The photo above is another one of those that has nothing to do with the post. But it makes me happy. And after my intense day yesterday, I need happy! :D
Well. Yesterday was a crazy whirlwind of craziness. Good craziness, confusing craziness, anxious craziness, scary craziness, sad craziness. ALL THE CRAZINESS. And yesterday rocked (mostly)! Thanks so much to those of you who already signed up for the first Pattern University course, and thanks to everyone who tweeted/facebooked/etc. the pre-sale. Oh yes, and thanks to those of you who asked questions about the course.
Speaking of questions, I want to address some of those. I wrote a short response in a Facebook group yesterday about how my course is different than the others currently available, but I wanted to elaborate a bit more here.
Let me first say that I have not taken the other courses out there. And honestly, I only know of one other designer who even offers a course. So, I can't really compare myself to the competition. But I can tell you more about my own material.
How does my course differ from the other courses?
As far as content is concerned, there are two areas that I think my course is different. First, my course includes more topics - and lots more about the non-technical things that designers often struggle with. For example, I include several lessons on marketing and affiliate programs. My background is in marketing, so I get a thrill out of helping people start and grow businesses. You could call my course "How to Create a Successful PDF Pattern Business" as opposed to "How to Digitize Patterns."
Another difference is the platform on which my course is built. Pattern University is completely self-contained and self-hosted using industry-standard courseware. My students' access to the courses will never go away, and can never be affected by another site's downtime or future changes. And since no one is charging me a commission fee to host my content, I am able to offer my students a competitive price.
Next, my course is designed to be interactive. Students can contact me by writing comments on their individual lessons or interacting with other students and alumni in the Pattern University facebook group (a closed group only for current/past students). Through the comments and public forum, we all learn and grow together. And it's FUN!
The final difference that's been mentioned to me is teaching style. I have tried and tried to create courses that are formal and scripted. It doesn't work for me! I make Justin Timberlake jokes. I mess up. I wear my hair in a huge ball on top of my head. My kids might even occasionally make an appearance. That's not to say my videos aren't high-quality or professional - they absolutely are. But the people who have seen them so far (and who know me in person) say they're fun and engaging while still being super educational. I like to imagine I'm on a coffee/soda/water/hard liquor/what-have-you date with my students while I'm making videos.
Shouldn't the course cost more than $149 if it's so comprehensive and high-quality?
Yes! I'm not going to argue with that. This course is worth much, much more than $149 (or $119 if you are taking advantage of the pre-sale). Most people who have seen the table of contents and viewed any of my contents have recommended a price between $300-500.
But here's the thing. I totally think a top-of-the-line Bernina sewing machine is worth $10K+. Oh yes, I do! And I would LURVE to buy one. But you know what? It's just not in my budget right now. I can't pay that for a sewing machine now, and I don't know if I ever will.
When I first started publishing my free video tutorials, I told you they were free because I got compensation out of comments and satisfied blog readers. The same still holds true for this course - I want it to be accessible but also to benefit my family (and help me pay for my startup costs) in some way because of all the hours and hours of outlining, prepping, videoing, re-videoing and editing that I'm doing.
I had originally decided to offer my course for $249, and honestly, I think that would still be a deal! But, reality hit...and I realized that many of my target market are stay-at-home-moms with limited funds and other priorities. I lowered my price to make the course obtainable but also beneficial to me.
Do my students need drafting or technical experience to take the course?
No! I mean, those things will certainly help. But I've designed my course so it works for everyone - from the absolute beginner to the experienced designer who wants to add a few tricks to her stash. If you've sewn a few garments, read some patterns and had a few good ideas, you've met the prerequisite for this course. And I'm reachable via email or the student facebook group to help with any problems and answer questions.
Who am I to tell you how to run a pattern business if I don't have one of my own?
Ahhhh, you got me there! I DON'T have my own line of sewing patterns. And there's a
good reason excuse for that. I am a perfectionist. So much of a perfectionist that I often stall in the final stages of a project. I have designed so many patterns over the years and never released them. I do have knitting patterns currently for sale, but I also have some that have been tested and still not released. And I have done the technical stuff for many other designers (or given one-on-one tutoring), but there's just something about putting my own ideas out there that scares the bejesus out of me.
I also get sucked into my own creative brain sometimes. But what if I changed this or curved that more or lengthened this or offered this other option?! (You designers know what I'm talking about!) Designing patterns is really, really hard, and I have an infinite amount of respect for those of you who do it so well! It's not rocket science in the technical sense (or else I wouldn't be teaching this course! Ha!), but it's an art. And I haven't refined my art to a point that I'm ready to share it with the world just yet.
I am hoping (fingers and toes crossed) and diligently working to change that in 2014. So stay tuned for me to release some awesome new patterns later this year.
I really hope this answers some of your questions. And if you have any more, please mention them in the comments below. I will do my best to answer every single one. You can also contact me in private via my contact form.
Oh, there are still a few spots left in the pre-sale! So if you're still on-the-fence about the course, now is the time to sign up for just $119. I have given myself a deadline of finishing the course by March 15, but I'm really, REALLY hoping it will be done before then. Very exciting!
And again, thanks to everyone for their encouraging comments!