Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm An Independent Pattern Designer - Where Can I Sell My E-Patterns?

I often get asked by independent pattern designers where they can sell their e-patterns so I thought it might be helpful to create a blog post about this.

To give you a little background on me I'm a doll maker and doll pattern designer and have created two of my own websites that I update to Godaddy via FTP. I also manage and maintain two websites that are hosted through In A Pickle Web Design: one an instant download e-pattern, e-printable, and e-book website using MyCartToGo e-commerce software and Mals-E shopping cart and one selling handmade goods and crafts. Over the years I've created many, many, many selling and non-selling blogs.

I've been selling my doll and craft patterns and e-patterns online since 2004 and have designed over 350 e-patterns, over 30 e-books, over 20 e-printables, and several e-catalogs. To say I love instant download e-products might be an understatement. I've been in love with .pdf instant download e-products since they first came on the scene in 2004 and have tried all sorts of different venues.

Some I like, some I don't. Some have come and gone, some are free, some are very expensive, some are for specific types of patterns, some are commercial sellers websites, etc. Some are websites that do it all, some are websites that provide html code so you can sell your e-patterns on your website or your blog, some are handmade craft websites where you can list your e-patterns and then send them as an email attachment to your customer, some are websites that provide a download integration for your Etsy shoppe, some are social networking websites that allow for selling, etc. And, some are website designers and e-commerce carts that provide you with the capability of selling instant download e-patterns on your own website.

The online crafts e-pattern, e-printable, and e-book craft industry has been slowly developing over the last decade and, as far as I'm concerned, is still in it's infancy. There's plenty of room for growth and, I'm sure, plenty of room for change. Which venue is best for you is based on what you're selling, what your experience is, what your skill level is, and how much time you can devote to this. Selling e-patterns online as an independent pattern designer is a LONG SLOW process that requires nerves of steel and a lot of PATIENCE. It is not for the faint of heart or those hoping to make a quick buck. That just is not going to happen.

If you’re an artist or crafter who has created e-patterns you might be wondering how you go about selling them. Where do you store your e-patterns and how do you sell instant downloads? Whether its e-patterns or e-books you first need to create a .PDF (Portable Document Format) file which is your electronic product. Once you have created the .PDF file then with the e-patterns there are basically two ways to get the .pdf file to your customer.

1) You can send them yourself as attachments to an email once you have been notified of payment by the customer.
2) They can be sent automatically as "instant download e-patterns" once payment has been made.

So, what kind of online set-up do you need to accomplish this?

1) You can have your own website that has Paypal (or other payment processors) payment buttons capabilities. Once you have received notification from Paypal of payment you can send the e-pattern to your customer as an attachment to an e-mail.
2) You can have a blog that has HTML capabilities in the sidebar or posts that allow you to create Paypal (or other payment processors) payment buttons. Once you have received notification from Paypal of payment you can send the e-pattern to your customer as an attachment to an e-mail.
3) You can have your own website or blog that allows for HTML modules in the sidebar or posts whereby you can copy/paste the BUY NOW digital goods e-commerce shopping cart providers HTML code. In this instance they provide a service whereby they store your e-products on their servers and provide you with a BUY NOW (or similar) button link. When your customer clicks on that Buy Now link then the payment process would begin. Once payment has been made an email will automatically be sent to the customer with the e-pattern download link. They click on the link and follow the prompts to download your e-product. They charge you a fee for this service.
4) You can have your own website (like my Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns website - http://lindawalshoriginalsepatterns.com) that has e-commerce instant download shopping cart capabilities that will send your customer the download link for their e-pattern once payment has been made to you.
5) You can utilize a third-party website with an e-commerce shopping cart provider that has "instant download capabilities." Once payment has been made by the customer the software will automatically generate an email to the customer with the download link. Depending on their set-up you can either: a) upload your .PDF files onto their servers, b) transfer your .PDF files via FTP (file transfer protocol), or c) send them as attachments to an email to them. It all depends on how the e-pattern website is set up. The e-pattern website owners collect payment and then remit to you once they have been paid and have deducted their fee, or they may have a system in place to automatically pay you once the customer has paid. They may charge a monthly fee or charge a % of the sale price and/or both.
6) You can utilize a third-party handmade goods marketplace or community website to create a shop for you to sell your handmade goods and/or e-patterns. Once you have been notified of payment you can send the e-pattern to the customer as an attachment to an e-mail. Sometimes these third-party handmade goods marketplaces or communities have apps that can work in conjunction with your shop and automatically send the customer an email with the e-pattern download link once payment has been made.

