When newcomers enter an industry for the first time, they often look up to role models who have been there before and have done so. For example, an aspiring designer can look up to someone like Masaba Gupta and often find ways to emulate their success.
While learning from the greats has been a huge challenge in the past, technology has messed all of that up – and social media is bringing us closer to our idols than ever before.
In addition, upskilling is now easier than ever. Having a design background, Samarth Bajaj and Aadesh Nahar, recognizing the need to bring students closer to the experts, co-founded an online learning platform, The Designer’s Class (TDC), in 2020 with Vishal Bajaj and Preetam Saikia.
Together the three invested Rs 3 million from their personal finances and those of friends and family to make TDC possible. Starting today, prospective students can access courses on fashion, jewelry, interior design, photography, and beauty and makeup through this platform.
Bring in the celebrity factor
The TDC courses have been curated by a team of experienced professionals and industry experts who have spent nearly six to eight months designing these courses.
In addition, it also relies on its celebrity collaborations. This includes a list of 18 prominent designers such as Gauri Khan, Masaba, Rhea Kapoor, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla who have designed and taught courses.
“Everyone has carefully designed the course content to ensure it is relevant, comprehensive and practical. Their contributions are instrumental in providing valuable industry perspectives and conveying their design sensibilities in an understandable way,” says Bajaj. “They are [celebrities] are also willing to share the industry perspective and what they have learned along the way.”
It operates on a hybrid model where the masters and celebrity courses are pre-recorded and the live courses are taught by faculty. It is currently an online platform. However, TDC is testing an offline model and plans to implement it in Q3 2023 – with a student-to-teacher ratio of approximately 22:1.
The course fee ranges from 2999 to 20,000 rupees. The duration varies depending on the course and ranges from a minimum of 30 hours to a maximum of 600 hours of learning content.
There are currently around 17,000 active users on the platform. The company had a turnover of around Rs.3.5 billion in FY22.
For prominent designers, it works on a revenue-sharing model. The maximum percentage for celebrity designers is 20%, with the celebrities receiving a percentage of the net signups.
Upon graduation, students are also eligible for internship opportunities with celebrities. “We only offer internships to students who complete the entire course, especially the entire bundled program, and achieve at least 70% of the points. Internships are not offered for individual courses or mini-bundles,” Bajaj emphasizes.
Approximately 60% of candidates were shortlisted or received internships or jobs.
The final assessment is performed by the AI without human intervention unless an objection is raised.
Speaking about the competition, Bajaj noted that there are two brackets to identify competitors. The larger group includes edtech platforms includingBYJU’S and others, although it considers Masterclass, as rivals.
While the edtech market is currently facing upheaval and a number of challenges, the total market in India was valued at US$700-800 million in 2021 and is projected to reach US$30 billion by 2031 and with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) grow by 20%, according to a study by.
After raising US$1 million (Rs.7.9 billion) from angel investors in July last year, the company now plans to convert The Designer Class into a primary and secondary education provider in accordance with the standards of the National Transform Skill Qualification Framework.