(If you’re not interested in reading this whole review, let me just mention now that I’ve added lots of exciting new design options to the Commissions List, so please click through to the list if you’d like to see what’s new, and maybe pledge towards one or more!)
It’s been a whole year since I launched my commissions model. In that time, I’ve designed 7 new patterns through this process, with the 8th almost completed. My Orca would have also been finished by now if my internet cable hadn’t been severed two weeks ago, making my life infinitely more difficult – I’m very relieved to be back online and back in action again today!
The good news: I have so many ideas for new designs that I need some way to choose which to make first, and the commissions system is working as a useful tool to see which designs may be popular and which definitely aren’t worth my time to create at present. (It’s like a vote, except that you can pay for extra votes if you have a strong opinion.)
The current situation: Right now, I’m in the wonderful, if somewhat daunting, position of having 6 fully pledged designs in my commissions queue, waiting for me to make them. I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew there as I was careful to set the rules: designs are made sequentially, in the order they were commissioned, and each may take 6-8 weeks to complete.
The bad news: This long waiting list tells me that I’m still not even close to reaching the balance point with this commissions model – at the last review, I had 3 designs waiting to be created, and now I have twice that many stacked up. Something has to change so the queue doesn’t continue to grow by 3 designs every 6 months – I don’t want to have people pledging towards commissions that I won’t be able to start for a year or more!
I really like that my model gives me the freedom to make changes incrementally, and to see what works and tweak what doesn’t. I’m hoping that within a year or two of further adjustments to the model, I’ll have a stable system where the commissions come in at a rate I can handle, and there are never more than a couple in the queue.
The way I see it, I have 4 drastic options to make that happen:
- Close the list until I’ve caught up with the waiting list.
- Raise the minimum pledge amount.
- Raise the total commission price.
- Raise both the minimum pledge amount and the total commission price.
I know I definitely don’t want to close the list, so option #1 is out, but I don’t want to raise the prices too much and make them too high for my average customer to participate in this process. I’m going to tweak the system again and monitor how that plays out before I consider a drastic price increase.
I’ve had one idea that may help to slow the rush and allow me to bring down the numbers of designs in the waiting list, while still letting people have the fun of pledging and getting excited about new design ideas. I’m dramatically increasing the number of options available – hopefully this will spread the pledges so the designs get pledged more slowly, at a rate I can handle.
So, to kick this off with a bang, I haven’t taken down any of the existing options, and I’ve added a whopping 25 new options to the list!
A note about the new designs: to keep it easy to use, I’ve just put the main animal name in the list. However, if there are several varieties of that animal and you want to know what I have in mind, just click its name on the pledge chart – it’ll open the Wikipedia page to the variety of the animal I’m planning to make:
e.g. when the list says Coati, I’m actually talking about a South American (Ring-Tailed) Coati (there are also White-Nosed and Mountain Coati species, and they look very different). Putting all that info on the list would be a bit unwieldy, but if you click ‘Coati’, you’ll go to the South American Coati page on Wikipedia and get a better idea of what I have in mind for my coati design 🙂
I really don’t know what’s going to happen with this huge new list of options… My hope is that it’ll filter out the strongest candidates for patterns, but I could end up with an even longer waiting list of commissions. And the new list is very long – it could be so overwhelming that it puts people off and the pledging dries up altogether. But I have to try things and see what happens!
As I’m a little concerned that my plan could backfire and I could have 25 more fully pledged designs by tomorrow(!), I’m also making a small tweak to the pricing: I’m raising the total commission cost from $120 to $150. The minimum pledge amount is still unchanged at $6, so it’ll take 25 $6 pledges (or fewer people with larger pledges) to get a design fully funded.
The price increase will take effect immediately, but, for all six designs that had already been fully pledged at $120, I’m making up the difference with pre-pledges, so Orca, Red Panda, Sloth, Meerkat, Camel, and Armadillo are still all fully pledged. And for the AmiDogs, a $30 price hike is too much, so I’m upping their pre-pledges to $78 (so you can commission an AmiDogs breed for $72).
Long term, I’d like to add $3 increments above the $6 minimum, so you don’t need to jump from $6 to $12 to $18 if you want to increase your pledge. I just don’t have the time to code that at the moment, and it’s probably best to not change too many things at once anyway (so I can figure out what’s working and what isn’t), but intermediate pledge values may well be a feature I add at the next review.
This is a tough one. When I increased the time to 6-8 weeks per design, I didn’t think I’d actually need anywhere near that time to create the majority of the designs. I keep getting blindsided by circumstances beyond my control (health problems, loss of internet, etc) and I’m only just managing to keep within the 8 weeks at the moment.
I’m not going to alter the promised timeframe (as I can’t promise shorter and I don’t want to take longer), but I really hope that these external complications will lessen so I’ll be able to start to catch up on the pledged designs and shorten the waiting list by creating the patterns more quickly. It’s very frustrating, but I can’t go faster than my availability allows without a loss of quality in my designs and/or patterns, and that’s not a compromise I’d ever be prepared to make.
I am sorry that if you pledge for a design today, it will be many months before you’re asked to pay and still longer until you receive your pattern, but I hope you don’t let that deter you from pledging, if there’s a design you really want – the longer you wait to pledge, the more other designs could be funded before it, and then you’ll have to wait even longer for your pattern!
Go Forth and Pledge!
Please click through to the list if you’d like to see the 25 new design options, and maybe pledge towards one or more, if there are any you’d particularly like me to make! (And if you love all the ideas equally, please don’t feel obliged to pledge for everything – you can still support me just as well by buying the finished patterns from my shop as and when they’re ready.)
I’m really excited by all the new options – I can’t wait to see which turn out to be popular and which designs I’ll get to create!