Introducing: The Craft Studio
Meet The Craft Studio - an awesome kid's art studio in NYC. When the city shut down due to the pandemic in March, fellow mama and owner Lindsey Peers, pivoted her company to have on-line art classes, craft boxes and fun projects to keep the littles busy and their creative juices flowing.
ABOUT LINDSEY: Originally from Rochester NY, Lindsey Peers started working with kids at a young age as a camp counselor and as an assistant dance teacher. With her eyes on the bright lights of NYC she headed for the big apple for college and when looking for a second part-time job, a friend slid her a business card for “The Craft Studio”. In an instant, her future changed forever. Lindsey fell in love with the UES institution that gave kids the ability to be creative, messy, and let loose. Being free to be silly, lead kids while capturing the attention of their adults, and the ability to have fun no matter the situation are what drove Lindsey to envision ways The Craft Studio could create more magic and expand. Upon pitching a plan for seasonal workshops, the founder asked Lindsey if she wanted to buy the business. Only 21 years old with a slew of student loans, Lindsey decided to take the leap - signing a contract to transition her into the owner and buy the business using a deposit from money she saved up from modeling in college. Lindsey’s passion and commitment to excellence is what has ushered The Craft Studio into a new era over the past 15 years. Lindsey created a “Craft Studio TO GO” branch bringing classes, camps, and parties into homes and businesses, opened a second studio in Tribeca, a seasonal outpost in The Hamptons, created a Craft Studio craft kit line, and formulated partnerships with public and private schools and businesses and corporations all over the country. Passionate about giving back, Lindsey is most proud of her work with The Ronald McDonald House, bringing smiles to children facing pediatric cancer, and helping to bring light to the recent mental health crisis as she lost her own sweet and kind brother to his mental health battle.
1. Please tell us a bit about The Craft Studio and how it came to be? The Craft Studio was opened in 1994 by Barbara Dansker when she realized parents in the city needed an alternative to hosting parties in their apartments. A place that takes care of all the messy details and allows for kids to have fun. I was in college in 2002 looking for a second job and stumbled upon the studio from a friend's recommendation. I fell in love with it and had visions of wanting to expand into more classes, camps, workshops, and beyond!
2. What do you think is so special about The Craft Studio that wasn’t in the market already? I think the studio was the first to really see the need for a space like this for kids... an activity driven business. We are almost 25 years old! What I feel really proud about is, after becoming the owner over 10 years ago, it has evolved into more and more of a creative oasis where kids can be free to create without judgements, stress, or fear of non-perfection. I also think parents love it because we are always on trend creating new projects based on what's cool in the world right now. I think a lot of kid brands don’t try and keep it fun and appealing for adults too, and I think when grown-ups are in our studios or taking a class or buying a kit, they are impressed too because it's super rad and appealing to them as well! I think they love and appreciate a space where their kids can just be themselves without creative restraints... freeing for everyone - and we see so many adults craft with us too! And those in-studio experiences translate to our virtual programming and our Craft Studio To Go where we bring the fun to schools, other businesses, other cities, and private homes!
Lindsey's girls crafting in their Pink Chicken frocks!
3. What kind of workshops and classes do you offer? We offer so much! We offer walk-in crafting in-studio that kids can choose from a huge variety, ranging from water coloring to building chocolate houses where they are free to go at their own pace and make their own plan. And then we have our more structured classes for littles 18 mos - up to adults! Our philosophy is there are no mistakes in art and perfect is boring! We guide crafters, but encourage individuality. We also offer amazing seasonal workshops like Pumpkin Spice Slime and Holiday Gingerbread and Election Day Banners. There is something for everyone!
4. How did you have to change or pivot your business due to the pandemic? I am so proud of the pivot our team was able to make. For a social gathering company, COVID 19 could crush us. I quickly saw early in 2020 the potential for this to get bad, and took all of our materials purchased for parties and in-person classes and developed them into a line of craft kits. Many of our craft kits offer virtual videos and support for busy parents, and all of our kits have easy to follow instructions and are AMAZING quality! We also started doing virtual classes in a variety of ways. One, was where kids could use simple supplies they find at home, and another is where we ship materials right to your door and you follow along virtually. We also have the BEST Zoom parties. My girls are so over Zoom, but our parties and classes have The Craft Studio magic everyone has grown to love, and it really feels like you don’t have a screen between you and your friends.
5. Being both a mom and a business owner is a huge responsibility, especially during this time, how have you found the balance? Honestly, this has made me feel like I can do anything. For 6 months, I was trying to save my business with just the help of my husband and mom who were also both working from home. I had a baby just 4 months old when this started and a 5 and 3 year old. This taught me that I am literally only one person and to focus on what is in front of me and be in that moment. If I am on a work call and the kids are playing solo for a moment, that is ok. If I decide to drop everything and take the kids to the park for an hour, that is ok too. I used to get so caught up with people seeing me with my kids and wondering why I wasn’t at one of my stores... or being at work and people judging me for not being with my kids. I have let all that go... I am so proud of myself in both roles and know I give my all to both. I want to look back on these years and think... however hard it was, I wasn’t too stressed to see the beauty of what was in front of me and take it in.
6. What is your favorite part of your business? What is the biggest struggle? I LOVE the creativity... coming up with new projects and ideas. I LOVE seeing kids happy. I LOVE giving back and bringing joy through creativity to kids who really need it. I really dislike some of the business aspects - I am not a business woman by nature. I didn’t study it, I have learned in the hard knocks of throwing myself into it. I hate having to feel like I need to justify my prices because it hurts me to think people don’t understand all the costs and overhead that go into running a business. That is a constant struggle for me - to feel confident in that we are entitled to cover our costs and make a profit for our team to be compensated.
7. Pink Chicken and The Craft Studio are both brands that love to give back - please tell us about your giving back initiatives? Giving back is a HUGE part of my brand. I feel lucky to bring happiness to so many children, but I also feel sad that so many kids are suffering from physical or mental illness. My brother passed away 4 years ago from mental health struggles and he was the kindest soul. Helping organizations that focus on mental health… bringing a disconnected art activity is a passion of mine and a branch of my business that works with schools on this as a non-for-profit is a huge dream. We also work with The Ronald McDonald House, and even in Covid have been doing projects for them virtually, as well as many other organizations.
8. Please tell us about any exciting new or future projects/offerings that we should look out for from The Craft Studio? We are SO excited to be offering our famous seasonal workshops like our Famous Halloween Haunted House Workshop virtually this year with supplies shipped to your door! We have exciting new kits coming out in 2020! And we do a free craft of the day on IGTV Live every Wednesday at 3:15pm! Also, we have plans to continue our reach into other cities...you never know you may see a Craft Studio pop up in your hood soon ;)
Lindsey and her family!