We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsey Rogers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsey, why did you pursue a creative career?
About 11 years ago I had just finished my Masters of Business Administration and was working at a credit union in Texarkana, TX. I had big dreams of running a branch one day or finding ways of moving up through the organization. If you would have told me then that in 11 years I would have started a successful painting class company in Dallas, TX, I would have thought you were insane. I started painting at home during the time I was working as a loan officer just to relieve stress and to have an outlet. I never took art classes in high school and only took an art appreciation class in college. It was all very foreign to me. I was not very technically developed in the beginning. I watched a lot of YouTube videos, artists lessons online and started finding styles I liked. The biggest thing though was that I stuck with it. I continued to push myself to learn more, study more, and just paint more. One day I had a friend reach out and ask if I could teach her and some friends how to paint a particular piece so I thought that would be fun. I set up a mini class and we walked through the painting together. I learned two things from that – 1.) I loved teaching and 2.) I loved seeing others create and realize they too could find that joy I had from creating. Shortly after teaching this class I realized I wanted to actually teach in a school. I knew I wouldn’t be able to just hop into teaching art so I got certified to teach and started with middle school math. After teaching for 2 years in Texarkana we decided to move to Dallas to explore more opportunity within my husband’s line of work. This was when my art journey truly began. I applied and got a high school art job in Princeton, TX. This is where I realized teaching was truly my “thing” and getting to create all day was incredible. Two years later we moved to Frisco, TX and I moved to Frisco ISD and taught for two more years at a high school. When we moved to Frisco is when I began ColorHype as it is today. I started teaching classes on the side at local restaurants and breweries in January of 2018. I really didn’t expect the company to take off like it did but I think deep down I always wanted to meld the two parts of me together – the business side and the creative side and see where they led me. In May of 2019 I quit my full time, very secure job to grow ColorHype in new ways. So why did I pursue an artistic career? The simple answer is to chase a dream of doing what I love every single day.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
When I founded ColorHype I knew I wanted the classes to be different from your normal paint and sip shops. I wanted more abstract, fun, care-free classes that allowed my customers to have choice during the process. When you have choice in the creative process you feel more ownership and accomplishment with the piece. I actually started off with the Paint your Pet classes. I would sketch the pet on the canvas and give them 4 colored options to choose from. I walk them through the process from beginning to end and assist if I need to. In 2019 I started printing the image of the pet on the canvas because I was hosting so many people in person. For my customer this is actually amazing because it gives them a greyscale version of the pet on the canvas and they just paint in the fur color on top. Makes the process a lot less complicated. I realized though back when I started that I wanted more classes that spoke to the name, “ColorHype.” In March of 2018 I started hosting acrylic pouring classes. If you’ve never heard of acrylic pouring, basically you mix the paint with mediums to a pouring consistency and then just pour onto the canvas. We now host so many types of pouring classes. The most popular is the flip cup, but we also host a strainer, dustpan, split cup class and more to be introduced this year. So back to the first year in business I had the paint your pet classes, acrylic pouring and I wanted to give my customers one more medium that would set me apart from the others. This is when I started alcohol inks classes. Alcohol inks are a high vibrancy ink that are diluted with rubbing alcohol. I love that pieces can be so vibrantly colored and that they dry by the time the class is over. I offer a variety of classes with the inks as well. Inks and Succulents is a popular class in the spring and summer where we ink a planter and then plant a succulent. Inks and Skylines is also a widely popular class because I can accommodate any skyline. I apply a vinyl sticker to a board, we ink the boards and then remove the sticker at the end. It’s very satisfying and such a fun project. So from May 2019 when I quit my high school art job to March 2020 the business had been ramping up quite a bit. I had been teaching in person classes all over the DFW area from Tupps Brewery in McKinney, to Peticolas in downtown Dallas, to Shannon Brewing in Keller. I was truly all over the metroplex teaching 5-7 classes a week. The classes were also sold out 2 months in advance. I will say in March of 2020 I was at a point