4CATS ARTS STUDIO Franchise Complaints

4Cats Arts Studio franchise complaints include an unprofitable business model, unfair termination of franchise owners and “predatory” franchise practices by the franchisor.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  4Cats Arts Studio franchisees run art studios for children ages 2-15 and adults.

At 4Cats Arts Studios, kids get to work in a variety of mediums, taking inspiration from the works of famous artists.

4Cats Arts Studio was founded in British Columbia and the franchise has grown to over 70 locations throughout Canada, USA and most recently, Australia.

According to a report on CBC News, eleven 4Cats Arts Studio franchise owners in British Columbia, California and South Carolina have launched a legal action against the franchisor, claiming that “the franchise agreement makes it impossible to make a profit.”

Are you familiar with the 4Cats Arts Studio franchise opportunity?  Is it a good franchise opportunity or a predatory scheme as some franchisees contend?  Share a comment below.

CBC reports that

“Put simply, 4Cats is a predatory system designed and operated by 4CE to extract all of the available profits from the operation of the system in favour of the franchisor and leave nothing for the franchisee,” the parties claimed in an arbitration notice.


The claimants are collectively demanding more than $4 million in compensation.


“There have been some misrepresentations for profitability — there’s been no profit whatsoever. No return on investment,” [franchisee] Galeano said.

4Cats Arts StudioThe CBC reports that franchisee Emaly Galeano had continually lost money for the four years that she ran her 4Cats Art Studio franchise, despite having grown the school to 350 active students.

[Left: 4Cats Arts Studio logo.  Source:  4Cats.Com]

The franchisor allegedly terminated her franchise agreement, and left her unable to teach art in her market due to a non-compete clause in her agreement.

According to lawyer Jennifer Pocock, of Sotos law firm, who is representing the franchisees:

“In essence, the claim is one based on no one is able to derive any profits from this franchise system,” said Pocock. “This claim revolves around sharing profits and the franchisees claim that the franchiser hasn’t shared the profits from the system.”


The group is seeking damages in the range of $4 million.


Galeano said she invested around $100,000 since she opened her doors and has not gotten any return investment.

The 4Cats Arts Studios franchise was founded by Joey and Darryl Simon and is based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Are you familiar with the 4Cats Arts Studios franchise?

Do you think that it’s a great franchise opportunity run by franchisors dedicated to their franchisees’ success?

Or do you agree with the allegations in the arbitration notice that it’s a predatory system designed to generate profits for the franchisor at the expense of the franchisees?





Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: 4Cats Arts Studio franchise, 4Cats Arts Studio franchise opportunity, 4Cats Arts Studio franchise complaints, 4Cats Arts Studio lawsuit, franchise, franchise opportunity, franchise complaints, unhappy franchisee

15 thoughts on “4CATS ARTS STUDIO Franchise Complaints

  • June 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    4Cats Arts Studios is not a a viable business opportunity for potential franchisees. The model is not set up for financial success for the individual franchisee. The franchisor receives substantial monies both from the purchase of a new franchise and on a monthly basis through royalties.

    Cost to do business

    Studios are required to purchase all their supplies through a 4Cats run ‘store’. We have no control over the cost of materials. We must carry all materials even if our individual studios many not run certain classes that utilize those materials. They change constantly resulting in costly, unneeded overhead. These so-called ‘standards’ are checked quarterly causing unnecessary staff time updating and preparing for the reviews.

    Studio Territories

    New studios are often allowed to open in close proximity to other studios resulting in a canibalizing of the already small art class market. A recent example of this behaviour was the opening of the ‘flagship’ corporate owned studio on Main Street and 17th in Vancouver. This bright and shiny space far outcompetes the existing studio at Commercial Drive and 12th or Yaletown. Customers don’t know or care who owns a studio. They are drawn to the new and shiny thing at the expense of existing studios.

    There simply aren’t enough young people in most territories to fill out the number of classes and students one would require to even break even. The business model communicated to me prior to purchase is not viable or honest.


    Individual studios pay a monthly percentage of their gross sales into a ‘marketing fund’, administered by head office. There is little or no direct marketing done by 4Cats Enterprises. Other than a small quarterly magazine, there is no print advertising into the communities in which we are located.

