How to Host a DIY Workshop from Sheena at Shell's Loft

    Here at Eventup, we've been curious about what sort of events are happening at our venues, so we decided to reach out to some of the guests enjoying the different types of celebrations at our event spaces. Take Sheena LaShay, a DIY craft party organizer, whose love of DIY crafts led her to create Crafts + Cupcakes, a DIY workshop at Shell's Brooklyn Loft. Sheena was kind enough to tell us about this special event at Shell's Loft, her process for putting it on, and how Eventup helped her find the perfect space for her ongoing DIY craft workshop.

    How did you get the idea for DIY parties...what inspired you to start hosting this type of event?
    I have always been the creative-artsy type and I have been crafting for many years. Crafts + Cupcakes was created because of social media. I posted a link to one of my favorite DIY & lifestyle blogs on Facebook. A friend said she loved the blog and wanted to do some of the crafts. I told her to come over to my place and we could do it together. She then asked if she could invite a few more friends to join us and I said I knew of other people who would like to join us too. We then decided it needed to be a reoccurring party and that it needed a cute name…the rest is history. The main thing is…at least with all my friends…we have tons of craft ideas…especially on our Pinterest boards and yet we hardly ever do them. I wanted to create an opportunity where we would actually get together and do them. I wanted creativity and community on a consistent basis.

    Tell us a little about your background in party planning and events.
    I have many titles. I am an Event Manager, Stage Manager and Project Manager…among other things. For instance, I’m also a Photographer, Filmmaker, Dancer and Mixed Media Artist. I have been planning corporate, charity and private events since 2008. I have been stage managing events and productions since 2001. My events range from high budget Wall Street corporate holiday parties to my own exclusive yearly artistic retreats called C.R.E.A.T.E. (our next one is scheduled for October in the Hamptons!). I love creating unique experiences and my own organizational, creative and resourceful personality traits lend itself to flourish in event management. You add that to my experience in the entertainment and art industry and it just makes for a lot of fun!

    Tell us about Crafts + Cupcakes. What's your usual process in setting it up and what happens at Shell's Loft?
    Crafts + Cupcakes is a DIY workshop, craft party, and social networking mixer all in one. I usually pick a date, create the marketing material for the event and notify our sponsors. Next, with the help of my friends or group board, I pick two to three crafts for the party. Once I have that in mind, I send out my marketing campaign using my mailing list, YouTube, Facebook & all other social media platforms in relevant ways. There are also things like ordering the supplies for the parties. (My guests hardly have to bring a thing.) I create a menu for the party. I cook or prepare 95% of the dishes. If one of the parties has a much larger guest list, I hire an assistant for the day. Our other main sponsor is Sterling Sweets, an allergen free e-bakery that provides all of our desserts for every party.

    On the day of the party, I have to gather everything I need from my home and travel to the event space. This is usually anywhere between 10 to 20 bags worth of items and supplies. Once I’m at Shell’s Loft, I have to set up all the craft supplies, prepare food, and then host the party. Hosting the party is its own thing that’s separate than planning the party. And hosting a party is a bit different than leading a workshop. Somehow with Crafts + Cupcakes…I do all of that. What helps is that my guests are self-sufficient, friendly and fun, so the party has a wonderful flow to it. After the party is over, I break everything down, clean and take everything home.

    How did you come across Eventup? What do you like about the site and how did it help you in the planning of your event?
    I came across Eventup through Google. I used to host Crafts + Cupcakes at my home but some of my Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers wanted to be invited as well. I wasn’t too comfortable with having strangers in my home and thus I began a search for a rental space for the parties. I had the HARDEST time ever finding a location for a creative crafting event. Seriously, that was the most challenging part! After a few online searches, I did find some websites similar-ish to Eventup but they did not compare. They mainly featured rental and rehearsal rooms. What I needed was a dynamic space. What do I like about the site? Your photography is on point. Whether Eventup takes the images or the venue takes them, the quality really shows the personality of the venue. And honestly, for me, it is not just about the size of a space or where it is located, it is about the energy of the space. I saw so many dynamic, unique and cool spaces on your website. Eventup is also easy to use and to navigate. I had NEVER heard of the site and within minutes I had found what I needed. I wasn’t confused. I didn’t have questions. Everything was straightforward and easy. As you can see from above, I do pretty much everything as it concerns this party series and I really need websites and apps that are easy, simple, and straightforward. Time is precious.

    Why did you pick Shell's Loft for your event? What did you like about the venue?
    I picked Shell’s Loft because it was cool. It was big and open and gorgeously designed. It wasn’t just a white room with four walls and windows. I needed a furnished place that had beautiful colors. I needed a space with a fully functioning kitchen. (Sometimes we need the stove for our crafts! We definitely need a sink.) I wanted a space that felt like someone’s home but was fresh and hip. I wanted my party to still feel intimate and I experienced that at Shell’s Loft. I also like that she has a huge table that can seat about 40 people. That’s perfect for crafting!

    What is the best part about working with Shell's Loft?
    The best part about working with Shell’s Loft is that she truly believes in what we’re doing. I’m not just a number or just a client. Shell herself is personable and she loves crafts too! She’s creative and dynamic and does all kind of DIY activities herself. I truly was destined to meet her. Also, her space is so cool! It’s just so big and pretty and colorful. I love being there. And now, I’m actually in the process of filming all the promotional materials for Shell’s Loft and some of her events! How cool is that!?!

    Any tips and tricks for others trying to put on similar events?
    I’ll give you three tips. One, if you are doing any craft that requires a scent…such as candles or body scrubs or hair butters, pick three signature scents that attendees can choose from. I personally own about 50 various essential oils but I find that attendees get overwhelmed at too many choices. Pick three and let them choose from that.

    My second tip, create a mailing list. Even if your craft party is just four friends getting together, create a mailing list that you store in Google Drive or MailChimp. My event started out small and I invited whoever came to mind but many friends and acquaintances really wanted to attend as well. I had no idea and I never remembered to email or tag everyone when the time came for the parties. Now, I keep a spreadsheet of anyone who has ever expressed interest from friends, acquaintances, clients, social media followers and more. It’s separate from my business mailing list. Keep a database. Trust me!

    My third tip, do not forget about the men. They say Pinterest is mainly for women and when you think about crafts, most people think about women. Please remember, some men like being creative too. Men are artists too. Men like to make things with their hands. There are candle lines specifically geared towards men and body products and jewelry and everything else. Men are designers. So don’t forget about them. I had numerous male friends who really wanted to come to my parties but they thought it was only for women. This was because my marketing campaign was very feminine. If you’re open to men attending your parties, make sure they know that they are welcomed too.

    Thank you for your insight, Sheena! We hope your story and advice inspires people to host their own DIY workshop or any DIY event at one of our venues! For more tips on planning a DIY crafts workshop, check out Sheena's website or follow her on Twitter (@SheenaLaShay).