Reach for Skillpop

Eamon Queeney—North State Journal
Angie Tucker

When learning a new craft, instruction might come from an art teacher, maybe a guest speaker in class, summer camp, or even perhaps a Youtube tutorial.Just because you are no longer in school (or even if you are) doesn’t mean you have to stop learning and trying new skills. Introducing Skillpop — accessible and affordable in-person education.Founder Haley Bohon made it her mission to make in-person learning easy and more accessible. Her background started in engineering and product development, but after moving to a new city she saw a need for more activities that took people offline. Yoga studios, breweries, and networking meet-ups were all encouraging face-to-face interactions, so she felt the possibility for educational classes could work as well.”It just struck me that there were a lot of opportunities to do things in person but not in the education space, ” said Bohon.In September 2015, Skillpop held its first class in Charlotte. With its success, classes in Raleigh followed a year later. Skillpop is still running strong in both cities to this day. Due to its popularity and requests across the country for Skillpop, it is being expanded through pop-up classes in additional cities, both in the state and throughout the region. Pop-up classes will be held in places like Greensboro and Winston-Salem as well as Charleston and Greenville, South Carolina, with a few more locations yet to be announced.The low price point, which typically ranges from $20-$45 for a 2-hour class, is intentional. When deciding what the price would be, Bohon asked, “What would I want to pay for a 2-hour class and what feels like a good deal for me?” She added, “We want students to come back more and more, so we don’t want you to take one and break the bank.”While anyone is welcome, millennial women and young professionals, especially those new to the area, seem to be the most frequent attendees to the current classes offered. Once people come to a class, it’s common for them to return for another, even on a different topic. Before long, friendly faces are established and relationships are formed.Every week brings a new course load of options, with everything from cookie decorating and embroidery to blogging basics and marketing to car maintenance or how to buy a house. When looking at the website it may seem like there are countless options, but they all fall under three primary categories: DIY (such as hand lettering, watercolor, knitting), business development (social media, marketing, graphic design), and personal growth/lifestyle (budgeting, buying a house, gardening).A few classes are offered in a series that build off of each other, but most are one-off classes on a given topic. After gathering and signing in for a class, the class manager gives a brief introduction to Skillpop adding, “We meet in interesting spaces.”The spaces are scattered throughout the area, but all provide a strong aesthetic. It might be in a coworking space or hotel banquet room. Following the introduction, the teacher begins the lesson of the night, often in an interactive and hands-on way.Expert teachers lead each class, with experience varying by the topic. It might be the VP of marketing at a major corporation teaching your intro to marketing class, or it might be a stay-at-home mom who is an artist with a successful Etsy shop. Either way, teachers are vetted professionals and are just who you want to learn from.So now the question is, which class will you take?