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Introducing the Do-It-Herself Diva

Home Depot, Others Take Lead in Providing DIY Classes for Women

F. Sia Ahmadu and Shantella Y. Sherman | 6/11/2014, 2 p.m.
According to a recent survey by the Home Improvement Research Institute, the number of home improvement products purchased by women ...

As the heads of many American households, women are increasingly forced to reckon with not only the odd handyman job like mowing lawns or replacing sealants, but also more demanding household repairs including plumbing and electrical work. In fact, what was once considered the man’s terrain within the home has become a space where women actively flex their muscle.

According to a recent survey by the Home Improvement Research Institute, the number of home improvement products purchased by women have increased over the years. Women account for more than $70 billion worth of purchases in the home improvement industry, up from just over $55 billion in 1995. This rising trend is due to women owning their own homes and tackling their own home repair projects. Industry research shows that single women are purchasing new homes at twice the rate of single men, and within the first year of home ownership, women spend almost $9,000 on home improvement projects. Contributing to the growing trend of women purchasing tools are home improvement shows and hardware stores.

Websites like See Jane Drill and Be Jane implore women to step up and do the handiwork, rather than wait on a male family member or pay for services they can do themselves. Be Jane coaxes: “Ladies, you don’t have to be a Jack to be a Jack of all trades. You can Be Jane. And once you tackle home improvement, then life improvement and even world improvement are just around the corner.” And while Be Jane and See Jane Drill provide both instruction and support through social networking tools, services and user generated content, a vast array of blogs for female fixers exist to tackle almost any building or repair job.

“There is an enormous demand for home improvement information out there for the beginner, because no one is supplying it,” said Karen DeVenaro, co-founder of See Jane Drill. “Even a task that sounds simple enough, like using a pressure washer to clean a deck, can be a nightmare for the beginner. Yes, there is information available on how to use the pressure washer, but how do you set it up? How do you start the thing? Nobody tells you the basics, such as how to hook up the hoses. That's the problem in a nutshell. Home improvement resources generally make the assumption that you already know something, but the beginner, the gal or guy that doesn't know the difference between a miter saw and a table saw? Where can they go?” Well, no place until See Jane Drill came along.

See Jane Drill provides all the help that many beginner DIY-ers are looking for, and until recently have not been able to find. Another feature of their company is that they will create videos upon request.

“We often get requests from our viewers on how to do tasks for which the information available is limited," points out Leah Bolden, master craftswoman and co-founder of See Jane Drill. "We have and will continue to create videos upon request that will then be available to anyone who wants to use them, and for free! How many other websites offer that?”