Creativity, Design, and Workshops: A Conversation With Jayne Whittles

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By Jenn Monaghan

Jayne signed up for The Challenge in August with hopes of launching both a workshop and a membership. Spending much of her early adulthood in NYC and now residing in Connecticut, Jayne is a passionate and multifaceted creative. She tells us about her ever-expanding interest in design, how she got involved in the world of DIY, and using workshops to feed her new membership. 

Location: Connecticut, New England 
Business: Surface Anthology 
Latest Mini Workshop: The Fancy French Inspired workshop


Meet Jayne  

Jayne is an artist, a mother, and a true creative at heart. 

While she now calls Connecticut home, this wasn’t always the case. When Jayne was 17, she traveled to New York City where she attended art school. From here, she happily bounced between teaching figure drawing classes and working as a makeup artist and hairstylist. 

Jayne fell in love with the contagious energy of New York City—and she built an exciting life there for nearly 30 years. Her time in the city set the tone for what she wanted to do next and where she envisioned setting up roots. 

“I learned a lot about design when I was in New York City which helps with what I’m doing now.” 

When she moved back to Connecticut, she opened a brick-and-mortar shop dedicated to all things antiques. After all, antiques were something she was familiar with from a young age and fit in line with her love for art and design. 

When Jayne eventually closed her shop, she was eager to channel her creative energy elsewhere. It was time to find her next thing

This is when Jayne began toying with the idea of online workshops 

With a background in teaching, this wasn’t exactly new territory for Jayne. 

She’d always loved instructing others on how to create beautiful and authentic DIY projects — anything from painting an antique finish on a piece of furniture to stitching a quilt. 

With her workshops, she wanted to make the world of DIY feel more approachable to aspiring creatives. Instead of feeling intimidated or exhausted by the idea of a project, Jayne wanted to put the fun back into it creating something special with your hands. 

Just like that, Jayne began transforming her thoughts into action and she was ready to get started. 

Jayne signed up for The Challenge in August 

Jayne has always cherished simplicity — especially when it comes to the online world. 

So when she read that The Challenge was only a week long and broken down into a series of steps, it made for an easy yes. She decided to jump in, commit herself to the process, and launch a workshop. 

“I just gave myself to the process — I called it the Mini Workshop Challenge process. I gave myself to it and it worked.” 

Based on workshops from her past, she knew that she didn’t want to overcomplicate the process. Jayne loved that The Challenge would help to keep her on track and minimize distractions. 

Within the span of a week, The Fancy French Inspired Chalkboard Workshop was born 

In this workshop, Jayne planned to teach her students how to create a french-inspired chalkboard from plywood. 

Unlike Jayne’s past workshops, she set her sights on launching this workshop live. She craved the energy of a live audience and she was certain a live experience would be more appealing to her audience. 

Because Jayne would be teaching her students how to create a physical object, she knew that a one-day workshop wasn’t feasible. So, she stretched her workshop out to three days of 1-hour long sessions. 

Jayne also wanted to ensure she wasn’t setting herself up for burnout. She set strict boundaries for herself during her workshop launch and made certain to commit to a process that felt good and worked for her. 

Before she knew it, it was showtime. 

Jayne delivered the first session of her 3-day workshop on August 23rd 

From beginning to end, Jayne sold 20 tickets for her workshop. 

And as a self-professed introvert, Jayne was thrilled with how well her live delivery went. While she was inclined to feel stressed out and anxious when teaching in the past, Jayne remained cool and confident throughout her live delivery (minus a brief appearance from the tech goblins on her last day). 

“I thought it went really well and I enjoyed it.” 

She also timed this workshop with the launch of her new membership — Surface Anthology Membership. After wrapping up her workshop, Jayne welcomed 19 new members into her Surface Anthology membership. 

She also received a ton of awesome feedback from happy students who thoroughly enjoyed her workshop. 

Reflecting on her 3-day workshop, Jayne felt inspired and excited for what’s to come next 

Jayne loved how straightforward The Challenge made launching and delivering a workshop. 

It gave her a script that, with a few minor tweaks, she could follow and repurpose for future workshops. This made the launch feel relatively simple and allowed her to work through the process in a timely manner.

“What stood out to me is that I was able to do The Challenge, do my launch, and do my workshop all within this time frame—and it worked really well.” 

Now that her chalkboard workshop is wrapped up, she’s ready to channel her energy into her membership. Inside this membership, Jayne will teach a new technique workshop each month through video, PDFs, and lives. 

Come fall, Jayne plans to launch yet another design-forward workshop. 

Now that Jayne’s established an awesome workshop base, we can’t wait to see what’s next from her!