Jennifer Moore / Sewing Report
How did you become a Sewist?
Always evolving as a sewist, but I had just moved to Atlanta to work at CNN in 2013 and was looking for a meaningful hobby. Day-to-day life in a newsroom is super stressful. I needed something else to focus on in my off time and sewing was perfect and fascinating to me. You never know everything about sewing, so the learning process is perpetual. I bought a vintage Singer 201-2 on eBay, but it sat in bubble wrap for six months until my husband started using it and taught me sewing machine basics.
How did you become interested in the industry?
With my TV background and longtime interest in creating videos, I started the Sewing Report blog and YouTube channel. At first, I posted sewing vlogs and sharing finished makes - then ventured into more in-depth tutorials and sewing machine guides.
How long have you been in the industry?
The Sewing Report officially launched on Valentine’s Day 2016 - so over 4 years now.
Do you have a back story about your business?
For the first year and a half, I did the Sewing Report in my free time while I worked the night shift at CNN. Because of the nature of the news business, my manager had to sign off on me having a public presence. For instance, I would not have been able to start a news channel or anything that would conflict with the type of content CNN produces. In late 2017, the right combination of things happened which allowed me to quit my job to pursue YouTube full-time. My husband and I originally had combined student loans of $180,000. We became debt-free through selling our home, and kept our living expenses low in order to avoid the two-income trap.
What makes your business different than others? How do you stand out?
As a consumer of sewing-related content myself, I felt there were openings for fun and not-so-serious personalities. I’m known for my honest and authentic reviews and opinions, so I’ve chosen not to rely heavily on sponsorships and brand deals. I’ve also put a policy in place where I do not accept free products in exchange for social media posts. When someone sends me things to try out, there is no guarantee it will be featured on the Sewing Report. If my audience doesn’t trust me, they won’t stick around long term.
What was one of the most challenging/creative jobs you have ever done?
Even though I’m child-free, for some reason I love dollhouses. Never had one when I was growing up, and FOMO drove me to make one myself from a kit. It was called the Beachside Bungalow. Let me tell you, this is not a weekend project. It took me months to complete and I had no idea what I was doing. The finished dollhouse (painted pink, of course) looks amazing, all things considered. I still haven’t even started furnishing the interior, and it’s 2 years later...
What do you do to keep up with the industry?
Social media, social media, and more social media.
What is new and exciting for 2021?
Recently, I launched the Sewing Report Etsy shop to introduce ready-to-sew kits with the fabric pieces already cut out for the maker. I hope to add more easy sewing project kits this year, along with some of my favorite supplies. As a follow up to a Learn to Sew in 2020 series I did on the channel, I will likely incorporate beginner quilting tutorials as that’s one of my favorite areas of sewing.
What do you like best about WAWAK?
The endless selection and unbelievably low prices. I have located hard to find items on WAWAK’s site at half the cost compared to competitors.
When it comes to your company, what are you most proud of?
Going from a TV news producer with a steady paycheck to a self-employed sewing YouTuber sounds insane. I’ve sacrificed a lot to be doing this and took a lot of risks, but zero regrets. Sewing has given me so much, and my mission is to encourage people to try it and love it.
What advice do you give to the next generation of Designers?
Don’t be afraid. Especially when you’re young, you can afford to potentially fail and start over again. You will make mistakes. Whatever you’re trying to do, take notes and learn from more experienced successful people. Cultivate multiple sources of income. That will give you freedom to make choices and cushion you from job loss or unfortunate circumstances. Develop your public personal brand, since you own and control it. Many artists and creatives have built a business from a social media presence. You don’t have to be ‘the best’ in your craft, but you absolutely have to be able to market yourself.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop?
There is no excuse not to know how to do something in 2021, thanks to the internet. You can literally learn anything for free on YouTube. I take full advantage of all of these resources for whatever I need to figure out - from sewing to video editing techniques. I’m constantly on the lookout for interesting people of value and new books to read. In my own life, I’ve tried to cut out unproductive activities and multi-task as much as possible. For instance, I don’t normally just watch a TV show or a movie, but will if I’m also eating dinner or typing emails. I’ll listen to podcasts while I’m tackling household chores or at the sewing machine. Even though I’m working for myself and theoretically don’t have to do anything, I often work every single day for 10-12 hours. That’s what it takes to accomplish my goals. You have to be a self-starter with discipline in my situation.
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