I am so blessed to have found exactly the right career - twice!
I began teaching in 1965 and I retired in 2007. I didn't rationally and intentionally choose to be a teacher. When I started college, teaching, right along with nursing and secretarial work, was on my list of "women's" jobs that I absolutely refused to consider. Then, in my second year of college, teaching found me. It really was like a calling that I couldn't avoid following. I wouldn't trade those years of working with children for a different career anymore than I would trade my own children for those of someone else.
Then came retirement. For the first year or two I just played around with my quilting and my sewing. Then Craftsy came along and I signed up. Little could I have imagined at the time that this website would lead me on to a new and totally unplanned career. I had always designed my own patterns and drawing had been a favorite hobby from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil. It was a perfect match, a hobby that I love and a small business that comes in very handy in these retirement years.
And that leads me to the offer that turned out not be.
Back in early January I received an interesting offer. At least it seemed interesting at first glance.
I had an email from a buyer for a very well known quilt catalog. She had seen my patterns on Craftsy and thought they might sell well through this company with it's international sales and millions of customers worldwide. She enclosed a PDF of frequently asked questions and offered to send me a contract should I be interested.
She didn't have to tell me that this is a big company. I knew that. I've been getting their quilting email for years.
It all sounded rather intriguing and I thought about the advantages. 1. I might pick up lots of sales this way and expand my customer base. 2. Customers who chose not to join Craftsy wouldn't have to become members in order to purchase my designs. 3. Those who don't use PayPal could pay another way.
I was curious, but not convinced that this would be a good idea, so I read the FAQ page. I was surprised to see that they wanted to take a 70% commission on the sale price of any patterns they sold. On second reading, it appeared that there might be room for negotiation. I had other reservations, but I responded anyway.
I sent a pattern to the buyer and explained that she might want to look it over before making an offer. My patterns are a bit different from most in that all of the templates are all drawn by hand. I don't know how to use a computer drawing program, I've not needed to learn this yet, and not a single customer has ever complained, so I'm happy. Her company might feel that this takes away from the "professional" look of the pattern, but I'm not interested in redoing templates or changing anything else about the patterns, for that matter.
Next, I told her that I'm an old grandmother, so I've no intention of trying to build an thriving business. I'm just playing and having fun with my retirement hobby. I enjoy making these patterns at my leisure. If my patterns pay for my materials and a give me a bit of extra spending money I'm happy.
Then I explained the most important aspect of my little business, the part that means more to me than any amount of money I can earn. By selling through Craftsy, I am able to communicate directly with my customers. I am easily accessible, always available to answer questions, able to guide beginners to the information they need, and excited to share in the joy of their successes. I know many of them by name, and we have a relationship that goes well beyond that of customer and seller.
I would never, ever give up these close relationships. I'm a retired school teacher, for goodness sake. I like people. I like being helpful. I get goose bumps when a customer learns something new or turns my pattern into something special. I thrill over photos of projects that are sent to me - even if the patterns used come from a different source.
I wrote that she could contact me if she wanted to discuss selling my patterns in more detail. Needless to say, there's been no response.
That's fine by me.
My patterns don't have to look "professional". They may look amateur, but that's because they're made by an amateur.
On any given day, I can choose when I work, what I work on, how I go about my designing, and whether I work at all.
If I really wanted more customers, I could sell on Etsy, too, but I'm quite content with only one set of procedures for posting patterns.
I love spending my retirement doing something that gives me an enormous feeling of accomplishment and a heartwarming connection to others.
What I'm doing now is exactly the "right thing" for me!
Now, let's all go sew stuff!
|The frog pattern will be out in just a few more days!!|