On a business trip with her former company Schlumberger Ltd., Veronique Howard discovered Mes Petits Ateliers—an arts and crafts studio that has opened 11 locations in France since 2011.
Howard decided to leave the corporate world to launch the first American franchise, which opened in late July.
“I’ve been in this community for over 16 years, raised three children and have three grandchildren,” she said. “I remember that finding activities for kids that are creative and interesting after school is very hard. We tried soccer, swimming, karate and dance, but I knew there was a need for something more here.”
Howard is a France native herself who moved to America in 1984. Although her professional background is in sales and supply chain management, she said she has always enjoyed being creative.
Mes Petits Ateliers translates to “My Little Workshops” and offers classes in sewing, baking, painting, scrapbooking, home decor, jewelry, clay and stationery. It will eventually offer sessions in homemade cosmetics and organic cleaning products, Howard said.
France-inspired class projects range from adding Eiffel Tower charms to jewelry and embroidering French words on throw pillows to baking French pastries.
“If we’re going to do painting, we’re not just going to paint,” Howard said. “We’re going to introduce a French painter like Henri Matisse, talk about his life and learn how to paint in his style.”
The studio’s entire staff is made up of France natives who can share stories about their culture and teach customers a few French words while crafting. Customers can bring their own wine or have tea and coffee during classes.
Howard said the studio is ideal for girls’ night out events, birthday parties, bachelorette parties, date nights or keeping children entertained after school.
“It takes them away from their tablets and phones and makes them use not only their head but their hands,” she said. “They go home with what they have created and they can see what [activities]they like. Every week they can come and try something different.”
8190 Barker Cypress Road, Ste. 300, Cypress