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In a generation surrounded by the newest technologies and virtual communities, it is easy to overlook the creative and interactive experience associated with arts and crafts. As an enthusiast of the crafting community, founder and CEO of The Crafter’s Box, Morgan Spenla, introduced an online platform for artists from all over the world to indulge in high-quality digital workshops and purchase the tools necessary for creating crafts of all varieties.
Listen in as host Neal Bloom and guest co-host Al Bsharah, VP of Product Operations at Seismic, chat with Morgan about her background as a crafter and her involvement in the industry.
3:51 Morgan reflects on her early intrigue with crafting, as she always held great interest in creating handmade items from raw materials. Throughout her journey of building varying arts and crafts, she noted the lack of resources available for purchasing low-cost creations. After graduating from University of Southern California, Morgan worked for a consulting company, in their San Diego office, hoping it would teach her the ins and outs of running large companies. Morgan later served as a director of marketing for an engineering firm in Silicon Valley. She eventually started The Crafter’s Box on the side because she found that her busy schedule made it difficult to fully enjoy crafting during her downtime.
8:36 When sites like Instagram and Pinterest were relatively new, Morgan noticed many artists were able to display their work and grow followings on those platforms but there was a lack of instructions, tips, and tool access for followers. Foraging through the aisles of Hobby Lobby, she purchased hundreds of dollars’ worth of materials for a project and found herself frustrated that the process was more stressful than it was therapeutic. Morgan ultimately started The Crafter’s box to offer guidance to those who are interested in crafting but don’t know where to start.
12:37 For a year, Morgan developed a business plan and estimated the amount of money needed to launch her company before leaving her job. Like many startups, she initially bootstrapped the startup and reached out to artists who she believed would be interested in her platform. Morgan’s assistant from her corporate job joined the startup to help manage the logistics.
15:04 Though the business model of The Crafter’s Box has evolved over the years, the original idea of using a subscription box model continued to prove beneficial. The monthly subscription package included digital workshops taught by well-established artists, who each specialized in specific crafts, in addition to a list of the tools and materials necessary for creating said crafts. In 2019, the company introduced an a la carte option allowing customers to purchase kits from past workshops or individual materials.
22:18 As a company whose business is primarily online, The Crafter’s Box’s business was not adversely impacted by COVID-19. In fact, the startup saw a large influx in orders. However, this growth in demand complicated the management of logistics and shipping, as there were fewer workers present in the warehouse handling the products. Despite these new challenges, Morgan’s goal for the company persists as a fast and convenient way for consumers to remotely purchase the tools required for Do-It-Yourself crafts and instruction.
26:50 Going forward, Morgan hopes to expand the company and launch an even bigger and better online shopping experience. With that experience, she aims to include more virtual live workshops and grow her brand to expand into retail stores like Anthropologie and Nordstrom in time for the holiday season.
Morgan’s favorite local tacos:
Ponce’s in Kensington, San Diego
Connect with Morgan:
Keep up with The Crafter’s Box:
Thanks to our partners at Cox Business for their support in enabling us to grow the San Diego ecosystem.