Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

Before becoming franchisees, Jeremy and Shernell Mays were both teachers in their home state of Texas. They first encountered Painting with a Twist as guests attending a class at the franchise, where the couple enjoyed painting and wine with friends.

When Shernell and Jeremy moved to Arizona, they realized that there the state lacked any Painting with a Twist locations. While the New Orleans-based company had expanded into Texas, where it had been a huge hit, Arizona was still uncharted territory. The duo decided it was the perfect opportunity for them to bring the franchise into a new state. Here's what they've learned since opening up their location four months ago.

Name: Shernell and Jeremy Mays

Franchise owned: Painting with a Twist, Tempe Ariz.

How long have you owned a franchise?

We have owned our Painting with a Twist franchise in Tempe for four months.

Why franchising?

Jeremy’s job moved us to Arizona from our native home of Texas. When we were looking for things to do in Arizona, my husband and I noticed that there was not a Painting with a Twist in the state of Arizona. We had attended a few classes when we lived in Texas, absolutely loved the concept and knew this would be a great opportunity for ourselves and for the community.

The Painting with a Twist franchise itself is a great company to be part of. We like to think of ourselves as a small family.

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What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

Before becoming a franchise owner, I (Shernell) taught special education math at the middle school level and then became a stay at home mom when I gave birth to my daughter.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

We chose this particular franchise because we fell in love with the concept. We believe Painting with a Twist is something that every community needs. Not only is it a great place for people to enjoy themselves at and relax, but the company also has a charitable arm, Painting with a Purpose. With the Painting with a Purpose program, Painting with a Twist of donates 50 percent of their proceeds to organizations and charities. We love that this gives us the chance to stay involved and give back to our communities.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

We spent approximately $150,000. Approximately $25,000 of that was the initial franchise fee, and the remaining $125,000 was for the following: building and construction, technology, supplies, furniture, license and permits, advertising for the grand opening, training and travel.  

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

We received most advice from fellow Painting with a Twist franchise owners. We stay in contact with several franchise owners and ask for advice and helpful tips to help us along the way. Everyone that we have spoken with was very helpful and happy to guide us.

The Painting with a Twist corporate office has a great team as well. Whenever we have a question or concern, there is always someone there to help. The founders Cathy and Renee are some the sweetest women you will ever meet and they are always just a phone call away, which is a rare thing in a franchise structure!

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What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

The most unexpected challenges of opening our franchise was moving to a new state and the learning processes regarding getting paperwork completed and getting our studio constructed the way we wanted it. 

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

For individuals who want to own their own franchise, the advice that we give to you is to GO FOR IT! There are so many great opportunities out there that many communities need. If you are willing to put the time and effort into your business, you will be successful and have no regrets. The payoff is incomparable!

What’s next for you and your business?

We plan to continue to grow our Painting with a Twist in Tempe, Ariz. and open up a couple more studios in the area.

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