Friday night check-in.

Hi y’all,

Can you believe it’s the weekend already? This week has sped past in a flurry of sweat and heatwave induced lethargy. I always marvel that while we are laying on top of the sheets, praying for it to cool down enough to sleep, there are people on the other side of the world shivering in blizzard conditions.

I wanted to talk to you a little about Red Boot Quilts. My business name registration renewal came up over the Christmas break and I had to stop and think about whether I wanted to renew for another term.

It’s difficult making a living from this profession, especially as a small independent designer, and I’m facing the reality that I may have to give it up and get a job with a regular pay cheque. I need that regular pay cheque as much as you all do. Piracy, illegal sharing, and the sheer amount of free patterns and block-of-the-month projects are eroding the viability of this profession.

I’ve had a good run, I’ve had over 30 patterns published in magazines, designed quilts for stores and for a fabric company, and have written a book. Unfortunately none of these things ever paid enough to (help) pay the mortgage.

Writing Happy Quilts was a brilliant experience, and thanks to you all it has been No. 1 bestseller in it’s category four times on Amazon. I worked seven days a week for more than a year on the book and it left no time for anything else. I was exhausted at the end and I used all my savings paying for the materials used; the horrendous postage costs alone came to over $2500. At the end of the process I was $7000 in the red.

Despite selling very well, I don’t think I’ll ever see a royalty cheque. I’ve crunched the numbers on the print run and by the time the publisher is paid all that is owing, there won’t be anything left for me. Realising that was a big kick in the pants and 2016 saw me miserable, broke, and creatively spent.

So here I am, it’s 2017, and I’m contemplating my Business Name Renewal notice. I hope you will be happy to know that I ticked the right boxes and renewed for another term. I’m giving Red Boots another chance. I don’t know how long I can hang on before heading out to get a regular pay cheque, but I’ll try.

I still feel the thrill of working with fabric. I enjoy what I do, love it most of the time, and loathe it very occasionally. It can have great highs and deep lows, but I get to meet a lot of very lovely people. Like you.

Happy quilting, love to all, toni xx


12 thoughts on “Friday night check-in.

  1. great to see you are continuing to design your patterns. Grandchildren just loved the xmas santa mats i had made for them.I enjoy your patterns.

  2. So glad you are going to give it a little more time -love all your cheerful and happy quilts and softies. Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2017😊 Debbi

  3. Like Debra, I admire your work and sometimes I have finances to buy it but mostly I don’t have the time so it’s no point buying it for it to just sit and gather dust. So glad you decided to renew and hoping you have a wonderful year financially with Red Boots.

  4. Oh Toni
    I can feel your pain but on a much smaller scale. I love your work, but like many people I admire but rarely purchase as my own finances do not allow it. Your quilts always bring a smile and I hope Me and My Red Boots keeps making you smile. Follow the path you need to but know I’ll be cheering you on.

  5. We love your book Happy Quilts. My daughter is heading back down to Tauranga soon to continue Uni and has prepped heaps of appliques to sew in her spare time this year. I understand how hard it must be to be a designer and trust me I speak up when people abuse patterns from different people, but you create such beautiful things.

  6. Toni, so pleased you have decided to give it another little while. Your colourful designs and cheerful characters are simply gorgeous, you are an inspriation to many. Word of mouth is your best and cheapest form of advertising and I’m sure we are all doing our little bit to get the word out on your behalf. xox

  7. Keep on going.. the world needs your happy designs! I think designers just need to design and thank goodness they do for those people like me who like making but need patterns to do so!

  8. Right there with you! I wonder sometimes whether it’s worth continuing to design & whether I should just go back to sewing for fun & for me. But like you, I’ve decided to keep plodding along for now. Hopefully we can keep encouraging people to create & play with fabric. :0) KRIS xx

  9. I understand how depressing it is to work so hard and feel that you are not getting anywhere. I have wondered how designers like you can make a living when there is so much free stuff out there. Some people feel that they don’t need to buy patterns any more. Why should they pay when they can get it for nothing? I’m glad that you have decided to register again. You are a brilliant designer.

  10. Keep a positive attitude. You are one of a kind and so are your patterns. I have just recently bought Happy Quilts and I am in love with your patterns.
    Please don’t give up. 2017 will be your year!

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