Work-Shop is a crusader for all things creative. Founding duo Matt and Chester – plus their army of kick-ass makers and doers – offer a broad and quirky range of classes and short courses that focus on arts, crafts and life skills. Anything from ‘The Art of Coffee Shop networking’ to gin distilling, and my personal favourite, ‘How to get people to give a f**k!‘
We love their mission of getting people to step away from screens and experience the joy of creating things with their hands, hearts and minds.
Hey Matt & Chester, huge congrats on what can only be described as an EPIC two years! Tell us, what’s Work-Shop’s elevator pitch?
Rad short courses and events in anything you can dream of. Be it making pickles or learning the harmonica, we aim to flick that creative switch inside you to inspire a new way of thinking.
What prompted you to launch it? Did the concept come to you in lightbulb moment or had it been building over time?
Sydney needed connection. As humans, we crave social connection to life, yet we all have our heads ‘plugged in’ to our phones, swiping strangers or tuned out to iTunes. Work-Shop is about putting down your device for a few hours and picking up a paintbrush or hammer and making something with your hands.
Do you think the immense popularity of Work-Shop shows how much people have been craving something like this? Were you expecting such a response?
There has definitely been a thirst for it but we had no idea our little pop-up would catch fire and take hold so fast and reach people all across the world.
What have been some stand-out highlights so far?
Holy moly, where do we start!? We are constantly blown away by people’s ability for creation. Its been an absolute pleasure to not only work with but call comrades the likes of Gemma O’Brien, Sid Tapia, Anna Polyviou, Phibs, Ben Brown, Luke Lucas and creative companies like Gelato Messina, Black Star Pastry, Canon & Etsy to name but a few…
What are some of the most popular workshops that sell out every time?
Typography and hand lettering has seen a massive rise over the past couple of years. You can’t go past a bit of Terrarium fun. And welding consistently sells out, especially among the boys.
What about the most bizarre ones?
The hurricane that is street artist Anthony Lister blew through the shop one night, it was insane. He’s an enigma that man, all that attended will never quite be the same……
Has there been any blossoming relationships from one of your Craft Singles nights?
Speed dating night Craft Singles is always a crazy evening [with] people literally pashing each other on the spot. We know of a few relationships [and are] just waiting on our first Craft Singles wedding. We will keep setting the dominoes up!
Have you heard about any other success stories off the back of Work-Shop? People starting their own creative businesses? Making more time for craft?
We constantly hear stories of people putting their new found skills into practice, making macrame for presents or cooking up an epic dinner for friends. It really warms the cockles to see young creatives just starting out, never having taught, grow into giants of their craft and go on to big things through the support of Work-Shop.
If you had to pinpoint one strategy that has worked really well for you, what would it be?
Spontaneity! Work-Shop is all about organic growth, diving in the deep end and seeing where the river takes us.
What advice would you give to others thinking of getting their own start-up off the ground?
Stop thinking about it and do it. If you’re passionate about something, commit to your idea and set the wheels into motion. It’s extremely hard work but the ultimate reward.
Queenslanders, keep an eye out for Work-Shop’s launch into Brisbane on Friday August 7.