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Support your Indie Designers (and this isn’t about money!)

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.

piggy bank

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.

yoga potluck

Me (right), hanging out with friends during a yoga community potluck!

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.

Rav Penguin

Just a few projects made from my free Howie the Penguin pattern!

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.

ScreenHunter_101 Feb. 21 10.16

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?

airplane

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!

Be friendly

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!

Got that?

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!

Stacey in Terp Magazine

You can read the issue here (I’m on the 5th page-turn of the online version)!

15 Responses to “Support your Indie Designers (and this isn’t about money!)”

  1. Stefanie says:

    Awesome post and so true. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Sandy says:

    Love, Love, Love your post today! As a new designer trying to get my “name out there” I truly appreciate all of your encouragements!

  3. Andrea says:

    I am glad to have you “drop in” to my box. Learn a lot from you (and thanx for the patterns) <3

  4. L.E. says:

    Every Sunday. my blog post is about “design envy”. Once in a while, when I browse patterns, I see a fabulous one and wish I was the one who came up with the idea!! So I confess my sin of envy in my blog, talking about what I like about the design and about the designer too!!
    Last Sunday, I talked about the Granville cardigan by Fiona Ellis: http://ellyknits.blogspot.ca/2013/02/design-envy-granville-by-fiona-ellis.html
    I guess that falls in the “recommend the designer to others” category. My blog has not a big readership yet, but I hope it will grow over time.
    BTW Stacey, I took your two Craftsy classes and made lovely Valentine gifts for my family. Thanks!! And since I really envy you for having created Ivo the seahorse, you may very well see him as the star of a coming Design Envy Sunday on my blog!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Yes this is so very true! Word of mouth is priceless, really.

    Also, hooray for alumni magazines!

  6. What a great post!! I want to support indie designers more, and being a relatively new crocheter, I never even knew how important it was to share pictures of my finished projects on Ravelry and such. I will definitely increase my sharing to help spread the word!

  7. Justine says:

    I felt like not a good customer because my primary craft is knitting. I’m a brand new crocheter and I’m never going to make a ton of your amigurumi or buy a lot of patterns. I *have* bought patterns and look forward to making more of them as my skills develop but a few is plenty.

    But now I feel better because I do comment and participate in the Rav group, because I’m just not a lurker type of person. (I think this comes from being a professor. I know that student questions and comments make a class way more valuable and enjoyable for all, and I feel compelled to do this for other people.)

    So thanks for making me feel appreciated!

  8. Elena Hunt says:

    Nice article, Thank you! And congrats on being featured in the magazine too!

  9. elisabeth says:

    Ooh! This is an excellent blog! Thank you for appealing to those of us with incredibly limited budgets but lots of energy. :) I very much enjoy your insights! :) Happy Wiggles.

  10. melliechicken says:

    I love these ideas of sharing the love. I think it’s important to give compliments and share links to things you have truly enjoyed. I try to do this whenever I can because I know how much I would appreciate someone doing the same for me :)

  11. Tahlia says:

    Yay, Stacey! What a great article (both the one by your alma mater and the one you wrote; clarification is necessary, lol)!

  12. Christine says:

    Thank you for another gret blog, and I too forget to photograph and show my finished projects however, in the future I will be doing just that. Thanks again for this informative blog.

  13. […] Support Your Indie Designers. Smart post from @freshstitches who explains: “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.” […]

  14. Theresa says:

    Thanks. I started adding all my favourite stores and items to my account at the different websites (ravelry, etsy, etc) I am on and plan to send photos once I charge my camera batteries.