    I have owned this studio for 14 months and will never make back my initial investment. I made no profit last year, losing tens of thousands of dollars. I did not draw a salary of any kind. I only employed a part time person in the studio and worked 12 hour days, 6 days a week. Simply put, it is not a viable business to own.

  • June 16, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Judging by the description above, by Anonymous, the only person they could be referring to is myself, Jessica Devenport.

    “I do know that one of those former employees running numerous studios in the Vancouver has a large debt to 4Cats as they financed her purchases; she is terrified of them calling her loan and closing her down as they have done to others. 4Cats strategy to instill fear and manipulation on their franchisees.”

    I am the owner of three 4Cats Arts Studios in the Vancouver area. If this is the case, what they have stated is untrue. My studios are successful. I am content with this franchise and I do not owe a large amount to the Franchisor. I just want this statement to be corrected. Thanks :)

  • June 17, 2014 at 12:45 am


    If you have been considering purchasing a 4Cats Arts Studio and have been given Jessica Devenport’s phone number to call in order to conduct your initial “due-diligence”– BEWARE!!

    Jessica, also known as “Jess the Mess”, is essentially a 4Cats Headquarters employee and has been “cherry picked” by franchisor, Joey Simon. Jessica provides falsified financial information to potential buyers in order to sell franchises for the company, which is part and parcel to the inherent problems that exist within the system.

    Jess the Mess receives numerous “kick backs”, including, but not limited to, reduced royalty fees from the franchisor for her role in selling franchises. If her studios are “successful”, and I stress IF, then it is only because she receives deals and treatment from franchisor that no other franchisees receive.

    Hey Jessica, when is the last time you have had an inspection by the franchisor and subsequently told that you are required to spend thousands of dollars on purchasing supplies from 4Cats store in order to get your studio up to ‘standards’?? What’s that…?? NEVER!… that’s what I thought!

  • June 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Does anyone have Joey and Darryl Simon’s direct email addresses? Could you email them to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com? I want to make sure they know our policy of offering them a chance to answer, correct, clarify or rebut allegations and/or otherwise join the conversation.

    If the franchisor is reading this, please know that we prefer to have both sides of an issue represented so that our readers can consider both and make up their own minds. Feel free to email us at UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com.

    PS Please try to refrain from name-calling or personal attacks, both to keep the conversation professional and to preserve your own credibility. Thanks! ADMIN

  • June 30, 2014 at 3:12 am

    When the commercial drive location was closed, I received an email from Joey via this email address: thedrive@4cats.com
    (My child had previously taken classes there)

    He closed the message with the following, so perhaps he can be reached there:
    “Thank you so much for your continued support, and for being part of the special community of 4Cats Commercial Drive. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our Home Office team at thedrive@4cats.com. Enjoy the first signs of Spring in Vancouver, and Happy Creating! Joey Simon Founder & CEO, 4Cats”

  • March 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Interesting! I had heard from an employee at 4cats in Vancouver, that it was actually a store that has art classes to push their product. Prior to hearing the truth I wrote 4cats to inquire about the franchise. ( I never heard back from them) I own a successful art school which is in it’s 22nd year and have in the past sold quality art materials to my students, but I am very against the concept of “sales first” and art second, which seems to be cropping up. I’m not saying an art school can’t sell art supplies but only as a convenience to the students and not as a prime focus of the business. That said I think my art school is perfect just the way it is… unique! Sadly cookie cutter franchised art will always be out there but most people are smart enough to know the difference and look for real art instruction and are not fooled by slick recipe art and shopping!.

  • April 25, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I’m appalled at the “4Cats Muse Model” which explains to potential teachers what kind of family represents their ‘perfect’ customer, or “4Cats Muse”… It describes in scary detail a superficial, status focused and pretentious family that an ideal customer would aspire to. Outakes: “The kids wear designer clothes as well as MEC and Gap Kids. Lisa (the fictional Mom) looks for quality, stylish, well designed, recognizable and trusted brands for her kids clothes.” And this one: “David (the doctor Dad) drives a BMW 5 series. BMW is a sophisticated brand, and a connoisseur’s car – it is a fun driving machine, has lots of room and looks good. His golf clubs fit in the trunk. He can take the kids around, but he still drives to the hospital for work and to have fun. She has a utility car, he has a driving machine!” I mean really?? I was hired to work here, but no thanks ~ as the training is simply a turn off. What a Soul Sucking description… not to mention their “No Compete” policy – which is funny, because their programs are all based on ripping off known artists work! I’m an authentic Artist, and these are NOT the kind of values ART encourages. It’s corporate greed, plain and simple. Ick.

