Interview with Susanne Woods, Craftsy Editor (+ a Giveaway!)

on November 28 | in Interviews + Profiles, Sewing Trends | by | with 95 Comments

Susanne Woods joined the Craftsy team this fall as Quilting Acquisitions Editor. Susanne has collaborated with us here before with posts like her 10 Tips for a Great Book Proposal. Today Susanne shares a little more about Craftsy, from how to become a Craftsy instructor to the types of things she does in her new role.

Speaking of Craftsy instructors, we hope you check out Kristin’s fabulous– and free!– Craftsy classes. Learn to make a Drawstring Bag or Bucket Bag or take a class focused on the handy Reversible Tote and Zipper Pouch. (You can even buy a Custom Drawstring Bag and Bucket Bag Kit featuring Liberty Lifestyle Bloomsbury Gardens!)

Enjoy our interview with Susanne. We hope to learn from some of you in future Craftsy classes!

Kristin: Fancy meeting you at Craftsy! Congratulations on the new job. Tell us about it.
Susanne: Thanks! My role at Craftsy as their Acquisitions Editor for the Quilting Category is very similar to my prior roles within book publishing. Anyone who has talked to me for five minutes knows how passionate I am about bringing the voice of talented quilters to a platform where thousands can benefit and learn from them. The core of my job hasn’t changed, but Craftsy definitely offers a completely different delivery. Online learning is so dynamic and engaging and really speaks to the way I, personally, take in information… I am certain I am not alone in this!

Kristin: In your publishing jobs you were looking for a certain kind of talent, and at Craftsy you must be looking for something similar, but different?
Susanne: Mostly similar. I am still looking for great concepts and techniques that will grow and expand the interest in quilting. Overall, Craftsy is looking for instructors who have great experience teaching “live” so that they can anticipate where students are going to get frustrated, or to share stories of their students’ successes. With books or magazines, a technical editor and some artful photography can solve a multitude of ills, but with face-to-face teaching, your credentials need to run deep and your experience shows.

Kristin: What are you most excited about in the new job?
Susanne: That is a tough question! Probably, the biggest factor is that Craftsy has built a perfect online platform for learning. This has led to big success in the marketplace as students genuinely love to take our classes and learn new skills. Students who may have never taken a live quilting class before due to limited travel ability, limited funds, or perhaps because their local quilt shop wasn’t able to offer the type of classes they were interested in, are signing up for Craftsy classes. We have created a truly innovative learning experience with no middleman between the instructor and the student and that offers tremendous value to the users. What this means for instructors is that they are finally seeing a financial reward for their work. Due to the necessity for distribution partners in so many areas of our industry, it is difficult to be able to offer a meaningful return directly to those creating the work. With royalties going directly to the people creating the work sans distribution partners, we have instructors at Craftsy who have made $100K from their classes!

For me personally, I am always interested in changing the game, moving the industry forward and being at a company that has integrity and vision I can genuinely get behind. After years of tight margins in the print book business it feels fantastic to be able to have a completely different conversation with instructors. At Craftsy, our instructors are seeing a compelling financial return for their talents on a platform where they have tons of creative control over the product they are delivering and they work with the professionals at Craftsy to provide students with high-quality, interactive classes.

Kristin: A couple of years ago I interviewed Tricia Waddell who was then the editor at Stitch. She’s at Craftsy now too! How are your roles divided?
Susanne: This is one of the best parts of my new job. I have known Tricia for years and I have always wanted to work alongside her. I think I have a girl crush on Tricia! She is a true visionary and I think that she has been (and is) a significant force for progressive change in our sewing/quilting community. At Craftsy, Tricia acquires for the sewing category and her audience tends to be primarily looking for intermediate level fitting, tailoring, patternmaking and garment sewing techniques. We work very closely together to make sure that we don’t overlap for a particular course and share ideas for classes and content on a regular basis.

