October 26, 2023
Hello! Jo here - I'm the designer and creator of Forget-me-not Patterns. Today I’m checking in with an update on how things are going, and why I’m launching a Patreon.
Don’t worry, Forget-me-not is still going to be all about sewing patterns! I’m just opening up more ways to support our independent patterns.
I'll start by sharing a little of my journey as a tiny independent creator in the sewing community.
If you are interested, read on! Or, check out the shiny new Patreon if you want to jump straight to supporting!
First of all, don’t worry! I’m keeping all the patterns on our website, available for purchase as normal.
If you don’t know what Patreon even is: Patreon is a website where you can sign up to support creative individuals with a subscription. In return, supporters can receive exclusive benefits from that creator.
You may be asking, “Why not just stick with the traditional way of doing things?” Well, I do have a rather multi-layered answer for you if you're curious.
So, let's start with a bit about me as a designer and my situation. When I started this business in late 2019, I had already spent 4 years in design school getting a Bachelor of Design in Fashion and had some years’ experience in bridal, custom-made, small-scale production, and alterations.
The reason I started Forget-me-not Patterns is my love for design, slow fashion, and makers (makers are my people!). As I worked on getting the business off the ground, I wore every single hat - I did everything myself. Designing, patternmaking, grading, illustrations, instructions, booklets, social media, website design, sample sewing, creating content, and customer service. I put every bit of my energy and drive into it and pushed myself as hard as possible. And I got some wins along the way - I’m really proud of the designs I have put out, and have continuously driven myself to improve all aspects of our offerings. My designs have also been featured in international magazines Tauko and Peppermint magazine. And in late 2021, I began to work with Bri, who has been helping with some content coordination and has been fabulous.
But naturally, driving so hard for so long isn’t sustainable, especially as I found that creativity took a backseat to all the other demands of the business. Unsurprisingly, I was finding myself more and more burned out. Even through the burnout though, my passion for design, patternmaking, and sewing never disappeared. It was just that I felt I wasn't getting to DO any of those things. The day-to-day grind of the business had worn me down. And through all of this, I was tossing and turning at night, worrying about money non-stop. The economic downturn hasn't been easy for many, including this business. On top of that, unpredictable, changing algorithms on social media have been making it harder and harder for small creators to get their work seen. With all of these factors, naturally it has turned into an unsustainable situation.
So I was at a point where I was considering walking away. And yet, I have had so many lovely messages from people who love the patterns and designs, so I knew there were people out there that would want me to stick around.
So I asked myself, what needs to change? And I realised I wasn’t willing to compromise on a lot of important things:
Here are some of the things I currently offer that I feel go above and beyond, and why I’m not willing to change them!
Quality: I could start releasing less complex patterns, with less details… No thank you! It’s essential for me to keep my designs unique and exciting.
Fit features: I’ve included extra bust fit options in many of my patterns (and also hip fit options in one pattern - soon to be two). It’s a lot of extra work, but I know how much it means to people! I have such a passion for well-fitted garments, I couldn’t give this up.
Extra features: I’ve been working my way through the catalogue adding projector files as a free upgrade to each pattern. I worked hard developing my projector patterns and I feel really proud being able to offer another layer of accessibility to sewers.
Size range: I’ve also been working my way through the catalogue expanding our size range as a free upgrade. It’s hard work, but I know it means a lot!
Price: I’ve seen some people say that indie patterns are too expensive. And I get it, not everyone has the budget, and I want to increase our accessibility, not decrease it, so I don’t want to raise the prices.
Booklets: I take immense pride in our comprehensively-illustrated booklets, and have had many compliments on how easy they make the sewing. I also love that they give even beginner sewers the ability to learn and become more confident.
That’s a pretty big list of things I don’t want to compromise on. I’ve seen other designers reduce and eliminate some of these things, and I think that each designer should choose what they prioritise in order to make their business sustainable. But I value these things highly, and I think many in the sewing community do too! However, it is an immense amount of work for a single person to take on. And I was finding myself creatively stifled, but also limited by finances. So that’s when I decided I needed to either change things, or close the business.
It’s time to work more like an artist. I’m simply overflowing with things I want to share, so it’s time for me to prioritise the things that are my specialty! I’m not a big company, I’m an independent creator. But I’ve been trying to shoehorn myself into a mould, instead of making space for celebrating my own (and others’) creativity. One benefit of changing the way I run things is that I stay sane (haha). But I feel it also benefits our sewing community too, with more sewing options, and also perks if they join our exclusive community. I have so, so many designs that are impatiently waiting to be worked on and brought to life.
Opening up more flexible funding is essential. Firstly, I can only keep doing this if I can make a living. Crazy, right? But often, creatives like myself are told by themselves and others that asking for support is wrong.
I found a great quote when researching these changes:
“You just have to remind yourself that what you’re doing is hard work. You’re creating something with your own flair that no one can duplicate. Being compensated for your creations is totally valid.”
I believe that, and I also know there are other people out there that believe it too! This is where the Patreon comes in - a way for people to support, while also getting extra perks (look out for more info on that very soon).
Funding will go towards keeping Forget-me-not alive, first and foremost. Then, my dream is to fund creating the full, in-depth booklet and any extra bonus materials for the patterns. I’ve always created booklets completely on my own, but now, I’ll be focusing on freeing up more creative space by paying someone!
I will only ever outsource to a trusted, qualified member of the sewing community, and pay them a fair market rate (and then make sure the booklets still meet the highest standard too, of course).
Please note, I do NOT plan to outsource any of my design, patternmaking, or grading. I am far too meticulous to do that!
There will be of course be perks for supporters.
Patreon works by letting each individual choose their level of support, with more benefits for the higher tier supporters.
Perks will include such things as early access to patterns, voting for upcoming designs, and sneak peeks. I'm also planning to offer more things as time goes on as well!
Check out the Patreon page for more information.
I want to assure my customers that this is not a quick cash grab. This is something I’ve thought long and hard about in order to keep Forget-me-not Patterns alive.
I hope you found this informative and you are looking forward to the excitement of the journey like I am. I see it evolving over time to be even better, too! I already have exciting plans in the works. I will be sharing more very soon (yay!).
You can check out our shiny new Patreon here. Look forward to some fun announcements in the next week! For those that choose to support, THANK YOU! Your support means you are keeping Forget-me-not around for a future filled with fun, detailed patterns.
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