Virtual assistance, when and where you need it.
Experienced industry professionals who can answer your project questions, recommend next steps, and keep you moving forward.

FLC student working on upholstering the arm of her wingback chair.

Access to mentors and professionals is an important part of any training journey.

If you are unable to access these types of resources locally, we encourage you to make Virtual Instructor Support part of your education. Instructors can help you trouble shoot as needed, or provide general support and encouragement to accelerate your progress.

Presently, most incoming professionals are learning upholstery outside of classrooms and apprenticeship paths. While books and videos are important resources, there are absolutely times when we need interactive support.

Getting to a live class is, for most students, inconvenient and expensive. In many cases, a short, high-quality instructor consultation can provide a fully satisfactory alternative – one that is far more convenient and affordable than traveling to attend a full workshop.

Our Virtual Instructors

Michelle Minner​

Virtual Instructor

Michelle is a Funky Little Chair certified basic level instructor. She specializes in custom furniture upholstery and loves helping her clients bring their visions to life. She fell into the upholstery trade by accident. As a DIY blogger looking for a project she decided to try her hand at re-upholstering an old chair and fell in love with the transformation process. Self taught, Michelle is passionate about sharing knowledge and supporting fellow upholsterers.

Headshot of Carla Pyle

Carla Pyle​

Virtual Instructor

Carla is a Funky Little Chair certified basic level virtual instructor. She owns Natural Upholstery in Livingston, MT. An obsessive explorer, she has worked as a wildlife biologist, textile artist, furniture designer and upholsterer. She has been an active promoter of healthy upholstery since she helped develop a line of organic and sustainable furniture in 2009. She has been teaching modern upholstery since 2011, working with students using both conventional and natural/organic materials.

Carla is currently assisting on the launch of FLC Upholstery 200: Fundamentals – she will return to VIS in a few months. You can now work with Carla in an instructor supported cohort as part of our certificate track – for more details, visit FLC Upholstery 200: Fundamentals  to learn more.

A certified virtual instructor can:

Recommend specific resources to help you when you’re stuck.

Digging through link after link, and book after book is incredibly time consuming – especially when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, or which resources you should trust when they deliver conflicting guidance. Our instructors have been doing their research for YEARS and can connect you with quality sources that might not even be on your radar.

Offer practical guidance when you encounter something you’ve never seen in a book.

Books are designed to demonstrate a very “standardized” version of upholstery. But what you see in real life is usually anything BUT standard. Upholstery is often about translating and applying knowledge to an endlessly changing string of projects. A virtual instructor can help you do that translation.

Review a potential project together so you can prepare to communicate successfully with your client.

We’ve all opened a request-for-quote photo and worried that we just might regret saying yes. Before you dive in, run it past a virtual instructor. They can speak from their own body of experience, both with upholstery and upholstery CLIENTS. They can help you identify areas of potential difficulty, and things to clarify with your customer. If they think it is riddled with red flags, they an even help you script a graceful response for turning the job down.

Help you goal set if you’re not sure how to move your skills and career forward.

Not sure where to go next??? Sometimes a fresh set of eyes and ears can help. Navigating a path into professional upholstery is more complex than it has ever been. But our instructors have found inroads, and are in a strong position to advise you on what might help you get moving again. Is it skills training? Networking? Business basics? A little mentorship goes a long way.

Trouble shoot less-than-satisfying results with you and offer actionable feedback on how it could be improved.

You tried – you REALLY TRIED. But you just aren’t happy with the results. It happens! Between variations in fabric, frame styles and clients, every job really is different and sometimes we just can’t get there, ARGH!!!!! Sharing results you’re unhappy with can be INCREDIBLY intimidating, but let us assure you: our instructors are here to HELP. They will never, EVER make you feel stupid for seeking help to improve. And with years of practical experience, they can help hone in on where the trouble is and offer actionable steps for achieving better results in the future.

Pricing

Sessions are conducted via Zoom. You will have the opportunity to fill out a detailed pre-session questionnaire addressing the nature of your inquiry. After your session, you will receive a follow-up email reviewing next steps and recommended resources.

Instructor Support

$70

per session

Frequently Asked Questions​

A good internet connection, a laptop or smartphone with a camera, and a Zoom account. Payment is processed securely through PayPal, but you can use your credit card without setting up a PayPal account. If you want your instructor to address technical upholstery questions, consider how you can most effectively communicate your questions. (i.e. photos of the project on your laptop versus a smartphone carried into your workspace.)

Individualized feedback from an experienced professional upholsterer. You will complete a detailed intake survey, which your instructor will review. They will be able to give you customized guidance specific to your immediate concerns.
After your session, they will send a follow-up email summarizing any next steps and additional resources that were discussed and recommended.

Our instructors have openings Monday-Friday and we require a minimum of 24 hours notice to book. Carla Pyle is available for morning sessions and Michelle Minner is available for afternoon/evening sessions. (Please note, these general times vary slightly depending on which timezone you are in.)

Absolutely! Not everything can be formatted into a course – we hope this gives you some customized guidance when you need it.

Yes! Our instructors have been through these conversations themselves. They can look at the project with you and talk through your list of concerns in advance. That might mean recommending specific products, giving you logistical guidance, or pointing you towards additional resources. If it really IS a project you might want to turn down, they can help you navigate that conversation, too.

Maybe not – our instructors are experienced professionals in the area of modern residential reupholstery. They can speak to a LOT of common issues under that umbrella, but upholstery is giant field of study. We would not recommend this resource if you need assistance on automotive, marine, historically accurate restoration, or traditional methods. (Although DO NOTE that Carla Pyle is an expert specialist in the field of natural upholstery materials)

I found the follow-up email SUPER helpful. I don't always take the best notes, so it's amazing to have that sent in writing, along with the additional resources.
FLC Student