David R. Cohen is the former Associate Editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times. He is originally from Marietta, GA and studied Journalism at the University of Tennessee.
Moe Mernick is helping foster a DIY revolution as the head of business development for Hometalk, where people ask and answer questions about home projects and share projects of which they are proud.
A New York-based web startup with ties to Israel is leading the way for a new generation of do-it-yourselfers.
Launched in 2011, Hometalk.com is the largest home and garden information hub online and is the place to go for inexpensive, DIY projects to freshen up your living space.
“Hometalk is a DIY community of people that are looking to save money and be creative,” said Moe Mernick, who heads up business development for the startup. “It’s people that are looking to make their homes their own. The community has really taken on a life of its own.”
Mernick, who was in Atlanta for the Home & Garden Digital Marketing Summit in March, took some time to speak with the AJT about Hometalk, its recent growth, and its connections to Israel and the city of Atlanta.
Hometalk shares a research and development center in Jerusalem with a lead generation company in Atlanta. Sandy Springs-based Networx is one of the leading networks of home improvement contractors in the United States.
“We are a New York-based company, but a lot of the team does sit in Jerusalem,” Mernick said. “When we talk about Hometalk, our staff is really a microcosm of the great community online. In Jerusalem, we have men and women, Haredi and secular working side by side.”
This DIY coffee table made out of wood pallets is one of the many unique projects posted at Hometalk
Mernick, an Orthodox Jew born in Toronto, splits time between New York and Ramat Beit Shemesh, where his wife and children live.
Now in its fifth year, Hometalk’s website boasts more than 6 million unique visitors and 50 million page views per month. The company also has an impressive following on social media with nearly 1 million Facebook likes and more than 440,000 followers on Pinterest.
So what’s behind this revolution in DIY enthusiasts? Mernick said Hometalk has been able to capitalize on people’s propensity to love what they create and their desire to share it with others.
“It’s very easy to take out your checkbook and hire an interior designer,” he said. “But what people feel more proud of is when they actually have a hand in creating something themselves. When we build something ourselves, we love it more.”
Hometalk also is similar to Pinterest in its niche demographics: 95 percent of Hometalk’s 6 million monthly visitors are women, and 85 percent live in the United States.
Moving forward, Mernick said his company is exploring ways to provide more value to the Hometalk community.
“Our users want to be able to buy products at Hometalk,” he said. “They don’t just want to see great content, but they want to be able to buy it. We need to have products available to them that are true to the Hometalk brand. In addition, we want to provide the world’s most authoritative destination for product reviews in the home and garden space.”