Kristin: If someone is interested in becoming a Craftsy instructor, what should they do?
Susanne: Here is my list of top 10 dos and dont’s for working with Craftsy:

Top 10 Dos and Dont’s for Working with Craftsy
#1: Do teach. I know I said this above, but this is still the primary skill we are looking for in any Craftsy instructor.

#2: Do create a great outline. For an outline, we are looking for an overall concept of the class (1 paragraph) as well as a list of 6-8, 30-minute segments you want to cover (include a 3 sentence description for each lesson). Provide some visual examples of the type of work you want to cover, a brief bio, and send it to [email protected] We look at every submission.

#3: Do be prepared to travel. Craftsy has four studios (and counting) here in Denver, so we fly our instructors here. Whether national or international, we pay for all travel expenses to and from Denver as well as your hotel, meals and local transportation.

#4: Do want to interact with students. On the Craftsy platform, one of the great opportunities is to mimic the feel of a live classroom by having students ask questions of the instructor as well as interact with one another. For our instructors, this equates to responding to students using a Craftsy instructor account about 20 minutes, three times a week. For students, this means that you can share photos, get feedback from other students and hear back directly from the instructors themselves.

#5: Do check out our Patterns section. If you don’t feel ready to teach a class, check out our Patterns section first. We offer a commission-free platform on which to sell your patterns. True story. Craftsy gives 100% of the proceeds from the Patterns section directly to the designer. Go upload some patterns!

#6: Don’t create new content. This is another great advantage over books and magazines. While we love for at least one pattern to be a Craftsy exclusive, what really matters is the technique you are teaching. If you want to use previously made examples that you own the copyright to, we welcome featuring these in your class.

#7: Don’t be afraid of the camera. We are a friendly and energetic staff who are experienced at making you look your best and feel right at home in front of our cameras. We work with small groups on set so you are sure to feel comfortable with your production team right away.

#8: Don’t be intimidated by the online platform. We have a team of marketing support to set you up to be successful with the Craftsy instructor platform. We are here to help you and your students.

#9: Don’t think that if you record a class with us, that you can’t create a book, magazine article or teach in person. When you work with us, you only assign the rights to the recorded class to Craftsy. Feel free to use the same techniques, patterns, or content to monetize in other ways after you film with us.

#10: Don’t think in terms of years. I am acquiring at least four new quilting classes a month and Tricia is acquiring three sewing classes a month. Unlike print publishing, our ability to conceive of, solicit, film and distribute a course happens in 3-4 months instead of a year and a half to two years (or more). This means we can respond to trends more quickly, as well as get your classes out to students on a much leaner timeline.

And the bonus #11: Show-me-the-money question: We pay an up front fee to cover the costs of course development, and then work on a royalty percentage based on how many of your classes are sold. Depending on the popularity of the class and the effort instructors make to help promote their classes to their own network of fans, an instructor can do quite well!

Both Tricia and I have a good roadmap of what classes we want to present for 2013, but definitely get in touch! Follow the general guidelines above, send your ideas to [email protected] and we will definitely take a look.

Kristin: Any plans of getting in front of those Craftsy cameras yourself?
Susanne: I think my skill set lies in the curating of content, rather than the presenting of it. Never say never, but there are so many other talented teachers out there that I want students to benefit from, that I am concentrating on signing them up first!

Do you have any experience with online learning, either as a student or an instructor? (Craft classes or anything else.) What did you think? If not, are you interested? One person who comments will win a free Craftsy class of their choice!

Pin It

Related Posts

95 Responses to Interview with Susanne Woods, Craftsy Editor (+ a Giveaway!)

  1. Trish says:

    Wow, this was really interesting! I would be very interested in doing an online craft class. I have used many free videos on youtube etc to learn new knitting techniques and would gladly pay for quality!

  2. I’ve followed a few online classes but have never given one myself. It should be fun after the initial camera-shyness wears off…..

  3. Sandy says:

    I have signed up for Craftsy but have not yet taken an online course. Maybe in the new year!

  4. BreannaS in MO says:

    That was some really good information about Craftsy!

