Introduce Brush and Bubbles…
We are Brush and Bubbles - a painting and prosecco company based in London. We run in-person and online painting events where you can get creative in a relaxed and fun way. Our painting tutorials are not about being 'good' at painting, but more about letting your creative side run wild and free. Absolutely no experience necessary - just paint, drink and have fun!
What was the journey which led you to create Brush and Bubbles?
We met about 6 years ago at an audition in Liverpool. We were both pursuing an acting career at the time and instantly became great friends. About a year later, over a glass of bubbles, we came up with the idea for the company and just thought we’d give it a go!
As actors we were used to working lots of different jobs and meeting different people a lot, so we thought we had lots of transferrable skills for running an arty events company.
Of course we had no idea how to run a business, with no uni degrees or business qualifications, however there was something in our naivety that worked in our favour; as we jumped straight in without thinking too deeply about what could go wrong!
What was your initial idea for Brush and Bubbles? Was the idea a natural evolution or was there a day where you saw the plan very clearly and made those next steps accordingly?
The initial concept of painting and prosecco classes in London we still continue to this day! And the classes are pretty much run exactly the same as when we started!
Of course we have managed to fine tune any issues that arose and have made things a lot more streamline now.. For example, we started off by storing all the equipment at Lara’s flat, which as we got busier was something we had to change quickly haha!
We also used to both go to every single event we ran.. As we got busier we were able to train our amazing artists up and have them run classes for us too!
So you had the idea, what happened next?
We had the idea and within 6 weeks we had set up the company, ordered all the equipment, recruited artists and run our very first event for family and friends! We started by holding the class for our family and friends, so that they could give us honest feedback and constructive criticism - which was so useful. And then since then we have grown the company and our community, to now also offering art kits, online painting events and more.
Every entrepreneur will soon realise that it is a huge challenge to take on. What helped keep you motivated in setting up the company?
We are so lucky that we genuinely adore working together and constantly motivate each other. If one of us is feeling a bit overwhelmed or down, the other will know exactly what to say!
We always keep each other positive and happy. Also we absolutely LOVE what we do and therefore it’s never boring or stressful!! If we ever get a bit overwhelmed we just remind ourselves that it’s only paint and we’re not saving lives!
In non-lockdown times you offer a whole range of painting events from hen dos, Christmas parties to office team building classes. What inspired you to go into the events industry and what are your most favourite memories of this?
We honestly say the biggest joy of running the company is all the amazing Bubblers we get to meet! We both love being around people and seeing them bring their paintings to life is so joyful.
People often come along to a class feeling a bit nervous, or scared that they won’t be ‘good’ at painting, however we find so much joy in reassuring them that there’s no pressure and to just enjoy the experience. They’re always so impressed with what they have managed to create and that is just the best thing!
With the coronavirus pandemic altering most of our lives, how did you adapt the company to sustain itself over the course of the past year?
Well, it has been an absolutely wild ride!! When the lockdown first happened we were so overwhelmed as we had to cancel all of our upcoming events from hen dos to corporate events and more. It was such a strange week of feeling completely disheartened that all we had created was being taken away from us in seconds. However we knew that we had to act quickly in order to save the business!
We put our heads together and came up with the idea of running online painting tutorials to keep people creative during lockdown. We’d been posting tutorials on our Instagram for about a year, so we expanded on this by creating our own YouTube channel. We worked with our amazing supplier and put together our very first Brush & Bubbles art kit to accompany the tutorials. These were so popular and we were absolutely chuffed at the response.
We have the most supportive and loyal followers, and this became even more apparent as they helped us through the pandemic!! Since then, we have managed to create our B&B Art Starter Kit which has loads of amazing art goodies to help you on your painting journey, and also a can of bubbles to help the creative juices flow!
Being online, you must open a whole market of international artists! How does it make you feel to be inspiring others to get creative all over the globe?
It’s incredible! We have had people message us from as far as Australia and America which is so amazing to think that we are inspiring people who are literally on different continents! YouTube is such an amazing platform as it allows us to reach people who might never have heard of us before!
Why do you think it’s important for us to pick up a paintbrush more?
We are huge advocates of how relaxing and mindful painting can be and it has been proven to help with mental health. It’s something that can act as an emotional release, and a bit of relief from the stresses of life. If you’re happy, sad, angry, frustrated or downright furious, painting can be a great way to express yourself when words fail. Even just splattering a canvas with paint can be extremely therapeutic!
What was the first ever live painting event that you held and how did it make you feel?!
Our first public event (after the friends and family trial class) was in Summer 2017, and it was amazing! We just couldn’t believe that there were people there who didn’t know us, and had actually bought a ticket to come and spend a few hours painting with us. It suddenly became very real! But it was so much fun to meet everyone. We’re so lucky that we always have the nicest guests come along to our classes.
Building a community and strong client base is essential to any business. What helped you grow?
We have the most loyal and kind community that we are so grateful for. We have grown our following very organically and always stayed true to our motto of ‘treating everyone like a friend’. We know that we are providing a service that is both fun and light-hearted, so have kept this theme when engaging with our Instagram followers, booking classes or meeting people at events.
We are so lucky that people like to come back again and again to paint with us, often bringing friends and family along each time too. Word of mouth has been brilliant for us and so important (as you probably know) for a small business.
Running your own business can come with many challenges along the way. What have your greatest lessons been from these times?
We have learnt so many lessons since starting the business. Probably if we’d known what we know now, we might not have ever started the company!! But that’s the joy in starting something with passion and excitement, rather than a huge 5 year business plan - you learn so much along the way it’s difficult to predict what will come next! One of our main lessons has to be how important good systems are. We now love a colour-coded spreadsheet!!
There is so much that goes into running a growing business. From buying, to storing, to sourcing, to dreaming up future plans, to financial aspects, to keeping customers happy – to name but a few! What does your day in the life look like generally?
The day to day of running Brush & Bubbles is so varied!! In normal (non-covid) times we have a real mixture of being behind the scenes booking events and answering emails, and actually at our events too. We have an amazing team of artists who run events for us, but Lara is also one of our B&B artists so we also like to still run some of the events together when we can!
We always love working together and getting to do the actual events too is always such a treat! We have also gotten to work with some amazing companies on collaborative events - one of our highlights being popping up at the world famous auction house - Christie’s! And then there’s the less glamorous side of being a small-business owner where we hand packed all of our art kits (Tiff actually got a repetitive strain injury!!) and of course lugging our equipment all over town for our events. We’ve got guns of steel now!!
In a sentence, what’s the best piece of advice you could give to another who needs some encouragement on pursuing their dreams, whether it be a business, a life change or forming a new company?
Follow your dreams… We only get one life - let’s make it fun, exciting and colourful!