Earlier this year, I had the chance to visit the Creativebug headquarters in San Francisco. Kelly Wilkinson is the editorial director and a co-founder of this subscription-based online video workshop service. Over a lovely outdoor lunch on a (rare) sunny January afternoon, we had the chance to share our content wish lists and compare notes. Not surprisingly, we are fans of quite a few of the same people and things—and we thought that our respective customers might be, too.
There are many videos on Creativebug that relate to UPPERCASE in one way or another. Molly Hatch, for example is the cover artist of our current issue and through a Creativebug video you can learn how to apply your designs to ceramics and glassware.
I invite you to watch the beautifully produced free preview videos on the Creativebug affiliate page that I've curated specifically for UPPERCASE. If you enjoy learning new crafts or are inspired by watching others create, please click through the page links and sign up for a membership.
If you need a creative infusion, Lisa Congdon will be teaching a four-week class on the basics of line drawing over on Creativebug. Whether you already draw and want to deepen your practice — or want to overcome the intimidation of picking up a pen for the first time — this class offers something for everyone. Participants can benefit from weekly chats with Lisa, as well. Access the class with an monthly membership to Creativebug (now only $9.95 per month). I've been a paying member of Creativebug for many months—their videos are terrifically produced and the content is great. I'm still benefiting from the Brand course I took through Creativebug.
One of the best things about being the editor of UPPERCASE magazine is the doors that it opens. I love being able to meet with creative businesses and get a glimpse behind the scenes. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Creativebug. If you're not familiar with Creativebug, they offer an entertaining and informative selection of craft video tutorials. From crochet, collage, quilting and a lot more, there is an ever-growing wealth of content that can be accessed through a monthly subscription. I enrolled in their Creative Brand e-course last year and it was fantastic. And though I don't have a lot of time to craft these days, I like to play a video on my laptop while I work on other things... vicarious crafting through video-watching!
Welcome to Creativebug's creative space...
The Creativebug viewer and UPPERCASE readers are kindred spirits. We both love the creative process, setting our hands to work on making marvellous things. I look forward to collaborating with them to help grow our subscribers and share the love of handmade.
It's week 2 of Creativebug's Building a Creative Brand online class (you can still register and watch the first couple of videos to catch up) and I am pleased that I signed up for this course. This week's video (over 40 minutes!) was particularly good, delving into pricing, business plans and financial considerations. It was really Todd Gibson's show (of Oliver + S), he had a wealth of great advice and I look forward to the online chat with him and Liesl on Thursday that is part of the course benefits.
I signed up for this course for reasons I assume are not typical of other participants. I do have a business brand that is working fairly well and have been at this for a few years, but I am interested in online classes since I hope to offer some from UPPERCASE one day. One of the best ways to learn is from the perspective of a student. I am also interested in Creativebug and how this company markets and presents its content. (One minor disappointment is that the course downloads are not especially well-designed and don't do a service to furthering Creativebug's own creative brand, though the content is adequate.)
As a business owner, I could also use some motivation and mentorship—Christine Schmidt of Yellow Owl Workshop mentioned last week that being a boss is tough. And in my experience, it can feel pretty lonely, too, at times. It is difficult to ultimately be in charge of all the decisions, it can get tiresome and draining and running a business can certainly take over from the creativity that started the business in the first place. Today's video addressed some of this and I'm taking some of Todd's advice to heart. He also addressed issues of pricing products which was particularly useful as I bring something new to the UPPERCASE shop shortly.
Another fringe benefit of the course structure was being introduced to Mightybell, the community platform that the course uses for chats and conversations. I've been looking for something like this for UPPERCASE for a while and Mightybell's aesthetics and functionality is quite appealing. (And it's free!) So I've started a fledgling community and am pleased that we have 50 members so far in just a few days. Join us and we'll develop this place together as wonderful way to connect and share around specific projects or interests.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey earlier this month. It was important to get your feedback about incorporating ads on the blog. As you can see from the sidebar, I'm starting to incorporate ads and affiliate ads. It is necessary to help support the content here on the blog and in the print magazine. Our ads are affordable (starting at $25) and all the details are on our Advertise page.