  5. Caroline L says:

    My daughters and I have found Craftsy to be enchanting! We are currently trying to tweak our fitting skills with a couture class on Craftsy.

  6. mary says:

    I’d love to have a go at some online learning, never done any but like the idea of doing it when it suits me and from the comfort of home!

  7. Lisa says:

    I have never taught, but I have taken several online classes on jewelry making, and I am currently taking one on soldering. I love them because it is hard for me to find time to craft, so online classes offer the flexibility I need. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I haven’t tried one yet, but I just may look into it!

  9. Anne Rita says:

    I took Kristin’s class and I loved it! I picked up quite a few tricks and I love to read the other’s comments and questions. Thanks!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Amy S. says:

    I have signed up for a lot of craftsy classes. I’ve also completed courses for my MBA online. I would love the chance to win a Craftsy class. Thank you!

  11. Debbie says:

    I love Craftsy and have signed up for 2 quilting classes and many of the free ones as well. It works for me!!!

  12. kim s. says:

    This is very interesting and I am looking forward to checking out the site. Thanks.

  13. deborah b. in AZ says:

    i would love to do online classes! i have two kids and getting out of the house to scheduled classes is nearly impossible.

  14. Melanie C says:

    I have taken a few of Craftsy classes and they are fabulous!

  15. paintermom in MA says:

    This was very informative. Thanks! I am thinking of courses to propose already.

  16. Joy says:

    I’ve never been interested in taking an online class but it sounds like the Craftsy experience is really great so I’m encouraged to try one of the courses. Thanks for posting this information!

  17. Lynnette says:

    I LOVE taking Craftsy classes! You interact with the instructor and your classmates, you can pause, rewind and watch again multiple times, and you can always go back and re-watch that one tricky section when you’re having problems. Some of my favorite bloggers are coming out with Craftsy classes – which is AWESOME! and I’ve tried to encourage others who teach brilliant classes in distant-to-me locations to do the same. We need more Craftsy classes! Keep up the good work.

  18. Ellen Ban says:

    I’ve been very impressed with the classes on Craftsy! Wish I could take them all!

  19. Taysha Riggs says:

    I love online learning! When you work full-time it makes life so much easier

  20. Andee in AZ says:

    I am currently taking two classes at Craftsy and am loving them!

  21. jen says:

    i’ve heard of craftsy but never taken an online course…

  22. Kaitlyn says:

    I really loved my sewing class I took on Craftsy. I love that I can ask questions and watch the lessons over and over. This year I gifted my mom a class, we are going to do a cake decorating one. I even did a blog post about my experience with Craftsy and how I think it’s a great idea for a holiday gift for your crafty loved ones – http://piercingstyles.com/gift-ideas-for-crafters-craftsy-classes/

  23. Mary Beth says:

    I started watching my first Craftsy class earlier this week. I have two young kids and it’s hard to fit a “normal” class into my life. I think I’m going to love the on-demand format.

  24. Bridget says:

    This is the wave of the future for education of all kinds. Amazing, and cool, all at the same time!

  25. Emily says:

    I haven’t taken a formal class online before, though I have learned a great deal from videos people have posted over the years with various knitting techniques. I’ve learned how to join yarn, special knitting cast-ons, and other helpful knitting tips that way. A real class to learn something more challenging would be awesome. Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Kelie says:

    I am enrolled in a few of Craftsy’s classes and I absolutely LOVE them! I enjoy the freedom of learning online at my own pace. I absolutely love their platform, it really helps that you can ask a question as soon as it pops up in your head at any point in the class. And I love the fact that I can watch the class as MANY times as I need/want!!!!

  27. I love Craftsy & all the classes I’ve signed up for! Wow, the thought of running my own class is something I’d never thought about until now. Here I am stitching away to save up rent for a shop one day & the opportunity to test the waters is right at my fingertips. Yay Craftsy!

  28. I’m definitely hoping to take a Craftsy class at some point!

  29. Diana says:

    I’d love to have the experience of taking an online craft class.

  30. Carrie says:

    Thanks for the information. Nice to learn more about Craftsy! I have purchased several classes and love, love, love the way it works!

