Wednesday, October 18, 2017

About your approach....

Seriously….what the hell is wrong with people? I don’t even know where to begin with this, really, because I’m completely dumbstruck at what some people think is an acceptable way to treat other people. And I don’t feel like being polite about it.

I design fabrics and patterns for home quilters/sewers and have been doing this in the quilting industry for going on 25 years. I’ve worked in other design fields and also taught in a college graphic arts program. Obviously, I have enough of a following of friends, fans, and customers who must think that the way I do my job is satisfactory enough that they continue to follow me and buy the things I produce. I love what I do and these same people tell me, all the time, how it shows in my work. That means a lot to me. I want it to show in my work. Sometimes I think I want that to show even more than a professional level of design skills.

But tonight, as I’m writing this, the years I’ve spent as a professional, skilled and successful designer need to mean something and stand for something because I recently designed a project for our Table Toppers For All Seasons club that, although it’s a cute and simple design for autumn, has incensed a few people. Cute and simple designs shouldn’t have the ability to enrage people. But, in these times, it seems people have become so entitled - to EVERYthing - that they feel they should even tell me how to do my job. How to create MY designs. They should tell me - the experienced designer who spends his days (and nights) studying what is trending in design, not only for the industry in which I work, but for the world in which we live - how to do my job. And they’re telling me in a way that lets me know they subscribe to the willfully ignorant attitude that has become so prevalent in the last few years.

Table Toppers For All Seasons club members are sent a new design, each month, for a quilted table decoration. Sometimes, the project will include machine embroidery and those who have embroidery machines get the digitized stitching files, at no additional charge. Those with digital cutters get .svg cutting files for the appliques, at no additional charge. These projects are a “surprise”, meaning club members don’t know what they’re getting until it arrives. They signed up and paid for their memberships knowing this was one of the aspects of the club. They were not promised anything more specific than the fact that they would receive, over the course of the year, 4 table runners, 4 placemats and 4 centerpiece mats. They were also told they would be celebratory of the seasons and holidays but nothing any more specific than that. Oh - and they also get two bonus throw-sized quilt patterns I’ve designed at the 6th and 12th months! All of this for $59.99. Most individual patterns range from $8-12, at full retail price, so I don’t think I need to say much about the value of the club and they wouldn’t have joined if they didn’t also feel we were offering a good value.

Understandably, I guess, some members thought that since they got a Halloween design last month, they would get a Thanksgiving design this month, even though we have club members that are from other countries who don’t celebrate American Thanksgiving. Don’t even get me started on the topic of assumptions. They often go hand in hand with entitlements.

For October’s project, I wanted to design something for autumn that still had the “thankfulness” theme, but would be useful to more people and for a longer period than the time spent at Thanksgiving dinner. I have to be honest and say that I’ve never designed anything with the traditional turkey or cornucopia motifs for that reason, although I do like them and other traditional Thanksgiving themes.

I came up with what I thought was a cute, whimsically illustrated squirrel, holding up an acorn he found to store for the winter. I chose a trendy handwritten-style font to spell out “Give Thanks”. I think it simply expressed the sentiment of always being thankful for what we have - beyond Thanksgiving day or the Thanksgiving dinner table.

I seriously never gave a thought to the fact that there might be quilters out there who could ONLY accept a turkey or cornucopia appliquéd on their table runner for Thanksgiving, even though we never promised a table runner for Thanksgiving…or any other specific holiday.

I have to share an actual email that was sent to us by one of them, because I think you’ll understand why I’m feeling the way that I am right now, if you read it:

Dear Gary - I am very disappointed in the table runner design for November. I'm not sure how a squirrel fits into Thanksgiving. You could have appliquéd a turkey or a cornucopia and it would have qualified as a Thanksgiving table runner, but a squirrel? And a cartoon squirrel? What were you thinking?  The lettering is also very shoddy on the pattern, the lines are not even straight. If I had thought this is the quality of work I would be receiving I would never have signed up for the table runner course. Do you believe this table runner is representative of Patrick Lose patterns?  Here's what you can do: apologize to your customer base and send out a quality pattern representative of Thanksgiving. I would do this very, very soon.

Really? An ultimatum? And she chose to begin it with “Dear” Gary…? Bless her heart. I’m so tempted to divulge the name of the author of this mess, so that her thinking friends can tell her how inappropriate her approach is. It almost sounds like a ridiculous ransom note.

