Creative Louisville: Natalia Bishop – Level Up Louisville

Meet Natalia.

Natalia is another inspiring, entrepreneurial, creative woman doing interesting, engaging and downright fun things with her Level Up Louisville classes (stay tuned Lexington friends – she’s coming for ya!). This is one of the first Creative Louisville pieces I’ve done without knowing the subject personally, but after hearing my friend Courtney’s intro, I absolutely cannot wait to get to know her. Here’s what she had to say:

“Just a little background on Natalia…she moved here from Colombia when she was 17, knowing only a few words of English, and worked 2-3 jobs at a time as she made her way through business school at UofL. She has two kids and is just one of the most amazing and inspiring people in Louisville. If I could give you three words for her, it would be sparkly, vibrant, friendly, kind, real, energetic, intuitive, effing fearless, and that’s more than three but that’s because she’s so awesome. Anyone can have a great idea but not everyone can take an idea and make it into a successful business, let alone three successful, debt-free businesses. AND she always takes time to help other people with their small businesses, to volunteer at school, in Butchertown and with Tuesdays Together. Plus she always looks like she stepped out of damn Pantene commercial, even at pre-school drop-off in the mornings when the rest of us look like Cathy from those old comics. 

ANYWAY…she’s a great human and I am so grateful to you for featuring her.”

First off, who’s thinking that Courtney needs to share some of that wit around here more often {hand raised} but I think we can all agree that someone has to be pretty damn awesome to have something so thoughtful written about them. Hell, I’d just love to have the Pantene commercial hair, let alone all the other stuff.

Before we get into her answers on all things Level Up and Louisville, here’s a quick rundown on Level Up if you’re not familiar. Basically, Natalia partners with creative people – think floral designers, marketing experts, photographers, calligraphers – to teach classes to groups at interesting local spots like Forage and Copper & Kings. Basically, it’s the stuff of Instagram dream but more importantly, it’s a chance to learn a new skill in a no-pressure setting with good people.

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How fun does this mixology class look?

Upcoming classes include weaving basics, modern embroidery, mastering your iPhone camera, hand lettering, floral watercolors and product photography basics.  The best part is that everything is there for you (well, not the iPhones or cameras if you’re doing that one), all ready to go so you don’t have to track down a bunch of supplies when you want to try your hand at a new craft. So you get to learn from experts, meet new people and get creative all for $45 a class ($35 if you sign-up during the Early Bird period).

And last but not least, we’re giving away a chance for you to check it out. Natalia has generously provided two tickets for an upcoming class for one lucky winner. So scroll to the bottom and enter away. It’s super easy  –  if you’re following me on Instagram you’re halfway there. I’ll be at the watercolor class on March 30th and although it’s Sold Out, if you win the giveaway you’ll be able to join us. Now on to Natalia…

GENERAL

* Name:  Natalia Bishop

* Companies: ChocolateBox Photography, Story Louisville and Level Up Louisville

* Title: Founder & Happiness Chief

* How did you get started in your field? I started my career as an entrepreneur after my first baby was born and I decided I didn’t want to go back to my old job managing retail. So, I combined my creative side with my business education and made my own opportunities.

* What inspires you? Connecting with people in a meaningful way. And children, because they’re just so dang unafraid!

* Three words describe your work best: Energetic, inspiring, connected

* Three words describe you best: Genuine, grateful, happy

* One thing about you that might surprise people: I absolutely love Anime movies. I am a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s work and growing up I always loved hand-drawn animation. In fact, my dream was to become an animator when we first arrived in the states!

 

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The Story Louisville space

LOUISVILLE

* Why Louisville? So many people end up leaving Louisville, what helped keep you in the 502?:  Are you kidding me?! I have declared to my husband that I will never move again!! I was born in Colombia, but this is and will always be my home. My mom moved us to this country when I was 17, and she picked Louisville out of all the places in the U.S. because of UPS’ work-to-school program. That’s how I got here, but why I stayed here is because this city is about as gorgeous, empathetic and welcoming as it gets. The people here are just the best.  It is seriously one of the most robust creative and innovative communities in the U.S. And where else can you find this cost of living and this work-life balance, not to mention this food?!

* Favorite Louisville Neighborhood: Butchertown

* Favorite Spot for a Drink: Lola above Butchertown Grocery

* Favorite Lunch Spot: Mayan Café,Con Huevos & Blue Dog Bakery

* Favorite Dinner Spot: This is an impossible question but if I have to pick one I’d go Butchertown Grocery.

