“It’s like “home economics meets shop class for adult women.”
That’s how Melissa Palmer describes her new business concept, Jane of All Trades Orlando (JOATO). From learning the basics of tools to how to sew, change a tire, get confident in the weight room, or become a restaurant wine list connoisseur — there’s no classroom topic that appears to be off-limits.
In her own words, “the classes are designed for women in order to remove the intimidation factor. The goal of these classes is to broaden the knowledge of topics that were either never formally taught, didn’t’ think were needed (until they were!), or were on a list of ‘someday I would like to learn to do this.’”
Let’s dive into our Q&A, shall we?
What propelled you to launch Jane of All Trades Orlando? Did someone inspire the concept?
I originally came up with this class concept just before the pandemic. I was at a point in my life where I needed to write down all the little things I wanted to learn or explore. I didn’t consider it a bucket list, but more of a let’s try list. I had completely forgotten about it until a friend (and lead instructor of The Basics of Tools class, Anne Morello from Feminist Fuel Co.) posted something that reminded me it was time to check that archived note in my phone. What began as a list of things I wanted to learn on my own soon grew into something I could share with others. And each time I mention the concept to friends, the list of class ideas grows.
Tell us about one moment in your life where it would’ve come in handy to have a JOATO workshop under your belt already.
There are many times in the past when a JOATO class would have come in handy. The one time I built a lemonade stand for my daughter’s first birthday party, sanding, painting, nailing, and trying to decide what I needed. I ended up buying more tools than I probably needed, and it may not have been as smooth as it should have been, but I made it work. The many times I have been stranded on the side of a road with a flat tire waiting hours for AAA or a tow truck. Or the dozens of times I take my clothing to the seamstress to have a button sewn on only for her to look at me like, ‘Seriously? You can’t sew this on?’
What events does JOATO have coming up that Pulptown readers would want to know about?
JOATO’s first class, The Basics of Tools, is coming up THIS Sunday 2/27 at Miller’s Hardware. Led by experts in the field and avid DIYers, the goal of this class is to make women feel more conformable in the hardware store, familiarize them with the essential tools one should have in the home, and gain confidence by creating a project by hand with the support of the JOATO team.
The cost to attend is $75 and includes all materials. Parking is available just across the street from Miller’s Hardware and coffee will be provided by the locally roasted and woman-owned coffee shop, Coterie Coffee in Winter Park. (Because on Sunday morning, a little fuel is always a good thing!).
Whatcha got planned for the upcoming months?
The plan to start is to host one class per month on a variety of topics. Following The Basics of Tools class, JAOTO will tackle something that has always been a slight fear of mine: the gym weight room (details coming soon!), followed by roadside safety (think of the fun you can have learning to change a tire and jump a car!), and then sewing basics.
How to support JOATA?
Follow @janeofalltradesorlando on Instagram to stay up to date on classes offered and to share ideas for future class concepts.
Fill in the blank: A dream collaboration of yours would be to __________________.
… continue partnering with amazing local businesses who love our community as much as I do.
Fill in the blank: Melissa’s perfect day includes _________________.
… a bike ride from Thornton Park to Purple Ocean Superfood Bar on Mills Ave, then through Mead Botanical Gardens to get a Turkish latte from Barnie’s, and ending with a Greek Salad with chicken and a side of spanakopita from The Greek Corner (can you tell food drives me?).
To keep up with Melissa and JOATA, be sure to follow @janeofalltradesorlando on Instagram.
Know of someone or some org that we ought to feature in our next Locals to Know, send them our way!