I really do understand that some people may not be into this style of design or maybe they just hate squirrels or don’t feel the need to be thankful for anything. But that doesn’t invalidate my work or this design. There are a few hundred club members and we’ve gotten 3 complaint emails. The other two were almost as insulting and demeaning, but none of them achieved their intended effect. Sure, my feelings were a little hurt that people would actually think I don’t know what I’m doing as a designer. But it’s laughable that anyone would think they could demand that I offer any sort of apology for my work. An artist’s work is sort of sacred to him. It’s like having someone insult your kid. I’m not going to try to fool anyone into thinking that I’ve loved everything I’ve ever designed or attempted to design, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give these unthinking and bitter individuals the satisfaction of that. We simply revoked their memberships, so they won’t have to worry about receiving any more of my offensive designs.

Don't get me wrong, having a difference of opinion is no big deal. Artists and designers thrive in that arena by expressing theirs through their work. But, customer or not, you're never right when you choose to be rude.

We’ve actually gotten complaints from quilters who purchased my magazine, in the past, and didn’t want designs offered that they have to go through the “trouble” of making, if it can only be used for a short time. The whole premise behind my magazine “Quilting Celebrations” was to offer quilting projects that celebrated the seasons and holidays. They were not projects to be displayed year-round. But they still didn’t want to have anything in the magazine that they would have to spend the time to make, if it could only be displayed for a few days.

To all the authors of those emails and to all of you who feel the need to express that feeling: You know what? DON’T MAKE IT!! Nobody is forcing you! And don’t sign up for a club which offers surprise projects if you’re not willing to accept the projects, graciously, and without sending insulting, demeaning and demanding emails to us. Do you actually enjoy quilting and crafting? It doesn’t sound like it. You don't sound like true creative spirits - more like cranky people just needing something to do with their time because nobody wants them around. Why do you bother at all? Whatever is happening to people’s attitudes, in these times, is creeping into some of the facets of my life that I love the most and I’m simply not going to let that happen. If you don’t have anything nice to say, you can stay away from me and let me enjoy the work that I do and continue to create things for reasonable, fun-loving and good-hearted people who don’t have a chip on their shoulder or feel that they are entitled to whatever they choose to demand. It's disgusting.

If a turkey or a cornucopia is the only thing that will do it for you for Thanksgiving, you’re gonna need to find yourself another designer or take years of drawing classes and make your own patterns. And if you say you like what I do and buy into it, but then really think you’re going to coerce me into designing it your way, seek therapy.

I know it’s only the people who don’t need to read this who are reading it, so I want to take this opportunity to thank you for putting up with my rant. You’re most likely one of the many reasons that I really do love what I do and why it shows in the resulting products.



--------------------------

Friday, July 28, 2017

Join us for our NEW Table Toppers Club!

Announcing the launch of our newest club, Table Toppers for All Seasons! Read about it here and there's a link to join at PatrickLose.com, below.

After 8 successful years of the Party with Patrick Club, we knew before even bringing that club to a close we would need to have a new one waiting in the wings for our loyal members. After several rounds of surveys on social media, we got a very strong response to the idea of a club that would deliver a different table topper each month.

We wanted to offer some extra value with this particular club that would make it an easy decision for you to want to join us. So look at everything you’ll get with Table Toppers for All Seasons:

    - A new table topper project each month for 12 months
    - Four table runners, four placemats and four centerpiece mats
    - Complete instructions including color illustrations and all templates for appliqué projects
    - TWO BONUS THROW QUILT PROJECTS delivered at the 6th and 12th months! $24 value!

An added bonus for those who are machine embroiderers or use digital cutters: We will also include the machine embroidery files and SVG cutting files for any project that includes Patrick’s trademark fusible appliqués designs at no additional charge.*

These are quick, colorful and easy-to-finish projects to dress your tables for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Optional kits will be available for purchase.

The price to join Table Toppers for All Seasons is $59.99 for one year. That’s $5 per month for all of the digital downloads, but you’ll also receive the two BONUS throw quilt patterns at an added value of $24. Machine embroiderers and those who use digital cutters get an even greater value with the embroidery and .SVG files, included at no extra charge.

Projects will be delivered in digital format - PDF and, when available, SVG files. Embroidery files, when available, will be delivered in .art, .dst, .exp, .hus, .jef, .pes, .vip and .vp3 formats.*

If you have a small online shop or sell at craft shows we’ll offer licenses to create these projects for sale. There will be no charge to licensees but we do need to have you register with us to sell these designs.

Those who have been with us for Party with Patrick, Monthly Mug Mats or the other clubs we’ve offered know how much fun it is to anticipate and receive a new “surprise” project each month. We hope you’ll join us for our new Table Toppers for All Seasons club!

