I love stories about entrepreneurs. I’m not a business owner myself (nor am I a very big risk-taker), but I love to read autobiographies about individuals who took a leap of faith, made sacrifices, and chased the American dream. Occasionally I’ll catch an episode of Shark Tank, and marvel at the perseverance required to create a successful product or service.
The best part for me is learning the reasons why someone chose to start their own business. For some, it was the dream of turning their hobby into a profession. For others, their business was born out of a desire to solve a problem in the marketplace. In some cases – probably the most inspiring to me – the business owner has overcome a major life challenge and wants to give back.
Recently I met local business owner, Shannon White. She is the founder and owner of Stand Up & Paint, a mobile social painting and crafts experience. When I asked why she started her business, her story grabbed my attention, and my heart.
About 4 years ago, Shannon experienced the physical effects of long-term exposure to toxic black mold in her workplace along with more than a dozen other co-workers. The mental and neurological toll on her body was significant. She experienced a weakened immune system, as well as memory loss, anxiety, and sensory issues.
Her condition became so severe that she couldn’t remember her husband’s name. Over time, she felt safest in her home where her environment was predictable and controlled. She didn’t leave her house for a full year. She felt hopeless.
It’s the kind of story that makes you want to call Erin Brockovich and ask for legal advice. And then write a screenplay about it.
In an effort to help, a former co-worker and friend invited Shannon to a painting class. Several invitations later, Shannon reluctantly agreed to attend. That first class became a weekly routine, and it wasn’t long before she noticed significant improvements to her memory and overall well-being.
What began simply as a means to escape her self-imposed house arrest turned into Art Therapy. Today, Shannon understands art therapy is widely practiced in rehabilitation facilities, crisis centers, and senior communities for its positive effects on cognitive functioning. Her improvement was life-changing, and Shannon decided she would never stop painting.
She saw an opportunity to combine her passion for painting with her renewed sense of hope and vitality. A large leap of faith later, Stand Up & Paint was born. Closely by her side was her former employee and friend Vicki Mackie, who oversees Sales, Marketing and PR for the business. Shannon credits Vicki as being her greatest asset and says,
Without her, none of my success would be possible.”
Vicki, however, points to Shannon as the reason they’ve been successful.
This has Shannon written all over it!” She went on to share how they met one another. “We were both exposed to high levels of several toxic molds. As a part of our treatment, Shannon and I went to the same doctor. It was during our drive that we became very close. Mold had not only affected our immune systems but also caused cognitive issues. Shannon found painting to be a wonderful way to help her healing. It was from that experience that a business grew. I am very honored and proud to be working alongside of Shannon, and even more proud of the goals of the company.”
As the tagline “Parties With a Purpose” would suggest, the business exists not only to earn a living, but to help others. Every month, Stand Up & Paint features a different charity, who will receive a minimum 10% of the months’ profits. Spend a few minutes talking to Shannon or Vicki and you’ll know their heart to give back to the community is not driven by social responsibility or cause-related marketing. This is the heartbeat of two individuals who have been through something difficult, and want to their success to reach beyond their own pocketbooks. To date, they’ve donated nearly $10,000 to local charities, and they are excited to watch that number grow.
We sincerely want to be a part of the community,” said Shannon. “We want our business opportunities to extend beyond the bottom line. We want to make connections with people, hear their stories and partner with them to make a difference in Frisco and the surrounding area.”
Along the way, their clients are having a great time painting, crafting, and socializing! One thing which sets them apart is they are a Parties To Go company, and host their social painting parties around town at various locations.
They’ve developed strong relationships with many area restaurants who host events on a regular basis. In-home private parties, corporate events, and fundraisers are also popular. Participants are invited to bring their favorite beverage and snacks. Shannon and her team will supply everything else needed for a fun experience (including instruction… because we’re not all natural-born artists!).
Shannon’s team offers a wide range of painting themes, ranging from 2-hour paintings to 3-hours, and they offer kid concepts as well. “Paint Your Pet” is a popular painting theme, as are “Pin-It” parties, which allow guests the option to create DIY craft items such as wreaths or painted wine glasses.
The internet has opened up a world of fantastic craft ideas. We can help our guests create something they saw and always wanted to create but never had the time, supplies, or know-how.”
It’s remarkable what Stand Up & Paint has accomplished in just a year and a half of operation. It may seem like social painting and craft studios are a dime a dozen these days, but they’re not all created equal.
Stand Up & Paint is not a shop-in-a-box. They are passionate small business owners, and you can feel the difference. It’s amazing what happens when someone takes the thing that makes them feel alive and uses it to improve society in some way.
Stand Up & Paint is giving back one painting at a time.