Chatting with Martin Coulaty, VP of the Arts and Crafts Genre

Martin Coulaty, Jellysmack VP of Arts + Crafts holding a camera to the view against a jellysmack gradient of brushstroke colors

Martin Coulaty joined Jellysmack’s Arts and Crafts pod as a Video Editor last year during the first lockdown. With a background in film studies, it just seemed natural. 

For context, pods at Jellysmack are teams of video editors, graphic designers, and creator success managers developing content based on a specific category.

“I didn’t necessarily have a strong interest in Arts and Crafts—although, I suppose you’d consider film an art,” he jokes.

At the time, there were five creator partners in the Arts and Crafts pod. “It was the smallest one,” he recalls.

But there’s advantages to getting in early. It gave him the opportunity to take on new responsibilities faster and learn his way around the vertical.

Today, Coulaty is Vice President of the Arts and Crafts pod, a team now composed of more than 50 creators to manage in addition to his team of Jellysmackers. 

Through his work, Martin’s gotten a crash course in everything from woodworking to acrylics to blacksmithing and more. It’s a diverse pod—arguably the most diverse. 

It also means he’s got his work cut out for him.

A Day in the Life of Martin Coulaty

Martin starts, in his own words, “late.”

That’s 10 a.m.

He sits down with a cup of coffee and starts catching up with what happened in the U.S. overnight. The creator success teams keep him updated on what’s going on with Arts and Crafts creator partners and relay any creator feedback to his team.

Part of working with such an international team is adapting to his colleagues’ time zones, staying organized, and being agile.

Once he’s caught up with Jellysmack’s U.S. operations, 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 Latin America, and of course, his own direct reports. The ultimate goal, of course, is to make sure that the Arts and Crafts pod is increasing its reach, delivering on its business objectives, and keeping creators happy.

Then, lunch rolls around. 

For Martin, it’s “not the most important break of the day.” But it is a moment of calm for him to “get out of the work bubble.” Sometimes he’ll watch some YouTube content that he personally likes. That puts him in a chill headspace for a half hour or so before heading back to work.

The time difference with his colleagues in the U.S. has conditioned 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 U.S. 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. 

According to Martin, there is a “very high” level of English fluency on the peninsula, something he absorbed in his youth.

“I was a bit worried when I interviewed at Jellysmack because I knew that English was the company language,” he reflects. “Imagine my surprise when I spoke English just as well as the people who recruited me!”

Martin Coulaty is proud of his “international and diverse” team.

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 does occasionally have the local team come into the office for a little get-together. For Coulaty, 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. 

The hybrid style suits him. He lives in a far-flung suburb about an hour outside of Paris—not exactly ideal for a daily commute. Luckily, Jellysmack firmly believes in working from Jellywhere, and Coulaty wouldn’t have it any other way.

When he’s not working, one of his favorite pastimes is visiting Paris like a tourist. Considering that he spent a decade of this youth growing up abroad, he kind of is. Weekends are sometimes spent exploring other cities in France. 

His passion for film is still intact: He frequents local movie theaters, where he’ll see just about anything “…except horror.”

“The Crafters”
Jellysmackers in the Arts and Crafts pod are known internally as “The Crafters.” They are among the most interdisciplinary of the pods at Jellysmack.

It encompasses everything from watercolors to woodworking. “It’s definitely one of the most challenging and fun pods,” Martin says.

There are two primary varieties of arts and craft content consumers: 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.” (Calling all blacksmithing content creators!)

There’s high demand and a low supply. Blacksmithing is a niche skill–-few do it well, and even fewer do it well and create video content of them doing it.

The fact that the Arts and Crafts pod has grown by more than 1000% in one year is a testament to the potentially underestimated draw of arts and crafts.

And there’s still room to scale. 

“It’s my goal to make social media a more artsy and craftsy place. It’s all about finding new ways to present the content to new audiences.”

Martin Coulaty, VP of Arts and Crafts genre

The Future of Arts + Crafts Content

The immediate challenge is knowing how to find footing in new markets, namely Asia and LATAM.

While other categories (like food, for example) are truly global, arts and crafts can get pretty niche. Additionally, there are cultural variables that impact the type of content consumed.

 “At the moment, most of our creators are from the U.S.,” says Martin, “and the biggest vertical is woodworking.” 

Apparently, Americans are really into it. However, it has not yet found the same success with audiences in Asia, for instance. Latin America, on the other hand, is gaining some traction. Meanwhile, the French just don’t seem to have as keen an interest in crafting in general.

The most direct way to make content palatable to a wider audience? Make it yourself. Or, do it yourself, in this case.

Jellysmack Original arts and crafts shows and channels could be on the horizon. Martin hints that the idea has been discussed. And of course, new partnerships with existing creators are always in the works. There are no plans for stopping at 50.

“A dream of mine would be to open a studio school for arts and crafts creators,” says Martin. “A month-long intensive would be great to teach them how to get their content out there efficiently and cost-effectively.”

He envisions launching it in LA to start, but as the arts and crafts goes global, why not international too?

Martin is constantly developing, maintaining, and improving his content expertise. And he’s always bursting with ideas. 

“Jellysmack gives us total liberty on certain things,” he says. And he intends to use that freedom to help the pod overperform. 

“I think I’ve truly found my ideal job at Jellysmack here in the arts and crafts pod,” he adds.

This article was originally published on Jellysmack’s Medium blog on January 19, 2022.