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Business Observer Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 1 month ago

Entrepreneur's venture expands from garage to host larger classes

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The Painted Knot gives customers the chance to make their own signs.

A growing business in Parrish, in north Manatee County, called The Painted Knot is part of a larger trend: companies offering people a chance to get their hands dirty and make something themselves.

Jennifer Baurle started The Painted Knot in January 2015. The business offers instructor-led, hand-painted wood sign classes ranging in price from $34 to $180.

At the time, she was trying to get hired in the area as a police officer. “I had to do a run in a certain amount of time, and I could never get it,” she says. “I said, ‘I’ll just do this in the garage while I’m working on the run,’ and this ended up taking off way more than I thought.”

The classes hosted in her garage filled up fast. At first, customers included friends and friends of friends. But it quickly expanded beyond her circle. “I was getting phone calls from random people saying, ‘Can I come?’” she says. “I would say, ‘No, I already have enough people.’”

Baurle knew she was on to something. Word of mouth, along with social media, has since helped her build her business even more.

To accommodate more customers, she sought a larger location. Baurle found a 1,400-square-foot space she moved into in October 2016. In her garage, she could host six people at time. Now she can host 24 people each class.

Many of Baurle’s customers are repeats — above 80%, she says. “It’s really easy to do,” she says. “I’ve had three year olds and 90 year olds. As long as you follow really easy instructions, it’s pretty much foolproof.”

Now Baurle, to keep up with demand, wants to move into a bigger space. “Once it started going, I thought, ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing,’” she says. “I like seeing people when they’re happy.”

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