Dear students, colleagues and friends,

After much reflection, we have made the difficult decision to close FLC.

2022 will be our last year. 

This decision has not been made lightly. We love what we do, and care deeply about the community we set out to serve. Our belief in the importance of this work has not wavered.

But finding a sustainable way to provide access to quality training has been a continuous struggle.

Starting as a small, local group, it was a shock to discover that, in spite of our steadily disappearing workforce and growing concerns over furniture waste, reupholstery has disappeared from training facilities nearly all across the country. Those that remain are often sorely underfunded, and lacking in meaningful vocational connections. 

Presently, most education is championed by individual instructors, operating without the practical, physical, administrative or financial support of vocational institutions or trade organizations.

To say this is a significant load to bear would be to grossly understate the situation. 

We have petitioned at many levels on behalf of our students and our community, but all roads have thus far led to dead ends. (One emphatic exception is given to Fabric Supply, Inc. of Minneapolis, who in 2018 took a significant leap of faith to sponsor a series of teaching guides, and free YouTube tutorials – which many of you continue to use. For their considerable show of support then and since, we are ever grateful.)

It is our greatest hope that the work FLC has done in advocating for the continued importance of professional upholstery might help new teachers, leaders and craftspeople clear hurdles we simply could not.  

And it is our full intent to spend the remainder of 2022 in celebration.

Because this journey has taken us to wonderful and unexpected places – into classrooms, workrooms, all across the country, online, in person, and everything in between. We’ve had the honor and privilege of meeting hundreds of students and professionals, sharing knowledge, making connections, and writing stories together.

It is YOU who continue to give us hope. 

We’ve watched online communities spring up and grow wings. 
We’ve watched upholsterers come together across oceans, to share knowledge, organize meetings, and start associations. 
We’ve watched new businesses leap up, practically out of thin air. 
An we’ve seen young professionals step into their rightful shoes as leaders, and teachers, to begin ushering upholstery into a bright new chapter.  

To any extent that we HAVE been successful, support has always come from our students and fellow tradespeople… Those who have traveled to work with us, recommended us, purchased our programs, or carried our content into new circles. For your faith in our mission, and this community, we thank you.

We know that while FLC’s journey may be approaching its final destination, the larger story is far from over. 

Some heartfelt advice from our years of exploration: 

  1. WORK TOGETHER! Whether you’re a student, business owner, or educator, the biggest hurdle you’re facing isn’t other upholsterers – it’s the industry-wide struggle bus that everyone is currently riding together. At every opportunity, fearlessly support the success of your neighbors. We all do better when we all do better.
  2. If you are looking for leadership, go look in the mirror. Progress in the last decade hasn’t been a top-down affair. Innovation has come out of the upholstery community itself, where individuals no more qualified than you, simply stepped forward to do what was needed. Trust us, there is no magical island where someone else has all the answers. You know more than you think you do. 
  3. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself. Take care of yourself. There are not enough upholsterers, and the strain on those who remain can feel tremendous. Turn off your phone. Take your days off. Say NO when you need to say no. Treat yourself like the indispensable craftsperson you are, and remind others to do the same.
  4. We hope that the new wave of sustainability and furniture waste conversations remembers to include tradespeople at the table. These tradespeople are the women, men and small business owners who have been on the front lines this entire time, fighting to keep reupholstery alive. They have poured years (even decades) into their skills and professional networks, and are now positioned to play a critical part in overdue change. But they have been on an up-hill climb for way too long. Part of the solution must be providing individuals and businesses with the support they need to persevere during this critical hour. 

Now the practical news…

  • Workshops August will be our final month offering hands-on training. If you are registered, we are so excited to welcome you to our beautiful St. Paul space! If you still wish to register, there are only a few spots left.  (We expect this news is hard for many of you who were planning to attend a future workshop – please believe it’s hard for us, too. We have truly loved working with our students.)
  • FLC Upholstery 200: Fundamentals (Self-Paced) will be available for purchase on our website through the end of the year. (Students who have purchased the program by then WILL retain access to course materials – details to follow) This pilot program was our prototype for what structured training might look like if it were designed to apply in the field, without the assumption of dedicated facilities or local instructors. Though we had hoped it would be the beginning of a more robust pathway, it is nonetheless an excellent, structured resource on its own, for those who are learning upholstery without access to a more traditionally structured education. 

We know many of you will have questions and we encourage you to reach out via email to info@thefunkylittlechair.com

It is our greatest hope that some of the ground we’ve worked so hard to break will encourage new leaders, teachers and partners to step forward. We hope our voice in these matters might also stir new sources of support and funding for those who are stretching to do this much needed work. 

For letting us be part of your journey thus far, THANK YOU. We can’t think of any community we’re more proud to be part of.

Sincerely,
Cynthia Bleskachek & The FLC Team

Dear students, colleagues and friends

We have made the difficult decision to close FLC. To read more about what this means, click here. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of your upholstery training journey over the last 6+ years – we can’t think of any community we are more proud to be a part of.

Sincerely, 

Cynthia Bleskachek & The FLC Team