For more info or to join, click here.

*Machine embroidery designs will be delivered in the size used in the project. We do not offer in various sizes and you must have the hoop size needed to stitch the design.

Here are some examples of the types of projects you can expect to make in the club. These aren't the actual projects which are a surprise each month:

Click to enlarge


   

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Growing Pains

As a young fabric company, it's a nice problem to be having growing pains already, but it can be frustrating - not only for us, but for our customers.

On a daily basis, we receive emails or social media comments from retail customers asking where they can purchase our fabrics. Because we have not yet fully developed a network of independent reps to service our quilt shops, many shops purchase from our distributors and the information on those shops is not provided to us. We're getting a lot of areas covered with reps but they have only been out in full force for a couple of months.

We are working to come up with a list of brick-and-mortar and online independent shops that we can recommend. In the meantime, we'd like to ask for your help.

Please understand that we strongly feel that you should support your local independent quilt shops who are doing their best to offer what retail customers want and to provide support and inspiration to their customers. If you can't find what you're looking for in your local shops, you should be asking for it. A good shop owner listens to the requests from their customers. If they don't carry what you want, there are other shops that do and some of those are online shops.

Shop owners - We'd love to send customers your way and hope you'll speak up on our Facebook or Instagram feeds when you have something a customer wants. Email your information to gary@patricklose.com and we'll put you on our list. It's easy to quickly get the Patrick Lose Fabrics your customers ask for. You can even order directly from us by using our website, by emailing gary@patricklose.com or by calling 623-414-9464 for assistance. It's fast and easy to set up your account using the application link on this page.

Retail customers - Thank you for your patience and, if you've had a good experience with a shop carrying our collections, please recommend them to your creative friends and on our Facebook or Instagram feeds. Your fellow quilters will appreciate your advice.

Please feel free to post shop info as a comment to this post, also!

The interest, feedback and support we're getting is phenomenal and much appreciated. Thanks for all the excitement you're showing for Patrick Lose Fabrics!

http://www.patricklose.com/shop/Patrick-Lose-Fabrics-WHOLESALE.htm





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Free" Patterns

http://www.patricklose.com/shop/Printed-and-Digital-Patterns/Patrick-Lose-Studios-digital-patterns.htm
There's something I feel like I need to weigh in on because there's been a lot of talk about it recently among designers and shop owners who are trying to navigate some challenging times in the quilting and other creative industries.

The number of free quilting, sewing and crafting patterns being offered everywhere you turn is seriously hurting the livelihoods of those who publish quality patterns of original designs and offer them for sale. All of these easily-accessible, free patterns are making so many of those who use them think that all patterns should just be free of charge and happily handed out for nothing. Do they really believe that they’re getting the best quality patterns? Do they think that the free patterns have been tested and proofread to the extent of those that are sold in the marketplace? Are they getting original designs or just another rehashing of an old standard with minimal instruction? Even those have a monetary value when someone has put a lot of their time, effort and talent into making the pattern something from which the end user will benefit, by making their own efforts easier and more enjoyable.

As a pattern designer, I’ve actually had to explain to some people why we sell our patterns instead of giving them away and, even then, some have become disgruntled and behaved almost as though they thought we were stealing from them by selling our work. They’re probably some of the same ones who also think it’s okay to just share patterns among friends - which most of us would never consider. I’ll never understand it.

Designers deserve to make a living from their honest, hard work, just as everyone else does. The vast majority of us do not give our patterns away for free and our businesses shouldn’t suffer because of those who distribute them for nothing online. We’re just trying to offer something valuable to those who enjoy what we do and that should be worth something. We hope that you’ll help to educate those in your own circles who don’t understand everything that goes into creating and making a design and then writing and proofing a pattern to make it suitable for your use. I can tell you, from my own experience working with companies who offer free patterns, you get what you pay for with many of those “free” patterns.

I do want to thank those who support what we're doing at Patrick Lose Studios/Patrick Lose Fabrics by purchasing and using our products and doing such great things with them. We love seeing your work and appreciate your spreading the word about how much fun you have making the projects I design. You're a part of the hope that designers have in being able to continue their work of making sure there are innovative, inspiring and exciting patterns available to the creative people who want them. You're the best kind of ambassadors we could have representing us.

On that note, stay tuned for some information coming very soon about our new Patrick Lose Brand Ambassadors Program. Maybe you'd like to be a bigger part of the work we do and the fun we have at Patrick Lose Studios...?

Cheers,
Patrick