In the excitement of launching, we’ve been blown away by how curious you all are about who we are and what we’re doing!
So, let’s dig in. I’ll answer as many questions as I can here, and if there’s anything you’re still wondering about, ask away! We are a community-first company built on feedback from you 😀
I’m Megan - founder and CEO of Making Things. Before Making Things, I’d been running Wool days (a boutique Australian yarn company) for 3 years. During this time, the same thought kept coming up in conversations with our customers: I want my making world to fit snugly into my fast and crazy world, so I don’t have to leave it behind. So I can still be me.
While I loved what I got to do every day (visiting local sheep farms, creating yarn, talking with our community), I sometimes struggled to see how Wool days was going to keep up with the pace of the world around me. The world has changed so much in recent history, technology has completely altered how we consume content, and how we interact with our communities. I kept wondering how the making world could grow complementary to the way we connect technologically. I wondered if there was a different way of interacting with my making process - a way of making that fit in with how busy I was running a new business, how far away most of my making pals were, and how on-the-go my life was and continues to be.
I started asking others about their making experiences, trying to see if I was alone in this line of thinking. As it turned out, others had been thinking this way too! So, after many (many!) conversations with friends and strangers alike, we got to work building Making Things.
The interface was simple - we took the feedback we’d heard in these conversations, and implemented it step by step. It was a little clunky, but as expected, our making community was gentle and accommodating as we learned and grew. Next thing we knew, we had hundreds of people testing out the platform, and the feedback was positive - people were obsessed with the potential for this new way of making things.
Next, we invited designers to join us - who are central to our vision. We took a small selection of patterns and reformatted them so they were interactive - creating a truly convenient and digital making experience. The patterns adapted to your screen size, and we built a tool library from the feedback we’d heard the most. People wanted to be able to keep track of where they were, so we made a sticky highlighter, they wanted to be able to keep track of multiple row counts at once, so we made simple-to-use row counters. We created dual axle chart readers, and made note-taking breezy.
It was all just as seamless as using a pen and post-its, at least it was meant to be. Our testers gave us feedback, we took it on board, and kept iterating. One bit of feedback stood out time and again - our community wanted to make while on-the-go, and they wanted this experience to feel seamless and simple. They wanted to keep making with friends, even after they’d left their local making group. They wanted to connect with their online community, which is the case for so many of us who have found “our people” through incredible platforms like Ravelry and Instagram. We were, and are, co-creating our dream tool for making, and that’s what gives me passion to work tirelessly on Making Things.
Working closely with designers, conversations kept coming up around recognition, pay, support and safety. Designers build communities, brands, and stories. They dream up, design, test, do maths, redesign, tech edit, photograph, format, market, sell, teach and tech support each pattern they create. With all this in mind, we started rethinking how we access patterns, in a way that celebrates all the work of designers, and creates a predictable and sustainable income — which we believe is one of the most powerful supporters of creativity.
This is why we evolved Making Things to a membership-based platform, to grant access to a growing library of beautiful, tried, and tested patterns to our community, and to ensure that our hardworking designers were being fairly compensated and valued for their work. Our membership fees create a pool of money that each designer on the platform has the opportunity to share each month. The larger the member base, the larger the share & support for each designer!
We want to be really clear about how revenue is generated with this model, and where it goes:
We’re intentionally keeping our ratio of designers on the platform low, so that we can keep the quality of support, content and pay for designers high! In this way, we aren’t aiming to replace any of the currently offered pattern services, but to provide a new way of making for those who crave it - which isn’t everyone, and that’s okay!
Making Things is an open conversation and it will continue to evolve. What matters to you matters to us, and we’re excited to share our ideas (and hear yours!) as we expand in new ways that allow us to support our local yarn shops, favorite podcasters, and the indie dyers and yarn companies we love so much. We are a creative people, not only with our hands but our minds. We’ve all thought “what if …” Now we’re building it. Together.
So that’s where we’re at! We officially launched last week, which means you can become a member of Making Things to access all the patterns and all the tools. Our library of patterns is now your library of patterns. Our community is now your community. Our platform is now your platform as we build this together.
What is the cost of MT?
Making Things costs USD$11.99/month. It is billed on a calendar month and pro-rated if you join mid-month. You can cancel at any time.
How do designers get paid on MT?
Designers are paid when members interact with their patterns on the platform, and through referring new community members to the platform.
Can I use MT without WiFi?
Making Things is currently a web app, which means it needs the internet to sync your pattern library and tools. We’re building our native app at the moment, which means patterns will be available offline, and your pattern library & progress will be synced when you’re back online!
What happens if I cancel my MT membership?
If you decide you’d like to cancel your membership (or pause your it over summer perhaps?) you can request that we keep you pattern data. So if / when you come back, all your notes, counts, patterns and wish lists will be just as you left them! If you’re on a monthly membership, you can cancel at any time and you will keep access to the platform for the rest of that month. If you cancel a yearly membership, you will keep access to the platform for the rest of the month, and we will refund the portion of the year you did not use (the free month for yearly subscriptions is added as the last month of the year).
Is there a limit on the number of patterns I can look at or work on each month?
No. There has been some confusion around this because of a clause in our Terms of Service. This clause (which may flag members if they access more than 30 patterns per month) is here to safeguard our site and our designers against malicious users and bots. This clause is a bit of a catch 22 for us - we don’t want to limit our well-intended members, but we need to be able to protect our designers (as part of their pay is dictated by how many members are accessing their patterns). For the average member with no malicious intent, pattern usage and access in unlimited. If you exceed 30 patterns a month, we may look into it on a case-by-case basis to make sure you’re not a bot!
These are the most common questions we’ve had. If you have any others, let us know and we’ll add as many of them here as possible!
Robbie and I ran Wool days as a bootstrapped company, which means we paid for everything with our own money - as most of us do! We saved money from other jobs and sold things to be able to afford our first batch of yarn. We paid the farmers & processors up front for their work, which was really hard as we hadn’t yet sold any yarn! But there was no question that we would do it. I would never expect people to work for free, or exposure, or be paid later ‘if things went well’. Our producers were running a business, just as we were.
One of our core values at Making Things is valuing creativity. So when we decided to start Making Things we knew we needed money to be able to pay people - fairly and on time. Wool days was going well, but not ‘pay all the designers for all their patterns well’. I wrote about our journey to fund our idea here. (Excuse the business talk and complete lack of reference to making in the piece, I was speaking to our incredible experience in a startup accelerator program.) I had to fight hard every single day to be taken seriously - I am so passionate about Making Things & full of resilience built from fighting for our idea daily!
We now have the funds to pay our team fairly - our designers and creation/support team - who are all earning competitive wages for their work. We recognize that this is not always (in fact, rarely) the case in our industry, and fair pay for our team, including designers, is at the core of what we’re doing. It wasn’t enough for us to just say that we want to do this eventually (when we’re profitable) we have to do it now - and we are.
So, is Making Things a startup? Yes! We have amazing investors who believe in our mission to support the making community. Which means we now have the resources to support a truly sustainable income for everyone involved. Everyone on our team is working obsessively on our mission so that we can bring you the best that digital making has to offer. We are only as good as our community, so please - share your feedback. We are here with ears wide open, ready to evolve, improve, and grow Making Things. We cannot do this without you, as we know that only together will make something truly amazing.