Creativebug: Chat with Jeanne Lewis, a Creative CEO

Jeanne Lewis  of Creativebug I am so excited to share this inspiring interview with Jeanne Lewis, CEO and founder of Creativebug. If you’ve ever stepped out and taken a leap of faith to follow your creative passion, you’ll instantly recognize that it takes determination, and many 80-hour work weeks, to see your dream come to fruition.

Creativebug is a website where you can sign up to watch instructional craft videos in sewing, yarn crafts, quilting, jewelry making, paper crafting and more. In a sense, it’s like Netflix for crafters. For one low monthly fee, you have unlimited access to all the craft videos you can watch. I was really excited when I heard about Creativebug and their wide array of sewing instructors including Heather Ross, Anna Maria Horner, Gretchen Hirsch, Natalie Chanin and Liesl Gibson. The list of classes I want to take just goes on and on!

Creativebug

Jeanne, how did you come up with the concept for Creativebug?

I spent several years working as an art director for Time and Fortune magazines. I live in San Francisco now, but when I lived and worked in New York, I would go to a pottery studio some nights just to shake off the stress of the day. I spent time doing pottery in college and loved throwing bowls on the wheel and shaping the clay. I was searching for a way to get back to doing things with my hands since I spent so much time working on my computer. Back then, I wasn’t experienced in knitting or sewing, so pottery was the perfect outlet for that.

I had the initial inspiration for Creativebug in April 2011. I went to New Orleans to visit family and friends and on that trip, I was riding bikes with an old friend who is a very talented artist. She was telling me about her mom and how she had spent up to $160 on an online art class, to learn a specific technique – and it was only available for 3 weeks. I thought, wow, I would like to take classes online but I would never be able to be available for 3 weeks straight. If I could access a class when it fit within my schedule (3am even) and at what I considered an affordable price, since I wasn’t fully passionate about one art discipline, then I might try it. I had subscribed to a site in the past which offered tutorials in the tech space and I liked that I could try many different things and pay one price. I also liked that I could take them over and over again until I “got” it. Being a designer, I started to think about what that would look like, if I created a site for someone like me, with a hectic schedule and a wide interest in art in all forms. After meeting with friends and bloggers, I felt confident there was a market for this. I was buzzing with energy when I met my friend Sam, for tea. He was a web designer/developer and decided he would help me with the project as long as we were giving back to non-profit art programs. The idea took so many twists and turns – from having it be user generated to just being an app – and then we started to see the site come together and evolve into a more mature design.

Creativebug – the story of a creative startup from Creativebug on Vimeo.

How did you take your idea from a dream to a reality?

Those initial planning days of the business were crazy, and I was working 24/7. I’d go to work, come home and hang out with my kids for two hours, say hi to my husband and then get back to work. In order to raise money to launch the business, we shot a pilot video of a friend that was a painter, and got ready to pitch to a room full of financiers. I looked around the room and told the investors, “If you watch this video, and afterwards, you feel like you want to paint or do anything creative, I’ve done my job.” They gave me the money. There was no turning back.

On December 20, 2011, I resigned from my publishing job, and on January 9, we started filming for Creativebug, with the intent of launching with 50 workshops. We launched with 60.

The launch itself was really difficult. I was out most nights until 11:30pm talking business. We might as well have moved our beds into the studio—it was insane. And then we had to work out some kinks in the website, like streamlining the signup process, etc. We learned that the summer is a slow time for crafting since kids are out of school and it was almost a blessing in disguise since we were still feeling our way through this new and exciting adventure.

Rad Megan on Creativebug Creativebug instructor Rad Megan

What is unique about Creativebug and your instructors?

The subscription model introduces all of our instructors to fans of our other instructors. For instance, someone may come to find us because they are really inspired by one of our instructors, and come to find out that they really love another artist’s work as well. I loved that crossover and process of discovery for our users. It’s the idea that we’re stronger together than we are individually. We are committed to proving that that is true, even if it takes time! For those who want to take us for a test drive without the commitment, we just launched an a la carte offering on some of our workshops. This allows you to purchase a single class and watch it anytime, without expiring.

We release two new workshops each week, filmed either in our studios here in San Francisco or on location in our instructor’s environment. The entire crew flew for a week out to Nashville to film Anna Maria Horner, and then again to Northern Alabama for the Alabama Chanin shoot, because we really wanted to film those workshops and tell their stories in an authentic way.  We have quite a few amazing instructors in New York as well, like Liesl Gibson, Heather Ross, Gretchen Hirsch, Debbie Stoller, Melanie Falick and Rebecca Ringquist.

Alabama Chanin T-shirt Creativebug Alabama Chanin Ruffle T-shirt class at Creativebug

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

They often say that if you’re the CEO of the company, you’ll take out the trash. That’s absolutely true. Though we did get a new intern who just washed the dishes and I almost cried (thanks Matt!).

