Interview with Erin Hopmann (Dabble)
Dabble is a website where you can discover, teach or host one-time affordable classes. You can pursue your interests and meet new people without a big commitment.
I interviewed Erin Hopmann, Dabble founder to find out more. This interview is the forty third in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Erin for the interview!
How would you describe Dabble in under 50 words?
Dabble (www.dabble.co) is a marketplace for classes. From welding to pasta making to watercolor painting and everything in between, all classes are $20, are held in person and are a one-time thing. Dabble allows people to try out their interests without over-extending themselves or their wallets.
What led you to co-found Dabble?
My partner, Jess, and I had a consulting business before Dabble. One day, it dawned on us that what we really wanted was a product of our own. Something that we could build from the ground up and be super passionate about. And so, we began a big brainstorming session where we tossed around different pain points we have – problems where we felt there weren’t adequate solutions. The idea that it’s difficult to explore your interests without committing yourself more fully to longer-term classes was the insight that led to Dabble.
How did you come up with the name?
“Dabble” quite literally refers to what our classes allow people to do – dip their toes in the water to see if they want to pursue something further or simply come back next week to dabble in another subject.
Who do you see as your target audience?
Right now, our primary focus is on young professionals – demographically, people who are out of college through to their mid-30s. They’re people who are curious, get tired of the same old routine and are looking for alternative ways to spend a week night or weekend.
What has been the most popular class?
Some of the most popular classes are Beer Brewing, culinary (i.e., Cupcake Decorating), anything web development (i.e., Intro to WordPress) and BYOB Painting.
Is Dabble likely to expand into any more countries?
Yes, and we’ve received a number of requests for Dabble in countries outside the U.S.
Who handles the technical side of Dabble, and what challenges do they face?
We’re working with a new development team. Our biggest challenge right now is simply introducing new features to the site at a fast pace. If we had our druthers, we’d be able to roll out new features, test them and quickly move on at a much faster pace.
How long did it take to put together Dabble?
We focused on building a minimum viable product at the outset. So, from idea conception to launch, it was about 10 weeks.
I see you are responsible for driving the vision. Has the vision changed since launch?
The overall vision hasn’t changed, but we’ve certainly learned a lot and have ideas of where Dabble could go and how it can only get better for our users. I’d say the vision has expanded while remaining true to our original inspiration.
Has Dabble got the growth you expected since launch?
To be honest, since we pushed the product out within just 10 weeks, we didn’t set crazy goals to meet. Instead, we wanted to focus on user feedback and see where the potential was. We’ve been thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response to Dabble, and are really happy about sales and the inherent virality of the product.
Who is your biggest competitor?
We actually believe our biggest “competitor” to be people’s own inaction. We’ve really struck a chord with people in that they nod their heads in agreement that many of their interests are left unexplored because of lack of time, money, etc. So they’re super excited about what Dabble offers. It’s simply overcoming people’s tendencies to say, “I’ll do that next week… or next month…”
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Awareness. As I mentioned, the people who know about Dabble are embracing us with unbridled excitement. We simply need to get out in front of more people. It becomes a numbers game at some point.
Where do you see Dabble in 5 years time?
We want to flip the notion of traditional education on its head and make the sharing of knowledge social, accessible and enjoyable. We envision Dabble to become part of the lexicon, where “let’s Dabble” becomes an obvious alternative to drinks with friends or the like.
Can you convince the reader to start using Dabble in under 50 words?
How often have you thought, “I really want to learn how to _____ ”? Or “I’m sick of doing the same ole’ thing with friends.” Dabble is unique: it’s learning but done in a social environment. No final exams, no dipping into savings to afford a new skill.
Finished reading? Check out Dabble!