  31. Mandy says:

    I have never taken an online class. I would love too!

  32. chibidani says:

    When I was in University 10 years ago some of the classes then were online. I liked them, but I also liked the ability to ask professors/instructors questions in person.

  33. Tamie says:

    I haven’t tried an online class but I’d love to give it a try. Thanks for all the opportunities.

  34. Andrea says:

    I have loved the Craftsy classes I have taken so far! I love online learning and have enjoyed all of the classes I have taken so far (craft and otherwise.) I do hope to someday teach online classes of my own!

  35. barbara says:

    Love craftsy ideas

  36. Chris says:

    Thanks for the interview – I would love to take an online class!

  37. Lee says:

    I have not done an online class but I have purused thier classes! they look great!

  38. Sherri says:

    I love Craftsy! I have some patterns on their site and have tried a couple classes – they are fantastic!! I’d love to take another class. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

  39. Jamie says:

    How cool! I’ve been a high school and community college teacher for years and love having an online component to a course. It adds a richness to the content and keeps it lively! I’ve taken 3 Craftsy classes and would love to teach one someday when my littles are older.

  40. Eva says:

    I’ve recently received an online course in Patternmaking and I really like online clases.

  41. Suzanne Shattuck says:

    I have taken some college courses online and a couple of knitting courses. I MUCH prefer it because I am disabled and though I am fully capable, I am not predictable because of my health. If I’m having a bad day, I could not get to a campus. I would love to do more.

  42. Nicole says:

    I enrolled in a quilting class on Craftsy and got all inspired to make my first quilt. Thanks for providing such an interesting opportunity to get taught by experts for people like me who don’t live in the US.

  43. Beth T in OR says:

    This was a fascinating interview, as I expected it would be. I’m going to point my fashion design friend in the direction of Craftsy. Her experiences in the world of commerce have been so negative–Craftsy sounds like a wonderful environment and a place in which talent can shine.

  44. Patti says:

    I recently purchased a knitting class from Craftsy and it is really great! I can learn at my own pace, and return over and over again!

  45. Kimberly N says:

    I loved the interview and would also love to try an online class. Like other posters with small children, it’s hard to go to classes locally when they are all offered during week day work hours! Something I could watch (and pause often!) at night would be much better to learn a new technique.

  46. Beezus says:

    This is probably one of the most interesting interviews I’ve read lately. Great content here! Now, time to go brush up on a couple of patterns that I’ve been working on. :) Thanks, SMS!

  47. Kim T. says:

    Haven’t tried Craftsy yet…5 littles…but yearn to learn! Thank you.

  48. amber says:

    I love Craftsy. I have taken a sewing class and done one of their crochet tutorial and have been very happy with both experiences. I got my mom a knitting class for Christmas last year and she loved it. It was a great gift and plan to give a few classes as gifts this year too.

  49. Jen V in OR says:

    I have yet to try online learning for a craft class but it does intrigue me. Lord knows it is tough to get out of the house for a class with two little ones.

  50. Debbie H says:

    I have taken several Craftsy classes and I love them! Thanks!

  51. MarciaW. FL says:

    When I taught high school algebra, we used an online program from Carnegie Learning for the students. I went through a week of educator’s training on it. When I was in the business world, we installed software that was used for online employee training. I’ve also taken business specific classes online.
    I’ve never taken any other course online, especially since dialup access makes it challenging. If win this class, I can take it using my SIL’s DSL connection.

  52. Tanja says:

    I have not taken a formal class online, but I have sure learned a lot from the tutorials that you link to. I would love to take a craftsy class!!!

  53. Gillian Wright says:

    I am signed on to several Craftsy classes, they are the best way of learning for me. The Tutors are lovely and really know their subject. I love Craftsy and look forward to seeing what new classes will be offered in the future. I agree with Natali a needle felting class would be great. Thank you for such an interesting interview.