What’s the best thing about your job?

People who believe in what you’re doing. In the first 6 months, there were days where I’d wake up in the morning, and the first thought in my head was ” WHAT did I do?!! I gave up a perfectly good job which is like laying on the beach compared to this. It’s too hard. Rewind! ” And then you capture an artist’s story and seeing their passion for what they do gets infused in you and it’s a tremendous gift to witness that. Their stories are so incredibly inspiring. This has been the most fulfilling job of my life, on so many levels.

One of our teachers Rebecca Ringquist said she was determined to have her embroidery hanging in museums (and it is!). We heard from many female crafters/designers speak about how the art we create may have been born of a domestic need, but the time has come for people to recognize that it is true art and innovation in it’s purest form. So many of our instructors have dedicated decades to honing their skills and building their brands. Having them on Creativebug is a responsibility we carry with us every day and something that gives us great honor.

Follow Jeanne Lewis @foundermom and get the latest Creativebug news @creativebug.

Coupon Code!

If you are itching to try Creativebug for yourself, you can join today for $10 off with the discount code CRAFTBUDS. Isn’t that fun?!

The unlimited membership includes access to all Creativebug workshops for as low as $16.99 per month, and single workshops can be purchased a la carte. There are also lots of free mini workshops you can enjoy if you’re not quite ready to start your membership yet.

Card and Trash Bag Flower, with Lifestyle Crafts

Lifestyle Crafts recently sent me some new dies to try out from their dies released at the January CHA  (Craft and Hobby Association)! I chose to receive the:

labels ■    nesting flower ■    doily envelope liners ■    nesting card templates

I liked that these were all basic dies that could be used in lots of ways over and over. I started with the nesting flower die. The instructions call for tissue paper, but I wanted something a little more durable so I used a white trash bag. I tested both the standard kitchen bag and a plastic bag from the grocery store. The grocery store bag was less stretchy and cut much better. For best results, from bottom to top I layered the cutting platform, 2 pieces of plastic bag, 2 thin pieces of paper (or 1 thicker piece), then the cutting mat. Whether using tissue paper or plastic bag, you’ll need around to cut around 4 items from each of the 6 shapes included with the nesting flower set. If you don’t have the dies, cut approximately 24 circles with varied edges in various sizes from smaller to larger.

Then I used a needle and thread to stitch all the layers together and sew on a button. I finished it off by gluing a felt circle to the middle of the flower. I used the flower to top a gift box and used the label die to cut a label out of felt and stitched “Mom” on it to complete the gift wrapping.

The nesting cards come with 17 shapes so it’s a really versatile set. I used two rectangles to make the front of a card and then decorated it all with shapes from the nesting flower set. The doily envelope liner comes with 2 dies, one large and one small. It’s a fast and easy way to dress up an envelope.

 

As always, for 20% off your Lifestyle Crafts purchase, use the code CRAFTBUDS. And in other news, I’ve been doing some baby-related sewing so new free patterns and tutorials are coming up soon!

Video: Sewing + Blogging Tips with Pellon Designers

I’m so excited to be back today sharing our second installment of the Video Chats at Craft Buds series! Last month, we chatted with bloggers Jessica, Andrea and Heather about their tips for writing sewing patterns as a business.

Today, I’m excited to introduce a chat on Sewing and Blogging Tips with my friends Sara Lawson, Kim Niedzwiecki and Erin Sampson. Through no fault of her own, Kim wasn’t able to connect with us during the video chat (we tried and tried!), but she is a super-fun and fantastic blogger, and you should definitely check out her site as well as her projects she’s designed for Pellon.

A Little Background:
I first met Sara and Kim at Quilt Market in Kansas City last spring, and I almost got to meet Erin then, too. I can tell you all now that they are fabulous, inspiring women, and I really think you’ll enjoy getting to know them!

In the 25-minute video (suggestion: go ahead and open in another window while you surf Pinterest…we won’t tell!), we chat about:

– Tips for blogging and how to connect with your readers
– Finding a balance between work/family life and your creative goals
– How you can become a Pellon projects designer
– And more!

What would you like to learn about blogging, writing patterns, etc.? If you have any questions for Sara, Erin or Kim, you can ask in the comments section!

Get Connected:

Sew Sweetness: Sara’s blog with free bag patterns and more!
My Go-Go Life
: Kim’s awesome sewing and quilting blog!
Pellon website
and blog: New site coming next month!
Just Plain Lovely:
Erin’s craft and lifestyle blog!

And you can follow them on Facebook: Sara / Kim / Pellon

 

Something New Sampler Quilt Along

something new sampler header

Looking for your next project?

