Interview: Jennifer Moore of Sewing Report

This month’s featured maker is Jennifer Moore. the sewist behind the Sewing Report who left her day job to work full-time on her YouTube-channel and her other sewing projects.

Jennifer Moore is a former TV news producer, who started sewing when she started a new job in a new city. In late 2017 she took a huge risk and leap of faith by quitting her job to focus full-time on YouTube.

What made you start a YouTube-channel focused on sewing and other crafts?  

 It made a lot of sense since I already had a background in producing video content and wanted to share something with the world that was positive, meaningful, practical and fun. The goal is to help others discover their love of sewing, crafts, and DIY projects.

As a content creator, are there some downsides of turning your crafty hobby into content? And if so, how have you dealt with it?

Social media platforms, trends, and other factors constantly change and it’s difficult to adapt. If you’re not keeping up with the very latest information, you could be missing out on a lot of opportunities and eventually get left behind. There is always an impending risk that the platform you focus the most on goes kaput, then what will you do?

We see this all the time and need to be prepared for when (not if) it will happen to us. Content will always be around, but the medium it’s communicated through will NOT stay the same. Having an online presence and developing a personal brand is absolutely critical for everyone in 2019 – no matter your stage of life

“We should not see other content creators in our sewing space as competitors”

You are not afraid to be opinionated in your content. Do you think that we in the sewing community are a little bit too careful sometimes about speaking our mind? And if so, what do you think is the cause of this?  

Yeah, I suppose I am. The older I get, the more self-confidence I’ve developed. To some degree, I have noticed that. This isn’t just limited to our niche, but bloggers and Instagrammers do a lot of comparing themselves to others and worry too much about what “so-and-so” is doing instead of working on themselves.

We should not see other content creators in our sewing space as “competitors” – instead we should be banding together to welcome more young people and men into the community. It’s crazy to me that someone will post a picture, video, or talk about their own sewing and others are so quick to pick it apart and criticize. There are many different ways to accomplish a technique, and it’s not necessarily wrong if it’s not done your way.

In the last few years you’ve done over 200 videos, regularly publishing two videos a week, while also holding down a full-time job initially and having a second, personal, YouTube-channel. What are your strategies for staying so productive?

If you want to create a side-hustle or build up anything enough to where you could walk away from a job like I did – you have to be willing to make sacrifices. The Sewing Report is not at this point a big money maker. It generates enough to where it makes financial sense for me to do, but keep in mind that my husband and I are child-free, we paid off all debts, and live pretty frugally.

I drive an 11-year-old car missing a freaking hubcap and have never taken a “real vacation” as a working adult. When I wanted to make YouTube happen, I made a conscious decision to cut out unproductive activities like hanging out with friends, spending hours watching TV on the couch, outings, you get the picture. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things, but how will they get you to your goal?

I keep a physical calendar and have a daily to-do list of what I need to accomplish. While still working for a company, I would shoot videos on the weekends and edit before and after hours. Luckily, I was already a pretty fast editor.

Another thing that’s been hard for me is learning when to say no. By nature, I’m a people pleaser who wants to help people even if it’s at a detriment to myself. Don’t be afraid to be picky about who you give your time and skills to. If someone is unreasonably demanding of your time but doesn’t value you as a person, you don’t owe them anything.

If someone wants to start a sewing/craft YouTube-channel, what advice would you give?

Be sure that video is truly your thing. I’ve noticed quite a few bloggers who couldn’t make the transition from online print to video. Some take amazing photos, write good blog posts, and make cool stuff – but that isn’t any indication they are cut out for video. On camera presence is so underrated as a skill, your favourite entertainers make it look deceptively easy. It is not for everyone and that’s okay! Look at what’s happening to voice right now in podcasts, giving radio pros a fresh opportunity.

Whatever your talents are, your time will come. Whether it be writing, photography, video, or whatever else is on the horizon. Growing a YouTube audience is a lot slower than most people realise, and I definitely feel it’s more challenging than working in traditional TV as far as success goes.

Spend a lot of time learning specifically about how YouTube works, as I made a lot of mistakes early on – everybody does. Doing YouTube on a serious level is extremely time-consuming and takes a lot more work than you see on a channel.

Sewing Report on YouTube

Follow Sewing Report on Instagram

By the way, if you are a massive Bravo reality-tv fan like myself, you should know that Jennifer scored an interview with sewing aficionado Craig Conover from Southern Charm!

This interview was originally published in my monthly newsletter. To get on the list, subscribe below!

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