Craftsy, previously named Bluprint, is a subscription video on demand service owned by TN Marketing. The service features online courses and other forms of video content surrounding crafts, hobbies, and lifestyle topics, as well as an online store that sells craft supplies and project kits that tie into the service's video content.
The service was originally launched in 2011, primarily focused on offering online video courses on crafts-oriented topics, as well as selling crafts products. Within a year, Craftsy had attracted over half a million enrollments. In 2017, the site was acquired by NBCUniversal Direct-to-Consumer and Digital Enterprises; the following year, Craftsy launched a new over-the-top video platform known as Bluprint, which expanded to include other lifestyle-oriented topics beyond crafts, as well as increased synergies with NBCUniversal media properties. Craftsy was merged entirely into Bluprint in January 2019. Bluprint assets were acquired by TN Marketing in July, 2020, which launched a new site, rebranded Craftsy, later in the year.
Sympoz Inc. was founded in April 2010 by former eBay executives John Levisay and Josh Scott, Yahoo executive Andrew Rogers, Todd Tobin and Bret Hanna. It raised $15 million in an angel round of funding from Access Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Harrison Metal and Tiger Global Management, launching the website just over a year later. By September 2012, the company estimated that an average of 1,600 people a day were signing up for Craftsy courses.
In November 2014, Craftsy raised $50 million in its fourth round of financing, bringing the company's total funding to almost $100 million. NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group agreed to purchase a majority stake in the company from equity firms in May 2017. In November 2017, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber was hired as the general manager of Craftsy, after formerly serving as chief creative officer at Mattel Creations.
In July 2018, Craftsy re-launched its subscription video service Craftsy Unlimited as Bluprint, expanding its how-to content to cover a wider array of hobbies and lifestyle topics that "promote and facilitate self-expression", including content featuring personalities such as actress, Marcy Harriell in Re:Fashion, dancer Stephen "tWitch" Boss (of The Ellen DeGeneres Show fame) in Hip-Hop Grooves With tWitch and Barneys New York ambassador Simon Doonan among others, as well as series such as Ready, Set, Grill (co-hosted by Today anchor Al Roker, and Mike Abdoo), and Spark (a series hosted by Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi) that profile artists "redefining the creative landscape". There was corporate synergy between Bluprint and other NBCUniversal properties, with brand integration in series such as Making It, Million Dollar Listing, and Today (which features a co-branded segment monthly). NBCUniversal president of strategy and commercial growth Dave Howe referred to the service as being a "Netflix" for hobbies and lifestyle learning. Craftsy continued to operate as a secondary website until January 2019, when it was fully merged into Bluprint.
In a May 22, 2020 letter to the state of Denver, a Bluprint official announced that Blueprint is closing permanently and will lay off its 137 employees in July and August. A note penned by founder and CEO John Levisay also has been posted to the company’s website.
I am disappointed to inform you that Bluprint will be closing over the next few months,” Levisay wrote. “Like so many customers, instructors, designers, and employees, I am devastated by this news.
Levisay’s note did not address why the company is folding, but in a separate letter to instructors on the site, he characterized it as an NBCUniversal decision, according to an industry association.
In July, 2020, TN Marketing acquired Bluprint assets. TN Marketing said it "will honor previous customer purchases for classes and subscriptions." The rebranded Craftsy website relaunched in September, 2020.
The company says that its most popular classes are in quilting, while cake decorating is showing the fastest growth. Craftsy uses social media, such as Facebook to attract new customers, also posting excerpts of classes on YouTube. Nearly all customers are female and 80% are aged over 40.
- "Quilters And Sewers: The Key To Startup Craftsy's Unfettered Growth". Forbes. 2012-04-18. Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- "Tech startup: Sympoz Inc.Colorado Business Magazine | Weisner Media | Denver News |ColoradoBIZ Magazine". Cobizmag.com. 2011-09-01. Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- Rosman, Katherine (2013-01-02). "Made by Hand, Learned Online". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2021-01-02. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- Primack, Dan (2012-04-18). "Craftsy sews up $15 million – The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blogTerm Sheet". Finance.fortune.cnn.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- Lauren Indvik (2012-09-04). "How Video Platform Craftsy Is Acquiring 1,600 Paying Students Per Day". Mashable.com. Archived from the original on 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2013-04-07.
- Isaac, Mike (13 November 2014). "Craftsy, an E-Learning Site for Makers, Raises $50 Million". www.nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 2018-02-13. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
- Littleton, Cynthia (May 10, 2017). "NBCUniversal Acquires Majority Stake in Craftsy Digital Network". Variety. Archived from the original on 2018-02-09. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- Whyte, Alexandra (November 10, 2017). "Mattel CCO Catherine Balsam-Schwaber departs". Kidscreen. Archived from the original on 2018-02-15. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
- "Al Roker gave me a crash course in grilling and it wasn't a total disaster". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2019-07-09. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
- Spangler, Todd (2018-07-17). "NBCU Relaunches Craftsy Network as Bluprint, a How-To Subscription-Video Service". Variety. Archived from the original on 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
- Malone, Michael. "NBCUniversal Rebrands Craft Platform Craftsy to Bluprint". Broadcasting & Cable. Archived from the original on 2021-01-02. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
- "NBCU Crafts Bluprint For A New Kind Of Influencer". Tubefilter. 2019-01-11. Archived from the original on 2021-01-02. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
- "TN Marketing Acquires Bluprint Assets From NBCUniversal". 1 July 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-07-07. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- "What to Expect from the New Craftsy". Craft Industry Alliance. August 31, 2020. Archived from the original on January 2, 2021. Retrieved January 2, 2021.