We've been doing some major reviewing and planning, and we're ready to tell you all about what's next for Textillia, including all the details about memberships. Spoiler alert: they'll be only $20USD/year!
We've come so far...
While we started working on it over a year before launching, Textillia has been live since November 2015. That's already almost a year and a half, and in that time we've gathered a lovely small community of sewists and stitchers, and added a ton of content and new functionality to the site. As of yesterday, Textillia contains:
- 5478 patterns, 3596 fabrics, and 2729 projects created and entered by community members.
- Functionality that supports quilters, garment, accessory, and home decor sewists, and embroiderers.
- The "My studio" tools for planning and documenting your projects, organizing your pattern/project queue, managing your stash of fabrics, patterns, thread, and pre cuts, and following your friends to keep updated on what they're making and talking about.
- An interconnected community managed database of patterns and materials which all link to your projects and the companies/designers who created them.
- Business pages for sewing industry businesses, including companies of all kinds (from sewing machine manufacturers to conferences to podcasts), designers of fabric and patterns, and online and brick and mortar fabric shops (if you need to claim yours, contact us here).
- 4298 comments spread across the forums, projects, and blog.
- A community of 6131 registered members (and many more that use the database search as unregistered visitors) that is growing bigger everyday...
- I dare say, one of the friendliest, kindest, most welcoming, and most supportive communities around, and in this day and age, that's not nothing.
The slow, steady growth we've experienced has been perfect for us while we've built the foundation for this project. We're really happy that so many of you have joined and stuck around, giving us your feedback and helping build the database in our early days!
Next up for Textillia
Our big goal is to get the final building blocks into this foundation, so we can go on to build all the really fun stuff that becomes possible once those pieces are in place. The next big (and they're really big) items on our to-do list are:
- Set up/improve the member account and subscription tools (which will mark the end of our beta period).
- Complete a major software upgrade (the last one required, as there's a new/easier process in place after this one, thank goodness).
After that, it's wide open possibility! Once the software upgrade is done, we can install groups and start working on the huge list of awesome features you've asked for.
Our big challenge now is actually figuring out how to get from here to there. As you may have noticed, since our last big batch of functionality was rolled out at the start of January, we've only been adding small new pieces. That's because Bruno is back to doing full time work for his freelance clients right now. We self-funded almost an entire year of full-time development, on top of covering the costs of setting up and running Textillia (legal, accounting, and web services), and the reality is we've hit the limit of how much we can self-fund for the foreseeable future. All part of the challenge of being an independent self-funded project, something that we believe will be a huge benefit in the end, but poses its own set of challenges.
While Bruno is going to keep working on smaller pieces in his off-hours, we're discussing various options of how to bridge the gap through the two bigger pieces of work that need to get done. Our estimate is that it's about 6 solid months of work, so it's a big hurdle to get over. We haven't made any final decisions yet, but we'll keep you posted on our plans as we go forward!
We know a lot of people have been worried about how much our memberships will cost, so we want to fill you in and address any concerns, so *drum roll* here we go! First up, let's cut to the chase - the big question, how much?
Memberships will be only $20 USD a year!
Yes, you read that right - $20 per year. We see the membership as more of an annual guild fee than a "subscription". A way for everyone to chip in and keep things running smoothly over here so that we can do our work of keeping Textillia alive and growing. It's important to us that memberships be affordable and accessible to pretty much anyone who sews, so we decided early on to bank on eventually having a larger community that will allow the smaller fee to work for us.
Because we're approaching Textillia as a long term, community supported, grassroots project and small business, we've decided on an affordable and creative way to price memberships! Here's how it breaks down:
- Memberships will cost $20 USD per year.
- If you can afford to pay more and want to give Textillia an extra boost, you'll have the option to add a donation on top of your annual membership fee.
- New members will get a free first month to try out Textillia and decide if you want to commit to the annual membership.
- Existing members who joined during our beta period will also get a free first month once we flip the "out of beta" switch, to decide for sure whether you want to remain a member.
While it's a risk for us to go with $20/year + optional donation, rather than setting the cost at say $5 or even $10/month (which is $60 or $120/year), we hope it'll enable far more people to become Textillia members and allow this to work!
What will a Textillia membership give me?
Generally, the things you currently need to log in to do will be the members-only areas. Right now the main pattern and materials database searches, and the blog can be viewed without logging in. We will likely continue to offer that to visitors, and subscribing to our newsletter will also continue to be open to everyone. Everything else that you have to log in to see will be the resources and tools only Textillia members will have access to, including:
- The "My Studio" area, which contains the project planning tools (your queue and projects page), your stash management section, and the ability to friend other members and see their updates.
- The Textillia Forums, which will eventually be turned into the groups section.
- The ability to favorite and comment on other peoples' projects, and comment on the blog.
- And of course, lots of other yet to be built functionality!
Is that the only way you're going to make money?
The short answer is maybe. The long answer is that we would LOVE to be a fully community supported website, as that it frees up all of our time up to work on making Textillia awesome, rather than managing ads and other sales stuff. That said, we also want to find more ways to support sewing-related small businesses, and are still very open to potentially adding things like non-intrusive on-topic ads (like on Ravelry), or other non-intrusive services that would benefit both sewing-related small businesses and our members. But all that is beyond the scope of the coming year.
So while we may add other revenue generating pieces to the site later on, and we're tossing around ideas, they may not be in the form of the conventional ads and affiliate links you're used to seeing. (We know this is vague, but we can't reveal too many of our ideas! Let's just say our priorities are low "ick factor" and high-supporting of independent and small businesses.) The benefit of being an independently run, membership based site is that our loyalty will always remain to our members, and allow us a lot of freedom as far as what kinds of services we provide. You'll never have to worry about us doing anything not in the interest of our members because of pressure from large businesses that fund us or investors, because our "stakeholders" are YOU!
When will you go out of beta and start charging for membership?
That all depends how we decide to move forward, and we'll let you know as soon as we know. But, as always, the sooner we're out of beta, the sooner we get to build lots more awesome stuff for you!
Help us get there and keep the dream of a Ravelry of sewing alive: Make a donation today!
Thanks for all the support so far!