Catching up on some online reading a few months back, I was deep into the pages of EcoSalon when I discovered Creativebug, a recently-launched online learning platform for makers of all sorts. Bingo. I had hit the craft-obsession jackpot. I was even more surprised, as I clicked through the About Creativebug page, to find that this scrappy San Francisco-based startup was founded by Jeanne Lewis, a woman I'd met on a ski trip a few years ago, pre-Creativebug. So, I called Jeanne up and asked to take a peek at her new creative venture.Lewis says she was working as a Creative Director (at Time magazine in San Francisco), enjoying her great job and happily parenting two daughters, when she began to feel the itch to do something else. She studied pottery in college and says, "it didn't matter if what I made was good or not, it was about that sense of calm that it gave me while I was doing it." As she looked to recapture that sense of serenity through making, she thought: there must be other people who are searching for the same thing, who want to learn how to make things. There should be an online platform for that.
Then her entrepreneurial bent struck. Wait, she thought, why isn't there a place to learn craft skills online? Maybe, she thought, I will make it. And a community of makers is exactly what she created with her company, whose tagline is: What will you make today?
With its charming and quirky lighting-design-business-turned-film-studio office in SOMA, and a dedicated team of craft-minded people, Creativebug has become the go-to resource for online art and craft instruction. Lewis recruited two additional co-founders (COO Julie Roehm and Editorial Director Kelly Wilkinson) to sit at the helm of this craft ship, and they set out to navigate the thrilling tides of making.
As I learned more, what I loved about Creativebug was the way that it stayed true to the creative spirit: the company supports independent artists and designers like Natalie Chanin and Jill Draper, and donates 5% of revenues to non-profit art organizations. (You can check out the full roster of instructors here.)
For a monthly fee ($16.99 and up) craft enthusiasts and newbies alike can join the site and take advantage of unlimited high-quality video instruction from some of the best-known designers in their fields.
Last week, Creativebug also launched an a la carte option. You can now pay-per-class ($9.99 and up) for classes like Natalie Chanin's Reverse Applique Runner, pictured below. The site also offers what it calls "the gift of handmade" with its online gift subscriptions.
Thank you, Jeanne, for the sneak peek at the people and the offices behind Creativebug. I've been quite inspired by your artists, your team, and your creative, can-do spirit.
And now I must ask myself: What Will I Make Today?