It started pre-pandemic. Paint and sip style models of workshops have been around for at least 5 or 6 years. Its popularity has exacerbated with the desire for finding something fun, social and cortisol-reducing activity following two years of lock downs and isolations.
Image: Weipa artist Fiona Dyer teaching silk colouring techniques at an educators workshop at Kepnock State High School in April this year
The people attending these workshops are not looking to start an art career. This is very much exemplified by the model of successful franchise Pinot and Picasso. This concept was founded by two friends - James Crowe and Aaron Carrasco in Sydney. Neither of them are artists but they cleverly observed this desire for fun and social connection from the 25 to 55 year old women target market. Everything from bridal showers to birthdays and farewell parties book up places at these studios. The founders now have 35 Franchisees across 74 studios in Australia.
Of course they were not the first. Plenty of artists had evolved their own versions of this style of teaching workshops. This type of workshop is successful - but not for everyone.
There is another evolving market for deeper skill development and people who really want to take it the next step.
During the pandemic some clever people started developing kits to send to people to alleviate the mental toll that isolation was taking. This was creative thinking, entrepreneurship and "pivoting" at its best. Places like Ceramiques in Melbourne sent out packages of clay and tools, had instructional videos and then offered pick up and drop of services for kiln firing. They, like many pottery studios, have returned to face to face workshop programs. Pottery classes have had a huge growth with amazing studio spaces popping up where you can learn hand building and wheel throwing.
Now the workshop market is really flooding. How do you find your point of difference if you offer workshops or are thinking of doing it?
First of all, scope out your local competition. What can you offer that is different? What are people paying to do a workshop? Is it financially viable for you to compete in that market?
Make sure you stay true to what your love teaching and your core values. Stay on brand!
Thoroughly understand your target market and what they want to get from a workshop. Then tailor your marketing to suit.
Let us know what has been working for you!