Well, here we are. It’s been a year. A year! We launched Dabble on May 23, 2011 (it was a Monday). What a ride it’s been so far. Fun, thrilling, exasperating, exhausting, exhilarating, challenging, and incredibly rewarding. What’s certain is that there’s never been a dull moment.

When Jess and I had the idea for Dabble (cue awkward video), we thought there was something there. Surely we weren’t the only ones who wanted to be permitted to do a little bit here, a little bit there. Our interests were varied, and shame on us for putting them on a back burner for our nine-to-fives and other, you know, life necessities.

That first day a year ago was such a rush. We were overjoyed at every single ticket sold. Conversation went something like this: 

“We got one more!” 
“Do you know him/her?”

And this: 

“There are 132 people on the site right now!”
“No way!”

In building a start-up, it’s the little wins. That first class where we knew no one who signed up. The flood of emails that indeed proved that we had struck a chord with people. The randomness of class suggestions. (Forget about the typical things we envisioned dabbling in; people truly had eclectic interests.)

No sentimental look back would be complete without a review of the highlights. There have certainly been a lot of highs (as well as the lows, but we’ll stay positive for now):

  • our first Dabble Down, Fall 2011 – celebratory event where all the digital love materialized, and we witnessed how people had made connections through this thing we built
  • being honored with the People’s Choice Award at last summer’s Techweek in Chicago
  • expanding beyond Chicago – Denver and Milwaukee first, and a few more up our sleeve for the summer
  • daily laughter and ass-kicking with the amazing members of our team (six full-time employees, wha wha!)
  • ditching our ghetto 12×12 (where the fire escape was designated our conference room) office space to move into Catapult 

We are so grateful for all of it. While we certainly don’t have it all figured out yet, it’s our awesome students, teachers, and hosts that keep us smiling. As well as the support from family and friends and the entrepreneurial community here in Chicago – and beyond, for that matter. So many new friendships and connections we never even anticipated.

Now, onward and upward! Our biggest challenge today is simply getting the word out about Dabble. Thanks to all of you who continue to spread the love!

Erin & Jess