Friday, April 9, 2010

Unintended Consequences

Whew! Short and sweet tonight.

We had a bit of a tempest today about letting folks with fewer pattern points get first shot at the latest listing of Recycle patterns. Some of members are upset and I truly feel bad about it. On the other hand, we made that call to help solve a problem, and announced it advance to total silence.

Enter the law of unintended consequences: solve one problem; create another. My worst fear about the pattern auction idea (see yesterday's post) is that we'll end up with complaints that we're selling donated patterns -- for whatever reason -- will hit people the wrong way.

We've got over 1200 members. Two people have commented. Kind of hard to extrapolate from that :-)

What you think really does matter. If you don't want to comment in a public forum, you know where to reach us by email. We have to make the final call (and deal with the unintended consequences) but it helps to have as much input as possible.

Thanks for helping us out!


  1. Whatever you do is up to you. I think you are amazing to host such a site, and your intentions are the best. I have exchanged some patterns and I am very happy with this site.
    My only suggestion would be to make it easier to navigate. i just couldn't find where the patterns are without clicking several buttons. I guess the "recycle" is the place where they are posted. I haven't been on for several months, so I forgot where to find what you have. I was also surprised to see you have many pages of patterns that are already gone. Is there a reason you leave them on the site?
    Anyway, I still think you are amazing and wonderful. don't let the nay-sayers get you down.
    Thank you for all you do

  2. Well gee, you are reimbursing people for shipping in many cases. That takes MONEY. You and two others are donating much much time for free to share patterns. Doing the auction, or selling some highly collectible patterns on ebay or Etsy seems a fine way to raise the cash; especially if donations are not covering the costs of shipping. Yes, it does seem to be a condition of life that one cannot please everyone. Do what you need to keep the service and program going. I'd rather see you auction prize patterns than have to close down. Hugs and best wishes, Jane

  3. I don't feel it is my place to "complain" as this is an awesome service. Here is my opinion. Don't sell patterns. If someone sent something unintentionally valuable, write them and offer to send it back. If money is a problem, don't offer to reimburse shipping any longer. Selling donations just hits the wrong way.

    Or perhaps create a subscription program where for $5 month in funds, you get a special window of opportunity for patterns.

  4. Annie, Jane and Dee Dee,

    Thanks for weighing in. While we always put a great deal of thought into decisions that affect the site, Sometimes it's just impossible to be objective. Hearing different viewpoints -- and suggestions -- brings up things we hadn't considered and absolutely helps!

    The topic certainly isn't closed, so if anyone has another comment, please post or email.

    P.S. Annie was getting old versions of the pages, and we got that straightened out off-blog.

  5. You know if you sell them, make sure that people know it could happen. Then if they opt not to have it done for the cause they can say no.

    Frankly, if I donated anything that you could sell to make money, more power to you. Patterns like that get donated to find a home.

    New people need to be able to get patterns too. I know there was a problem with them getting them, and I know as a mid level member, I have enough patterns I don't need to get 20 or more a month. I don't even need my 8 I can get. A once a year, once a shot or when you feel like it chance for them to get what they want is fine.

    I don't care about the new people getting first dibs. I got a couple of patterns I liked, that I would have chosen on first call and it's all good. Did I miss out on a few I would have Sure, there was one really cute one I'd of loved to have. But I hope who DID get it loves it.


  6. BTW just to add, I would gladly pay $5 subscription for some sort of benefit, such as a one hour window of opportunity or a subscribers only page. I think many people would. Perhaps also consider offering triple points or something to people who double the shipping cost payment. I know you offer double to those who reimburse shipping plus any amount more, but if you actually made more point for double, you might fund more that way. I always pay more than the shipping, but rarely double. I probably would pay double about half of the time for the triple points.

    Just some thoughts. I think you can monetize to pay your expenses without selling donations.

    If you don't know, setting up a subscription service on Paypal is REALLY easy. I just did one for my site and was amazed at how easy it was.

  7. Oh another idea, sell reasonable ad space to sewing related sites. I sell patterns on etsy, and would pay for an ad on your site.

  8. Fiddling with the pattern points for bigger donations is a good idea, Dee Dee. We'll have to kick that one around. Ad space is already in the plans -- so much pesky paperwork to do before we can get that set up. (And we'll be happy to pester you for your ad business when we do LOL).

    Subscriptions -- I've got mixed feelings about. While free is popular no matter what your financial circumstances, being able to get patterns for just postage is a real help to a lot of Pattern Rescue members. We do get emails apologizing because they can't add any extra this time, or they need a little more time to donate. Even a modest one-time subscription would be a problem for some folks, and I'm uncomfortable cutting anyone off from an opportunity or part of the site because they can't afford it. Will have to think about that a bit more.

    For anyone just joining in:
    The selling of patterns under discussion would be to reimburse people who are never going to use our services (collections of a deceased family member, for example). Our offer -- to reimburse postage if we can -- probably brings in patterns we wouldn't otherwise get. But there's rarely enough extra pin money to reimburse anyone.

    (Members who get patterns points for their donations cannot also get postage reimbursed.)

    The other sale situation would be when a member unsuspectingly donates a very valuable pattern and doesn't have a good way to sell it themselves.

  9. I have no objection to selling patterns and using the money to cover expenses. Your communication around your thought process has been clear and fair. I like to think that the sewing community is a generous one and that we, as members, can trust that the 3 of you will make sound decisions that will support Pattern Rescue for years to come.

    I see no reason that our generosity can't be extended to new members. It's a friendly thing to do and there will always be patterns many of us want but only one of us walks away with!

    Pattern Rescue is amazing! Go ahead and try things, make some mistakes, have even more successes and be sure to have fun along the way.
    You have a lot of people who will be right there with you as Pattern Rescue evolves.

    Paula A.