Zane Redfern is a familiar face to many in the St. Louis LGBTQ community, but since launching his YouTube channel "AtHomeWithZane" in June 2016, and its subsequent online store, the interior design and home decorating enthusiast has earned a following far and wide.  


Redfern was recently featured on Fox 2 News offering his unique "Do It Yourself" (DIY) tips and sat down with #Boom to talk about his show, design and more.


What was the inspiration behind "AtHomeWithZane"?


I’ve always had a passion for home décor and I wanted to share with others that you don’t have to be a professional interior decorator, florist or seamstress to create a beautiful home. "AtHomeWithZane" is geared towards budget-friendly, practical, simple and achievable DIY’s, home decorating tips and ideas. And, on an occasion, a few simple recipes for baking (who doesn’t love a delicious brownie or cookie)?


Tell us about the technical side; what's the video making process, how long does an episode take to complete?


I’m really glad you asked this question because unless you’re a YouTube creator you really have no idea how much time, effort and money goes into creating YouTube videos, not to mention coming up with the “content." On average a 3 to 3.5 minute video from start to finish takes about 2 to 2.5 hours from setup to publishing. Once I’ve completed the setup for my video(s), i.e., lighting, camera, props, etc., then I have to actually record the video and once the video is completed I begin the editing process. Editing is probably the most time-consuming part of the entire process, and editing time varies based on how my video is structured. If I’m conducting a video with multiple photos, location shots, or “voiceovers” that extends my editing time tremendously. After the video is edited the publishing takes place... uploading the video to YouTube, tagging the video (which is critical, tagging is what populates your video based on SEO [search engine optimization]) for what people are searching for. If you don’t take the time to tag your videos the likelihood of them being seen decreases by 80%. Once the video is uploaded I then have to share it on all my social media sites. It’s an extremely time-consuming process. I’ve spent 3 to 3.5 hours from start to finish to produce a simple 6 minute video. Now, that’s not saying you can’t record a video in a short amount of time, it all depends on the quality of the video you want people to see and to me it’s extremely important to not only provide good content but to also take pride in how that content is delivered and I believe that’s all part of the process.


Would you talk a little bit about your design background?


I have no “formal” training or certificate as an entire designer or interior decorator, it’s just something that I’ve always been passionate about. Even from a young age I would rearrange my bedroom and take old things and paint them to look beautiful. I would create floral arrangements and use my allowance to buy décor pieces for my bedroom. It’s a talent and a gift really. My mother always says “you get it from your dad, he always had the best of the best and a love for making things beautiful such as, restoring old furniture to bring it back to life”. My father was killed in a plane crash when I was 11 years old so it’s a wonderful feeling to know that when I’m sharing my ideas and my passion, there’s a piece of him that’s always there.


Personally, as a gay man born without the "style/fashion gene," I find these videos to be very helpful. Do you hear that from a lot of folks - that they're intimidated about decor/design?


Absolutely, you’re not alone! I’ve always known that having the ability to decorate your home is not something that comes easily to everyone. However, since starting my YouTube channel I have realized that this “intimidation factor” is real and it’s wide-spread. I believe there are four groups of people when it comes to home decorating. Group (A) has absolutely no idea where to start and the thought is extremely daunting. Group (B) knows what they like, they just don’t know how to execute it. Group (C) has a pretty good idea what they like and how to execute it, however, they’re very intimated by change. And, group (D) knows what they like, they aren’t afraid of change and they love the thrill of finding that perfect piece of home décor. The one thing all of these groups have in common is they want to save money!! Everyone, regardless of their décor style or the amount of money they have to work with are all searching for budget-friendly ways to achieve that look for their home. That’s why thrift stores, dollar stores and DIY’s are at an all-time high! Everyone wants their home to look beautiful but they don’t want to spend a ton of money to do it and that’s why they find value in my videos.


Are you surprised at how "AHWZ" has taken off? Tell us about your reach and the response.


Yes and no (because I’m an optimist) [laughs]. When I initially started my channel I always felt it would do well and there would be an active interest, however, I thought, maybe I’ll get 1,000 subscribers max. I had no idea my channel would draw the interest that is has and that it would gain the momentum as quickly as it did. YouTube creators hope to start a channel and have it become successful so when you get your first 100 subscribers your ecstatic! But when you cross over that 10, 000 subscriber mark you really feel like you’re in the “big league”. For me it’s not so much about the number of subscribers I have, it’s about the dedication my subscribers have to me. I have many subscribers that have shared stories of how watching my YouTube channel has changed their life, how I’ve made their lives easier. That for me is the true reward; knowing that what I’m doing is helping others’.


How did you hear about the Fox 2 segment? What was that experience like?


That’s an interesting story. I have a “vision board” and for the past five years I’ve had on my vision board “appear live on a local news station and share my home décor ideas”. One evening I ran into a friend, Michael Rockafellow, who had recently been on Fox 2 and I was congratulating him on his accomplishments and I said to him “I’ve always wanted to go on the news and share ideas from my YouTube channel; I’m just waiting for them to find me." Michael said “I’ll reach out to my contact there and tell her about you and ask if she’d be ok with me sending you her information”. He sent me a message the next day and said “I spoke to my contact and she said to email her your ideas, she’ll take a look and if it’s something their interested in she’ll get back to you”. I sent off my email expressing my ideas and also expressing how I felt there was a “void” in the local market regarding budget-friendly home decorating and that it was something so many people have an active interest in, yet no one is talking about it! I crossed my fingers and hoped for a response. A month went by and on the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing I had literally just posted a memoriam on my Facebook Page for my grandmother, and within a few seconds I received an email alert. I opened the email and there it was, Fox 2 saying “we would love to see how you can get a great home décor look without having to spend thousands of dollars. Can you give us a demonstration on Tuesday, August 28, 2018”? I was over-the-top excited. I couldn’t believe that on the same day I was grieving the loss of my grandmother, I was also receiving a message that one of my dreams was coming true. I received the message on August 22nd and six days later on August 28th I was live on Fox 2 News.


Anything you'd like to talk about that I haven't asked?


On May 6th of this year I launched the online "AtHomeWithZane" Store. I wanted to offer a beautiful selection of unique, affordable home décor, but also a wide-range of items such as seasonal décor, fashion accessories, handbags, men’s accessories, etc. I hope to one day have my own “brand” of home décor and be known worldwide. The store is doing very well and I believe someday it will happen.




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