* You’ve got to try (or go to): The meditation class at The Peaceful Bull Studio.  Dr. Pete changed my life!

* Favorite Festival: I’m probably gonna catch a lot of heat for this but I’m basically the worst hippie ever because I don’t do festivals! The thought of sweaty, drunken people and bad acoustics makes me want to curl up in a corner in the fetal position.

* Favorite Pizza Spot: There is a little spot in front of the Kentucky Science Center called Luigi’s that has the best New York-style pizza in the city! I also love Coals.

* If someone is visiting from out of town and only has time to go to three places, where do you send them?
Is this a trick question?? Haha! I’d say start your day at Con Huevos with the tres leches pancakes and cafe con leche, then either go visit 21c and grab lunch at Proof or head to the Speed Museum of Art and hit Wiltshire Pantry. For your afternoon, you kinda have to do a distillery tour. This is Bourbon country and all, but why not get a little outside the box and visit Copper & Kings, the only brandy distillery in the area?  Or, if you are more of a beer person, go hang out with the folks at Monnik Beer Co. Their beer cheese and bread will change your life.


JUST NATALIA

* How did Level Up Louisville come to be? Did you do something similar in another city or did you dream it up!? I dreamt it up! And since I’m a serial entrepreneur, I had to make it a business, right? Level Up was born as a marketing strategy for Story Louisville, my co-working space in the Butchertown Market. I wanted to figure out a way to bring more people into our space and offering classes with some of my creatives friends seemed like a great idea. The more I dug in and searched for talent to teach the classes, the more I realized that there was no way I could keep all this goodness too myself. So I thought, why not take this on the road and show off some of the cool spaces in the city? I reached out to some of my friends in the event industry to see who would take a chance on this crazy idea and, thankfully, the amazing folks over at Copper & Kings welcomed us with open arms. We had our very first Level Up class there almost a year ago, and have since been all over the city connecting people with new hobbies and skills while also connecting them with like-minded people!

* How important is it for people to have a creative outlet? I think each person is a different world so it’s hard to say. But at Level Up, it isn’t just about unleashing creative energy – it’s also about making genuine connections, whether that’s with other people or just within yourself. That’s the kind of stuff that carries through to all the fibers of your being and, in return, creates more love and inner peace.

* How do you pick your experts? I am one of those people that has never met a stranger, so I am very lucky to have made a lot of beautiful friendships in this city. When I decided the initial topics we were going teach at Level Up, I was able to tap into my personal network and come up with some pretty fantastic, amazingly talented people that jumped on the opportunity to share their expertise.

* I’m sure you’ve tried out a lot of the classes, what was one of the most challenging for you? Marketing 101 with Jason Clark of Via Studios. It was one of the first classes in our small-business series and it really forced me to dig deep to find the pillars of my business(es) and leverage my strengths.

* I love that you’re bringing together inspiring, creative people in a way that’s really accessible. What has been some of the best feedback you’ve received from instructors as well as students/attendees?  I think the best feedback from students has simply been seeing how many of them keep coming back! It’s gotten to where we have “regulars” and they bring their friends, and their moms, and their husbands. Teachers keep telling us that they are having a blast doing it and they can’t believe they are getting paid!

* What’s been the most rewarding part about starting Level Up? Seeing people connect with each other, and genuinely enjoy themselves in an almost childlike way has been so beautiful to me. There is something to be said for losing yourself in the moment. Being able to be present, and to witness that and the joy it brings to people has been super rewarding for me.

* Do you have plans to take this to other parts of Kentucky – Lexington maybe? Ummm YES! How did you know?! A Lexington chapter is already in the works, and then we hope to start to rolling out to other states in early 2018.

* What’s next for Level Up Louisville? So much! We have our small-business series offering classes in branding, finance, marketing and other skills that these start-ups need to succeed. We also plan to offer more self-care and lifestyle classes such as meditation, braiding, mastering the at-home blow-out (editors note: SIGN ME UP! This is speaking my love language. You will definitely find me at this one.), cookie decorating, charcuterie basics – just to name a few. And for the guys, we have an amazing leather belt-making class with Clayton & Crume that will be released in the next week.  Later this year, we plan to start offering private parties and corporate experiences, which we’re really excited about.

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If you weren’t sold before, I know you’re in now. Make sure to enter below for your chance to attend a class or just head over and sign up now. 

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1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Josh @ The Kentucky Gent

    March 17, 2017

    Natalia is the definition of #GirlBoss!

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