Dabble

is creating a marketplace and skill-sharing collective for lifelong learning

3

patrons
Since 2011, Dabble has been a leading community and digital platform for the discovery and listing of local classes, workshops, and experiences. We haven't done it alone. We owe a huge thanks to the talents of over 5,000 talented entrepreneurs, makers, artists, teachers, and event partners sharing their skills with over 100,000 lifelong learning Dabblers.

To date, we've supported over 14,000 unique experiences including woodworking, calligraphy, knife throwing, cooking, dance, macrame, and even goat yoga in cities around the US from our base in Chicago, connecting curiosity with passion.

Here's the deal with who we are and why we're starting a Patreon account:

Our Situation:

After 8 years of ups and downs, Dabble is currently Jemal Swoboda and Parfait Nayigihugu. We met in Chicago in 2016 and after kicking around ideas we decided to join forces and today - here we are. That's it. There is no one else. We're not some large anonymous site, We're real people and we're doing the best we can to build Dabble into the idea of what it could be.

Jemal runs the day-to-day operations of Dabble and Parfait is working to grow our Platform Partnerships project. Platform Partnerships are a new line of business that allows 3rd parties to use our highly-curated software for their own event management and marketing efforts to increase customer engagement and data tracking.

Dabble was started in 2011 by Jess Lybeck and Erin Hopmann on the theory that there needed to be an easier way to book one-time, low-commitment, affordable, local experiences. They started moving the wheels forward and built the foundation for the community we are today.

We grew to a robust and talented team of 10 in 2016 thanks to funding from KGC Capital, Hyde Park Angels, M25 Group, Atlas Venture Partners, Mark Tebbe, and other Chicago-based investors but we hadn't quite figured out how to get the flywheel turning and we had to slowly scale back to where we are today.

Dabble has developed an enthusiastic following of passionate and skilled teachers alongside curious and creative Dabblers. However, in the last 3 years, Jemal has invested over $150,000 of his own funds (credit cards and 401K) into the business. He works 80+hours per week on Dabble plus side jobs to make ends meet. Parfait is currently working for equity only with $0 for compensation.

We have high hopes but we now know two things:

1. We want Dabble to go on for a long time.

The beta test is long over. We have users and event partners in 3 cities (Chicago, Denver, and St. Louis) with 3 other cities (Seattle, Austin, and SF) growing but in need of more users. We are obsessed with improving the site -- it's the most fun we've ever had doing anything. This should continue for a long time, in some form or another.

However, with growing competition in the event and experience space from Airbnb, Eventbrite, Peek, and others, it has become more and more challenging to stand out. Dabble's secret sauce and the main reason we are confident that we'll be successful in the long-term is that we have a strong trademarked brand that supports partners in securing space, booking private events while offering amazing customer support and solid marketing SEO and exposure.

2. We need to make Dabble self-sustaining for this to work:

Just by existing, Dabble does so much for the community but someone has to steer the ship and respond when things don't go as planned (less than 1% of events) and "hustling" to keep the business afloat was fine for Phase 1, but it's not sustainable. Our savings are non-existent and unimpressive and for Dabble to go on for a long time, it has to support itself.

Dabble currently supports marketing, sales, and customer support for both Dabblers and event partners. Additionally, we advise our partners on pricing, optimal days of the week and times, photo selection, polishing event descriptions, and much more. Recently, we helped a woman find someone to teach her how to use an old fiber spinning machine and helped connect a bachelorette party with a day of experiences that included goat yoga and candlemaking. We do it all and to date, we've paid out over $3 million to our community of talented hosts and instructors. We now need a little love to keep our lights on for the foreseeable future. 

Our plan to make Dabble self-sustaining:

1. More Cowbell. Double down on what is working with private events and user customization and launch Dabble White Label partnerships.
2. Community Support. We received donations/investments already from our generous fans and we look forward to supporting more.

The way Patreon works is that a guest can donate whatever they want per month and the donation is recurring after that. So anything, from $1/month up. 

What we'll use the money for?

Our initial goal is $5,000/month. That money plus the incoming margins from current events should be enough to keep Dabble going, indefinitely. There have been many amazing team members and significant angel and VC investor support along the journey. With your support, we hope to keep Dabble going and growing.

With your help, let's put an extra zero (or two!) behind this community of supporters and make "taking a Dabble" a verb for curious learners around the world seeking to explore their interests, try new things, meet new people, and discover their cities. #LetsDabble
Tiers
Every Lil' Bit Helps
$1 or more per month

Your support keeps the server running for 1 day over the course of the year.  365 at this level will cover our server costs for the year!

A Dab Will Do Ya
$5 or more per month

For the cost of a oat milk latte each month...you've got my back. I've got yours. 

Super Dabbler
$10 or more per month

Love Dabble? Well, you just showed your cards. It's okay. We love you too. No blushing now...

Uber Dabbler
$25 or more per month
This level is great for anyone that counts on Dabble to support their business or just really, really wants it to succeed. Your support means so much to me and the 5,000+ teachers who rely on it to reach new curious minds each day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Patron Saints of Dabble
$50 or more per month

We're not about to say how you spend your money but we can guarantee you are making a big difference in the world. 


Dabble is so needed in today's digital world. We help people try new things. We get people out in their communities and offline. Your support is making that possible and allowing the community to keep growing and thriving. 

Dabble Love for Life
$100 or more per month

We don't take any support lightly but this requires a hug. We've worked a long time and could have (maybe should have) walked away but we didn't because we believe in the long-term future of Dabble and clearly you do as well.  There are few words we can say to express our gratitude...but we'll start with thank you! 

