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Location: Flower Mound, Texas

Tell me about your life before you started your Hawaii Fluid Art franchise.

I’m originally from El Paso, Texas, and moved to Dallas back in 2002. 

At this time, I was working with the adults at the local community college, teaching English, GED, and Spanish Literacy.  So, when I moved to Dallas, I quickly found a job at a nonprofit that had an education program for adults. I worked at this non-profit for 20 years.

I started in the Education Department as a Coordinator and then moved on to managing the program where we taught English as a Second Language. We also taught vocational training, citizenship, civics, and other training to help people get jobs and better their lives. It was more of a social services program.  My department was Education, but we also had employment and resettlement services to make sure people we served were taken care of. 

In January of 2022, the organization did some restructuring, and I was on the list to be let go. But this was good news for me. My first thought was “Now I’ll have enough time to look into starting a business.” I was interested in art at a very young age. I remember I used to draw and paint throughout my teen years, but then I always say “Life happens” because sometimes you must take care of things and you leave what you love to do behind. At home, I have so many canvases and so many books for drawing, but I’ve never had the time to do anything with them. So, throughout my years at the nonprofit, I would think “One of these days I’m going to have my own business”, and it was always related to the arts.  

What first attracted you to Hawaii Fluid Art?

I had been thinking about leaving my job for a little over a year before the restructuring, but I didn’t know what to do. You see, it was difficult for me to think about everything I had to do to start a business. The best thing for me was to look for something that was ready, and a franchise just made sense. After leaving the job, I immediately started looking for a franchise.  I now had the time to focus on what could be my last opportunity to have a business.

When I started looking, I investigated other art franchises, but there was something missing and I couldn’t connect with them. Then along came an opportunity to go to a franchise expo in Irving. The franchise consultant had recommended that I visit with Hawaii Fluid Art. I wasn’t sure about it because it was new, but I thought, “Well, this is something new. OK, let’s go.”

The moment I met Maya and looked at the art pieces she had in her booth, I saw something I liked: She had all the information in order and answered all our questions. And the beautiful pieces she had in her booth were just amazing.  I took the information, and two days later I emailed her and said, “You know what, I’m interested. Send me the FDD.” She immediately replied with the FDD.  

My son, my son-in-law and I agreed that this was a great opportunity and decided to move forward.  I signed the agreement, and I was the first franchisee! And that’s how everything started for me. It was very different from what I used to do in my past job, but I was ready for it.  

What is your favorite part of your Hawaii Fluid Art journey so far?

I think it was the excitement of looking for a space and then opening. After the build-out, we set up the store in three days. I was rushing because I wanted to open on November 11, 2022. That day came, and it was 2:00 in the morning, and we were still there, finishing up. We opened the doors at 10:00am that same day.  That was very exciting, and a little bit nerve-racking because we had to rush, but I had planned for this. It was just a matter of putting everything in its place.

Meeting new people who want to create something and then looking at their faces when I ask them “Do you love your piece?” This is one of my favorite parts. Almost everyone says they love their piece.

And then the kids! The parents don’t expect them to create something beautiful, but they do — even the two-year-olds. I ask them to choose their colors, and they just point to the color. Seeing the beautiful piece they create with their own colors is very exciting. This is very different from what I used to do, and I love it. That’s the best part: helping people create their beautiful pieces and looking at the satisfaction and amazement on their faces.

What are your plans for getting involved with your community through fluid art

I have already done several fundraising events, and I still want to work with nonprofits.  I have a big heart for animals, so the SPCA is on my mind. And where I live, in Celina, there is a horse and donkey rescue. This could be another one. 

You see, back when I was 18 years old, I was in veterinary school. And the reason I was there was because I love animals. I got through my third year but had to drop out of school due to family health situation.

Animals have always been in my heart and nonprofits because for many years I’ve worked with people in need.

Fundraising has been on my mind before I opened the studio.  My son and son-in-law are very supportive. We’ve been talking about approaching the large and small animal rescues to see how we can assist. 

I also plan to work with senior centers and children with different abilities.  I plan to continue partnering with local school districts for special events and fundraisers and to keep attending every possible community event. 

What plans do you have for making your studio even better in the future?

I’ve gotten a lot of requests for jewelry making, especially from ladies and children, so I plan on starting jewelry making classes. I’ve already talked to a couple of jewelers who can teach some classes. 

My son-in-law, Luke, is part of a group that meets once a month at the studio to talk about different sources of income. It’s very interesting. I have learned so much. My idea is to continue to do this and invite more people.  After the presentation we always do a demonstration on fluid art, and people can always paint if they want. I always have someone from the group say, “You know what, this is great! I am going to come back.” They look around, and it’s a great opportunity for me to tell them who we are and what we do. 

What would you suggest to your fellow franchisees about preparing for the opening?

The way I prepared for opening was by doing as much as possible at home. I made all my paint at home and did the pricing on all the smaller items in the gallery, so I didn’t have to spend time on these tasks. The other thing is that I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted my studio to look like. This made it a lot easier to put everything together during the setup.

I also had the opportunity to work with Maya, and that gave me a very good picture of what I wanted and what changes I wanted to make. So that helped a lot.  Keeping an open area between the studio and gallery has worked fantastic for the bigger groups like birthday parties. Whether it’s kids or adults, they just love moving into the sitting area and then looking around the gallery but still connected to the studio.  

Just have a good vision of what you want and stick to it because that is probably what’s going to work. Try to visit other locations and always ask, “What works and what doesn’t work?” I had that opportunity with Maya. I looked at everything and made only a few adjustments. This has worked well for me.