Some of the results of the survey:
88% of responders said that advertising could be in print and online.
"I have no problem with ads in your online presence. I prefer UPPERCASE with ads to no UPPERCASE at all."
82% of the responders were either subscribers or purchase copies of the print magazine in the store.
"I like feeling connected to UPPERCASE in my daily life, just like I have the creative and curious pennant on my wall, the magazines always close to hand, reading the blog and following UPPERCASE on social media is one more way of feeling connected and, in a way, part of the story."
"Because I love the print publication so much, the online site is like little bites to get me through to the next edition in my mailbox."
For the kinds of ads you'd prefer to see online:
41% would like to see ads from creative services, designers and illustrators
39% would like shopping links like Etsy shops, indie artisans and makers
8% wanted brand names and no one really liked "responsive" ads.
"My Dad said way back (he was in advertising when I was a kid) that ads are only ads when they're not of interest to you. Otherwise they're information. I'd prefer not to see brand names (generic Target/blockbuster movies/car ads) or responsive ads (which again, I assume are probably generic). But if the ads were 'chosen' with the same care as the content, I doubt they'd be seen as ads at all."
"Keep up the good work! I don't think ads would detract from what you are doing online—I think people realize that bills have to get paid."
"What I like about the magazine/blog is that the focus isn't on consuming, so if ads are going to make an appearance it would be great if they were consistent with the small and creative vibe."
UPPERCASE has always been about making, doing, participating, creating community... so we will endeavour to include advertisers who suit that outlook. I hope that many of our talented and savvy readers will decide to advertise on the blog—it would be the ideal way to connect with an engaged and interested audience.
The affiliate links included are of services or sites that I use in creating UPPERCASE and/or support creative entrepreneurship and the UPPERCASE community in some way.
I'm looking forward to the Creativebug "Building A Creative Brand" class that starts next week. As a creative entrepreneur, it feels like I'm always forging my own path (the hard way). It is inspiring and motivating to learn from other creative women who have had success in their creative endeavours... to benefit not only from their sage advice, but the confirmation that that you're on the right path can be valuable as well. Keep going!
Use the code UPPERCASE to get early bird pricing extended to October 13th. The series starts off October 14th and other than the release of each subsequent video, the pace is up to you. Click here to learn more about the course.
As a creative entrepreneur, I've admired Creativebug since their launch in 2012. And although I'm firmly and lovingly rooted in print and paper, I consider video and video editing my hobby (I just happen to use UPPERCASE as a guinea pig testing ground for video projects.) I got to see the Creativebug team in action earlier this year at the Makerie and it was fun to see them at work and to learn a few new techniques through observation of their process and watching the finished videos.
Earlier this week, I saw that they were offering a 5-week video series called Building a Creative Brand. With instructors Lisa Congdon, Christine Schmidt (Yellow Owl Workshop), Heather Ross, Liesl Gibson and Melanie Falick heading the course, I signed up right away. I'd been meaning to sign up for a while, and this course was the incentive that I needed.
Coincidentally, Kelly Wilkinson, one of the founders of the company, emailed me a few days later to ask if I'd share the workshop information on the UPPERCASE blog. If you're interested, please sign up and we'll take the course together!
The early bird price is $125, and Creativebug members get a special price of $99. You can subscribe through October 6th for $9.99 a month and then you'll also get the member pricing on the Creative Brand Series. (Use the code UPPERCASE to get early bird pricing extended from October 7-13th.) The series starts off October 14th and other than the release of each subsequent video, the pace is up to you. Click here to learn more about the course.
Since the blog is taking steps into hosting advertising on the sidebar, I will also be providing affiliate links to services or products that I use. If you click on the Creativebug links provided in this post or on the sidebar and proceed to signup for a course, UPPERCASE will receive a small commission. Thank you.
If you enjoy "startup" stories like I do, here's the backstory on Creativebug: