The box, it is open

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Blogging | 11 comments

Following from my 2 posts, Dear Publisher and The Power of the Community.

And adding up Alex Tinsley.

And Anniken Allis.

And Joy Gerhardt.

I would like to add a note here to clarify a point in my contract. In all my pieces designed for Yarn Forward/Knit, I took extreme care in picking the look and the yarns – I sourced these myself, asking lovely independent yarnies to lend their yarns to a joint project. The Mulberry Dyer, Artist’s Palette and Sweet Clement provided me with yarns to make those pieces. When this situation is presented, Yarn Forward/Knit posted a clause in the contract to mention the sample was to be returned to me. This is MY case. I am not privvy to the details on everyone’s contract, and it’s a usual practice for magazines to keep samples if they provided the yarn.

Apparently someone sent a less than pleasant note to the managing director of All Crafts Media. I don’t know the specifics, and don’t know whether to believe it or not (after all, it’s quite the extreme to wish unfortunate things onto others, regardless of their business practice).

So I’m going to reiterate my feelings, again.

If you can afford to pay your printers = you should afford to pay your designers.

Without designers, I’d love to see what you fill your pages with.

If you can take money from advertisers = you should afford to pay your designers & tech-editors.

Nobody buys a magazine for adverts, and we like seeing fellow companies striving to achieve success in the knitting & crochet world. We like supporting them, like we thought we could support you.

If you can take money from sock club members = you should deliver your goods as advertised.

Again. Ricogate.

Many people have sent me emails. Some of them even ex-employees of the aforementioned company. And the situation is GRIM. We’re talking thousands owed to individuals.

We are not here to hate ON YOU.

We are simply stating our position, and that is, that until you deliver your goods as advertised to members of your clubs, and until you pay your designers and editors fairly and on time (including those who are owed from YEARS ago), we will simply not shut up.

It’s not personal. It’s business.

Some time ago, when the KnitCamp disaster happened, this managing director of All Crafts Media / KAL Media was teacher of a class and demanded her money quite loudly.

So we have to do the same.

Tons of tweets have been floating on the internet, people stating their disbelief that someone with such a history of malpractice (magknits… hipknits…) is allowed to continue doing business. And they are taking action. They are stopping subscriptions. They are demanding answers. They are not buying your magazines anymore, as a sign of respect to those of us who designed for you in the past and remain unpaid, unanswered and disappointed in your managing capabilities.

Let’s take a wild imagination ride. What do you think would have happened if I had signed my contract with them and didn’t deliver my sample and pattern? I would have been emailed, sternly and continuously. I would probably never design for them again, as it’s quite usual that if you fail to deliver … it’s not a good look for the freelancer, right? Then there’s the Chinese Whispers. At some point, somehow, my name would have gone around between magazines as a Bad Designer. People TALK. Editors exchange opinions on designers, just like we exchange opinions on whose yarn is prettier, whose designs appeal to us, who inspire us and… oh yeah. Which magazines are not worth a dime submitting to. And as it’s my NAME associated with my PROFESSIONAL reputation, it’d be difficult to get back into the game. Extremely so.

(Shannon Okey published The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design a while ago. All newcomers to this business should read it.)

Is my blogging going to change this?

Doubt it’ll change it around.

But it sure is making people think twice before supporting those who don’t support us.

What can YOU do?

If you’re a knitter and you used to purchase Knit or Yarn Forward, do your bit for us and don’t buy it this month. Take your £4.99 and purchase a pattern from an independent designer. After you do so, send them an email and say “thank you for trying to do your bit, here’s me doing mine”. Blog about it! Shout it on twitter and facebook!

You don’t know who to buy from? The 3 ladies listed at the top of this post. Or Elizabeth. Or Rachel. Or Rebecca. Or Heather. Or Stephanie. Heck I’m not even asking you to buy my patterns. Just support your independent peeps!

If you’re a designer – comment below and let people know where to buy your patterns.

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11 Comments

  1. and if you advertise with this company – stop advertising!!  we did 6 months ago when we first heard of the unpaid designers problems, dont want my company associated with things like this

  2. Well-said, Ruth. Word is spreading like wildfire across the online fiber community… and it looks like ACM is finally taking notice instead of burying their head in the ground. Whether this change in management is an actual change or just a stunt to quiet us down, remains to be seen.

  3. I don’t really buy mags as a rule but do buy independent patterns and use spread the word about the fab free ones I use on Rav. I have a couple of yours Ruth (as always I want more, but NEED to finish current projects before starting any more!), and lots of others from random designers. Bad business burns people and this is no different, if someone puts time (and money) into something they should be treated fairly. If you don’t make money back on the time you lovingly spend designing/testing/sampling/editing a pattern there’s no return on that investment and it undermines your career/business.

  4. I submitted my Tiare Shawl (which I’ve since self-published) to Knit last year, when some of this information was slowly coming out.  After getting an email that they would let me know soon, and then not hearing back on my submission after almost 2 months, I withdrew, only to have them tell me they were writing to accept it that very day. What a coincidence! The little bit of research I did, putting the pieces together, and seeing the direction things were headed, I’m really glad that I decided to not do business with them.  I’m quite shocked that someone with such a history of failed business can just keep starting/renaming new ones.

  5. Thank you so much for getting the word out so designers and knitters won’t be burned by this company again.

    I am an independent designer. As such, I appreciate you encouraging everyone to buy patterns directly from independent designers. My patterns can be purchased on Ravelry – http://www.ravelry.com/stores/melissa-lemmons-designs, Craftsy – http://www.craftsy.com/user/pattern/store/473821, and my website – mlemmonsdesigns.com/patterns. 

  6. I’m so glad I never submitted to them like I was planning on doing, & trusting my gut & self-publishing instead. And if anyone wants to support an indie crochet designer, my Ravelry page is 
    http://www.ravelry.com/designers/anastacia-zittel & my website is http://anastaciaknits.net – support Indie!

  7. I don’t dare call myself a designer but I admit to dabbling.  All of my things can be found on Ravelry (PprmntMochaMama)… and today, I took everyone ‘shopping’ with me on my blog.  I might do this once a month to get the names out of some of my favorite Indy artisans – http://peppermintmochamama.blogspot.com/2012/02/raindrops-on-roses-whiskers-on-kittens.html

  8. You guys are even on the non-knitternet now: http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/013622.html#013622

    I am hoping a certain publisher might finally be shamed into doing a serious time out and NOT reinventing herself for a good long while (maybe even forever…), but I have this feeling we won’t be so lucky.

  9. Arrgh. It’s so frustrating that “businesses” like this manage to limp along inflicting pain on so many unsuspecting folks. I feel a blog post coming on…

  10. Here’s a post on a publishing website about this issue.  My husband passes the info along to the writer of the post.  http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/013622.html#013622 The word is getting out beyond the fiber community!

  11. I wonder if crafters/sewers/quilters should be alerted too, because they probably haven’t felt the shaft as deeply as knitters/crocheters have.

    That Kerrie Allman and All Craft Media have extended their tentacles into other crafts is disturbing. Their other pubs Simply Beautiful, Sew Hip, Handmade Living and Modern Quilting should not even be put out there.

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