Dabble offers affordable way to learn new hobby or skill

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:46 am

Founders of Chicago-based Dabble hope to eliminate the cost associated with dabbling in new hobbies or gaining valuable business improvement skills and strategies. The company recently launched its Milwaukee operations, and plans to start offering classes for people to dabble in this month.

“What we realized is that as we all go about our 9 to 5, or what in reality is probably more like a 9 to 8 or 9, work days there is very little time for the things we want to learn how to do,” said Jessica Lybeck, co-founder and chief executive officer of Dabble. “There is never enough time to make an investment in the hobbies we’d like to try seem worth while.”

Dabble is a social community where guest instructors can sign up to offer classes on varying subjects that range from business improvement techniques and strategies to actual hobbies like wine making, beer brewing or pottery, Lybeck said.

“Our goal is to offer a wide variety of classes for the every day business person who might be interested in learning more about photo editing, website building or how to blog better but also might be interested in learning how to play guitar or create a fantastic home brew,” she said.

Dabble users are able to participate in any course for just $20.

“All of the classes have a base fee of $20,” Lybeck said. “Some courses that require a lot of extra materials may have a materials cost of either $5, $10 or $15 added to it, but our general thought was that we wanted to keep Dabble classes accessible. We wanted people to feel comfortable enough to try something new without having to invest in an expensive eight-week course.”

Dabble plans to offer one-time classes with plenty of opportunities to dive deeper if students are really interested in specific topics, Lybeck said.

Lybeck and her co-founder, Erin Hopmann, launched the first iteration of Dabble in May of 2011 in the Chicago market. In Chicago, the company has hosted more than 200 classes and has served over 1,000 students.

Lybeck, a Milwaukee-native, felt like Milwaukee was a natural transition for the company to expand.

“Milwaukee is an awesome creative and innovative community,” Lybeck said. “I’m excited to see Dabble take off here.”

The official launch of Dabble Milwaukee was February 1. People can already start experiencing classes.

Classes already being offered in the Milwaukee area include topics on Word Press, Four Square for Business, Entrepreneurship, Twitter for Marketers and even Starting a Business 101. Other topics covered include classes on swing dancing, bee keeping, ceramics, marathon running, and wedding stationary dos and don’ts.

“It’s absolutely free for someone to list a class on the website,” Lybeck said. “We’ll take a day or two to confirm your venue and your description and then we’ll get it up on the site. It’s a great way for business owners and professionals who are passionate about teaching to do that without having to go through the formal process to become a faculty or adjunct at a local university. It’s a great opportunity.”

Classes can be held on site at a local business, but they can also be held at local venues and hot spots that might have a slow night during the week as a way to get people in the door, Lybeck said.

Dabble takes $10 of the $20 class fee to cover operational costs and expansion. The instructor takes the other $10, Lybeck said.

Dabble plans to expand geographically to other socially engaged cities like San Francisco, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; St. Louis, Mo., and Austin, Texas.

“So far we’ve bootstrapped the entire operation by ourselves,” Lybeck said. “We’re currently talking to investors and plan to not only expand geographically but incorporate ways for students to attend multi-session classes on things they enjoy and incorporate more social components.”

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