Workshops within local communities are more popular than ever, but what happens when they all fall into the same niche that you aren’t interested in, or they don’t have true value for the cost? Sisters Kenna and Stacey Wick launched Enlighten Us last year to connect locals with instructors all while getting them to enjoy a fun night at a local business in Orlando. So far they’ve hosted varying classes including hair braiding, hand-lettering on acrylic signs, wood-burning a custom cheese board, fitness boot camps, and cyro therapy! Each class is taught by a skilled instructor and the classes are hosted at different local businesses that act as the host.
I actually worked with Stacey’s husband years ago, and then our paths crossed later during a corporate photo shoot. Stacey was a partner in an on-location hair and makeup company based in Orlando and later parted ways after a positive experience to raise her two kids. Her sister Kenna went to school in Charlotte and was a Project Manager for a large shoe company. Her husband’s job transferred them to Orlando last year. As they were both at a professional crossroads for their next step, the sisters, who had worked together before, knew they could be a great team if they found the right business.
LH: What was the motivation behind Enlighten Class?
KW: We were honestly sitting around the kitchen table one night discussing different ideas we could start together, and this was the last idea we discussed that really stuck. We both like to go out and do new things and learn new skills, as do our husbands. We thought about the hashtag #OrlandoDoesntSuck and agreed that people need to know that, and we wanted to find a way to be a part of that mentality.
SW: As we saw pop-up classes were happening all over we knew there was interest, but it evolved quickly into focusing on building community while working with local businesses. We thought, sure we could “throw together a class”, but focusing on community and getting to meet and work with local business owners has been inspiring and driven us to where Enlighten Us is now.
LH: Who would enjoy your classes? Is it good for “date night”, a girls night out, or team building?
SW: All of the above. We are building up our class list so eventually we will have something for everyone, but it really depends on the class. We hope to grow in different areas as we find more teachers and more hosts, and we are really open to trying anything to see if the community responds.
KW: Yes, for instance, we’ve hosted private classes for a local mom group and they found us as a great resource to plan everything for them and take that stress away so they can just enjoy their gathering.
LH: How has the local business community supported and embraced the business so far?
SW: They’ve really embraced us by initially giving us a shot when we just started out, and being open to working with us as a new company. Trusting in us, believing in us, and sharing our business has been a big confidence booster. Hearing people tell us they enjoy our idea outside of our close friends and family has been wonderful.
KW: I thought the scariest part would be talking to the business owners, but we’ve gotten such great feedback. So many businesses have been open to working with us.
SW: Businesses like Whippoorwill, A La Cart, World of Beer, Brew Theory, Grape and the Grain have welcomed our ideas and we’ve definitely felt the local love so far.
LH: There are a lot of workshops going on in Orlando. What do you feel makes your concept stand out and be of value to locals?
SW: I feel there are two things that set us apart. One, we really try to stay affordable, and at the few classes that are pricier, you get to take home something so the value is there. The classes are at different venues, and we appreciate change and trying new things to keep it exciting. We really want it to feel like a full experience that’s fun and light where you can learn something but have a good time that is worth the price.
KW: We aren’t the same class at the same time every week. We try to keep the classes on trend and in demand. Like our acrylic sign class we just did. Everyone made something they loved, everyone was taking pictures and we knew that what they made was going somewhere in their home that night, not in the closet.
LH: How many classes a month are you trying to schedule for now and in the future.
SW: We’d like to have five classes a month for now, but we’d like to grow and find more teachers or host businesses.
LH: Do you have any dream classes that are on the radar?
SW: We want to do an intricate cookie decorating class. We have a teacher, we are just waiting for a few things to fall in line, but we are very excited about that. I like the idea of having more intimate classes and advanced classes that could ultimately benefit the teacher down the road. Jewelry making would be an amazing class as well.
KW: I’d love to host a meditation class and a floral design class, or something to do with plants.
LH: If people feel anxious going to a class alone what would you tell them to ease their worries?
KW: At our hand-lettering class we actually had some that attended without a friend, and we encourage them to come because the atmosphere is not intimidating. The teachers we partner with are friendly, and we are there to make sure everyone is having a good time. We’ve experienced the community feel with people of all different ages and backgrounds, all talking and exchanging Instagram handles, so it’s happening exactly how we wanted it to play out.
Follow them on Instagram @myenlightenclass for updates about upcoming classes. If you want to host a class or teach a class fill out the online forms on their website. If you are just a local with an idea you want to share, they encourage you to slide into their DM’s and give them feedback for classes you’d love to see in town.