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Build a craft, and a team

Sudbury's DIY Craftery and Lounge brings creativity to the business world

One business in Sudbury is offering a different take on teambuilding, by getting people to actually build something they can take home.

DIY Craftery and Lounge offers group and corporate activities, inviting people to try their hand at making a craft unique to them, while at the same time participating in a team effort to build stronger relationships with coworkers.

“Literally, every career stripe has come to the craftery looking to book an event,” said owner Kelsey Cutinello. “I will note mostly women have come here, but we do find crafts men can do as well.”

The space can also be booked for non-craft events like meetings and forums. Or, if participants would rather bring the crafting to them, Cutinello can arrange in-office crafting parties instead, a concept she said is proving to be a hit.

The idea to open a crafting facility and make it accessible to all came to Cutinello a few years ago when she realized there were a lot of craft enthusiasts in the area who were looking for a permanent place to work on their creations in a supportive environment.

“They have this community mindset and in this city, there are a lot of people looking for something to do besides go drinking or hang around a bar,” she said.

“They need some kind of activity to keep them busy. It's in a controlled environment but everyone's project ends up being totally different.”

That community mindset is what makes it a perfect fit for teambuilding, she said.

In 2017, Cutinello entered her idea into a contest sponsored by the Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Area to land a year's lease at a storefront space. She didn’t win – although she was named a top-five finalist – but she continued with the idea anyway, betting on finding an audience among families and adults alike.

Located on Elm Street in the city's downtown, the craftery encompasses a wide-open space, with community tables for people to sit together with their craft supplies, and large windows for natural light and a view of the street as they work.

The facility supplies a wide array of project supplies and tools, many of which are donated by businesses or members of the community. Staff members pre-assemble items like shelves and signs so that participants just have to add the creative touches.

It also has its own bar, where beer and wine can be served during events, as well as non-alcoholic drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks. Private groups can also book caterers to bring in food.

The craftery follows trends popularized through do-it-yourself crafting apps like Pinterest and looks for projects people of any level of talent can do.

One of the popular activities now is painting country-style wood signs, Cutinello said, noting the rustic look and easy production make them perfect for a craft project.

Other trends the craftery has specialized in include painting canoe paddles, creating string art, building a wine and glass carrying cart, and pouring fluid art using resin.

All the sessions are guided by experts who take people through the process step by step.

“We are here to help people make that perfect craft without it breaking their budget, or having it turn into what is known as a 'Pinterest fail,'” Cutinello said.

“We give them the basics, they put their creative touches on their project, and they learn from each other as their projects progress.”

For her efforts, Cutinello earned a 2018 Bell Business Innovation Award from the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.