Craftsy – A New Online Hobby-Learning Platform

craftsy-54_600Just until you thought you could find anything on the Internet, Craftsy comes along and changes everything.

Craftsy is an 18-month old, Denver-based service that teaches people skills they used to learn from adult-education classes or YouTube “How-To videos,” through a series of instructional videos. John Levisay, Josh Scott, Todd Tobin and Bret Hanna, who originally worked together at eBay, created Craftsy in June 2011. However creating a technology business aimed at women was not their first intention.

The four men created a website called, Sympoz, which was an interactive tool that connected teachers and students. They debuted classes such as, “Wine Demystified,” “Money Rules,” and “Quilting Quickly.” They soon discovered that demand for the quilting class was triple than that of any other classes, which is how Craftsy was born.

The company spends almost $15,000 to develop and film each class. Typically the classes are broken up into lessons and are targeted at upper level hobbyists. They have invested more than $5 million in technologies to create real-life live classroom experiences.

The classes even have a feature that allows students to repeat the last 30-seconds of the video, in case they missed anything. Students can also ask questions, while they are watching. All of the questions asked are put on the side of the video with the teacher’s responses and synchronized to the moment in the video when the student typed it so that others can see it as well.

Each class costs between $20 and $50 and helps students perfect their skills in various arts and crafts activities. The classes are taught by professionals and all of the materials needed can be found on the Craftsy website.

Throughout its existence, Craftsy users have taken 410,000 classes with about 170,000 students enrolled to date. In November, 50,000 people were enrolled in classes. Currently, 50% of students go on to pay for a second class. Nearly all of the students are women and 83% are over the age of 41.

Ultimately, Craftsy takes the classroom experience and it brings it right into your home at an affordable price. What differentiates it from YouTube is that real teachers teach all of the classes and provide full instruction as if it was taught at a community college. These classes allow you to follow along with your own supplies at your leisure.

Today, women now control $3.3 trillion in consumer spending and are responsible for 80% of household buying. In my opinion, creating an interactive experience that builds on women’s wants and needs is the best entrepreneurial move to make.

Especially in this bitter cold winter season, I know I’d rather take an online class than leave my apartment. So if you’re interested in building upon a current skill, such as knitting a sweater or a hat, this is definitely the site for you. However if you are a beginner, I’d stick to YouTube and then head over to Craftsy once you learn the basics.

Now, let the crafting begin!