sales or profits. Franchise chains allow for quick expansion and provide built-in name recognition, training, and support to franchisees.

Some key characteristics of a franchise chain:

– Has at least 10 franchise units
– Franchisees pay an initial fee and ongoing royalties to the franchisor
– Franchisor provides training, brand standards, and operational procedures
– Franchise units operate under the same brand name and offer consistent products/services

So does Color Me Mine meet these standards to be considered a true franchise chain?

Color Me Mine’s franchise model

Color Me Mine was founded in 1991 and began franchising in 1994. Today, there are around 150 Color Me Mine studios across 33 states and growing. This definitely meets the 10+ franchise units criteria.

Franchisees pay an initial franchise fee of $35,000 and an ongoing royalty fee of 6% of gross sales. The franchisor provides training, site selection guidance, studio layout and design, marketing templates, operations manual, and inventory sourcing. All locations operate under the Color Me Mine name and offer the same paint-your-own pottery experience.

Chain Characteristic Color Me Mine
10+ franchise units Yes (around 150 locations)
Franchise fee paid to franchisor Yes ($35,000 initial fee)
Ongoing royalties Yes (6% of gross sales)
Franchisor provides training/support Yes
Common brand name Yes (Color Me Mine)
Consistent products/services Yes (paint-your-own pottery)

The verdict

Based on the standard franchise model definition and criteria, it’s clear that Color Me Mine does operate as a true franchise chain. While it’s smaller than massive chains like McDonald’s or 7-Eleven, Color Me Mine exhibits all the hallmarks of a franchise business with multiple locations united under a single brand identity and operational system.

History of Color Me Mine

To understand Color Me Mine’s growth into a franchise chain, it helps to look at the company’s origins and history:

– Founded in 1991 by Diedre Scherer in Southern California

– First location started as a ceramic painting birthday party business

– Began franchising in 1994 in order to expand concept

– By 1997, over 50 Color Me Mine locations open across the U.S.

– Company sold to Australian group in 2007 with 100+ studios

– New owner focuses growth on corporate vs franchised locations

– Today around 150 total studios across 33 states

While Scherer likely didn’t intend to start a franchise empire, the Color Me Mine concept proved easily replicable. Franchising fueled rapid expansion in the 1990s and 2000s. The model allowed small business owners to leverage an established brand and proven concept.

Even with a shift towards more company-owned sites, Color Me Mine still relies heavily on franchising with around 75% of locations franchised. Franchisees own their independent businesses while benefiting from the chain’s national marketing and operational resources.

Benefits of being a franchise chain

There are a number of advantages Color Me Mine gains from being a franchise chain:

– **Rapid growth:** Franchising enables quick expansion by allowing multiple franchisees to open new studios across the country simultaneously.

– **Capital:** Franchisees contribute their own capital investment into new locations, saving the franchisor significant upfront costs.

– **Local knowledge:** Franchisees have in-depth local market knowledge to help tailor marketing and operations.

– **Motivated ownership:** Franchisees are invested business owners who are incentivized to succeed.

– **Uniformity:** Customers can expect the same experience at every Color Me Mine location.

If Color Me Mine relied only on corporate-owned locations, expansion would be much slower and capital-intensive. Franchising provides resources and motivation to grow the brand exponentially.

Requirements for Color Me Mine franchisees

For entrepreneurs interested in owning their own Color Me Mine franchise, the opportunity comes with certain requirements and ongoing commitments, including:

– **Liquid capital:** $150,000 minimum liquid capital.

– **Initial investment:** Total initial investment ranges from $277,000 to $447,500 including franchise fee.

– **Franchise fee:** $35,000

– **Royalty:** 6% of gross sales paid monthly.

– **Term:** 10 year renewable franchise agreement.

– **Training:** Completion of 5-day initial training.

– **Store size:** 1,800 – 3,500 square feet.

– **Marketing:** 2% of gross sales into local ads.

– **Standards:** Maintaining brand standards for decor, products, supplies, etc.

The substantial investment and obligations reflect the fact that franchisees are buying into an established brand. Ongoing royalties and fees provide revenue back to the franchisor to support the overall system.

Franchise vs company-owned studios

Color Me Mine utilizes both franchised and company-owned locations as part of its business model. What are some key differences between the two?

Franchised Studios Company-owned Studios
– Owned by franchisee – Owned by Color Me Mine corporate
– Franchisee invests capital – Company invests capital
– Franchisee keeps profits – Profits go to company
– Pay franchise fee and royalties – No fees or royalties
– Franchisor provides support – Company responsible for all management

The split model allows Color Me Mine to benefit from both local franchisee knowledge and company-wide operational consistency. Franchised studios expand the brand while providing recurring revenue streams. Company studios allow for more oversight and control in key markets.

Color Me Mine’s franchising future

Color Me Mine is well positioned for continued growth through franchising and company stores. Some factors that will support expansion:

– **Unique experience:** The interactive paint-your-own-pottery concept has wide appeal and little direct competition.

– **Post-pandemic demand:** More consumers seeking in-person creative activities after isolation of COVID.

– **Non-traditional options:** Flexible smaller footprint allows expansion into malls, entertainment centers, etc.

– **Larger production capabilities:** Improved ability to produce customized ceramic items across franchise system.

– **Operational consistency:** Leverage size to optimize pricing, processes, best practices.

– **Brand power:** Increasing brand recognition and loyalty from national marketing efforts.

Barring any major external events, Color Me Mine appears poised to grow its studio footprint. By sticking to a proven franchising model, the chain can maintain its unique in-person experience while accelerating expansion.


In summary, while Color Me Mine has a smaller presence than huge chains like McDonald’s, it does exhibit all the standard features of a franchise system. The franchisor grants the right to use its branding and operations to franchisees for an upfront and ongoing fee. This has enabled Color Me Mine to grow from a single storefront to over 150 locations across 33 states in about 30 years. While the mix includes some company-owned studios, franchising will likely continue as the primary vehicle for Color Me Mine’s nationwide expansion going forward. So while it may not yet be a household name, there is no doubt that Color Me Mine has established itself as a successful and growing franchise chain.