CROCHET & KNITTING E-SALES PLATFORMS
About a 4 minute read
QUICK INTRODUCTION TO PATTERN E-SALES
There are many places that you can sell electronic crochet and knitting patterns. Choosing the right one for your situation is important because of VAT implications. It’s also important to know how each platform operates so that you know how much work you have to put in.
All of the information given is from a UK perspective, so GBP is used as the currency wherever possible and VAT links are to the UK Government website. If you are from another country, you will need to do some of your own digging.
Beyond VAT, the inherent costs of selling patterns should be taken into account as part of your pattern pricing policy.
VAT ON E-PUBLICATIONS
This is a bit of a doozy of a subject to start with, but an important one. The UK law changed at the beginning of lockdown 2020 and e-publications became VAT exempt. You can read about it here.
On a similar timeline, many EU countries also reduced their VAT rates on e-publications. Here is a quick summary of the different rates for EU countries.
I believe that the rates vary from state to state in the US, and that the system is about to change in Canada.
From an UK perspective, post-Brexit and mid-pandemic, the whole VAT scenario is an absolute nightmare and best avoided if at all possible.
What this means is that one of your first major decisions on where to house your patterns is whether you want an integrated platform that will deal with all the VAT payments for you. For that reason, I have split the following sales platforms down to those that manage VAT on e-publications for you and those that don’t.
PLATFORMS THAT MANAGE VAT ON E-PUBLICATIONS
LoveCrafts is an increasingly respected pattern sales platform with thousands of crochet and knitting patterns now available. You get the choice whether your patterns are inclusive or exclusive of VAT and if you choose to include VAT, that is deducted before the fees are calculated.
- You can load direct from your Ravelry library.
- Already used by crafters Links to yarn Decent search engine .
- They take care of B2C VAT payments.
- They have support for designers that want to sell via their site.
- They give guidance to designers.
- LoveCrafts also has an affiliates programme that some of you might be interested in.
- You can’t do discount codes.
- Payment is via PayPal.
- You choose whether your prices are inclusive or exclusive of VAT.
- You pay 2% + £0.20 per pattern You pay 3.5% if you sell between £30 - £1,000 in patterns per month. <£30 and >£1000 is 0% fees.
Ribblr is a relative newcomer and in its infancy. From having a poke around the site my feelings were that the search engine isn’t that sophisticated but this will likely be developed. For example, you can’t search by yarn weight.
- There aren’t many designers on there at the moment, so it would be easy to stand out.
- I like that as a designer, you can set up your own shop front on Ribblr – this feels like a business savvy move.
- I haven't used the platform much so it's hard to gove this a proper review.
- The search functionality is not great. This would be a key area for improvement.
- No listing fees.
- 4% charge on each pattern sale.
- Paid via Stripe 1.4% plus 20p processing charge for EU cards 2.9% plus 20p for Non EU cards.
Using Payhip is like setting up your own pattern website. The overall site is not searchable, so you have to point people to it.
- You 'own' the site llike you would your own website.
- It's a very clean, fuss free site.
- You have to point people to it. It's not searchable.
- Three different payment structures available.
- Free to use with a 5% transaction fee to Payhip plus PayPal/Stripe transaction fee.
- $29 per month with 2% transaction fee to Payhip plus PayPal/Stripe transaction fee.
- $99 per month with no transaction fee to Payhip plus PayPal/Stripe transaction fee.
Lots of people love selling on Etsy and I think it has improved since they extended the payment options beyond PayPal. It is a go-to place for people to buy crochet and knitting patterns.
- One of the top platforms for crochet and knitting pattern sales.
- Easy set-up.
- You have to relist every four months.
- You have to pay to relist.
- Listing fee - £0.16 per pattern listing (you can list multiples of the same pattern for that fee) and these have to be renewed every four months with the fee being charged every four months.
- Transaction fee – 5% (includes and P&P costs) Processing fee of 4% plus £0.20
- Etsy also charges fee on VAT management. This has not been added to the costing table below but I am reliably informed that it is about 13%.
This platform is a UK version of Etsy. I am not going to go into much detail here because the e-pattern fulfilment isn’t automatic. You have to receive an order and then email the pattern out to your customer. Life is simply too busy for that!
One of my reasons for writing this blog post was for me to investigate my options for pulling away from Ravelry.
I am so dismayed by their actions around the usability of their new site.
For those of you that want it, here is the financial information for Ravelry:
- <$30 p/month free
- >$30 <$1500 3.5% fee >$1500 3% to cover transaction and conversion costs
- PayPal transaction fees also apply.
- Stripe transaction fees also apply.
PLATFORMS THAT DON'T MANAGE VAT ON E-PUBLICATIONS
I use Shopify as my sales hosting platform and I love it. There are many others out there to chose from. The financial scenario depends on the monthly fee you want to pay. I have given the lowest Shopify cost scenario in the below table.
BLOG WITH ADS
This is a long-term option for soem of the advertisers and possibly best doen when you have a library of blog posts, pattersn or both.
- Adthrive – you need over 100,000 views per month.
- Mediavine – you need to have 50,000 sessions per month to qualify for Mediavine.
- Adsense – There is no min requirement but there is no support and the ad money is lower.
PLATFORM COST COMPARISONS
The following table gives you some examples of the types of pattern selling costs that you might incur across the different platforms. This information was gathered in April 2021 and is subject to change.
I have also saved this as a PDF in case you want to take a closer look at it. Just click here, or on the image below to go to the PDF version.
LET'S KEEP IN TOUCH
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About Fay Dashper-Hughes
My name is Fay and I design crochet and knitwear patterns. I love proper woolly wool and showing crochet off for the beautiful, versatile craft that it actually is. Inspired by nature, architecture, Scottish landscapes and British wool.
Generally found in my happy place, my craft studio, affectionately known as The Hive.
As an extra feature which I haven’t seen anywhere before you can make deposits if you’re living on a budget and thus you can save up money for patterns and you get a 5% discount.
About selling/uploading from their help site:
- Upload of the patterns is free of charge. There are no additional costs for the purchase process, we do not charge any set-up fees or the listings.
- Costs for the payment processing with the buyer are completely taken over by us.
- 70% of the total sales minus the value added tax collected by us will go to you.
- You can request withdrawal to your Paypal or bank account. All reports for your tax consultant or for the tax office will be prepared by us.
- We take care of the small amounts and you will receive from us collective payments from several sales. This saves you a lot of time.
Reading this it looks to me like they keep 30% which seems rather a LOT. What do you think?
About Ribblr, you can actually enter 4ply and it gives you patterns which uses 4ply yarns already (IF the designer entered it as a tag). I’ve sent them a message this morning and here is an excerpt of their reply (which I’ve got almost instantly btw): “(…) We are certainly looking to further improve our advance search to provide more filter options. (…) We’ve noted your feedback and it is very much appreciated.”
I’ve also had a look at another platform called crazypatterns.net. Their platform languages to choose from are English, German, Dutch, Russian. There are 12 currencies to choose from and 14 pattern languages. Crafts are Crochet, Knitting, Sewing, Crafts/DIY, Knooking, Felting, Embroidery, Plotting.
There are free patterns, paid for patterns and you can upload and sell your own. And there are menu tabs for bestsellers, new patterns, featured, current trends, discount, free patterns, popular authors and CAL/KAL&Co. And there’s a forum.
I haven’t uploaded my patterns yet so I can’t say anything about that procedure or fees etc. but thought it might be of interest too.