Craft Candy’s mission is to help people learn new creative skills, so we’re pretty excited about the idea of Mastered! Can you tell us about it?
Mastered is a place for designer-makers who want to learn the creative and business skills to make a real living doing what they love. We bring students the best in creative education (like embroiderers to Louis Vuitton and the Queen, Hand & Lock or tailors to the world, Savile Row Academy) and then create online courses full of HD videos and exercises. Students learn from the best, when it suits them. They can then upload pictures of their work to get feedback from the teachers, their peers and the industry experts that we invite into the classroom.
We don’t leave it there. All students have access to a personal coach to help them with their business/career ideas and so we really make it our mission to give everyone a seamless experience between creative skills and business know-how.
What’s the story behind the business idea?
Mastered comes from the same team who worked on The Amazings (online craft courses taught by elders). As much as we loved the idea of The Amazings, we realised that there were lots of hobby craft courses available for people, but not much for people who wanted to take their craft to a more professional level. Degree or art foundation courses are fantastic, but not everyone is able to take the time or the money to commit to one. We wanted to re-imagine creative education and give students access to the best teachers and business support in a convenient and interactive way that suits them.
How are the classes taught?
Our courses are all taught online. However unlike a lot of free online tuition, we’ve created a classroom designed for the best possible learning experience. Students watch HD video tutorials and have additional written support and exercises. All of the videos are shot with 3 cameras so you get a variety of angles. Students often say that we get closer to the teacher and the technique than you sometimes get in an in-person class.
We encourage students to upload pictures of their work in progress so that the teachers and other coursemates can give support and feedback. They can also ask questions at any time. We work hard to bring industry experts into the classrooms to give feedback too. We’ve had editors of magazines, pro-Etsy sellers and guest teachers all looking at students work. Alongside this, students have access to a personal coach to discuss all things business and careers. We’ve had some fantastic feedback from students and we’re excited to see what they go on to achieve.
Who are the teachers?
Our teachers range depending on the discipline; but the one thing that unites them is that they are all experts in their fields. The people you’d love to learn from, if only you had access.
For our creative embroidery course we have Diana Springall, described as “one of the UK’s leading embroiderers” by Bloomsbury Publishing. Our tambour beading course is taught by Hand & Lock who do embroidery for top fashion houses and the Royal Family. Our jewellery courses are taught by Holts Academy, the leading jewellery educators in the heart of the Hatton Garden jewellery quarter. We’re the only company to offer online training with The Savile Row Academy so students can learn the exclusive Savile Row tailoring techniques. Jacqueline Bisset teachers our fashion illustration course and she’s worked with everyone from Givenchy to Kurt Geiger. It goes on and on.
We do the legwork in finding the best teachers and bringing them to our students, saving them the overwhelm of trying to find the best person to learn from. We love to work with people who understand not only the creative skills, but how to turn those creative skills into something sellable.
It’s an exciting time for designer-makers. How do you see opportunities developing for them in the future?
It certainly is an exciting time! I see opportunities developing as people respect that being a designer-maker is a wholly legitimate career path and it isn’t just something that people do on the side. We’re seeing such beautiful and original products at designer-maker fairs and online, it’s making everyone raise their game. I love that designer-makers are really getting their work out there and there are more opportunities to do so. Here at Mastered, we’re really excited to be part of that movement.
What do you love most about handmade?
I love that handmade items have a story in a way that mass-produced products don’t. They’re entirely unique and incredibly special. It’s a privilege to own something that has been crafted with the passion and inspiration of a designer-maker. Nothing beats getting a compliment about an item and being able to share the providence of it. The more handmade items we mix into our lives, the richer our style and our experience becomes.