PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Commissions: moving the goalposts

When I launched my pattern commissions page on Friday, I wasn’t sure which of these scenarios to expect:

  • I might get no interest at all – I didn’t think that would happen, but as a worst case scenario I’d have lost nothing more than the time taken to set up the database and code the page.
  • I might get a few nibbles, and a pattern commission every couple of months – this was my predicted outcome.
  • I may get 2 pattern commissions at once – I didn’t think this was likely, but, just in case, I built in a clause that, should 2 patterns get funded within a month, I’d only collect the pledges for the second pattern after completing the first.

Well, I underestimated – in a big way. (I told you I was bad at making calculated business decisions!)

planetjune crochet pattern commissions
Eek – it’s going too well!

It’s been less than 4 days and I have one design fully pledged and several others getting close. I haven’t even notified my mailing list yet, so there could be a huge rush of pledges at that point. At this rate, my business could turn into full-time commissioned designs, which, while very flattering, isn’t something I can actually do – I still have all my other hats to wear, and a commitment to continue to make crochet videos and tutorials. I cannot possibly commit to creating more than one commissioned design per month – I can’t work more quickly without the quality of my designs suffering, and that’s not something I’m prepared to sacrifice (and, I’m sure, not something you’d want to pay for).

Plus, the commissions are only for basic animal designs. Anything complicated, or unusual, or something I’d be taking a gamble on in trying to create a design for it, is not going to appear on that commissions list – I have to wait for inspiration to strike before I can design things like that, and I need to leave myself time to let that inspiration happen.

planetjune crochet patterns
There’d be no dinosaurs or succulents if I only made commissioned designs!

So, here’s my solution: I’m moving the goalposts by raising the total commission amount from $60 to $90. Minimum pledges will still be $6. For the koala (which is already fully pledged at $60) there’ll be no change – I’ve already committed to designing that.

planetjune crochet pattern commissions
The updated system

If you’ve already pledged:

  • Your pledge stands at the dollar amount you originally agreed to.
  • The change shouldn’t make any practical difference to you – by the time my koala design is finished, I’m sure the pledges will be back up to the level they were when you pledged, or higher.
  • As before, you won’t have to pay for your pledge until I’m ready to begin the design.
  • If, however, you feel hard-done-by, just email me if you’d like to cancel your pledge. I’m not trying to con anyone – just to set up a system that will work in the long term.

I’m going with full transparency here and I hope you’ll understand my reasons for this – the whole point of the commissions system is to gauge which design ideas may be most popular, but without making a change to the system, all the options will soon look equally popular! It’s an entirely new system, and the challenge (and also the potential reward) of innovating is that you just can’t know in advance how successful an idea may prove to be.

I expect the pledging frequency will drop after the initial flurry, but I may need to tweak the system a little more in the coming weeks/months, and I may, at some point, have to shift the totals again. If I do have to, my rules will remain the same:

  • Any design that is already fully pledged will remain so.
  • Whichever design is fully pledged first will be created first.
  • The dollar amount of your pledge(s) will remain unchanged.
  • If you really need to cancel a pledge, you may do so by emailing me before the design is fully pledged.

The first two points mean there’s still value in pledging early if you’d like to see your favourite design(s) made more quickly, so please don’t see this as a sign to stop pledging!

I think this is the fairest way of doing things, but if you have any suggestions, please feel free to share them in the comments or by email – your opinion counts too!

7 Comments »

  1. I think this change is totally fair and sensible.

  2. ~Lori said

    The koala will be ubercute!

    I haven’t really thought this through, but what about taking the commissions page offline whenever a commission goal is reached, and then opening it up again, with the pledge amounts reset, when you are ready to accept another commission? So each commission would be a self-contained process.

    • June said

      Hmmm, that’s an interesting suggestion, Lori – thanks! My worry with doing that is that people may get annoyed at having to re-pledge every few weeks and may stop bothering after a couple of attempts if their favourite design isn’t the ‘winner’.

      But I can see advantages to having an end date for the pledges too (what if something only gets fully pledged after 2 years, and, by then, the first pledgers are no longer interested?!) I may need to build in some sort of time-sensitive mechanism – maybe remove the least popular choices from the list every few months and only add them again if someone requests them…

      • James said

        Another thought would be to do it in 2 stages:

        Stage 1: Visitors simply VOTE on which pattern they’d like to see designed the following month (maybe close voting after first week of the month).
        Stage 2: Close voting, open pledging, ONLY for that one choice.

        When the pledging reaches the goal (I thought $60 was WAY too little; $90 is more realistic), design begins, and the voting opens up again for the following month, with a discussion below for people to talk things up πŸ™‚

        You could then “theme” each month on the site. March will be “Koala Month”, and so on…

        Anyhow, just a thought!

        • June said

          Ooh, that’s an interesting idea, James, although I’ve found that a lot of people vote in polls just because they can (with no intention of actually buying anything) which skews the results – that’s why I set it up so that people have to ‘vote with their wallets’, so only genuine customers get to vote. But, we’ll see how it works out – it’ll be good to have some different ideas to refer back to if I do need to change the model, so thanks very much for the suggestion πŸ™‚

  3. So excited that you are making the koala! πŸ™‚

    • June said

      So am I! I’m sketching design ideas for it right now πŸ™‚

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    June Gilbank

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