Selling Digital Sewing Patterns – Year 3 Income Report and an Important Announcement

Selling Digital Sewing Patterns – Year 3 Income Report and an Important Announcement

Dear readers,

I am back today with one of the most popular features of this blog, the yearly income report of Just Patterns! Let me start by saying that there have been some changes in the community. While we used to rarely discussed $$ in the sewing world, there was a great Love to Sew episode on it. I also loved the honesty of the Youtube video of the Last Stitch. If you are new to this blog, you can read past years income reports and lessons learned I and II.

I have a disclaimer; if you are planning to launch your own business, I think it would be essential to keep in mind that this pattern project is not necessarily the most representative of what you could achieve. Just Patterns was initially launched by two people with full-time jobs and hectic lives. We were never able to dedicate time consistently over the years. If you get to the end of this post, I have critical changes to share with you on the future of this set-up! Now, let’s jump into the numbers:

Income in 2019

In 2019, we had a significant shift in our distribution channel: we starting hosting an e-shop on this website, which effectively moved the bulk of our sales from Etsy to the shop here. The second change in distribution was the closure of the Upcraft Club as a pdf pattern distributor.

776 patterns sold (607 in 2018) :

  • 55% on our e-shop (new)

  • 37.5% on Etsy (71% in 2018)

  • 6% on Pattern Review (15% in 2018)

  • 1.5% on Upcraft Club (7.5% in 2018) before they discontinued

  • 1% on Makerist (5% in 2018)

Kate remains a bestseller, but the Christy Slip Dress topped it in 2019:

  • Christy Slipdress: 287

  • Kate Bias Top:226

  • Stephanie Skirt: 150

  • Linda Wrap Dress: 67

  • Yasmeen Skirt: 46

At the full retail price, this represents $3,215 ($2,381 in 2018). But this is without counting sales, commissions, transaction fees, etc. In effect, the amount received was $2,789.73 ($1,567.48 in 2018), which means that selling platforms and payment fees, commissions, and special sales amount to $425 or 13% of the full retail price sales (34% in 2018).

Expenditures in 2019

$1583 of direct costs:

  • $360 for Adobe suite (Illustrator, Lightroom, etc. ) ($392.77)

  • $323 for website set-up and maintenance ($84 in 2018). It increased significantly in 2019 since I started using Squarespace.

  • 300$ for the CAD software (0$ in 2018 since there was no new pattern development)

  • 250$ of fees for the friend that had done our technical illustrations

  • 350$ for the model friend on the patterns cover pictures.

Highlights

Personally, my two most significant achievements for 2019 was starting the sizing extension of the patterns, with the Stephanie Skirt in 2019 and Kate in 2020, and the merge of the website with my blog and a brand new e-shop.

In terms of sales, I think our growth is still remarkable, considering that we did update one pattern but yet did not release any new style. The number of patterns we sold increased by 28% compared to 2018 and income by 78%.

The set-up of the new website and the need to pay the monthly license of our CAD software when I do pattern development (or improve the grading) means that the costs went significantly up. But I’m happy with the result, and the sales still cover the costs. I’m also pleased that we were able to share some of the money made with the friends that helped us in the very beginning with pictures and technical sketches.

Several features that impacted sales in 2019: 2 prominent members of the home sewing “influencers” made the bias patterns, which affected sales. The Yasmeen skirt also got reviewed by Threads Magazine, and that brought sales for a slower selling pattern.

Changes

And now for the big announcement. A little earlier this year, Eira and I jointly decided to split as business partners in Just Patterns. There are many reasons behind that decision, but one of them is the challenge of the legal structure with people residing in different countries and with entirely different tax statuses.

I will continue running Just Patterns on my own, and I will spare you the $ details of the split, but it implies significant changes to the line-up of the sewing patterns. Effective immediately, I will remove all the bias patterns from the shop. I know that Eira has plans for these designs, so you can keep up with her work on her new website. As with Just Patterns, I have many exciting things to announce in the coming weeks (🥳 a new logo, a new pattern, size extension for Linda and Yasmeen), and I look forward to continuing to document this project and share my findings with you!

As usual, let me know in the comments if you have any questions. I will do my best to answer them!

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