It’s hard to believe Workshop is already 4 years old. I think I may have been completely nuts when I decided to take this idea and make it into a reality. There was no business model, nothing to base it off of, we had no idea how to do it, no money and well, it was kind of insane. We didn’t even think about it, we just jumped and made it happen. Workshop was and still is here to be fun, to inspire ideas and give people a place to meet some folks, get their hands dirty and make something. When someone asked me what we did here a few years back, I responded, we drink beer and make stuff. From there our motto, what we’re about and what we would become was born. Pretty simple.
It’s taken a long time to learn what works, create systems, find the right people to teach and just keep it open. Workshop has been a pure love and the best thing that happened to me, as well as something that has driven me crazy and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. However, flash forward to year 4 and I wouldn’t change much. It’s had it’s ups and downs. Times I’ve wanted to walk away, but in the end it’s become something I hoped but was never sure it could be- which is a launching pad for small business to grow.
Workshop has represented a lot, foremost its just a fun place to make stuff. Goal one: accomplished. It is also a creative space that has been able to host events to launch food pop ups, makers and those that have been able to showcase there via just setting up or selling. Goal two. The neighborhood and our corner, then a bit quieter and nothing else but the corner store on our corner. Evolved. Goal three (though not really our doing).
To be honest, the thing that has made it all so much more rewarding is the teachers. Secret goal four. They are everything about this place. Over the four years we’ve been open, we have seen teachers just starting out- that these classes not only pay their rent but have given them the ability to quit their day jobs, pursue their business full time and make it work. It seems simple, but has been so impactful. Every time you take a class, you’re an itty bitty part of that. From supporting teachers to the press you’ve given our teachers and their brands to just telling a friend- it has changed lives.
In the past four years I have seen countless students move on to create businesses, many that came out of an idea from a class or from being able to take business classes here. People like Meryl Rapp, who makes jewelry I wear all the time (sooo good), who stumbled in to a class wanting to know how to grow here business and now I see her wares on my friends. Then onto the teachers – Gillian at Black Jet Baker, who now is slaying at the Ferry Plaza. Studio Nico who was our first teacher and now I can spot her tee shirts in crowds daily. McVickers Pickles who was my first Indie Mart vendor and now is full circle teaching at Workshop more than anyone and about to become more involved. T-We Tea. Rena who owns Makeshift Society even used to office here and teach business classes. It has been an amazing thing to see people come together, support one another and just have Workshop even be any small part of that. Even my own inspiration and being able to design the Bold Italic and Speakeasy, work on becoming an artist – all things I never knew I could do and was afraid to do. I gained my own confidence through teaching here. This place which you have all helped us create, grow and foster- has strangely inspired more than you can ever know.
With that, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting Workshop, our classes and our teachers. Every time you come in here, it helps make a difference to these teachers and is a little piece to the puzzle that grows their talents and businesses into realities. Just hitting four years old and goal 4 on my list, I am proud to say we wont be going anywhere, we will continue to innovate and add more content. It took us four years to figure it out and to grow up, but we are just about there. Thanks for the support, for being with us through the hiccups and bad times – it’s been a lot of lessons, mistakes and time to get it all right. As well i want to thank DK, my co-founder and the other half of this rad place. He is pretty much the best person in the universe and we would have closed years ago had it not been for him being a rock, supporting and keeping me sane (as much as possible at least). We love this place and we love seeing you all smiling when you’re here, taking photos of what you made and just having fun.
Thanks for everything. We look forward to many more years and growing more businesses, hiring & supporting more teachers and just bringing you all more fun classes.