Muse Paintbar (www.musepaintbar.com) combines an event-based art studio with a beer & wine bar. Typically, customers attend sessions lasting 2-2.5 hours where they create a work of art taught by an experienced instructor. Most people attend with friends or family, and it is more of a social gathering than a classroom setting.
It was started by Stan Finch (CEO) and Ray Weaver (Chairman) as part of a marketing project at Harvard Business School in 2012. It’s come a long way from there, but we still love to experiment, test, analyze, and learn! The company is backed by several experienced, well-funded angel investors and has several top-notch advisors who provide guidance and connections.
We currently operate 10 studios across New England and Tri-State, and we’re in the process of opening many additional locations within this geographic footprint while also expanding to Maryland/Virginia by early 2016. The company is headquartered in NYC and maintains a regional office in Boston.
We’re looking for this position to perform 2 very important roles at the company:
- Test, evaluate, and rollout new “products” (i.e., types of events). [~75% of job]
- Create the monthly event calendar at each location (see events.musepaintbar.com) [~25% of job]
PRODUCT TESTING & ROLLOUT
Muse has established a proven model that generates extremely high customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth marketing. We’re looking to build on this to establish a portfolio of “products” and (potentially) partnerships that we can roll out with our existing infrastructure, i.e., our studios and field team. Currently, 90% of our sessions are standard “paint and sip” events: customers apply acrylic paint to a canvas, and everyone creates more-or-less the same image (with some deviation if desired for different colors, etc.).
In addition, we’ve started to test and roll out several types of new and different events in the past 12 months. These efforts deviate from our current model in varying degrees and they include:
- Very different painting styles (e.g., “posterization” … similar style to the ‘08 Obama poster)
- Customized paintings (e.g., “Paint your Pet”, “Paint your House”)
- Variations on objects that we paint (e.g., wine glasses)
- Completely new mediums/techniques (e.g., paper marbling)
- Partnership events (singles nights, wine tastings, etc.)
We’re now looking to ramp these efforts, and more effectively roll out products that test well. This role will quarterback this whole process from the R&D to the rollout. Specifically, we think this process has the following steps:
Idea Generation – This includes i) honing the framework that structures how we think about new types of products and ii) figuring out what should be under consideration for testing. This will not be big part of the role and other team members will be very involved in this process as well.
Testing – We will likely always be testing 2-3 products in various stages. Key activities here are i) (potentially) advertising the idea in various marketing channels to gauge customer reception, ii) determining the studios in which we want to try the events, iii) working with artists to determine what materials are needed, iv) working with regional/studio managers to staff the event appropriately.
Evaluation – During and after tests, we want to evaluate the potential of the product. Several factors will be considered in the evaluation, including i) economics (product margins, sales potential), ii) customer satisfaction, iii) logistical complexity (i.e., how well the concept fits with our existing operations). Analysis will be a combination of quantitative and qualitative, and would be communicated to rest of team via Powerpoint and informal meetings.
Rollout – If we determine that an event is worth incorporating into our standard monthly offerings, we’ll then need to ensure that it is fully operationalized. This will include several components, including i) working with marketing to ensure they have content, talking points, etc., to build awareness; ii) developing a short playbook (e.g., 1-3 slides) with key points that artists need to know, iii) working with regional managers and regional trainers to ensure they have more in-depth knowledge of the product, iv) working with the ops manager to add any new required items to the inventory list.
Key skills in this process will be i) project management, ii) teamwork (you likely won’t be the direct supervisor of anyone, at least starting out, but would be coordinating all activities and making sure everything is well communicated to the project team), and iii) organization.
We currently schedule 25 to 45 public events per month in each location. The precise number of sessions varies depending on several factors including recent demand and seasonality. We rely heavily on our analysis to determine which paintings are selected, but there is certainly some common sense applied as well. You can see the calendar with all of our studios at events.musepaintbar.com.
We currently finalize the calendar for the upcoming month around the 15th of the preceding month (so the October calendar is up by 9/15). We may adjust this moving forward to either be more frequent (every half month), further in the future (e.g., up 3 weeks in advance), or so that different event types have different release dates (e.g., paintings on 15th, other mediums on the 30th).
The current calendar process includes the following steps:
- Determine the number of sessions we want to offer in each studio.
- Discuss with the management team to determine how many non-painting events we’re going to offer and in which studios.
- Update the store-specific regression model in Excel to try to isolate the true demand for recent paintings. This attempts to normalize the session data since paintings are held on different days of the week, at different times, with different prices, etc., and provide a truer indication of the actual demand of recent paintings.
- Rank the paintings based on this analysis.
- Perform any additional ad hoc analyses looking at various aspects (e.g., what paintings performed well just before and on Halloween last year).
- Gather data from other sources on new paintings.
- Fill in paintings based on info from i) the rankings, ii) new painting data, and iii) the season.
You would take over this process and work closely with the company CEO on the monthly calendars. Key skills in this process are i) statistical/spreadsheet analysis and ii) attention to detail.
Lastly, there might also be an opportunity to i) evaluate and update the assortment of food and beverage we serve based on various analyses and ii) test the introduction of some retail items (e.g., painter’s starter kits).
The company was originally headquartered in Boston, but now maintains offices in both Boston at WeWork South Station and NYC at WeWork Nomad (with a lot of work done on Amtrak in between!). NYC has taken over as more of the HQ, but several key members live in Boston, including the New England regional manager, director of marketing, and the chairman. We’d be receptive to candidates living in either Boston or NYC starting out, but ideally, there would be the flexibility to move to NYC within the next 6-12 months.
You would report directly to the CEO of the company, Stan Finch. You would also work very closely with Ray Weaver (chairman and former marketing professor at HBS) as he is currently leading company efforts on product innovation.
You would also work closely and coordinate with other members of the executive team. Most specifically, you will work with regional managers (currently have 2: New England and Tri-State) and our director of marketing. You’ll also work with several artists and studio manager when testing and rolling out products.
WHO WE’RE LOOKING FOR
The ideal candidate would be able to check each of these boxes:
- Experience and strong performance in management consulting, a top tier corporate training program, or something similar
- Very high level of proficiency with analytics and Excel (e.g., regressions, array functions, solver)
- Proficiency with Powerpoint, specifically to display and synthesize analysis/research findings
- Project management experience (either in-house or with clients)
- 2+ years of full-time work experience
- Degree from a top ~30 school (or very strong performance somewhere else)
- Excited to work in a fun, fast-growing, entrepreneurial environment (yes, we have beer in the office)
Additional selling points would be:
- Degree in economics, business, finance, statistics, math, or something similar
- Some familiarity with art and various techniques (although certainly not required)
- Already located in Boston or NYC; with ability to live in NYC within 6-12 months
- MBA would be a plus; role could also be filled by someone with blue-chip experience looking to work somewhere 2-3 years as a separate experience before business school
- Will be competitive based on experience
- There will be a fixed salary and bonus that is tied to company and individual performance
- Possibility of equity if interested in trading some cash salary
- All expenses are, of course, reimbursed (travel, etc.)
- Full healthcare benefits are available if needed
- Most people involved in Muse are young (20’s & 30’s) and energetic.
- We take pride in growing and running a good, ethical business that we can all be proud of. But we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We like happy hours and don’t wear a lot of suits.
- Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
- We do not discriminate against any race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or any other demographic.