- About Us
- Classes & Labs
- Guide System
- Site Usage
Hello! FUNN University is the collaboration of a creative-nutty craft lady and her technologically gifted son. We started building FUNN University in 2018 after many conversations about how to teach art crafting online with a focus on the student's experience. The project has organically grown into something that we love and are excited about. It's our goal to enable others to have that, "AH, I made this!" moment of joy with us.
Below you'll find the story of how we got here:
Mary became a direct sales consultant for Close To My Heart in January of 2000. She had been crafting, teaching, and finding herself in leadership positions her whole adult life and being a consultant gave her the opportunity to use those talents.
Mary became the 'Scrapbook Lady' to hundreds of Kansas City residents through the many workshops, classes, and clubs she hosted. MaryGunnFunn.com launched in 2003, before blogging was main stream, and helped her earn a following of other consultants and crafters throughout the world.
The idea for online classes was seeded when Mary moved to the country and found it difficult to host live events. She first tried hosting virtual classes in 2010 but found the equipment poor and the quality non-satisfactory.
Fast forward 8 years: On a whim, Stephen decided to hook up a $20 camera in Mary's craft room to see what happened. Mary instantly took to being on camera and started teaching classes live on Facebook. She had been building her online community for years and had viewers from the very first live stream.
They knew that they were onto something, so they started experimenting with the setup and upgrading equipment. FunnUniversity.com was soon registered.
Mary had been working as a consultant for C.T.M.H. and had been developing her own classes around their product launches for 15+ years. She taught large numbers of card making classes, scrap book gatherings, and crops.
Card making classes were her original draw. She hosted weekly events in her basement that attracted hundreds of attendants over the years. She loved the community of fellow crafters.
From this, she extended her classes to include scrap booking. She eventually created her own scrapbook page system called Pajama Party which included unique layouts, designs, cutting guides, and an assembly system. Pajama Party happened every month for 8+ years and had a steady following.
Mary also hosted numerous crops to serve her customers and help them use their products.
After 19+ years in the making, these gatherings became the flagship classes on FUNN University.
The Technical Transition
Stephen had the job of taking Mary's classes and moving them to a digital system. The transition online helped determine how the classes were structured and presented. This meant that every class had to be available both live and in an archive. With the shelf life of each lesson extended, new and difficult problems had to be addressed.
A main problem was how to categorize and sort the lessons. Classes that were built on specific products didn't archive well. Mary also realized that she didn't want to require people to buy new products just to complete a class and many students already had loads of supplies.
Another issue was how to translate hand-drawn guides to a clear digital format. After a few months of pairing traditional PDF guides with lessons, Stephen got fed up and decided to create new software that could do a better job. After 6 months of work, our digital Guide System was born.
"Ideas, not Products"
Mary grew tired of being limited by and selling one product line, and quit her C.T.M.H consultant position after 20 years to concentrate on teaching. This prompted the biggest paradigm shift to date. "Ideas, not products" is the phrase that resonated the most during the discussions that took place around the post-consultant status transition.
Shifting concentration toward teaching techniques and concepts was well received by the student body and helped fix issues with the archive at the same time. Mary and Stephen decided to make the phrase "Ideas, not Products" the guiding principle of the site.
It took a year's worth of work and feedback from students to fully realize FUNN University's mission:
- The joy of creating.
- The power of learning.
- The strength and support of community through paper crafting, card making, and scrap booking.
All while keeping it FUNN, affordable, and easy to use.
Special thanks to the beta tester students who stuck with us during the first year. You know who you are.