Hopefully you're all aware now that all of my patterns (premium and free) will be going into the new layout over the coming months. Progress is slow, as there's a lot of work in rephotographing or reformatting existing photos, adding all the tutorials, and juggling the pattern so that all the instructions (and charts, where applicable) fit the space just so.
Alongside this I've noted that as the patterns go into the new layout, they'll all go up to the higher price point of £3. My plan is to be bring them all up to the same value. Simpler patterns, such as Ruislip, will have additional tutorials for picking up stitches and knitting in the round, helping beginner knitters that bit more, and helping the yarn shops who wholesale my patterns. More complex patterns will also have tutorials added (space permitting, as some of them already struggle to fit within the 4 page limit!) and will remain at the same (higher) price point.
As each pattern is dropped into the new layout, the price is changed and the pattern is made available for Rav In-store sales. This new version of the pattern, including those where the price has changed, is available to all previous customers through their Rav libraries, and I believe this also applies to Craftsy, Etsy and Patternfish. No need to repurchase the pattern!
After an awful lot of thought and worry and questioning, there's another change I need to make, and it's not a decision I've reached easily: once the new website is built, and as each reformatted pattern is added to the new website, the price will need to change from £3 per single pattern to £3.50.
There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is currency exchange. My $US prices were set way back when the £GB was stronger. However for at least 5 years now, this has not been the case, and I need to pull the two into line. Another strong reason is covering the work I do and paying a wage (without going too heavily into it, once all my expenses are covered I'm barely working for minimum wage). Other factors are inflation, the increased cost of living and more.... things I think we're all aware of. I've tried to keep prices low for as long as I can, but I've reached a point where I'm not able to any more.
The website won't be ready until the autumn, and anyone wishing to make the most of current prices has a good few months to do so! Not forgetting of course, that all customers will receive the revised patterns, so there's no worry on that front.
The other major change is something that not everyone may be aware of. There are big changes coming into effect from the middle of June to UK consumer law. If you're interested in following the discussion of how this affects digital pattern sales and Ravelry, you can follow along here. We're still working through the full legal implications of all of this, but it seems we now have no choice and either have to ask (force?) the customer to waive their right to a refund within the cancellation period (14 days, as required by law) or we delay the download for 14 days - neither of which make much sense to me.
Regardless, I need to update my Terms and Conditions page (which will be a merger of the Sales, Terms and FAQ pages) and make that available as a PDF, which is good practice anyways. What I also need to do is add a sentence along the lines of "Please ensure you've read the T&C. By clicking this button you are waiving your right to cancel. If you have any concerns over this, please get in touch". I haven't decided on the exact wording yet, but succinct, clear and polite are my aims. Thankfully so far we've learnt that a tick box isn't required, so it shouldn't be as intrusive as it could be.
I really, really don't like the idea of forcing this waiving of rights, but I don't see the point in delaying the download for 14 days! (and I don't have the tech skills to implement this, either). It seems we don't have the option of doing neither of these and simply having a refund policy in place regardless of whether a file has been downloaded. And I know this won't go down well with some customers, and I totally understand this. But I'm afraid it's the law, and you'll be seeing more of it from UK and EU designers.
Knowing that this might not be a popular move I did consider delaying a price increase, but I can't afford to do that, and it bothers me muchly that I'm hitting my customers with a double whammy. This isn't all happening tomorrow; it'll be rolled out over the coming months, and hopefully the changes will run smoothly and won't cause too much confusion or frustration.
On the upside (this post sorely needs one!) there will be more free patterns available! The last few patterns I've published as free have gone up as blog posts, and they'll be made available as PDFs for download, which is much easier for knitters who don't have regular or decent internet access. Quite a few free patterns are getting new photos, too, as although they don't earn me anything, I still want to keep them up to standard.
Besides these, there will be a few older premium patterns that will become free! I guess you could consider them as retired? Although that sounds a little strange. Either way, for whatever reason, there are at least 4 or 5 single premium patterns, if not more, that will switch over to free. Some folk in the industry seem down on free patterns, either of the opinion that it negates the premium ones and all the work that goes into designing, or that they don't lead to sales. For numerous reasons that I won't go into now, I don't agree with either opinion, and I'm happy to keep offering free patterns. They're not my most complex designs and they won't get the same level of support or value as my premium ones, but there are plenty of knitters out there who appreciate the free patterns, either as a way to learn a designer's style or because they can't afford the premium patterns, and that's cool with me.