As someone who didn’t want a traditional bachelorette party (read: didn’t want a drunken fiasco with my nearest and dearest that could only end in tears, tacos and lost shoes), I decided to do more of a bridal shower/bachelorette party hybrid that everyone would not only enjoy, but actually remember! That’s when my amazing cousin did some research and found Queen of Arts, a company that comes to you and throws you a painting party where you and your friends all get together and do a painting of the hostess’s (or host’s) choosing.
CEO Michelle Strazzeri’s clear, easy-to-follow instruction and willingness to put up with all of our ridiculous college tales of hijinks and general shenaniganry (new word), allowed us all to let loose and let the paint fly. Not only did she provide us with an awesome time, but the entire experience – from customer service to quality of supplies – was truly top notch.
After the party was such a huge success, I knew I had to interview her and find out more about how she got started in this awesome business. Whether you are looking for a girl’s night in activity, team-building exercise, birthday party fun, or just a good time, you definitely need to consider Queen of Arts for your next event.
Marie Tabela: How did Queen of Arts get its start?
Michelle Strazzeri: We’ve been around for two years officially as a business, but I’ve been teaching with my daughter and mom groups for a long time. It really just started because my daughter and I love to paint together, so I got a lot of people requesting different types of painting parties. It just really started organically from being interested in painting, doing mom groups, and painting with my daughter. It really just created itself!
MT: Do you have a background in art, or do you just enjoy painting for fun?
MS: Yes, I studied it and started taking college classes when I was in high school for art, and it always really inspired me. In high school, I got into a program that allowed you to go to the local community college and take college level art courses with different types of art medium, and painting was just my favorite. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since.
Then I had kids, and I didn’t have the time to do as much art as I used to, so it became more of like a therapy thing for me when my kids would go to bed. Then I just decided to start the business to work around my kids’ schedules, and it ended up becoming this awesome thing that everyone really enjoys.
MT: What kind of parties do you do? Obviously you did my bridal shower, but what are other common ones for you?
MS: I want to say it’s about 50-50 kids parties and adults. So we’ll do children’s parties for ages five and up, and we’ll do mommy-and-me parties for younger kids, and we can do fun things like Paris-themed parties for older kids, all the way up to teens. We do sleepover parties where we come and everyone paints in their pajamas. Then we do parties for adults, like bridal showers and company events. We do a lot of team-building events for companies. I was able to do a lot of bigger companies just by people finding me through Yelp. Some companies I’ve done parties for are Boeing, Snapchat for their corporate office in Venice, Sport Clips – so it’s really any company that wants to do it for team building.
MT: I could totally see that. It does unite everyone together, and it’s really fun!
MS: Yeah! I love, love, love it! I’m so glad that people have really liked doing it. For Queen of Arts, I try to have it be an elevated painting party, so it’s more than just about painting, it’s about the experience. We bring in the best canvases we can find, the best paints that I can find, and all of our aprons are custom made for Queen of Arts.
MT: You can tell everything is great quality.
MS: We scoured so many different companies, and recently, a major art supply company reached out to us to become one of our suppliers, so we’ve tested everything and it’s all just lasted forever. It’s different than what you might see out there.
MT: Absolutely. What areas do you cover?
MS: Actually, we do all over Orange County, up to Los Angeles in the valley, east to the Inland Empire, and now we’re going toward Carlsbad all the way down to San Diego. Really, all over! As long as we are able to drive there, we make it work.
MT: What do you think is next for you guys? Do you want to expand or stay within the Southern California area?
MS: That’s a good question! Really, right now, we are so focused on the clients we have here, so before we expand into something bigger, we want to make sure we really cater to the needs here before we go to the next level. We really want to not grow too fast, and we want to make sure we grow with the demand.
For me, the most important thing is not to lose quality. It’s more important to me than to expand and have multiple things going on. So as long as the quality is always there, I’m open to anything. What makes us different and made us successful is that we make sure that the quality of our events, the quality of our supplies, and our customer service is top notch. The most important thing to me is making sure our clients are our number one priority, so we’ll continue to grow with that in mind.
MT: I was actually going to ask you what you think is the main thing that sets you apart from other companies that do paint parties.
MS: It’s definitely our customer service. I know that me personally, when I am out, I am always paying attention to customer service, whether it’s at a store, hotel, or restaurant. To me, customer service is everything, and that’s something I always communicate to my staff. Customer service has to be number one, number one, number one. I think that’s what makes us successful. Our Yelp reviews speak for themselves!