  • October 20, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    If you own a 4Cats studio in the U.S. and are currently unhappy. We will gladly take you into the A Painting Fiesta family if you think you are a good fit and willing to do so.

  • April 24, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    DO NOT BUY OR ENTER INTO A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH 4CATS. You will lose all your money and not derive any profits from this flawed business model. The head office does not provide any support and uses bully tactics and threats to get what they want and to make you spend more money by purchasing more art supplies from them. They don’t care about the franchise owners and their time and dedication to grow the business. There are many many owners that have gone out of business. Do not support this business and support your local and or community art programs.

  • September 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I would like to expose the truth of 4cats arts studio franchise as I can see they are selling franchises again.
    Do not buy a franchise from 4cats arts studio!!!!

    I have seen the previous posts from 2014 and it is still true that it is an unsustainable business – most franchisees complain that they are not able to make ends meet.

    On the last few years, 4cats have changed into being a mass making art production line, with uninspiring projects and repeats of old projects. Franchises that complain and want to have an open discussion with head office is shamed and put down and singled out as a bad studio.
    4cats franchise does not share numbers neither inside tips on how they make their own corporate studios so profitable – or so they claim. Franchisees are told they do not spend enough time at the studio, do not apply the procedures correctly, do not follow the standards… and they claim these as the reasons that franchisees can’t make their studios successful.

    4cats now offers a different program for franchisees called 4cats plus, that gives the franchise more control over the studios – hours of operation, prices, schedule for the owner of the franchise. 4cats claims this new system can turn every and each studio around. With this program, franchisees have to put an undisclosed amount of money on studio renovations, start a retail program for 4cats art supplies and kits, have prices of classes reduced and offer significant discounts and pay for promotional item to be given away (buy kits from the franchise that are then given away to potential customers). All that have to be done without any assurance from the franchise – no numbers are shared from corporate studio or from other “plus” studios – on the plus contract it states that if your studio is not turned around in 2 years they will take the studio over from you.

    in 2014 they had 71 studios, now they have about 41 from which about 12 are corporate studios. Studios have closed other studios have been taken over by the franchise. Corporate studios are now in most big cities in canada competing with the franchisee’s studios – as is their new enterprise 25 cats.

    before the summer of 2017 there has been a sexual assault law suit in toronto towards an instructor of a corporate studio. corporate 4cats barely replied to the concerns of parents and customers in general. they made it sound that it was a franchisee owned studio rather than a corporate studio.Franchisees demanded actions but were told that the franchise was doing all they could. Toronto studios were hit hard and lost many customers.
    Now the franchiser started they brand new adults only studio called 25 cats – perhaps they will close all 4cats, so the law suit does not apply to them??? 25 cats competes with the franchisees and has even cheaper prices.

    as any franchisee could assure (but we are too sacred to say it) 4cats owners joey and daryl simon are dishonest, run a business that does not protect their franchisees and brand, is predatory to serious business owners.

  • October 2, 2017 at 1:40 am

    Not much has changed in the 4Cats world. Same old tactics and same old failures. Joey and Darryl are criminals. Not sure how they sleep at night. The current crop of franchisees need to get together and act. She has been successful at scaring franchisees into silence. The franchisees need to go public… cbc/gopublic. Lawsuits from former franchisees, lawsuits from former head office personel and now, if the above post is accurate, a lawsuit from a family. The sexual assault charge made it on every news outlet. People were more insensed at her response, or lack thereof, minimizing what happened. Joey’s true colours shone through in that one small statement. Not surprised to hear she left her franchisees hanging without any assistance. What are we paying royalties for exactly? All franchisees need to communicate with one another!

    I note, with interest, a supposed successful franchisee (former employee of Joey’s) commented above how ‘content’ she was with her franchise. Corporate has taken over her studios, if she every truly owned them in the first place, and she now has another art business with another former franchisee.

