This local do-it-yourself dynamo talks about her latest venture.
Jackie Taylor knows how to get the job done. As host of DIY Network’s hit show “Grounds for Improvement” (airing locally Sundays at 3:30 p.m. on Comcast channel 205), Taylor helps homeowners throughout the country tackle a variety of landscaping problems.
Expanding on the how to/do-it-yourself theme, this past May, Taylor and four partners launched oodleboxtv.com, a website that features “oodles” of short (about three minutes; “We like to keep them nice and tidy,” Taylor says) how-to segments on subjects ranging from rearing kids to building retaining walls, with experts (dubbed “gurus”) offering easy, step-by-step instructions. Oodleboxetv.com’s community page even allows everyday Joes and Janes to post their own do-it-yourself videos.
Television is nothing new to Taylor, who spent 20 years behind the scenes as a broadcast engineer before venturing in front of the camera on “The Big Spin” in 1998. (“I still, to this day, get called the Lotto Lady,” Taylor says. “And I have people who go, ‘Hey, you haven’t picked my number.’”) After purchasing a home, Taylor came up with a show concept about instructing women on the “how” of how-to projects. Soon, she was combining her quick wit and easygoing manner on do-it-yourself segments for CW 31’s “Good Day Sacramento” and its now-defunct sister program, “Good Evening Sacramento.”
Recently, we spoke with Taylor about oodleboxtv.com and her personal journey on the how-to/home-improvement highway.
How did you become the do-it-yourselfer that you are?
I bought a house, and I got really involved in the how-to projects around my home. I did take interior design in high school, and I used to rearrange my mom’s furniture. Every month, I would do a makeover in my mom’s house with the stuff that she already had. I would really get into opening up the space and making the space more conversational. I really was into colors and textures, and my mom supported me in that. I’ve always had an interest in design and also in redoing things—“fixing up” projects. My mom was a single parent for many years. So if something broke down, I was the plumber. I was the electrician. I was the handyman.
Why did you decide on a how-to show for women?
I felt that women needed to be empowered on how to do things themselves around the home. A lot of women feel they have to wait on their husbands to do something. They wait on their husbands, their boyfriends, their dads—anybody except themselves. And I found out that some of this stuff is really easy and simple. And women can save money; they can become empowered. They can take back their own power in their own homes. A lot of people just give up that power and control.
How did the concept of oodleboxtv.com come about?
There are five of us that are part of oodleboxtv.com. (Landscape designer Michael Glassman; Wendi Fontes, former “Good Day Sacramento” content editor; Stephanie Locher, producer for HGTV and Animal Planet; Esther Ritter, director for HGTV’s “Gardening by the Yard” with Paul James; and Taylor) We all came together and decided to start a production company [to] produce our own how-to videos that eventually we would put online for people to view.
How do you pick your topics?
We look for things that we think are fun and interesting. Right now, we are looking for an alcohol sponsor because we want to do an online bartending school. I am always looking for how to make the perfect lemon drop. The holidays are coming up, and there
are all kinds of fun and holidayish type of drinks and stuff to make. So we are looking for that guru who says, “Hey, I have the perfect recipe.” And then we want to marry that with an alcohol sponsor.
People can submit their own how-to videos via oodleboxtv.com’s community page. What do you look for in a clip?
It has to be a how-to of something that’s clean. We look for someone that is an expert in their field, [showing] people clearly how to do something. In the how-to world, there really isn’t one expert and one way of doing things. So we like to be able to give people the opportunity to tell us what they know.
Do people get paid for their submissions?
They don’t get paid. What they get is acknowledgment: “You did a good job! We’ve selected your video! Ain’t you so happy?” They get to tell their friends and family. They have a place for it to go, just like MySpace. Except our audience is different. With MySpace, the demographics are all over the board; our demographics are people who are into how-to projects, people who are looking for new and innovative products for the home and for the landscape.
What do you see for the future of oodleboxtv.com?
We’ll have millions of videos. We will have a community of gurus who go out across the country and teach people and talk to people just how they will online. . . . Oodlebox [will become] that place that people want to go to find out more about how to use products and how to have an easier lifestyle. How to change your oil, how to change your tire. You may not be doing it yourself, but it’s good to be knowledgeable about it. Down the road, I want to see more makeovers. Because Michael and I both come from the makeover genre and the how-to world, we want to be able to do that in Sacramento. I can’t tell you how many people say, “We want a makeover. When are you coming to my house? When are you coming to my backyard?” So we want people to be able to go on to oodlebox, contact us and show us their pictures of their backyards, tell us why [they] want us to come and do a makeover. We’ll get together with our sponsors and make that happen.