So, if you're an independent pattern designer and want to sell your e-patterns online you might want to check out the following websites:

1)   Etsy - http://www.etsy.com  - Shops created and maintained by designers.  E-Patterns sold by designers are uploaded to Etsy listings and downloaded by customers once payment has been processed. Fees are .20 per listing for 4 months plus small  percent of sale.
     a) CraftHub - http://www.crafthub.me/ - An Etsy app that works with Etsy shops selling .pdf instant download e-patterns and provides an integration between ETSY and downloads to customers.  Monthly fees based upon number of transactions.
     b) Easy Social Shop - http://www.easysocialshop.com -  An Etsy and Facebook app that integrates Etsy shops with Facebook business pages allowing you to show your e-patterns on your Facebook business page. E-patterns would be emailed to customers as .pdf attachments.  No fees.
2)  Craftsy - http://www.craftsy.com/ - Social networking website created by Sympoz Inc. to sell their e-classes and offer fabric deals from fabric manufacturers. In 2012 they started offering instant download e-pattern sales capabilities for independent craft designers. All different kinds of crafts represented. Designers upload .pdf e-patterns and maintain their shops.   Craftsy handles all aspects of download and interface with customer.  Completely free - no upload fees and no selling fees.
3)  Patternspot - http://patternspot.com/ - Instant download e-pattern marketplace created by C & T Publishing mainly for quilting enthusiasts.  Designers upload .pdf e-patterns and maintain their designer accounts.  Patternspot handles all aspects of download and interface with customer. Fees % of net sales.
4)  Patternmart - http://www.patternmart.com/ - Thousands of different craft patterns.  Designers upload and maintain their memberships. Pattermart handles all aspects of download and interface with customer.Currently closed to new memberships. Designers are encouraged to join their waiting list. Monthly fees based on number of products.
5)  The Pattern Cupboard - http://www.thepatterncupboard.com/ - Large selection of designers and crafts e-patterns. Currently owned and managed by DJDoodle, LLC. Designers upload .pdf e-patterns and maintain their designer accounts. The Pattern Cupboard handles all aspects of download and interface with customer. Monthly or annual fee based on number of e-patterns plus % of each sale.
6)  EPatternShoppes - http://www.epatternshoppes.com/ - Small co-op mainly primitives e-pattern marketplace owned and operated by DJDoodle, LLC.  Designers upload .pdf e-patterns and maintain their shops. Monthly or annual fee.
7)  The Quilt Pattern Shoppe - http://www.thequiltpatternshoppe.com - Instant download quilt e-pattern designer website.   Designers uploads .pdf e-patterns. The Quilt Pattern Shoppe maintains website and handles all aspects of download and interface with customer. Fee per listing plus % of sale.
8)   MagCloudhttp://www.magcloud.com/ - Hewlett Packard online print on demand and digital distribution publishing. Used by e-zines, e-book sellers, and some e-patterns. Publisher sets price - Magcloud fee % of sale price.
9)   Doll Street Dreamers - http://www.dollstreetdreamers.com/ Oldest social networking doll club on the web. Offers doll classes and pattern shop for instant download doll e-patterns sold by members. Pattern shop maintained by owner of doll club. Owner handles all aspects of download and interface with customer. Fee % of sales price.
10) PatternFish - http://www.patternfish.com/ - Sellers of knit and crochet e-patterns. Website maintained by PatternFish. PatternFish handles all aspects of download and interface with customer. Fee structure - % of sale price.
11) The Prim Pattern - http://www.theprimpattern.com/ - Mainly primitive e-patterns. Designers upload .pdf e-patterns and maintain their designer accounts. The Prim Pattern handles all aspects of download and interface with customer. Monthly,semi-anual or annual fee based on number of e-patterns plus % of each sale.  UPDATE - Closed 2/18/2013
12) Artfire - http://www.artfire.com/Shops created and maintained by designers. E-Patterns sold by designers are emailed to customers as attachments to an email. Monthly fee structure.
13) CraftsU - http://www.craftsu.com/ -Social networking community of craft artists plus shopping network to buy and sell handmade crafts. Members can use apps (like RapidCart) to help sell handmade items on their individual profile pages.