    This sham MUST be exposed. I feel very sorry for anyone that would buy a 4Cats. Hopefully, they will do their due dilligence and research. It’s not hard to find the ‘true’ picture online. She hasn’t sold a new one since the last group of franchisees sued her.

  • August 15, 2018 at 1:52 am

    I see the Ontario studios are following the same path as the BC studios… either closing doors, going out of business or having their studio taken over. Her new model is to have all corporate owned studios… wonder why as back in the day, that is the model she did not want… she wanted others to “own” them. She wanted to franchise. Hmmmm…. wonder if the lawsuits have stopped her selling these things? Are there any original owners left???

  • March 15, 2019 at 1:01 am

    My daughter owned a 4 Cats Studio. She put in so many hours, the students loved it and classes were full. She built up the business over several years but was unable to make any profit. The business model she was shown before she purchased it was completely false as to the profits she would be making. She started working a second job at night and was told she couldn’t do that because it would cause the studio to fail. She wasn’t making enough money to buy gas or make her car payment to even get to the studio without a second job. She was threatened when she started talking to other owners about a law suit. She dropped out of the suit and was able to sell the store, removing all 4 Cats names, to someone that wasn’t going to have to pay a franchise fee or buy supplies from 4 Cats.
    She was so excited to start this adventure and our whole family chipped in to get it off the ground only to have it fail because of the lies we had been told about what financial projections to expect. I hope some of the others were able to stick it out with their lawsuit and got some satisfaction.

  • September 22, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    I think the biggest problem is the art is not cat focused.
    Perhaps if they taught classes on how to paint pictures of your cat, or even better could teach cats to paint.
    That would be a successful model.
    I think there is also an issue of false advertising.
    When I hear the name 4 Cats arts studio, I naturally expected an art studio for cats.
    Yet when I go to their webpage the first painting I see features no cats and even has a dog in it.
    It isn’t any wonder that this business is failing.
    Possibly adding a side line of cat treats, or turning the “Cat Café” concept on it’s head and in stead of a café that sells food to humans and has cats present they could establish a café that serves food to either cats exclusively or possibly cats and their owners.
    Not that there would be anything wrong with transitioning to the traditional Cat Café model.
    Perhaps a variant of that could help with the failing art studios.
    Each studio would have a selection of cats available as models, advisors and or companions.
    The distinction obviously would be up to the individual cats themselves.
    Once a customer has selected a cat they would have the option to try to paint a portrait of the cat, pet the cat or possibly curl up in a sunbeam and take a nap with the cat.
    Obviously state laws would need to be consulted but I don’t think it is considered prostitution if you literally just “sleep with the cat”.

    I’m not going though all that again.
    Several years ago I attempted to open my own business.
    It would have been a groundbreaking concept and the first of it’s kind in F2C (feline to consumer) business.
    I had selected a charming old Victorian home as the location of my feline based venture, so I thought what better name than “The Cat House”.
    Apparently that means somthing entirely different to some people.
    As soon as the Yellow Pages ad came out the phone was ringing off the hook.
    At first I thought for sure people were calling about the cats.
    I mean they were using a synonym for cat.
    There is a 2 word phrase that that normally ends in cat.
    All these people calling were only using the first word.
    I started thinking that maybe they weren’t calling about my cats at all.
    Then they would start getting in to specifics and I realized somehow there had been a mistake.
    When I explained that there were no women here just me and the cats, most people hung up.
    Some of the callers wanted to know how much me and the cats would charge.
    Nope, nope, nope not going through all that again.

  • September 23, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    “When I hear the name 4 Cats arts studio, I naturally expected an art studio for cats.”
    You have this concept confused with the “For Cats Arts Studio,” which is promoted through the IFA’s PetFran program.

    “Each studio would have a selection of cats available as models, advisors and or companions.”
    There are a lot of unused healthy vending machines that could be adapted. Then this could be a 24-hour model.

    Feline Fan: I know you might just be kitten around, but I think you’ve got something here. When Graze Craze goes stale, United Franchise Group will be looking fur a new franchise to sell… and they can be very purr-suasive.

    You may have given them their next purr-amid scheme!

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