You’ve heard it before: you need to buy patterns from you favorite indie designers or else they might not exist anymore. We’ve all heard that, right? Okay, good. I don’t need to say it, then.
This post isn’t about money. This post is about what you can do to support indie designers- in ways that don’t use money.
A note about tight times
You might be thinking that you’d love to buy oodles of patterns from your fave designers, but you’re low on money. I’ve been there before. I’ve been a college student. I’ve worked in the dining hall. I’ve been the one starting a small business that wasn’t yet making a profit.
When you don’t have too much cash to spare, hobbies are one of the first spending categories to get cut. Because, well… as much as I like crocheting, eating is more important.
Just because you’re tight on money doesn’t mean you can’t be an amazing support to your fave designers. I’ll start with my own story…
How I earned my yoga classes…
A couple of years ago, when we moved to New Haven, I wanted to take yoga classes. But, I couldn’t justify spending the $100+ a month.
So, I emailed the owner of the yoga studio, and asked if I could work in the studio in exchange for classes. Just my luck… she was looking for someone!
So, I cleaned the studio, checked students into classes and was a general helper in exchange for my classes. It was a perfect arrangement! I was a useful, helpful part of the studio’s community AND I was contributing by giving what I had: time.
For the studio owner, it was also fabulous. She avoided paying an employee in cash, and she had a cheerful face who handed out fliers and did other much-needed odds and ends.
And… back to designers
Work-study programs like I just described are very common in the yoga world, and may not really be practical in the yarn world. But, it got me thinking: how can you support your fave designers without money?
Fortunately, there are oodles of ways! Here are some ideas that sprang to mind:
Use the free patterns, and share your work!
I have some customers who seem to feel embarrassed that they often use my free patterns. Don’t! They’re there to be used!
Did you like the pattern? Then go ahead and spread the love. Post your project on Ravelry. This helps a designer oodles. You see, the more projects a pattern has, the higher it’s ranking will be. This means that more people will see it in searches, and get to know the designer.
By adding your photo (and a nice star rating!), you’re basically helping the designer advertise. Bonus points if you upload a pretty photo or interesting color combination that inspires others!
Be involved in the designer’s community
As a designer, my favorite customers aren’t the ones that buy the most patterns (shh! Don’t tell anyone else that!) My favorite customers are the ones are active members of my Ravelry group, Facebook group and who interact with me through the comments section of this blog.
Why? They’re the people that I know! They’re also the people who are helping to make my online community a fun place to be!
You see… you can’t have an online community with just one person. You need lots of folks interacting. So, if you love a designer, maybe you want to pop by and say ‘hi’ in their group? Post an interesting link on their Facebook page? Join in on the conversation in their Ravelry group?
Just like I did in my yoga studio, helping to build a community is invaluable!
Recommend the designer to others
Okay, so your budget’s tight. But, do you have a friend looking for a pattern suggestion? Or a relative looking to learn to knit/crochet?
How about pointing them to your fave designer’s pattern? Or a class that they teach?
Advertising is expensive for a designer… so your spreading the word helps a ton!
Okay, I admit. This isn’t a well-formed idea. But one way you can be a super-helpful person is to be friendly.
Did you spot a typo on a designer’s blog? Drop them a line and let them know.
Do you love the newest design? Leave a sweet comment on the blog post/facebook photo.
Is your designer running a pattern sale? Tweet about it.
Spread the love!
Everyone ready to spread the love for their favorite designers, now?
Guess what arrived in my mailbox yesterday? My alumni magazine! And in this issue… I got a feature! Squee!
It’s no secret that I adore my alma mater (the University of Maryland), so I’m overjoyed to have a spot in the ‘zine!
You can read the issue here (I’m on the 5th page-turn of the online version)!