New to Wolf & Faun: The Patterns for All mailing List
I have been quiet for the most part lately but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. There are a few testings going on (releases in June!) and I have been thinking a lot about how I want to structure my business model moving forward.
There has been a lot of conversation about accessibility and inclusivity in the fibre arts community (which is great!) and what we can do as a community to ensure diversity and provide opportunity for all to participate and have a place. As someone who is currently on disability and has lived in the lower-economic bracket for most of my life, this is a topic dear to my heart. I know what it means to have to count pennies to afford the next project or not be able to create a pattern calling to me because it was simply too financially prohibitive. I know what it means to look at the cost of a pattern and think “Geez if I want that I have to be willing to give up food or clothing or gas money”. I have always wanted Wolf & Faun to be inclusive and diverse. I have always wanted everyone from all walks of life and backgrounds to feel like they belong here because you do.
To be perfectly honest with you, the whole reason I started designing and selling patterns in the first place was due to financial hardship. My daughter had just been born, money was tighter than ever before and I had to decide to either stop knitting or generate income from it to cover its costs.
Two years ago Wolf & Faun begun a pay-what-you-can model on two patterns, “Pay It Foward” and “A Random Act of Kindness”. I have also had a policy where anyone who contacts me asking for a pattern they cannot otherwise access due to financial hardship will receive a copy of the pattern they desire no questions asked.
These models have worked with varied success. I don’t have to get into all the details now but I was hesitant with the current model to expand it to all of my patterns. I did not feel I was serving people as well as it could nor providing an opportunity for others to compensate me in a way that felt good for them. There were some definite perks to it as well but as with all things in life, there is room for growth and expansion.
Recently a fellow knit designer and friend, Frenchie of Aroha knits drew inspiration from my model and tweaked it to suit her own. This renewed attention and discussion around accessibility inspired me to really reflect on what I did and did not like about my own model. I had several discussions with a variety of fibre artists over social media and their thoughts and feelings helped me gain some perspective (so thank you to those who went through the emotional labour of exploring this topic with me and sharing your own experiences with poverty, disability, and accessibility).
I have come up with an experimental model that I wish to “roll out” for the month of May. I encourage anyone who participates in this model to provide me with feedback should you feel called to.
So, in a nutshell, here is my idea.
1) I have always felt uncomfortable asking people to approach me for free patterns in the event they could not afford one. Some of my recent discussions echoed my discomfort and confirmed that for some, asking for an item they feel as value to be free can instil a sense of shame, discomfort or guilt… this is especially true when the individual wants to be able to pay for it… but cannot at this time. I don’t want that for my supporters… SO here is my proposal: I will create a newsletter specifically for people who self-identify as someone who may not be able to access my patterns due to financial constraints. This is much less uncomfortable than contacting me directly I hope.
2) I will send out a monthly newsletter to this list of people. In it, I will provide a fixed number of coupon codes for 1 free pattern of choice through my Ravelry page.
3) I will trust that subscribers to my newsletter will decide if and when they would like to access the offer and use the code for a free pattern. This way, no one has to approach me asking for a free copy of a pattern.
This model will be based on the philosophy of “take what you need”. I trust that not everyone will need to use a code each month and will only do so when they intend to use a pattern in the immediate future. If we all use the codes only as needed, then hopefully, in theory, everyone will have access to a free pattern most of the time when they are ready to use it This understanding is an essential part of this model to be sustainable and long term for all.
4) In my newsletter and on social media, I will provide a “Paypal Me” link to anyone who desires to pay-what-you-can when they use the coupon code (as many have requested this be an option) OR for people who wish to support the program by paying-it-forward or otherwise contributing to my ability to offer free patterns while also making it financially sustainable. Should I receive a higher-than-anticipated number of donations, I will use it to provide more coupon codes per month. You do NOT need to pay me to use the coupon codes. It’s only for people who desire to do so.
5) I will be rolling out a modified pay-what-you-can structure with my other patterns over the next month to reflect a more sustainable model for me. In this way, I hope to be able to maintain financial sustainability so that I may continue to operate while also offering others a variety of options to access my patterns when they may not be able to otherwise.
Do you want to sign up for the Patterns for All Newsletter? Do so Here.
If you wish to support the Patterns for All project you can Paypal Me here.
If you wish to check out my Ravelry page, do so here.
Thoughts? Comments? Please let me know.