Work Diaries: VP of Arts & Crafts
Meet Martin, our VP of the Arts & Crafts pod at Jellysmack! Read about his weekly missions and discover how he and the team help creators go bigger!
Martin Coulaty joined the Arts and Crafts team as a Video Editor last year during the first lockdown. With a background in film studies, it just seemed natural. “I didn’t necessarily have a strong interest in Arts and Crafts — although, I suppose you’d consider film an art,” he jokes.
There were 5 Creators in the Arts and Crafts Pod at the time. “It was the smallest one,” he admits. But, it gave him the opportunity to take on new responsibilities faster and learn his way around the vertical.
Now, as VP he has more than 50 Creators to manage and a slew of Jellysmackers. He’s gotten a crash course in everything from woodworking to acrylics to blacksmithing and more. It’s a diverse Pod, arguably more so than most. So, he’s got his work cut out for him.
Martin starts, in his own words, “late.” That’s 10 am. He sits down with a cup of coffee and starts catching up with what happened in the US overnight. The Creator Success teams keep him updated on what’s going on with A&C Creators and pass on any Creator feedback. Part of working on such an international team is adapting to his colleagues’ time zones, staying organized, and being agile.
Once caught up with the States, he heads into a series of meetings. Jellysmack boasts a relatively flat hierarchy, so he can have meetings with just about “anyone in the company:” Success teams, Sales teams in Asia and LATAM, and of course, his own direct reports. The ultimate goal, of course, is to make sure that A&C is increasing its reach, delivering on its business objectives, and keeping Creators happy.
Then, lunch rolls around. It’s, admittedly, “not the most important break of the day” for Martin. It’s a moment of calm for him to “get out of the work bubble” and watch YouTube content that he personally likes — to get into a chill headspace for a half hour or so before heading back to work.
The time difference with his colleagues in the US has gotten him into the habit of taking several smaller breaks (rather than one long one) to keep his energy. “One on one brainstorming sessions with the US can sometimes last late in the evening,” he says blithely, not seeming to mind.
Martin is more than used to the international scene. A French national, he spent 10 years of his childhood in Hong Kong, where his dad was transferred abroad. There is a “very high” level of spoken English on the peninsula, which he absorbed in his youth. “I was a bit worried when I interviewed at Jellysmack because I knew that English was the company language. Imagine my surprise when I spoke English just as well as the people who recruited me!”
He gives a shoutout to those he works with closely: Riolit Gërguri (Lead Editor), Costanza Marin (Lead Content Strategist), and Payton Hansen (Lead Community Manager)… He’s proud of his “international and diverse” team. “Unfortunately, we can’t get to Kosovo as often as we’d like,” he jokes, referring to Riolit’s home base. He does have the local team come into the office for a little get-together. In-person gatherings do wonders for team spirit and build cohesion.
“I try to go into the office on Thursdays and Fridays to see my colleagues,” he says. The rest of the week, he works from home. And the hybrid style suits him. He lives in a far-flung suburb about an hour from Paris — not conducive to making the trek every day. But, they’ve all taken to Working from Jellywhere, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
When he’s not working, one of his favorite pastimes is visiting Paris like a tourist — which, after growing up abroad, he kind of is. Weekends are sometimes spent exploring other cities in France. His passion for film is still intact; he also frequents local movie theaters, where he’ll see just about anything “except horror.”
“The Crafters” are the Jellysmackers of the A&C Pod, one of the most interdisciplinary of the bunch. It encompasses everything from watercolors to woodworking. “It’s definitely,” says Martin, “one of the most challenging and fun Pods.” There are two main categories of fans: those who find the crafty videos satisfying or relaxing (think ASMR) and those who use them as how-to tutorials.
In either case, it’s difficult to imagine that blacksmithing and woodworking would be some of the hottest things on the internet in a digital world like ours. “Blacksmithing especially is an overperforming trend,” says Martin. “We fight to find new Creators.” There’s a high demand and a low supply: it is, after all, a niche skill. Few do it well, and even fewer do it well and put it on video.
The fact that the Pod has grown tenfold in just a year is a testament to the, perhaps underestimated, power of Arts & Crafts. It is undoubtedly an untapped market, in a sense. Martin agrees. Most social media channels revolve around things like online gaming or couples vlogs. “It’s my goal to make social media a more artsy and craftsy place,” he says. “It’s all about finding new ways to present the content to new audiences.”
The immediate challenge is knowing how to tackle new markets: namely Asia and LATAM. While other categories (like Food, for example) are truly global, Arts & Crafts can veer into the niche, and cultural connotations vary. “At the moment, most of our Creators are from the US,” says Martin, “and the biggest vertical is woodworking.” Americans are obsessed with it. However, similar content hasn’t picked up in Asia, for instance. LATAM is a grab bag, and the French just don’t seem to have as keen an interest in crafting.
The most direct way to make content palatable to a wider audience? Make it yourself. Or, Do It Yourself, in this case. Original (Jellysmack-made) Arts & Crafts shows and channels could be on the horizon. Martin says that the idea has been discussed. And, of course, new partnerships with existing Creators are always in the works. They have no intention of stopping at 50.
And the long term? “A dream of mine would be to open a studio school for Arts & Crafts Creators,” says Martin. After all, there are thousands of talented artisans all over the world. “A month-long intensive would be great to teach them how to get their content out there efficiently and cost-effectively.” He imagines it in LA for now, but as A&C goes global, why not Asia and LATAM, too?
Martin is constantly developing, maintaining, and improving his content expertise. And, he’s bursting with ideas. “They give us total liberty on certain things,” he says. And he intends to use it to help the Pod overperform. “I think I’ve truly found my ideal job at Jellysmack here in the Arts & Crafts Pod.”