Goals
14% complete
We'll launch a weekly podcast to feature top-rated Dabble event partners and Super Dabblers. 
1 of 3
Since 2011, Dabble has been a leading community and digital platform for the discovery and listing of local classes, workshops, and experiences. We haven't done it alone. We owe a huge thanks to the talents of over 5,000 talented entrepreneurs, makers, artists, teachers, and event partners sharing their skills with over 100,000 lifelong learning Dabblers.

To date, we've supported over 14,000 unique experiences including woodworking, calligraphy, knife throwing, cooking, dance, macrame, and even goat yoga in cities around the US from our base in Chicago, connecting curiosity with passion.

Here's the deal with who we are and why we're starting a Patreon account:

Our Situation:

After 8 years of ups and downs, Dabble is currently Jemal Swoboda and Parfait Nayigihugu. We met in Chicago in 2016 and after kicking around ideas we decided to join forces and today - here we are. That's it. There is no one else. We're not some large anonymous site, We're real people and we're doing the best we can to build Dabble into the idea of what it could be.

Jemal runs the day-to-day operations of Dabble and Parfait is working to grow our Platform Partnerships project. Platform Partnerships are a new line of business that allows 3rd parties to use our highly-curated software for their own event management and marketing efforts to increase customer engagement and data tracking.

Dabble was started in 2011 by Jess Lybeck and Erin Hopmann on the theory that there needed to be an easier way to book one-time, low-commitment, affordable, local experiences. They started moving the wheels forward and built the foundation for the community we are today.

We grew to a robust and talented team of 10 in 2016 thanks to funding from KGC Capital, Hyde Park Angels, M25 Group, Atlas Venture Partners, Mark Tebbe, and other Chicago-based investors but we hadn't quite figured out how to get the flywheel turning and we had to slowly scale back to where we are today.

Dabble has developed an enthusiastic following of passionate and skilled teachers alongside curious and creative Dabblers. However, in the last 3 years, Jemal has invested over $150,000 of his own funds (credit cards and 401K) into the business. He works 80+hours per week on Dabble plus side jobs to make ends meet. Parfait is currently working for equity only with $0 for compensation.

We have high hopes but we now know two things:

1. We want Dabble to go on for a long time.

The beta test is long over. We have users and event partners in 3 cities (Chicago, Denver, and St. Louis) with 3 other cities (Seattle, Austin, and SF) growing but in need of more users. We are obsessed with improving the site -- it's the most fun we've ever had doing anything. This should continue for a long time, in some form or another.

However, with growing competition in the event and experience space from Airbnb, Eventbrite, Peek, and others, it has become more and more challenging to stand out. Dabble's secret sauce and the main reason we are confident that we'll be successful in the long-term is that we have a strong trademarked brand that supports partners in securing space, booking private events while offering amazing customer support and solid marketing SEO and exposure.

2. We need to make Dabble self-sustaining for this to work:

Just by existing, Dabble does so much for the community but someone has to steer the ship and respond when things don't go as planned (less than 1% of events) and "hustling" to keep the business afloat was fine for Phase 1, but it's not sustainable. Our savings are non-existent and unimpressive and for Dabble to go on for a long time, it has to support itself.

Dabble currently supports marketing, sales, and customer support for both Dabblers and event partners. Additionally, we advise our partners on pricing, optimal days of the week and times, photo selection, polishing event descriptions, and much more. Recently, we helped a woman find someone to teach her how to use an old fiber spinning machine and helped connect a bachelorette party with a day of experiences that included goat yoga and candlemaking. We do it all and to date, we've paid out over $3 million to our community of talented hosts and instructors. We now need a little love to keep our lights on for the foreseeable future. 

Our plan to make Dabble self-sustaining:

1. More Cowbell. Double down on what is working with private events and user customization and launch Dabble White Label partnerships.
2. Community Support. We received donations/investments already from our generous fans and we look forward to supporting more.

The way Patreon works is that a guest can donate whatever they want per month and the donation is recurring after that. So anything, from $1/month up. 

What we'll use the money for?

Our initial goal is $5,000/month. That money plus the incoming margins from current events should be enough to keep Dabble going, indefinitely. There have been many amazing team members and significant angel and VC investor support along the journey. With your support, we hope to keep Dabble going and growing.

With your help, let's put an extra zero (or two!) behind this community of supporters and make "taking a Dabble" a verb for curious learners around the world seeking to explore their interests, try new things, meet new people, and discover their cities. #LetsDabble

Recent posts by Dabble

Tiers
Every Lil' Bit Helps
$1 or more per month

Your support keeps the server running for 1 day over the course of the year.  365 at this level will cover our server costs for the year!

A Dab Will Do Ya
$5 or more per month

For the cost of a oat milk latte each month...you've got my back. I've got yours. 

Super Dabbler
$10 or more per month

Love Dabble? Well, you just showed your cards. It's okay. We love you too. No blushing now...

Uber Dabbler
$25 or more per month
This level is great for anyone that counts on Dabble to support their business or just really, really wants it to succeed. Your support means so much to me and the 5,000+ teachers who rely on it to reach new curious minds each day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Patron Saints of Dabble
$50 or more per month

We're not about to say how you spend your money but we can guarantee you are making a big difference in the world. 


Dabble is so needed in today's digital world. We help people try new things. We get people out in their communities and offline. Your support is making that possible and allowing the community to keep growing and thriving. 

Dabble Love for Life
$100 or more per month

We don't take any support lightly but this requires a hug. We've worked a long time and could have (maybe should have) walked away but we didn't because we believe in the long-term future of Dabble and clearly you do as well.  There are few words we can say to express our gratitude...but we'll start with thank you!