When I asked Rommel if he would help me build a new fiber platform I assumed that pattern sales would generate enough money to keep us afloat. And even if it didn't, I wasn't concerned about the consequences too much at the time. He asked me to create a business plan but I couldn't find any concrete numbers and the idea of monetizing a hobby of mine felt painful and almost disingenuous.
I'm what you might classify as a dreamer. Someone with their head in the clouds, living on a different planet entirely of their own imagination. I have a lot of ideas but rarely have one that is worth the time and effort to complete. So when I tell Rommel my newest brilliant plan he nods energetically, encouraging me to chase my desires, while knowing that it will fade with time.
When I asked Rommel if he would help me build a new fiber platform, he wanted proof that there was an actual need in the community for it. He said he needed at least 10 people to say they were willing to join my vision. I posted on Instagram stories and received enough replies within a couple hours. So he agreed to build a new fiber world with me.
Since our commitment to create Fiber Club, we've grown to over 2,000 active followers. A steady stream of new people continue to find us on Instagram and sign up for our newsletter. Largely thanks to your continued support. :)
For me, Fiber Club is personal because it revolves around my greatest hobby - knitting. For Rommel, Fiber Club is personal because he enjoys solving problems and sharing his programming passion with me. For both of us, Fiber Club is a way out of our day jobs to work on a project with real purpose and impact on a community.
It's nice to have a dream and a vision for a better future, but we didn't agree to tackle this project without something in return. We're not martyrs for a fiber-y cause. And we're not putting this much time and effort into a project that will inevitably fail. So we had to take a pause to re-evaluate our monetary status and why pattern sales might not be enough.
Here's the breakdown for why we don't believe pattern sales will be enough to sustain Fiber Club:
- The average pattern price is around $5-6 USD (there are a lot of free patterns)
- The average pattern acquisition is around 1-2 patterns a month
- The payment processor, Apple, Google and possibly Fiber Club would require a cut of the sale
- Multiple competitors offering little to no fees
- The number of users would be small - especially at the begining (likely less than 10,000 unique users)
- The number of people who would buy a pattern would be a fraction of the users (likely less than 3,000 users)
- The number of designers would be small - especially at the beginning (likely less than 500)
- The number of patterns for offer would be small - especially at the beginning (likely less than 5,000)
- The potential costs to run Fiber Club (costs go up with image hosting and traffic)
In order for a pattern sales model to work, we would need millions of users with millions of patterns and millions of sales. That means we would have to become a monopoly in knitting and crochet pattern sales which is already a title claimed by someone else.
To become a monopoly, you have to accept as many users as possible. Users who might not agree with our mission statement. Users who might cause harm. Users who might not be real. Users who spread lies.
We're not really interested in becoming a monopoly. While pattern sales will be part of our business model, it won't be the only option. We'll keep looking for other alternatives.