The Atthebench.com founder on tutoring that fits with modern lives.
The affable Andrew Berry is a familiar face to many. As the presenter of AtTheBench.com he has become an industry celebrity as well as an expert, tutor and, dare we say it, something of a friend to thousands of viewers, all experiencing his easy teaching style through more than 650 tuition videos.
That is enough to make him a worthy entrant into the Hot 100, let alone the fact that his membership stats have swollen by 50% to the 3,000 mark over the past year and he has launched his next entrepreneurial initiative in sister site tools4atthebench.com, which is designed to respond to requests from members after the products in his tutorials. Oh yes, and his own shop is still going strong after 26 years. He really doesn’t look old enough does he?
He says his very idiosyncratic celebrity was born because feedback from one-to-one tuition and magazine customers suggested that not many people who want to learn or further their jewellery making skills were able to attend a reputable school’s class regularly, if at all due, to family or work commitments, nor could they justify the expense. Others said that even if they went on courses they would often forget vital parts of their training when they finished a course and make costly mistakes.
Three new films are added each week and the stream of videos is hardly about to slow either. He says: “The amount of techniques involved with making jewellery are vast and so the variety of proposed films are practically endless. With new tools and technology always coming onto the market there should always be interest from members wanting to know what is good and bad out there.”
He will introduce new expert faces to the site too who can relay some of the techniques he feels less qualified to teach, and he is looking to take AtTheBench live with tours of Britain, teaching more workshops and meeting more members. “I also have plans to travel to trade exhibitions both here and abroad to demonstrate tools for companies, as well as making people more aware of AtTheBench.”
And Andrew’s advice for anyone getting into jewellery as a business? “Everyone is very brand oriented these days. The brand is not just about the product, it’s about the person and the whole company. It’s your life. You are an ambassador for your brand. So you have to strive to make a good impression of your brand to everyone you meet.” He seems to be following his own advice pretty well.
Andrew Berry was selected as a Bering Trailblazer in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with the Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the Hot 100 book online, click here.