Which gig? I feel like as a creative content designer the only way to pay the bills is to have 763 gigs going all at once (and none of those offer health insurance). You can’t ever have all your crafty irons in one fire is the number one thing I’ve learned through the years. As for how I got the gig working for DIY Network and HGTV it’s kinda a long story so grab a snack and hunker down.
Let’s go back a gazillion years to when craft shows were still on TV. There was a show called Crafters Coast to Coast on HGTV and I was a guest. This was back when I ran a jewelry company called Naughty Secretary Club and specialized in resin jewelry. My dog Lucy and I had our 5 seconds of fame making jewelry on national TV. The other thing this opportunity gave me was a “reel” which is basically like a video resume.
The Austin Craft Mafia.
Eventually, along with some other friends in Austin, I started a girl gang called The Austin Craft Mafia. To start it was my friends Tina Sparkles who had a company called Sparkle Craft and another friend Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. Really it was more of a mastermind group. We got together weekly, talked business, and worked out ways to help spread the gospel about each other’s business. Quickly thereafter the group got a few new members and became more of an official thing. One of those members was a recent California transplant named Vickie Howell.
At the time Vickie was a knitter running a vintage company with her sister-in-law. She had left California and her dreams of TV behind when moving to Austin until lady luck called. A casting agent for DIY Network called and asked if she knew any sassy knitters that might like to host a new show for the DIY Network called Knitty Gritty. The rest is history with her infamous knitting trajectory.
While filming Knitty Gritty in Los Angeles I flew out to visit her. I happen to meet several producers, directors, and executives from DIY Network and HGTV while I was there. Vickie and I told them about our friends The Austin Craft Mafia and how we all made different types of wearable fashions. Next thing I knew we had our own show on DIY Network called Stylelicious.
From an episode of Stylicious.
I co-hosted almost 20 episodes of Stylelicious. The show was filmed in Los Angeles on a sound stage and there are worse things in the world than hanging out with your best friends and crafting all day. After the show wrapped the network contacted me and asked if I would be interested in hosting my own TV show. I said no. The producer of the show asked, again and again, I said no.
At this point, Naughty Secretary Club was taking off into a book and a brand and more time in Los Angeles did not seem feasible. Obviously, I worked things out because eventually, I filmed 120 episodes of my own daily show Craft Lab for the network. This opportunity gave me the chance to meet so many amazing artists in the creative industry plus exposed me to events like the Craft and Hobby Association’s trade show. I’m still close with several of the guests!
Through all of this, I’ve also filmed several holiday specials for the network including an entire YouTube series about Halloween. Speaking of that series I got pregnant right before filming and as having a baby can do all things came to a screeching halt. I made the conscious decision to quit Naughty Secretary Club and take some time off to focus on being a mom. That meant no more TV shows too.
A TOMS shoes craft event hosted by Jennifer Perkins.
Kids do this thing where they get older and you start to get your free time back. It’s weird how that happens!
Slowly I started working again. I blogged weekly for I Love to Create, became the DIY Editor for the BlogHer network and even became the Editor in Chief of a print magazine called Kids Crafts 1-2-3. Somewhere in there I also started hosting a weekly event at TOMS Shoes called Crafts and Cocktails with Jen. Each month was a different craft sponsored by Darice. One of these nights happened during SXSW and a friend of a mutual friend from the DIY Network stopped by to say hello. We chummed around and hit it off and from there I started writing freelance articles for DIY Network.
Jennifer was the editor-in-chief of this magazine.
Eventually, I wrote more and more articles and I was approached about hosting some Facebook Live videos for DIY Network. This past year was the first year both of my children were in school so the time was right for me to start Jennifer Perkins 2.0.
Being in front of a camera is not something that scares me so I jumped at the chance to hang out with people all over the world live and craft. Plus it forces me to put on makeup at least once a week. I’ve been hosting the show weekly for the better part of 2017 and now DIY This With Jennifer Perkins is live every Thursday at 1 pm CST on not only the DIY Network but also HGTV.
I feel so lucky that this is my job (or one of them). I have never met a craft I didn’t like so this opportunity gives me the chance to try something new every week. I’ve poured acrylic paint, given home tours of my over the top holiday decor, made paper beads, and even glittered shoes to look like pencils. Most of the time there’s a companion article on the DIY Network site or HGTV with more step-by-step instructions and the video.
The moral of the story for me is never say no to an opportunity. It all started with a necklace of my dog Lucy and a trip to LA to hang out with a friend and now I’m crafting live weekly with sometimes over 100k people. There were many steps to connecting the dots to how I got this dig, but all equally important and fun. I love what I do and I’d be crafting even if I didn’t get paid to so it works out.