Resolved to learn some new sewing skills this year?

Want to win some great prizes?

Then join in the blog hop for The Something New Sampler! Each week, one or two bloggers will present a block tutorial with an uncommonly used technique. There will be a total of 9 blocks presented. And, just to mix it up, we’re going with a funky modern block size: 7″ x 14″! We’ll have plenty of suggestions on how to use this block shape along the way. There’s no need for our modern blocks to always be square :)

Here’s our schedule:

Jan 14th
Amy @ thecutelifesmiles.blogspot.com | Bargello piecing

Jan 21st
Heidi @ buttonsandbutterflies.com | folding
Chelsea @ pinsandbobbins.blogspot.co.uk | a scraptastic technique

Jan 28th
Lindsay @ lindsaysews.com | reverse applique

Feb 4th
M-R @ quiltmatters.blogspot.com | trapunto
Heidi @ fabricmutt.blogspot.com | cathedral windows

Feb 11th
Alyssa @ pileofabric.com | pinless curves
Becky @ myfabricobsession.blogspot.com | machine applique

And stop by the cute life on Fridays for tips and tutorials on how to set these rectangular blocks! Posts will be up on the following dates: Jan 18, Jan 25, Feb 1, Feb 8, Feb 15

Be sure to join the flickr group to keep up with the hop, the chatter, and some inspirational photos.

Prizes!

At the end, link up a blog post or flickr photo with anything you’ve done from the sampler series, even if it’s just one block! There are two categories for prizes:

1) Finished projects: Winners will be chosen by popular vote. “Finished” includes an entirely completed smaller project, like a pillow, table runner, mini quilt, etc. Pieced quilt tops also count as “finished”, even if not quilted.

2) Participation prizes: Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Link up any progress you’ve made!

Prizes for the Something New Sampler

 

Fort Worth Fabric Studio is an online fabric shop with yardage and some fantastic custom bundles you won’t find anywhere else! One of these bundles the Lagoon bundle – is a prize, and it is centered around Michael Miller’s Lagoon line, with 18 fat quarters. You can also sign up for their newsletter to be eligible for a monthly prize. In addition to the bundle, they are also offering a $25 gift certificate.

Cotton Blossom Farm stocks great designer fabrics with plenty of modern options. One great feature of this website is the ability to search through fabrics based on categories such as color – it’s just like shopping in a brick and mortar shop! You have the chance to win a set of ten 1/2 yards (of your choosing!) of Simply Color from them.

Fat Quarter Shop is another online shop that sells yardage and precuts of some of the most popular fabrics. They offer next day shipping and have an incredibly large selection! Fat Quarter Shop also has a great selection of other items, such as books, magazines, and kits. They have generously donated a jelly roll of Paris Flea Market and an Amy Butler pattern for prizes.

Sew Me a Song is an Etsy shop that stocks Japanese and contemporary fabrics. Becca puts together some fabulous bundles of texty prints, polka dots, and – of course! – lots of Melody Miller prints. Don’t miss the great collection of Type by Julia Rothman. She has created two custom bundles especially for our sampler event, one with six texty fat quarters and one with eight japanese prints.

Craft Buds 2012 Year in Review + Link Party

Each year, we are inspired by the changing of the calendar to take a look back at the year and remember the everyday moments that stand out, crafty and otherwise! If you were around, you might remember our 2011 Year in Review and Link Party, which was so much fun that we’ve decided to do it again!

In 2012 at Craft Buds, we made:

– Valentine gifts like the LOVE T-shirt and cinnamon heart sugar cookies

– Delectable treats like cookie dough frosted brownies

– Gifts for kids, like the felt flowers button snake and child’s cape

– Sewn storage solutions, like the e-Reader sleeve and car trash bag

– Super simple fabric corner bookmarks and last-minute gifts

– A shortened belt and frosted cupcakes

A pleated pillow, and many of you sewed along!

– A big deal about craft book publishing, including design/layout, a unique book concept, hosting a book launch party, and craft book photography

– A new video series and kicked it off with a chat about writing sewing patterns

 

2013 New Year’s Goals + Giveaway!

What would you like to learn how to do (or do better) in 2013? We invite you to link up your 2012 recap and/or 2013 resolutions here, whether they are craft-related, family, work or personal goals. If you don’t have a blog, we’d love to hear your goals for the new year in the comments!

To play along, add the direct URL to your blog post in the inlinkz tool below. That’s it! If you feel so inclined, visit another person’s post and leave a kind word.

As a thank you for linking up, we’ll give away a 3 months of free advertising on Craft Buds to one lucky blogger that adds their link below! Just add your post by 1/3/13 to be eligible to win.



If you’d like, grab a button for your post here!

Craft Buds

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