Do you fancy honing your interior design skills with Rita Konig or taking an indoor gardening course with James Wong? Olenka Lawrenson explains why online courses at Create Academy are proving so popular.
Can you explain the concept behind Create Academy? At Create Academy we are on a mission to build creative confidence through joyful learning experiences. Our online courses give access to the expertise of today’s leading figures in home, food, gardening and decorative arts, with experts including Rita Konig, Edward Bulmer, Dan Pearson, Molly Mahon and Alidad.
We want to democratise design and creative learning and inspire people to live more creatively fulfilled lives. Our beautiful courses are available to watch on any device, in any place and at any time, with each course consisting of bitesize, on-demand video lessons that you can watch – and re-watch – at a pace that suits you. Our intuitive platform makes discovery easy and learning frictionless. All our courses are fully subtitled too.
When was the business started? Create Academy launched in 2019, just before the world was turned on its head. Since lockdown we’ve witnessed a seismic shift in the way people live, work and approach learning. Lockdown was also the catalyst for people to explore different skills and crafts and seek out more rewarding and purposeful online experiences. We are able to offer a rich learning experience that caters to a wide range of tastes and interests and now have 18 courses available – teaching everything from interior and garden design to curtain making and quilting.
Who is your target market? Anyone who has a desire to learn a new creative skill or to be inspired by pioneering creatives at the top of their game, providing learning for everyone from design enthusiasts to career changers to professionals. Audiences range instructor by instructor, however many of our customers come for one course and then stay on to discover new instructors and new skills that they may not have considered before.
Can professional interior designers benefit from a Create Academy course? Absolutely. We’re seeing a growth in our courses being purchased by interior design studios as inspirational tools for their teams. What these courses show is how some of the best interior designers today actually work – from Rita Konig and Alidad to Edward Bulmer and Amanda Lindroth – outlining their individual approach and design process in detail, covering everything from inspiration and conceptualising to topics such as budgeting, installation and completion. In each course designers also showcase completed interior projects to demonstrate how their design considerations are translated into the finished product.
How do you choose your presenters? We have an in-house team that is responsible for researching creative personalities and new lifestyle trends that we think will bring something fresh and existing to the platform. In addition, we listen to our customers about what they want to learn and their feedback on ways we can be optimising their experience.
Our platform also enables us to see which topics and lessons our customers are most engaged with at any one time, which informs future course development. We sometimes even add new lessons to courses to surprise and delight. A digital product that can continually evolve is certainly a pretty exciting concept.
What new courses are in the pipeline? There are so many wonderful courses on the horizon – with an average of a course launch a month. We have four new interiors courses hitting the platform this summer that I’m really excited about, including a course on designing a home for entertaining with the joyful US interior designer Amanda Lindroth, a course focused on artfully edited interiors with LA-based interior and textile designer Kathryn Ireland, a masterclass on filling your home with colour with Annie Sloan and an introduction to upholstery with designer Micaela Sharp.
We also have a huge range of gardening courses – covering everything from soil health and biodynamic growing to wild food and garden design – launching in A/W22 with instructors including The Land Gardeners, Poppy Okotcha, Claire Ratinon and Fern Verrow.
Have you taken any of the courses yourself? Yes, all of them! As part of the production process the entire Create Academy team goes through an extensive review process of each course before launch. This not only helps to ensure the quality of our product, but also acts as a way for us to immerse ourselves in our instructors’ world and, of course, learn as we go. It really is the dream job.
Olenka Lawrenson is head of brand at Create Academy. You can find out all about the courses on offer here
Top image is from Amanda Lindroth’s course on designing interiors for entertaining