  54. Carmen in WI says:

    My biggest problem with online craft classes is taking the time to actually go through them. I like that Crafty classes can be viewed at any time – but sometimes a deadline pushes me to get them done

  55. Kristin says:

    Craftsy was a great stimulus to keep learning to sew after a bit of an interruption — I was not up for repeating the task of lugging my sewing machine on the buses to sewing classes again, but wanted to learn on my own machine. Being able to take an affordable class from home has really gotten me energized about sewing again!

  56. Joyce says:

    I love Craftsy! I made several of Kristin’s reversible totes.

  57. Sally says:

    I have enjoyed the BOM & Quilt backs classes, as well as others! Thank you for providing these classes for us. I look forward to learning new skills!

  58. Susan says:

    I’ve “taken” several of the classes at Craftsy, and loved them. I had initially been looking at YouTube videos for certain techniques, and while some of them were helpful, none of them had the production values or depth of knowledge that the Craftsy classes have. Keep up the great work!

  59. Sally Bell says:

    Love the interview. Susanne is so full of information. We’re excited for her new venture at Craftsy. We worked with her at C&T Publishing. She was an absolute joy to work with and we really miss her there. Perhaps we’ll present something to Craftsy some day and be able to work with her again!?!

    Susan Maw and Sally Bell of Maw-Bell Designs

  60. usairdoll in CA says:

    Great interview and interesting information. I signed up for the BOM months ago but have not yet had a chance to even start. I’m hoping the new year brings more free time, hehe. I have taken one online class before, it was a language class and I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to checking out all the great sounding classes soon.

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.

    usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

  61. Erika says:

    loved the free BOM

  62. I have used youtube for specific embroidery stitches and viewed various videos for quilt blocks or techniques.

  63. julie says:

    Thanks. What a nice interview. Learned a lot about all of them.

  64. jm says:

    I taken a few of the free Craftsy Classes and loved them all!

  65. bee says:

    I’ve signed up for several classes on Craftsy but haven’t really gotten into them yet. ack! I’m looking forward to making the time for it and love that there are videos & ‘handout’ information to go with each.

  66. jessicac says:

    I have taken 2 online classes and really enjoyed each one. Plus I can stay in my pajamas! It was like a personal date every week, during the online chat… I plan on taking another soon!

  67. Lucia in Canada says:

    ooooo! I love Craftsy! It IS such an awesome way to learn- the hard part for me is choosing which class to take first! If only I didn’t have to work- I could fit a lot more in! Thanks for the great article.

  68. I’ve never taken an online class, but I’ve learned SO much from internet tutorials in general, including some sew-a-longs. I am a very visual learner, NOT auditory, so I think I learn better from reading and seeing pictures than I do from being in a traditional classroom setting! And the internet is perfect for that-it’s like having a great textbook, but also being able to ask the author of the textbook questions and actually have them answered!

  69. Penny says:

    I’ve taken a couple online sewing classes, they are great. I write tutorials and I’d love to be an instructor but too camera shy! LOL.

  70. Wendy says:

    Haven’t tried Craftsy yet. Thanks for all the useful info!

  71. Alissa says:

    I’m really enjoying Craftsy and the classes they have to offer!

  72. Debora Kerr says:

    I really learned a lot about Craftsy teaching from this article. Thank you!

  73. natali (NY) says:

    Love craftsy! I have signed up for some sewing classes and so far they have been great! Would love to see a needle felting class.

  74. Erin Palmer says:

    I have done a crafty class and loved it, and I love youtube tutorials (there kind of like classes :)

  75. MC says:

    I’ve signed up for Leah Day’s class, and several of the free ones. I am looking forward to working on those projects in 2013!
    I am also working on putting together my first sewing pattern for the shop.

  76. Suzanne says:

    I love the Craftsy platform. I have enrolled in several classes and really appreciate the perpetual access to my courses.

  77. elsa says:

    I’ve taken a few classes with Craftsy and love them. So nice to be in the comfort of my own home and take a class. The classes I’ve taken are very well done and easy to understand. I’m enrolled in a free motion quilting class with Leah Day and really looking forward to quilting one of my quilts! I like that I can go at my own pace and do it in my jammies!

