Michaels, the Irving, Texas-based craft store chain, launched a new program last month encouraging local makers to teach craft workshops in the stores’ classrooms. Called MAKERS Nation, the program is currently being piloted in five areas: Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, Northwest Florida, and Salt Lake City. Through the program, instructors are able to develop their own class curriculum, set their own schedule, choose their own class price, and market their class as they see fit. All MAKERS Nation classes will use products from Michaels.
“We have a classroom in every Michaels store, and since 2014, customers can use our classrooms for group arts and crafts opportunities, free of charge, when not already committed for a store-led event,” explained Mallory Smith, Public Relations Manager. “However, under our existing rules, instructors couldn’t charge a fee to participants to attend the event.” MAKERS Nation changes that. If successful the pilot program could be expanded chain-wide. Michaels currently operates more than 1,200 stores in 49 states and Canada.
“As a company, we will not dictate which classes are taught, as we want to empower local instructors to teach classes their communities are interested in, whether that be quick-turn trends or classic crafting techniques,” Smith said. The program includes a new online scheduling tool that makes it easier for instructors and customers to sign up for classes they want to teach and attend.
In February of 2017, we reported how an inefficient manual registration process for Michaels classes, a lack of marketing by local stores, and an additional pay cut for instructors made it extremely difficult for teachers to successfully earn a fair wage teaching classes there. The New Jersey instructor we spoke to at that time said this about MAKERS Nation, “I would like to think that we had an impact. And the huge number of teachers who quit as a result [of the pay cuts], and the many stores who have been operating without teachers since then.”
MAKERS Nation is a pilot program and Smith says Michaels is looking for feedback from instructors and teachers over the coming months. Makers who would like to propose a class can go here to apply. They should have a class description, photo, and personal bio ready.
For a list of all store locations and to register for MAKERS Nation classes visit Michaels.com.