The Craft war on hobbyists ! Apparently you should charge for everything you create...
Do you believe that people in Design Teams should get paid on top of receiving free products for their time ?See results without voting
The big debate of getting paid to make samples for Craft and Hobby Companies
There is a rumble of discontent across the Craft and Hobby industry regarding Design Teams; a misnomer because people who create samples are not designing per se something from scratch but make something out of supplies given to them for free. A home décor stylist will happily arrange a room in a tastful manner picking all the elements : furniture, accessories, wallpaper, paint, etc... but she/he is no carpenter for example or has designed the elements picked.
-If you join a Design Team you have put a few designers out of a job, apparently...
The discontent is because some hobbyists who have decided that they want to share their passion on their blogs, have the audacity to join Design Team where they can get free products in exchange of creating some samples and posting them on their blogs: something they were doing anyway (this point being very important) and totally unpaid.
Now if you love a company and their products you probably already have an 'evangelical' attitude posting what you've made on your own website or blog.
Apparently if the company in question, which happens to like what you're making and decides to give you free products in exchange for your time, you have become a craft pariah and have put 10 designers out of work.
I'm sorry I don't buy that. If the industry and the designers in it who have decided to give it a go as a full time job are so sensitive to this form of 'pro bono' work then they would make sure that nobody show their own creations on their blogs, upload tutorials on youtube and even stop paper crafters selling their cards for charity at a local church.
-It's not 'free' it's a barter, get it...
Incidentally there's always been a form of 'work for free' in several industries: the internship. Either as a first jobber/school leaver or because you've decided to change your career you so want to get that place in a company that you offer your service for free for two simple reasons: you hope that if you're good enough they'll employ you part-time or full time; second reason is you have something to put in your resume/cv and you're learning the ropes.
Now going back to the freelance designers who are asking companies to pay everyone who give a few hours of their time per month to create something the company can put on their own blog to further promote themselves, it's a nice idea on paper and commendable, don't get me wrong, in an ideal world that should be the norm but it ain't going to happen.
The Craft and Hobby industry by its very nature like the Entertainment industry is ephemeral and doesn't have a one level playing field. That's why you have actors working as waiters until they make it big or have a break and even when they 'make it' they're just as good as their last job.
-Make yourself a well known charismatic brand from your work...
For a freelance designers it's tough out there, the trends change continuously and keeping abreast of the latest fad needs good planning some of them have relied on working as sample creators because their big name means that any company associated with them will get extra kudos, especially that some designers have almost a 'celeb' status. Basically to use the hollywood analogy they (actors, A-lists, etc..) are becoming testimonials to the brand and give extra brownie points to the product.
-Unless you work for a company, freelancing is not a good walking stick...
Some designers come straight from Art Schools and obviously want to do for a living what they like as it's their passion. But like anyone leaving Medical or Law school there's no guarantee out there they will get the job of their dream. The problem with the Craft industry is that their products are the first thing people will cut out of their budget when there's an economic downturn. Crafters will change their priorities and cut where they can, that's why since 2007 many companies have gone under. It's a shame but that's the awful reality.
Since the inception of social medias (Facebook etc..) the craft and hobby companies still left standing have had to also cut their workforce and trim their marketing budget (hence the demise of many craft magazines too). The only way they can keep afloat and keep the few designers they've employed either on a contract or full time basis is to barter enthusiastic amateurs' own time with free products.
-Design teams bring amateurs crafters out of their shells and might be the new trend setters in the near future...
Let's be clear again that this form of barter is not an ideal situation but it's a great stepping stone for the unknown crafters to get recognition and get their names out there. I've seen a few of them joining Design Teams and being very unsure of their skills just to have published gigs on craft magazines (again what's left of them) a few months down the line. They shouldn't be ostracised by those at the top, besides these people who are crying for the companies to pay everyone equally at times forget to mention that even themselves started at the 'bottom of the ladder' and had offered their services for almost nothing. It's amazing how they have sudden lapses of memory and are crucifying the very same companies that have helped them standing where they are now.
So to wrap this up with a lovely crafty bow, I'd like to say that Design Teams are not for everyone especially for people who want to get an income straight away from their designs, there are other options out there but for those amongst us who are hobbyists DT are an invaluable opportunity to show our dedication to the companies we like and help them along the way including the designers who are employed there.
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