A new Web site launched today for the women’s home improvement and do-it-yourself industry, which is reportedly valued at about $50 billion.

Be Jane Inc., which has relationships with Kmart, Sherwin-Williams, Zircon and the Great Indoors, has created www.be-jane.com, which features articles, information, tips, glossaries and message boards designed for women do-it-yourselfers who are seeking a collaborative peer environment. Through the Ask Jane column and Be Jane Community Message Boards, consumers can seek advice, share questions and answers, receive referrals and advice from other “Janes,” and hear about new how-to videos, animated tutorials and celebrity stories, among other offerings.

The Be Jane multimedia network, as well as the recently launched Be Jane Web site, was the brainchild of founders Heidi Baker, Eden Clark and Phil Breman. Clark and Baker, both avid do-it-yourself aficionados, teamed in early 2003 to form Be Jane and since have created and branded “The Janes,” America’s leading do-it-yourself personalities. The Janes have appeared on numerous national television and radio broadcast shows, including ABC Family, ABC Soapnet and Spike Network, as well as a number of local affiliates.

According to Baker and Clark, the home improvement industry is now more aware of the buying power of female consumers.

“This market is already exploding, yet is surprisingly underserved by the media and online communities,” said Baker and Clark. “The $50 billion women’s home improvement market represents a highly significant buying demographic – within a traditionally male industry. Women do-it-yourselfers have already become a credible and prevalent force in the home improvement retail and information marketplace. We believe that through mass merchandising, and now through the power of our online presence, the Be Jane brand will come to equal a mark of quality for women and a source that corporations will turn to for home improvement for years to come.”

Industry research shows that the women’s home improvement market is booming. According to the American Express Home Improvement Index, more than 67 percent of women surveyed describe themselves as “do-it-yourselfers,” and 57 percent of women queried said they would rather work on their homes than on their careers. Fannie Mae states that currently more than 17 million single women own homes – and that number is expected to increase to more than 30 million in the United States alone by the year 2010.

The Be Jane Web site’s “Featured Janes” segment profiles the personal experiences of women do-it-yourselfers with stories and anecdotes, and the company invites any woman with a home improvement story of her own to join the Be Jane community.

In addition to the Be Jane Web site, the company is expanding its offering in the first quarter of 2005 to include local workshops and programs in conjunction with national retailers and women’s organizations. In addition to other technologies, the company will offer animated project tutorials, a series of DVDs, the “Be Jane Seal of Approval,” and other licensed content for consumers who are tackling home improvement and decor projects.

Established in 2003, Be Jane is a multimedia developer and licensor of products and services designed specifically for women home improvement consumers – the fastest growing segment of the do-it-yourself category. Be Jane is based in Los Angeles.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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