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How to run your own Virtual Lampshade Workshop

So, as some of you may know we love to make a YouTube tutorial video, but we took it one step further and hosted our very first LIVE YouTube Virtual Lampshade Making Workshop, which we think was a real success. Thanks to everyone who managed to tune in and we hope you enjoyed it! Here is a link to our Workshop Recording on YouTube - click here!

It was the second time that we ventured into the virtual workshop world. The first was via Zoom in April, making up our 30cm drum lampshade making kit and this time we decided to showcase our double-sided lampshade making PVC.

We wanted to share our experience of setting up, promoting and creating our virtual workshop, along with what equipment you'll need, the things you'll need to think about and the preparation you might want to consider to run a similar event.

So first things first...

The 'Why?'

By hosting an online workshop we had to think why did we want to do run a live virtual lampshade making workshop and what would be the benefits? To help us stay focused we created a couple of key aims below:

Running a virtual workshop would...

  • create a virtual sense of community amongst our lampshade making customers

  • provide a hands-on live tutorial for those wanting to make a lampshade in real-time with Sam

  • help customers who buy Dannells Workshop Packs and give them the tools to take their current lampshade making workshops online

  • encourage Dannells customers to host workshops and provide them with the confidence to start hosting virtual lampshade making workshop to expand their businesses

Have a think about the following questions...

  • What do you want to achieve by running an online workshop?

  • Will this replace your current face to face workshops for the immediate future and if so you’ll need to consider how your customers will receive their kits?

The Platform - choosing your host app

To choose the best platform, we looked at Facebook Live, Eventbrite and Zoom. We decided to run with YouTube LIVE for the reasons below:

  • Good user experience and well known with the public since lockdown (think Joe Wicks!)

  • Options for customers to engage on Live Chat

  • Ability to use your own branding before going live

  • Intuitive to use

The Equipment -what equipment you’ll need

While setting up our virtual workshop we discovered that you don't need huge amounts of expensive equipment. Here's a list of what we used for creating the webinar:

  • Webcam

  • Laptop

  • Smartphone holder with table clamp (see image in The SetUp section)

  • Powerpoint or similar package (although not essential - we decided not to use this time but may add it in a later date, as it needed two people to operate)

  • Watch or clock you can use for timings

And here's the tools that we used for making up the Double-Sided lampshade for our demo:

The total cost for the kit (which includes enough Self adhesive PVC strip for plenty more double-sided shades) is £15.78 excluding delivery at our current prices)

The Set-Up - tips for setting up your filming area

Setting up your filming area needn't be difficult. Sam filmed our Virtual Workshop from her front room on an old desk so you can definitely do this from the kitchen table!

  • Ideally, choose a room that has curtains so you can adjust the light-dependent on the time of day.

  • Don't worry too much about the background - we're all at home, so show off yours!

  • For the camera, we used an iPhone and the smartphone holder with table clamp for hand shots.

  • Tape a filming frame onto the table to help keep your shade making within the view of the camera, without looking at the screen all the time.

  • Remember to pre-make a shade the same as the one you're going to make to refer to and also to show at the start so viewers know what to expect.

The Promotion

Use all of your social media channels to spread the word and make sure you keep updating with regular posts, they don’t all have to be about advertising your virtual workshop, but the more people see your post, the more likely they are to sign up.

Get creative and think of ways you can weave in mentioning any forthcoming workshop dates. Also think about a countdown nearer the time which allows you to mention and promote your workshop for a whole week or two!

Think about setting up a Facebook event, using the Zoom link to direct them to your workshop and share this on your page. There’s also nothing wrong with asking friends to share this for you in the message, as they might know someone who’s interested from their own friendship groups.

For Instagram and Twitter start to share images of your beautiful handmade lampshades and share your live feed in the web address on the bio (on Instagram) or in the post of Twitter.

If you use newsletter software such as Mailchimp or Mailerlite, create a newsletter for your workshop customers or retail customers to promote the event and again provide a direct link through to registration or to your website.

If possible ask someone to take a photo of you running the online workshop to use as a promo image (see our main image taken by Sam's husband). You can use this just before your workshop, after and to promote your next virtual workshop, so it's worth getting!

The Preparation

To ensure you feel confident with making up your shade watch Dannells YouTube video for your chosen product. Make notes on what you think will need a show on your camera and from what angle. We found that on the rolling the rings section Sam had to move her camera angle, to capture the action and to show how this step works. Also have a think of all the tips and tricks you can show your customers and add value.

You Tube Live offers a demo feature where you can select the audience as 'Private' or 'Unlisted', meaning that you can check out how the workshop will work as a 'live' demo, but only you can see you practising! Once you've done a run through you can opt to save the video and although it's a little uncomfortable at first, watching yourself back, you can make notes on improvements.

The Format

Having teaching notes handy can really help you focus, stick with the format to not go astray during the workshop. Sam swears by using teaching notes for either face to face workshops, YouTube videos or now our Virtual Lampshade Making Workshops. We've added Sam's teaching notes for making a 30cm Drum lampshade kit below as a FREE download.

When creating your own notes remember not to add too much detail – you need to be able to glance at these if you lose your thread. We used the headings below to carve our workshop into sections.

- Introduction to lampshade making – materials, shade sizes, fabrics, styles etc

- Working with the PVC panel

- Working with the frame

- Rolling the shade

- Finishing the seam

- Folding under fabric and tucking in

It's a good idea to run back through your practice session and create timings for each section, that way you'll know how long to schedule your webinar for and also you'll know where you're up to.

The Wrap Up

To give your event some longevity as a talking point and of course to see what people made, ask the participants to share their images with you on social media. We created a hashtag for the shares #dannellsworkshop for posting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We also encouraged people to enter our Instagram Competition #memadeshade with the shade they made during the workshop. #doublesidedshade

If you're planning on holding another workshop, then it's a good idea to ask

permission from the shade-makers to use any images to promote your next workshop.

And if you have permission to use your participants' email addresses to contact them, then wrap up by sending out a newsletter thanking them for joining, telling everyone how the workshop went, asking for feedback and sharing images of the final shades. Don't forget to let everyone know when the next event is.



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