I was getting burnt out and weary from having to be everywhere. When the pandemic hit and all of my venues shut down I was at a loss of what to do. After about a week though I decided to offer my customers that had tickets already the option to pick up a kit where they could do it at home. I had to record instructional videos of how to do the kits at home, figure out the best packaging and supplies. When people heard I was doing the kits then I started getting requests to sell them. I started selling the kits during the last week of March. By April of 2020 I had figured out how to ship the kits. I opened an online store and began selling them regularly. In May I was approached by a company to host a teambuilding event where I ship the kits to each house and we create via Zoom. That event went very well so I started hosting events with local HOA’s, birthday parties, and corporate offices for virtual events. From there I began marketing to other companies and potential clients. In September I started working with Dell regularly to host team events. We hosted 1-3 events every month for Dell from September to December. By the end of 2020 we had sold over 5000 kits total for the year. Not only this but we still host in person classes and got our largest venue during the pandemic. We host classes every Monday night at Reunion Tower where we can see the 360 degree views all while rotating slowly during the class. The shift in business was incredible. It was brutal having to do all the legwork in the beginning, invest in bulk supplies and then wait and wonder if anyone would actually buy the kits. I have been so excited now with the trajectory of the business and that we can host people all over the nation and potentially the world as well. It’s a dream that I never knew I had, come true.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The one thing I’ve loved about my business is getting to host at really fun locations so I would have so many recommendations! First we’d definitely grab lunch at a food stall at Legacy Hall. I love that you can get any type of food there and it’s like an upscale food hall. We’d for sure grab beers at Tupps Brewery in McKinney and enjoy the live music. We would spend a night at Fortunata Winery in a bungalow on the property so we could walk back and forth to the winery and just relax for a night or two. We would eat some Polynesian tex-mex at Hula Hut and (in the summer) watch the hydro water park skiers next door do some awesome water skiing and tricks. I would also recommend my art classes at Reunion Tower because the experience is incredible – haha!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are lots of people who have helped me along the way. My family being first and foremost, always supporting my dreams and helping me further them. When I was young I watched my dad run a house remodeling / flipping business and also have a full time job as a police officer. I started working for him in my teens painting houses. While to some this might have been considered a “son’s job,” I loved that he allowed me to help him. He was always working hard and the outcomes of his labor were clear when he finished a job. I owe a lot to my mom and dad for raising me to be a strong, independent woman. Their support through all the changes of being in banking, to being a teacher to quitting my job has always been constant. My husband, Josh and son, Carter are also my rocks. My husband helps me with all things technical as he is a Director of Technology. I feel so lucky that he can support me in that way as well. I also have assistants / employees that have helped me through all the changes of the business in 2020. Sybil Hallman, Theanna Asimus and Tabitha Swan have helped me in ways they will never truly know and I appreciate their time and dedication to my company. Lastly, I want to recognize a fellow woman entrepreneur. Her name is Lyndsey Monahan. In March of 2020 when the pandemic shut down all of my venues and I had to reconsider everything about my business model, I was at a loss. I really had no clue how to pivot and was struggling with the thought of refunding over 200 people with tickets for March, April and May classes. I made a post on social media and I’m sure it came off depressing and hopeless. Lyndsey reached out to me via messenger and asked if she could schedule a call with me just to help brainstorm ideas. Prior to this we had never met in person and she only knew my business from a few Facebook and networking groups we were in. I was weary thinking maybe she wanted to sell me something, HA! I did, however, take the call. She told me that she’d been watching my business for a while and knew that there was something special and not to give up. She helped me brainstorm ideas and from there I was fired up to completely overhaul my business. There is something so special about women helping women during a crisis like this and the fact that she didn’t want anything in return just speaks volumes to her character. I will forever remember that call and her willingness to encourage me in the darkest week of being a small business owner.
Other: Online Store: colorhype.myshopify.com
Christa Robey Photography