Creatif Founder Mixes Art With Tech to Launch New Franchise | Franchise News


Creatif studios are family friendly and integrate technology into the art creation process.

Passionate about art and working for nearly two decades in the technology industry, Jaya Aiyar was looking for options to create art projects with her kids when she was inspired to combine her skillsets.

“Art has always been an area where technology has been kind of disconnected,” Aiyar said. “Everywhere else we see tech integration, but not in an art studio. We felt there was a need to put them together, and we created this space where technology is an important part of the experience.”

She launched Creatif in 2018, opening the first studio in Pleasanton, California, an East Bay suburb of San Francisco. “The name was extremely important,” Aiyar said. “We wanted a modern, new name that doesn’t only relate to painting. It’s a bigger umbrella that we’re part of.”

To incorporate technology, the company developed the ArtPad app, which Aiyar said is accessible for aspiring artists of all ages.

“It’s easy for kids to use and something adults can enjoy,” Aiyar said. “It includes video tutorials, guided imagery and easy to follow steps. They can also do the projects at their own pace.”

Art projects available range from painting to ceramics, and there’s no time limit for completion. While not the only art-related business in the market, Aiyar said what separates Creatif from others—aside from the tech—is its commitment to being family friendly.

“Every studio has two different sections. One is a private party room in the back and the other is a walk-in space in front,” Aiyar said. “We have a lot of birthday parties and corporate team events. There’s no alcohol served on premises, though. We’re strictly family friendly and open to all ages. We don’t want to go in the direction of combining alcohol with painting because we feel that you don’t need to drink to be creative.”


 Jaya Aiyar

There are two locations open, one in California and the other in South Carolina. Aiyar, however, didn’t start out with franchising in mind. “I did want it to be a repeatable business, but the goal was to have corporate locations,” Aiyar said. “However, I realized that it’s a very relationship-driven business and that if we went the corporate route, it would eventually be a bigger brand and the personal connection would get lost. That’s when I started thinking about franchising, because each of our franchise partners could be that person in their local community and create personal relationships.”

After a pause during the coronavirus pandemic, Creatif restarted its development efforts in 2021, and earlier this year franchisee Thomas Blamire opened his location in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Like Aiyar, Blamire has always been passionate about art. After leaving a position in the insurance industry, he began looking at what to do next and was excited when he came across Creatif.

“We were really inspired by Jaya’s vision and all the technology aspects incorporated,” Blamire said. “We thought this could definitely be a cornerstone here, because there’s nothing like it.”

Blamire noted Fort Mill is a fast-growing suburb of Charlotte and a promising place for businesses. “The community has been booming since we moved here from New York,” he said. “There’s just so many more housing opportunities and people from Charlotte are moving down considerably. There’s demand for things to do … We believe this brand will be very successful for us.”

Since opening, Blamire said the feedback has been great, with customers praising the studio’s design and customer service. The cost to open a Creatif studio ranges from $183,667 to $307,311.

Aiyar said she’s rekindling conversations with potential franchisees and there’s been plenty of interest following the pandemic pause.

“There was hesitancy because of the pandemic for brick-and-mortar stores, so those were put on hold, but they are coming back,” Aiyar said. “Our goal now is picking the right partner. I want to build a foundation with the right franchise partner. I’m not looking at investor kinds of opportunities where they’re not going to be actively involved. I want the franchisees to be actively involved to take things forward.”

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