Tell me about your life before you started your Hawaii Fluid Art franchise.
My life was busy. I was working full-time five days a week and being a full-time mom seven days a week. I had spent the last 25 years in health care. I have a bachelors in biology, and I worked as a medical lab scientist and department supervisor for many years. COVID really changed the face of medicine — and the face of the world. The experiences the healthcare industry went through during COVID were very difficult, and that led me to consider making a significant career change. It took me a year to open my Hawaii Fluid Art Studio, but the whole time, I just kept telling myself “I can’t do this for another 20 years. I need more joy, something more cheerful”, and this has done it. I thoroughly enjoy teaching people to do art. As a scientist, art doesn’t naturally go with my personality type, but I do really enjoy talking with people about this art form, and people love hearing about it.
What first attracted you to Hawaii Fluid Art?
It’s just so magical and fun, and it brings a smile to your face every time you do the art. The first time I ever had the ability or the chance to do a piece it was just mesmerizing from the very beginning. Hawaii Fluid Art’s Founder, Maya Ratcliff, is my sister-in-law, so I’ve seen this whole thing from its infancy — when it was just a sparkle in Maya’s eye. So, I have had pretty deep involvement with it from the very beginning before it became a franchise. I’ve seen it grow, and I’ve seen what it’s done for people. I’m a scientist, so I’m a calculated type of person. I have to think things through. I need a process; I need things to work. It took us a while to commit to it, but once we did, it just felt right.
What is your favorite part of your Hawaii Fluid Art journey so far?
My favorite part is seeing the customers get as excited as I did the first time. For example, I had a customer come in on Mother’s Day as a walk-in, and she asked if she and her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter could take a class. I said, “Sure, with your help, I think we can get that done.” That little girl and her mama had a great time just playing in the paint and enjoying every single element of the experience. They even ended up coming back and doing a class again. The second time, the little girl let me hold her, and she blew kisses on me as they left the studio. It was so much fun! What are your plans for getting involved with your community through fluid art? I would definitely like to get involved with charity events. There’s one person Who reached out to me recently for a place called Davis House, and I would like to get involved with helping them raise funds to build a new facility. They provide assistance for children who are abused and battered and help rehabilitate them. They’re a huge part of these kids; futures, and I want to definitely try to contribute to that. As far as other local organizations, my daughter is involved with FFA, and I’d like to also do fundraising events for them. I just want to be known in the community as a place to come and have fun and give back to the community as well.
What plans do you have for making your studio even better in the future?
Well, that’s a tough question. It’s pretty awesome the way it is, but having more options for different types of art will be fun. I really want to incorporate seasonal type art projects and maybe offer kids’ art camps during the summer, where kids would come into the studio for a few hours a couple of days a week. I would like to create a fun environment for kids to just investigate and enjoy art, whatever their vision of art is.
What would you suggest to your fellow franchisees about preparing for the opening?
I would tell them to just stay the course, ask questions, and learn everything they can about every single level of it. I was always learning something new about taxes local, state, and federal. Understanding and making sure that I have all of those things in line has probably been my biggest hurdle. Also, I would tell other franchisees to remember that not all landlords are created equal and not all real estate transactions are created equal. You have to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, back out of the deal with that landlord and look for a better deal.