  78. VickiT says:

    I took Jenny’s (Missouri Quilt company) first quilting class and thought it was well done. I liked the way I could pause or go back if someone came into my sewing room talking and made me miss something. (I hope that capability comes back again in their next update since that was taken away and you cannot go back a few seconds any longer in their recent changed made to their site) When I was taking Jenny’s class not many had heard of Craftsy as it was not as well known back then. There were very few classes available at that time but now there are a great many classes in all subjects. I love how you can go there to learn from so many things in the crafty arena as well as even cooking things. It makes it easy to keep everything all in one place which you may be interested in learning more about.
    I also have taken Amy’s (Stitchery Dickory Dock) Quilt along and loved it as well. I like the way the instructions can be downloaded easily and the way questions can be asked in each class rather than a large message board which is outside the classroom, if that makes sense.

  79. Julianne Ross says:

    This is totally new to me! I’m so glad that I read this post to find out about Craftsy. I’m mostly self-taught so classes would be extremely useful!

  80. Caryn says:

    I just recently signed up for a couple of their free classes and am looking forward to trying them, especially the sewing machine 911. I saw several others of interest too and would love to try a free class. Thanks for the chance!

  81. Peggy says:

    I love Craftsy! I have signed up for several quilting classes, although I haven’t finished any of them!! I am hoping that after the New Year, I’ll have time to devote to them. I just love the platform and how easy it is to use and converse with other students and the teacher. Would love to see more shorter quilting videos, maybe just on mastering one technique with one project or two.

  82. Kerrin Moeller says:

    I’m almost done with the blocks for the Crafty Block of the Month class, and it has been great! I’ve learned so many new techniques & really expanded my understanding of different methods of piecing blocks. I’m signed up for several other classes, but haven’t had the chance to complete them yet – I love it that you can move at your own pace & go back to look again at the videos when you need to!

  83. kathyh says:

    Thanks for clarifying some Craftsy concepts. Seems like a great format and definitely at your own pace.

  84. nopinkhere from TX says:

    Wow! This was really interesting!

  85. Amy says:

    I absolutely love Craftsy! I’ve asked for a gifted class from everyone I know this year.

  86. carole says:

    I love the online format because I can take the class during the day when I have the most energy and my children are at school.

  87. Mary says:

    I got Kristin’s class for the bucket bag which I might try sometime in the near future.

  88. janita says:

    I have signed up for a craftsy class as a student. I love that I can access it any time I want to. And my access to the class never expires. Thank you so much. Janita

  89. I just took Elizabeth Hartman’s free Craftsy class on quilt backs, and I really enjoyed it and learned some great tips and ideas. I will definitely be taking more classes at the site!

  90. Lyanna says:

    What a wealth of information! I would love to work with them in the future — I’ll put my thinking bar on and come up with some ideas :)

  91. Ellen M. from OH says:

    I recently purchased several classes at Craftsy, as well as your free class. I think the platform is great for us visual learners, and there are many useful features (replay, note-taking, unlimited access) that make Craftsy a very good value. I’d love to win the free class – thanks for the chance!

  92. Vicki says:

    Thanks so much for this interview; it’s great information! I have recently uploaded my first two quilt patterns to my Craftsy store and love the no commission and easy to use set up there.

  93. Becki says:

    I registered for the Block of the Month course on Craftsy but haven’t gotten to do it yet because of my small children at home and sewing for the holidays. I’ve browsed it though and can’t wait to start it after the new year.

  94. Angela says:

    susanne is great! Thanks for the lovely interview!

  95. Alyssa says:

    Thank you so much Susanne and Kristin for doing this interview, it is SO helpful. I really really would love to teach a Craftsy class someday, I have a bunch of ideas. So I will work on a proposal.

« »

Subscribe to the sewmamasew.com newsletter

Sewing inspiration, projects, events and offers delivered conveniently to your email.

SUBSCRIBE +

Get the latest sewmamasew.com news via