I started playing around with Spoonflower a little more than a year ago as something to do while I was nursing my newborn baby. It took me a good five months to get around to ordering my first fabric, so I didn’t actually have anything for sale on the site until February. One reason for delaying was that I couldn’t find out how many people on the site actually make money from it. People don’t write much about how creative hobbies and jobs pay because the reality is that for most people the hourly rate is pretty abysmal. I’m in the middle of deciding on prices for handmade toys and concluded that I couldn’t pay myself minimum wage per hour because no one is expecting to pay that much per toy. On the other hand, I spend a lot of time in the early mornings sewing things up while watching HBO. Tradeoffs.
So, in the interest of helping out anyone else who is thinking about getting into designing fabrics, I’ll try to be upfront about how much I’ve made over the last eight months. Here it is:
At this point, I have 67 designs available, so it all comes out at a tiny bit more than the cost of paying for the proofs. And most of that money comes from these:
I’ve made other designs that I like better. Sprout Patterns picked one of my contest submissions for the sample for their Jaxon Bowtie, which was exciting. This is my favorite. Those designs have never sold (except to me and once to the people at Sprout, who purchased the design when they made up the tie). The hockey designs were an afterthought; I made them because my husband played hockey and I thought he might like one of the kids to have a quilt from the swatches. But florals are ubiquitous. Hockey fabric is hard to find.
So, I’m embracing those sports with hard to find fabrics and putting a lot of effort into making some beautiful, appealing designs for people out there trying just trying to find a nice rock climbing print, or lacrosse, or volleyball, or gymnastics.
And that 87.50 number? It doesn’t sound like much, and it just covers the proofs, but I am really proud of it. There’s $875 in fabric and wallpaper out there that I designed. Some kid might be going out today in a tee shirt covered in skates. Another might go to bed on a hockey stick pillow. There’s also something fulfilling about the process, and I have learned a lot since I started.
So, I’m owning it: I’m the number one designer of print on demand hockey textiles. Thank you, hockey fans. And by this time next year, maybe I can add number one designer of team handball fabrics to that title.
(If you are interested in the sports series of fabrics, wallpaper, and wrapping paper, they will be available for sale sometime in October)