retail workshop & tutorials

15 Retailers That Offer Free Workshops & Tutorials

posted in: Shopping Tips

You know that you can spend money shopping with your favorite retailers, but did you know that you can also learn from them and it won’t cost a thing? From Home Depot to Hobby Lobby, select national retailers offer free online and/or in-store classes. Some are for adults and others for kids, so there’s something for everyone!  Here are 15 retailers who offer free workshops.

 

HOME

Home Depot

Home Depot offers free DIY workshops and how-to’s on its website, addressing topics like Fall Lawn Prep and How to Replace Light Fixtures. Some sessions are live-streamed, and others are on-demand. Periodically, Home Depot will offer a discount coupon for attending a session.

Many locations also offer free in-store kid’s workshops on the first Saturday of each month between 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Lowe’s

With Lowe’s DIY-U, you have access to free live streams, on-demand videos, and in-store events.  You can learn about how to switch out an electrical outlet, how to repair drywall, and more. At the time of this writing, when you attend you can get a $10 coupon for your next $75 purchase.

Lowe’s also offers in-person sessions for kids and kids earn badges for each session they attend. After 12 sessions, they’ll earn the title of Sr. Builder and receive a free tool bag.

Williams Sonoma

Williams-Sonoma offers virtual and in-person cooking & skills classes led by professional chefs and culinary experts. Some classes are free, like their in-store Coffee & Espresso series, sponsored by Breville. Many of their virtual class and in-store classes hosted by authors are fee-based. The fee for an author session is around $35 and includes a signed book.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble hosts virtual book clubs and author events, some of which are free to attend. Select locations also offer free in-store sessions for kids that include reading and activities.

Sephora

Sephora has regular free in-store events that are typically brand-sponsored.  Sephora stores also offer services, like waxing, makeup lessons, and makeup for events for a fee.

 

CRAFTS/KIDS

Michael’s

There are lots of classes available at Michael’s and Michaels.com, including seasonal themes, like Fall Painted Rocks, and evergreen topics, like Sew a Fabric Basket. The classes appear to be mostly livestreamed and there are options for adults and kids.

Joann

Joann offers a variety of in-store classes on everything from sewing basics to watercolor painting, but only a select few are free. Fees are generally in the $20-$30 range, but you can also sign up for a membership where the classes are free for the first 2 months and then you pay $7.95 per month after that. Joann also has free online projects that you can download or print and digital classes, which are about $10. There’s currently an offer to receive $10 in credit).

JOANN also offers group events for a fee.

Hobby Lobby

There are lots of free printable DIY projects on the Hobby Lobby site. Topics include painting basics, wedding crafts, and wood panel projects.  I’ve read that Hobby Lobby used to offer in-store classes, which, I assume, ceased during the Pandemic.  Hopefully, the classes will be back up and running soon!

Lego

Lego fans can attend free in-store workshops where they can learn to express their creativity with Lego. On Lego.com, you can also find free instructional videos.

Lakeshore Learning Center

Before the Pandemic, Lakeshore Learning offered free in-store classes for kids 3+.  In-person classes have been paused, but there are free learning activities, teaching tutorials, and craft projects available on their site.

 

TECH

Apple

Your local Apple store offers free Today at Apple sessions that address a variety of topics relevant to Apple Users, like photography and video editing. Kid’s workshops are available as well, and devices are provided for the sessions.  By selecting your store on the Apple site, you can see the available workshops and times. There are also free how-to videos available on the Apple site, and if you purchase an Apple product, you can also schedule a private, virtual class to learn more about your device.

Microsoft

Microsoft offers free training and webinars to help users uplevel their skills.  There are also age-specific virtual “summer camps,” resources for teachers and libraries, and Community Days, which are free in-person/hybrid workshops that are hosted by community members all over the world. Topics range from Microsoft AI Day to local summits.

 

OUTDOOR

REI

REI provides outdoor-related classes, events, talks, and stewardship opportunities. Free activities include local cleanups, running basics, and community talks. Fee-based events include survival skills, first aid, how to ride a bike, and overnight camping trips. Prices vary but are mostly $69 and up.

L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean offers free guided outings and activities at ski slopes and beaches, as well as fee-based classes – like paddleboarding and kayaking – and camping trips. Most courses are held in Maine and surrounding states, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and Illinois.

The North Face

I’ve read that The North Face offers a variety of free classes, but my guess is that they haven’t returned post-Pandemic. However, I did find that The North Face sponsored free events on Global Climbing Day in select cities, so we’ll hopefully see more free programming soon. Members of The North Face’s loyalty program, XPLR, receive a variety of benefits including access to exclusive events.

 

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Smart Shopping Expert

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who has specialized in smart shopping, personal finance, and retail for more than a decade. She has appeared on TV over 1,000 times; including Today Show, GMA3, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, and network affiliates nationwide. She has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn, and her expert commentary has appeared in Forbes, USNews.com, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, and numerous others.
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