Sharing a Deep-Rooted Love for Sewing Through Workshops: A Conversation With Jane Harbison
By Jenn Monaghan
Jane joined Sale-A-Day in August after hopping into the Launch It Challenge. A creative at heart, Jane felt inclined to share her passion for sewing with the virtual world. Jane walks us through launching a challenge-inspired workshop, finding comfort in a like-minded community, and the value of turning feedback into action.
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Business: Jane Harbison
Latest Mini Workshop: Pucker Up 5 Day Sewing Challenge
Jane lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and her son.
While her background may technically be in accounting, Jane lives for all things creative. In fact, she used to teach workshops to young kids on the art of creative thinking.
Jane came by her creative passions honestly — her Mom was a talented sewer and she taught her how to sew from the ripe age of 10. While she yearned to devote her career to something creative, she felt inclined to pursue something more linear.
“I was creative at school and I should’ve always stuck to that. But when you’re at school, nobody told you that you could have a career with creativity.”
It was the 80’s, after all, and creative passions weren’t awarded the same recognition they are today. Nowadays, Jane is transforming her own narrative and enjoying the freedom to pursue her creative passions.
For the last 18 months, Jane has been designing fabric for boys and men
What once started out as a mere hobby has now turned into an income-producing opportunity for Jane.
Jane plans to sell the different fabrics she designs in the near future. But, she’s also aware that earning a name for yourself in the design world and making sales doesn’t happen overnight — it takes time and patience.
If she wanted to create revenue in the meantime, she knew it would help to get creative.
"And so, I thought, why not help people make something with my fabric?”
Jane realized that a workshop could be the perfect opportunity to share her pattern. During this workshop, Jane would grant her students access to her new shirt pattern and a private Facebook group where they could ask questions and engage with their fellow sewers.
This is where the idea for Jane’s Cool Camp Collared Shirt pattern was born.
Jane stumbled upon The Challenge — a 1-week Mini Workshop tutorial — in August and signed up right away
When Jane stumbled upon The Challenge, she felt confident that timing was on her side.
With Father’s Day around the corner, The Challenge would give Jane exactly what she needed to transform her workshop idea into reality: broken down steps, accountability, and, perhaps most important of all, pre-set deadlines.
“It gave me the key things I needed to get it done…I had a deadline so I knew I had to get it done."
Jane thrived in how simple The Challenge was. Rather than working through the steps at her own pace, she loved how all of the required steps (and associated deadlines) were laid out in front of her.
By the end of The Challenge, Jane had a brand new workshop ready to share with the world. And with only a few weeks to promote her workshop before going live, it was time to get to work and start selling tickets. She had shared her idea (ITAP) with her friends on Facebook so she knew there was interest.
From beginning to end, Jane sold 10 tickets for her workshop
At first, Jane wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of workshop sales.
While she’d run workshops in the past, her current workshop was in a completely different niche. She also didn’t have an established email list to connect with nor a group of past students waiting for her next offer. In a sense, Jane was starting out from nothing.
As it turns out, Jane had nothing to worry about.
“I’ve got this lovely little group of 10 women. They’re sewing it for their husbands, they’re sewing it for their sons, they’re sewing it for their husband’s best friends.”
In the span of only a few weeks, Jane had sold 10 tickets to her workshop — nearly a sale a day.
Much to her surprise, only a ¼ of her sales were through people she knew — the majority of her sales were from women all over the world who she’d yet to meet. To establish a healthy first impression, Jane recorded a personal video introduction to each and every person who purchased her workshop.
Now that sales were rolling in and plans were coming to fruition, it was time to start preparing for the big show: her workshop delivery.
Jane delivered the first of her workshop sewing series on August 22nd
Unlike the vast majority of workshops, Jane’s workshop was spread out over 5 days.
She knew sewing a shirt in only a few hours wasn’t feasible—and she didn’t want to rush the process. After all, Jane wanted as many of her students as possible to walk away with a finished product — not just the general theory behind sewing a shirt.
“Monday to Friday we’re sewing it and then I give them a day on Saturday to complete it…and then on Sunday we’re doing a little celebration.”
To start, Jane sewed the shirt at the same time as her students. She’d film her sewing process and create how-to videos for each step. In the event that any of her students fell behind, Jane decided to make these videos accessible for a lifetime.
From here, Jane would go live with her students each morning to encourage them, acknowledge their progress, and give away prizes. Before Jane knew it, the 5 days were up and her students were overjoyed with the fruits of their labor.
Reflecting on her 5-day workshop, Jane was thrilled with the experience
If you were to ask Jane, she’d tell you that her workshop was incredibly fun and informative.
She was touched by her community and how much her students were willing to support one another and give feedback. It was a warm, supportive, and easygoing environment — just as Jane had hoped to create from the very beginning.
As Day 5 came to an end, Jane felt overwhelmingly proud of the progress her sewers had made — even if some had yet to finish sewing their shirt.
“4 completed their shirts during the week, two others finished after the week ended (but before Father’s Day!), two others started it, and two I’m not sure.”
For Jane, it was heartwarming to see her students transition from moments of self-doubt to moments of pride. Her workshop also showed her that there’s room for improvements and upgrades in future iterations of her workshop — a realization she found invaluable.
What’s in the pipeline for Jane?
Jane thoroughly enjoyed her workshop experience — she loved building connections with her students and witnessing the incredible progress they made with their shirts.
In fact, she enjoyed it so much that she’s getting ready to release version 2.0 of her product later this month! Looking into the future, Jane has big plans for making her workshop a quarterly event.
“I will repeat this challenge again 4 times per year — Father’s Day, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and another.”
With no shortage of raving testimonials, we can only imagine that Jane’s workshop future is bright. Until then, Jane’s going to focus on strengthening the connection with her existing audience and eventually expanding her audience.