It’s not surprising that paint nights have become a particularly popular activity in recent years.
Not only are they a fun creative outlet and easygoing social event, they also serve as an enjoyable way to kick back, relax, and escape the stresses of daily life.
That’s why Hamilton entrepreneurs (and sisters!) Ann Merritt and Ban Markos decided to launch You & I Paint: a traveling event company that brings unique paint night experiences to idyllic settings in Hamilton and the surrounding area.
Founded by Merritt and Markos three years ago and growing steadily ever since, You & I Paint quickly became a popular way for residents of Hamilton and beyond to enjoy paint nights that offered a more unique experience than other similar events.
For instance, while many paint nights are hosted at chain restaurants or community centres, You & I Paint partners with gorgeous vineyards, farms, and art studios in and around Hamilton to offer an experience that’s as immersive as it is fun, while making for a great social event for those who want to go out but don’t necessarily love the vibe of a crowded club or family restaurant.
“We weren’t interested in any paint nights that are typically hosted inside dimmed sports bars,” Merritt explains.
“When we were young and single, a bar or a nightclub seemed like a good idea when we wanted to grab a drink and let loose. However, after having kids of our own we thought, ‘what can we do that is both therapeutic and enjoyable, and have a drink in hand while in a creative and beautiful atmosphere?’”
Today, the company hosts plenty of private and corporate events, but also plans plenty of special paint nights for the public to enjoy in spots like the picturesque Vieni Estates Winery in Lincoln, Paradise Fields Organic Farm in Hamilton, Sunday Studio in Kitchener, and Le Petite Chapelle in Innerkip.
While nights that pair a relaxed, no-pressure art class with a wine tasting are some of You & I Paint’s most popular offerings, Merritt and Markos are getting even more creative with the way they design their events, including paint events paired with brunch or afternoon high tea.
They also regularly host seasonal experiences like their Fall-themed pie and cider tasting night; or their wintertime Christmas Sip & Paint Social or Holiday Brunch & Paint Soiree (complete with mimosas) to fill out the holiday season.
Through these thoughtfully designed events and many others, You & I Paint has already become a well-loved fixture in the region; and after little more than two years in operation, they’ve already hosted events that have helped create lasting memories.
“We’ve had so many great memories from cancer survivors and patients enjoying a therapeutic paint event to couples who propose on the spot,” says Merritt, adding that they now even offer a special ‘proposal package’ for two in their growing repertoire of events and experiences.
Looking to the future, Merritt, Markos, and their small team are excited to keep growing You & I Paint, continuing to create fresh types of unique events and expanding their reach beyond the bounds of the Golden Horseshoe.
“We hope to create a special plan to grow outside of Ontario, and someday internationally!” says Merritt. “But we want to perfect Ontario first; and Ontario is home.”
Written by Michael Kras from CEKAN