Business Review: Color Me Mine

Over Spring break, we had the chance to visit Color Me Mine in Fairfax.  It was free Ben and Jerry’s day, and Fairfax Corner was opening their fountain and having several other events, so we met up with PwcGrammy (who’s a student at George Mason- super proud of her!) and decided we’d burn some time before B&J’s opened by painting pottery.  We’ve done this before several times at various studios and have some very precious keepsakes from going with relatives who have since passed on.  Having their handprints and my babies’ handprints is a very sweet memory. 

The studio is long and narrow, and table space is not necessarily easy to come by if you go on a vacation day (I’d imagine weekends are tough, too).  I felt like their fees were slightly higher than some of the places that we’ve been to that charge a flat rate, as they charge a per item rate and a studio fee per person. 

They do have some fun looking events like Kids Out Nights where parents can drop their children who are 6 and older off and go spend some time in the shopping center.  There are amazing Great American restaurants in this shopping center, so it could make for an awesome date night!  They also do fundraisers and parties.

While we had a decent time, I have to say I didn’t love the experience here, and I’d probably not opt to go here again if I had the option of going somewhere else.  Unlike other studios that let you get your own glaze, the attendants here give you a sample palette and you are allowed to pick 6 colors which they get for you.  You aren’t allowed to get your own.  (This of course means that there is a tip jar, so you should tip your attendant on top of the studio fee for their fetching of things you could easily get yourself).  It wasn’t packed to the gills when we first got there and the “don’t touch the glaze” policy was really annoying as my 6yo was painting an entire vase one color.  That tablespoon of glaze? Yeah, that ran out every 4th brush full and then we found ourselves waiting for an attendant, who got pretty huffy with us by the 4th refill.  Hint: if the kid is obviously painting the entire piece a base color, why not get a second glaze container and just do that one color?

We didn’t get much of an explanation, which is fine since we’ve done pottery before, but should have at least been offered.  When we finally got started really painting one of the staff came over and said “So, how are you going to want to pay?” in an annoyed voice.

Seriously? You need to know upfront? Why didn’t you charge me before I got paint all over myself thanks to the kids?

She apparently didn’t actually want me to pay, she just wanted to know I was using my Visa (it’s everywhere you wanna be). We continued for about eight minutes and then another attendant came over and demanded I go sign in on their computer system.

Really? I’m here.  Does it matter?

The computer ticked me off, too.  You don’t need to data collect my home address, email, home phone and cell phone for me to paint something.  At the end, it asked for me to answer some survey questions, which seemed ridiculous.

The kids still had fun, and it’s possible we just caught the staff (all high school or early college aged) on an off day, but if I’m going to spend $150 on an activity, I want to leave feeling darn happy, and that just didn’t happen.

Overall, I’d head somewhere else based on this experience, but if you’ve had a great time there, I’d love to hear about it!

Color Me Mine Fairfax:
Recommended For: Ages 5 and up.  Younger children could be taken for handprints/footprints, but you need some fine motor skills to make anything worth taking home and with items being so expensive, your younger ones are better off with a kit from Michaels.
Pros: Creative outlet, nice shopping center, pieces are keepsakes
Cons: Expensive, unfriendly/unhelpful staff, studio seemed to get hot
This is an unsolicited review.  All opinions are my own.  Your experience may vary.