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October 14th, 2020

Natalia Bishop Taking Level Up to Two New Cites

Level Up Louisville, a business that creates pop-up maker spaces and classes for adults, is adding two new cities to its lineup. Natalia Bishop, a longtime Louisville resident and a Bizwomen Headliner, founded the company in 2016 and opened its first branch in Lexington last September. She has found local makers who teach classes on topics ranging from mixology to flower arranging to hand lettering and calligraphy – and the goal is to have each class somewhere different so people can learn new things about their city. The signature pop-up classes will start in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio early this summer, Bishop said. Unlike the Level Up programs in Louisville and Lexington – which are both anchored at collective work spaces – Cincinnati and Columbus classes will be offered on only a pop-up basis. "As we grow, we’ve realized people are yearning to see more than one place," Bishop said. "So we don’t necessarily want to be tied up to one place. [Level Up is] making sure we’re are finding great places around the city for those pop-ups." Bishop said last fall that she was shocked by how quickly the concept was accepted and grew in Lexington and she hopes the two new markets are the same. In Louisville, Level Up took a little longer to catch on, probably because it was the first, she said, but the company has "had a huge growth spurt over the last year." New operations manager Erica Sartini-Combs will start next month. She's moving from Chicago to take on the role so that Bishop can step away from the day-to-day to focus on growth. A Cincinnati community developer has been hired, but Bishop is still working to hire a Columbus developer. She said she wants to be careful to find people who fit into Level Up and who also really understand their city. "Every city has a different vibe, so that’s the great thing about having someone from that community," she said. "They can tailor-make the events for their community." And for those with friends and family who aren't in the four Level Up cities, Bishop has some good news — she's in the process of creating a subscription box, such as Stitch Fix or Blue Apron, so anyone can participate in the classes. "The idea is to provide them with a way to have that same sort of creative outlet," she said. "There will be a product component to it, and then also a feature video portion of it that will teach them how to actually do the skill." The boxes are still in the research and development phase, so nothing is set in stone, but Bishop estimates they'll cost between $45 and $55 each, or the same as most of her classes. "This allows people to take the class at their own pace and we provide all of the materials," Bishops said.

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