Christine Shankowsky and Andrea Hanki first met 10 years ago when Hanki photographed Shankowsky’s wedding, but it serendipitously wasn’t until reconnecting in 2012 that the two realized they were meant to be best friends and business partners.
“We both just had our first child and were doing the same thing in our lives, and we got together and just became fast friends,” Hanki explains. “We spent a lot of time having ‘crafternoons,’ decorating for the holidays and our children’s birthdays and we realized that it’s so much more fun to do all that with a friend, and we wanted to extend that experience out into the community for people that might not have that opportunity.”
In September 2015, the two hosted their first public craft workshop to launch their business, Made Social – monthly parties where guests make modern crafts instructed by the duo, while enjoying food, cocktails, music, company and lots of confetti.
“The main thing about Made Social workshops is the social aspect,” Hanki says. “It’s a way to bring women together. You don’t have to be crafty to participate; you can just come and have fun with it and enjoy yourself.”
Attendees range in age from university students to grandmothers and, while men are welcome, only women have attended so far. “We have a lot of people who come on their own, and when they come back to more workshops because they like the environment, that’s when we feel like we’ve done our job,” Shankowsky says. “We want everyone to feel welcome, like they can meet people here.”
Made Social relies on Instagram (and its 12,000-plus followers) to market its workshops, so creating a visually stunning experience is essential. To create themed, detailed environments, Made Social partners with local businesses – including Sugared and Spiced, Fabloomosity, Pura Botanicals and Knosh Catering – for the venue, food, decorations, florals, music and swag bags. “We want to build a creative community of people and businesses, so it’s important for us to expose our audience to local, awesome businesses,” Shankowsky says.
If this sounds like the sort of thing your grandmother might have done, that’s kind of the point. “We are really inspired by generations of women who have come before us who had quilting bees and sewing circles. We wanted to bring that back in a more modern way” Hanki says.