With every great love story, there’s a fateful beginning - two unassuming individuals on their own separate journeys, crossing paths and discovering the magic that was ‘meant to be.’ Love stories endure all of life’s ups and downs, but in the end love conquers all. No one identifies with love stories better than small business owners.
Once upon a time, Lara and Tiffany, who were just two young maidens chasing their dreams on the acting circuit, found themselves sitting in the far away land of Liverpool, waiting to screen-test for the same role. While to most people this scenario might spark competition, for Tiffany and Lara, it was the perfect ‘meet cute’ they needed to kickstart any great RomCom!
After their audition, they caught the same train back to London. Much like Jesse and Céline in Before Sunrise, they didn’t stop talking for the whole journey. “We felt like we’d known each other forever” - a new friendship was on the rise! Arriving at their destination, the two parted ways, none the wiser of what meeting each other meant for their futures.
As the saying goes, ‘timing is everything’, and that couldn’t be more true with Lara and Tiffany. One evening, over dinner and a bottle of prosecco, the new friends shared in their dreams of owning their own business, shared their passions for creativity, and desire to positively impact their community. Just like that, the idea of Brush and Bubbles was born. It was as if Cupid and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother got together, sipped some fizz and worked their magic on the two that night. Imagine what would’ve happened if they had met for coffee instead?
Defying the odds is a traditional theme of love stories, and starting their own business met with the same struggles. Maleficent statistics said that they would fail within the first year but they weren't going to let this stop them. Despite no university degrees or background in business, and no investor funding, Lara and Tiffany believed so strongly in their idea of bringing people together through paint and sip art events, that they threw caution to the wind and made sure that nothing would get in the way of them making their dreams come true.
They held their first class, filled with friends and family who came along to support their new business and to trial run the logistics of their young start up. A successful first run, they took what they learned and hit the ground running, going through every motion of a small company - the late night emails, the hours of account admin, social media brainstorming, liaising with venues and suppliers, interviewing and scheduling artists, organising spreadsheets - even taking to the streets with flyers to spread the word (this is the part of the RomCom where we bob our heads to inspirational, lighthearted music as we see the girls embark on their mission to success - like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde). It worked, the Brush and Bubbles’ step by step painting concept caught on and expanded from classes of friends and family, to larger public groups; moving from tiny spaces to major corporate offices, across London, they passed their first year milestone! Take that Maleficent!
Upon meeting more and more lovely groups of people, who shared in their passion of creating a community through painting and prosecco, their small business passed their second year milestone, blossoming in Manchester, Cardiff, and Bristol! The two friends were delighted - “we care greatly for what we do and have always poured our heart and souls into our business, it’s all worthwhile when we have customers leaving our events with a big smile and having discovered a newfound passion!”
With their third year milestone quickly approaching, Lara and Tiffany were excited for what was on the horizon. They were growing, they were dreaming up new endeavors, and the two had made their small business love story come to life. Alas, even though they defied the pernicious statistics and slayed the dragons of their small business obstacles, nothing could have prepared for the biggest challenge of all, the Covid-19 pandemic.
This invisible villain threatened businesses around the world and was an immediate disruptor of the small business world. In what felt like a matter of seconds, everything they had built over the years was at the brink of destruction. The idea of bringing people ‘together’ was deterred, venues ultimately closed and public and private events alike, vanished. The foreseeable future was unknown and, like most small business owners, this left Tiffany and Lara feeling quite defeated. The prolonged uncertainty made them question whether the company would be able to weather this global crisis.
Like every great love story, though, the protagonists don’t go down without a fight. The two were determined to do anything they could to adapt and help their customer base. “One of our main initiatives is to improve mental health, so we thought our services were especially helpful during this time of uncertainty.” Returning back to the drawing board, Tiffany and Lara took that passion and drive that they had discovered early on in their friendship, and shifted gears to redesign their business to meet the demands of the digital world.
With the incredible support of their Bubbler community, Brush and Bubbles launched the At Home Craft Club, creating free step-by-step painting tutorials on Instagram. After receiving helpful feedback, they expanded to YouTube and created their very own art channel. Working with their local supplier, they were able to create bespoke Art Starter Kits that include everything their Bubblers need for their art adventures, delivered straight to their doorstep!
Weathering their biggest challenge yet, Tiffany and Lara have found the light in the tunnel. The shift to online art classes has allowed Brush and Bubbles to grow its amazing art community, all across the UK, into parts of Europe, and has even expanded to Africa and the United States! Bringing people together, near and far, and creating connections through creativity is a worthy mission in their minds. In overcoming the impossible, and certainly with many more challenges ahead, Lara and Tiffany know that their love of the business and their art community will conquer all.
Started by two friends, who were meant to meet; Brush and Bubbles really is a small business love story.