The 22nd of May is an auspicious day for me.
It’s not because that was the day Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka;
or because it’s the day that Apollo 10 came within a tantalising, eight miles of the surface of the moon;
or because it was the day Winston Churchill resigned as Prime Minister of the UK…
I mean, all that stuff is cool, sure, but for me that day will always mean one thing;
It’s the day I made my first ever pattern sale.
The 22nd of May, 2009 seems like a lifetime ago now, and indeed it, was.
I hadn’t had my Tunisian crochet lace epiphany yet and had no idea of the career that lay before me, the people I’d meet, or the friends I’d make.
Dave and I were together a year or so, maybe a little longer, and we had just moved into our first place a few months prior. The recession had seen us both lose our jobs in late 2008, but things were still good despite that little hiccup.
Lemme give you some background here.
Ravelry was launched, in beta, in May of 2007, and I became a member some time after that. I can’t now recall if I was given a waiting time to join, or what my ticket number might have been if I was, but I do remember that I had to wait for a friend to submit my email address before I could register.
This was clearly the dark ages, folks.
This was back in the Web 2.0 days when manual data entry was the norm for all start-ups. I can’t imagine Ravelry’s Casey had an easy time of it as all us insular, hermit-like crafters squirmed out of the shadows to see if maybe, possibly, we were capable of having more fun crafting together as a group rather than alone in our corners.
Turns out, we could! Turns out, it was exactly what many of us needed!
I doubt very much if he got a lot sleep in that first year or two, poor chap.
But, eventually, my email was submitted by a friend, inputted into Rav, and I got my acceptance email. Whuppie!~
It’s hard to imagine now the impact that something like Rav had on someone like me, but believe me when I say it was huuuuge. See, I grew up in the middle of nowhere between two towns, only one of which had a library. That library had maybe three crafting books?… none of which really held my attention, so when Rav happened, it was seismic, opened up a world of ideas I hadn’t even considered in my wildest dreams, and eventually lead to that first, shiny pattern sale.
One dollar, folks.
One, siny, digital dollar for a hat pattern. From a complete stranger. Not a friend, looking to be supportive, but a total unknown entity.
Someone I didn’t know and had never met had thought my idea was good enough to part with money for. They had money, they gave it to me, AND were satisfied with the set of instructions they got in return.
My imagination had made me money, people! Holy crap!
My brain had essentially become a neurotic, cantankerous ATM. Like, that fact still blows my mind to this day; but that first sale, that first spark of potential? … wow.
That feeling is why I’m writing this post today.
The power of a purchase is a profound thing, folks, even now. Each one is a small vote of confidence that the ideas in my mind might just be worth showing people, might be worth working on, might be worth my time, my heart and my creativity; that they might be worth someone’s hard-earned money.
Each pattern purchase reminds me that this is worth working on.
I know that sounds very capitalist, I do. But it’s nonetheless true. The things I design take a lot of time from conception to completion. To do this at all it has to be full time. And as much as I love the idea of creating without any thought of money, this is a full time job or it’s nothing, and rent needs to be paid.
So, next time you see a design you like (be it from a new designer, or someone more established), do me a favour and buy it if you can?
Maybe you don’t intend to make it any time soon, or maybe ever, but the designing of a thing takes time, patience, and a spark that not many people have and that so many people lose because they don’t get the tiny little shows of support they need to keep trying. So, next time, rather than just liking a thing, or sharing it, or adding it to your wishlist or your queue, buy it. Spend the few bob. Vote with your Dollars and your Euros and your Yen.
Maybe buy it for yourself, or for a friend, or just do it for the designer.
Give a designer a boost, folks. It’s the most praticial, predictable way to ensure we get to keep designing so you get to keep making.