Take a pain, canvas, bottle of wine and great company – and what do you get? One amazing experience at Cork & Canvas.

Founded by Melinda Janiszewski, Cork & Canvas, Australia’s first paint and sip studio celebrates its 7th Birthday. Melinda who single-handedly created a whole new category in the Australian entertainment market, specifically, the paint and sip concept. She noticed prior to migrating to Australia from the United States in 2012, that the paint and sip concept hadn’t yet hit the Australian shores and thus the origin of Cork & Canvas was born.

Since opening her first studio in Moonee Ponds, Victoria, the business has exploded into two studios in the heart of South Melbourne and two Sydney studios located in the centre of Darlinghurst and Crows Nest.

So what makes this such a fun and unique experience? One that has studios booked out for weeks and weeks in advance! I sat down with Melinda to talk all things art, business and the art of ‘paint and sip’.

Congratulations on the 7th year of Cork & Canvas – can you believe it’s already 7 years in? Was this always the vision when you started?

This was always my vision when I started 7 years ago. I wanted to share my love of art and the feeling you get from creating art, and that the sense of accomplishment it gives you when you’ve created something new. Art always took me to a happy calm place and I wanted to share that with everyone.

What was the inspiration behind the company?

The paint and sip concept was something I had experienced in the US and I loved the classes. I found them so relaxing, being able to really switch off and immerse yourself in the experience. After researching in 2011 prior to moving to Australia, I realised the concept did not yet exist over here. I saw this as my opportunity to establish the concept in Australia and share my love of art and being creative.

You came to Australia in 2012, after achieving some very impressive accolades in the US, what made you take the leap and then bring the paint and sip concept to our shores?

One of my first dates with my now husband was a paint and sip experience in the US. At the time I didn’t realise he was actually a very talented artist so he was pretty pleased with my choice of date spot!

After realising he could paint and shared my love for art, when he asked me to move to Australia, I saw the opportunity to bring what we both loved with me!

What would you say are the 3 best lessons you have learned from having a business?

  1. You have to mold your business to your ever-changing customer base rather than what you want as a business owner, but without compromising on your vision.
  2. Stick to your gut, whilst being open to other people’s ideas.
  3. Focus on your vision and goals and not what other people are doing.

What is the experience you hope people have when they come into the studio?

I want people to forget about all of their problems and worries, to turn off their brain and feel like a kid again.

Research shows that art is therapeutic for us and I think this is the perfect setting to enjoy this with while creating memories with the special people in their lives.

7 years from now – what are your hopes for Cork & Canvas?

I want Cork and Canvas to continue to be the paint and sip industry leader in Australia and provide innovative unique experiences like Champainting at WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and Madame Tussaud’s.

There’s lot of big things in the works, so stay tuned!