14) Threadbias - https://www.threadbias.com/ - Online social networking sewing community offering members ability to sell instant download e-patterns. Mainly sewing, clothing, and quilting e-patterns. Designers upload .pdf e-patterns.   Threadbias handles all aspects of download and interface with customer.. Fee level structure based on price of e-pattern.
15) Handmade Artists - https://handmadeartists.com/ - Online handmade goods marketplace and social networking community. Shops created and maintained by handmade artisans. E-Patterns sold by designers are emailed to customers as attachments to an email. Membership subscription fees.
16) Folksy - http://folksy.com/ - British online handmade goods marketplace and community.  Shops created and maintained by handmade artisans. E-Patterns sold by designers are emailed to customers as attachments to an email. Two-tier fee structure listing fees per item for 4 month listing plus % sales or annual fee plus % sales.
17) Zibbet - http://www.zibbet.com/ - Online handmade goods marketplace and social networking community. Shops created and maintained by handmade artisans. E-Patterns sold by designers are emailed to customers as attachments to an email. Free for 50 products or less, then monthly or annual fee structure.
18) Bonanza - http://www.bonanza.com/ - Online handmade goods marketplace and social networking community. Shops created and maintained by handmade artisans. E-Patterns sold by designers are emailed to customers as attachments to an email. No listing fees just % of sale.
19) MadeItMyself - http://madeitmyself.com/ - Online crafting and handmade goods selling community.  Shops created and maintained by handmade artisans. E-Patterns sold by designers are emailed to customers as attachments to an email. No listing fees just % of sale.
20) CraftIsArt - http://www.craftisart.com/ - Online artisan and handmade goods selling community. Shops created and maintained by handmade artisans. E-Patterns sold by designers are emailed to customers as attachments to an email. Two tiers for selling - pay as you go and premium.
21) Papernstitch - http://papernstitch.com/ - Papernstitch provides an online exhibition space for talented artists, designers, makers selling handmade goods, and independent boutiques. Products are linked back to each exhibitor's online store where these available they can be purchased. One month exhibition fees.
22) PayloadZ - https://www.payloadz.com/ - Digital Goods eCommerce service for selling downloadable goods online. Provides copy ad paste codes for instant download e-patterns to use in websites and blogs.
Monthly fees plus sale transaction fees.
23) BitBuffet - http://bitbuffet.com - Digital Goods eCommerce service for selling downloadable goods online. Provides copy ad paste codes for instant download e-patterns to use in websites and blogs. Multi-tiered fees based on # of products and storage space required.
24) EJunkie - http://www.e-junkie.com - Digital Goods eCommerce service for selling downloadable goods online. Provides copy ad paste codes for instant download e-patterns to use in websites and blogs.
Multi-tiered fees based on # of products and storage space required.
25) IPM Pro - http://www.ipmpro.com - Digital Goods eCommerce service for selling downloadable goods online.  Provides copy ad paste codes for instant download e-patterns to use in websites and blogs.

There are also many graphic and website developers who can provide websites with digital goods e-commerce instant download capabilities software and shopping carts like In A Pickle Web Design where I have two of my websites being hosted.  However, that list is for another day.

If you're an independent pattern designer who wants to sell e-patterns online I hope you find my post helpful.


Posted by Linda Walsh Originals- "Doll Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns - "Instant Download E-Patterns for Grown-up Girls!"
Linda Walsh Originals Dolls - "Handmade Dolls & Crafts for Grown-up Girls!"

2 comments:

  1. You put a lot of time and effort into this. Thank you so much for this interesting and informative post!
    ~Edna~
    plumthicket.com

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    Replies
    1. You're very welcome, Edna. Love to help when I can. Linda

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