Introducing Pay What You Can Pricing

If you’ve been anywhere near Instagram in the past few days, you will have noticed the discussion around fair and sustainable knitwear pricing and financial accessibility of patterns.

After increasing my pattern prices at the beginning of this week, I decided to implement a “Pay What You Can” pricing model on Ravelry that as of today is applicable to all my knitting patterns.

What is the “Pay What You Can” pricing model?

In the “Pay What You Can” model I offer a set of price points that you can choose from when you purchase one of my patterns. Each pattern comes with five price points, centered around the fair and sustainable price of said pattern. In addition to the “middle” price, I offer a 20% and a 40% lower price as well as a 20% and 40% higher price point.

When you go to the pattern page of any of my designs on Ravelry, you’ll notice a green box now that explains this model and includes the links to the five different price points. You purchase the pattern at the price point you choose by clicking on the link, which will activate a coupon code that then automatically adjusts the pattern price to the level you chose.

A note on why I chose to also add levels higher than the fair value of the pattern: In order for my knitwear design work to be sustainable, the average pattern sale price needs to equate to the fair and sustainable pattern value. If you choose a price point higher than the “fair” price, you’re helping to make up the difference of one of the lower price points to the “fair” value.

One note: As the price links are hardcoded, VAT might be added to the price you choose (depending on where you located) so that the final price you see in the checkout and pay might be slightly higher. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to handle this in Ravelry right now (please make PWYC pricing a native feature!). VAT is a tax that I have to pay to the tax authorities in Germany and doesn’t increase my revenue in any way.

Why did I decide to offer “Pay What You Can” pricing?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the balance between fair and sustainable pricing for our work and financial accessibility in the past days. While I’m far away from having answers yet, Pay What You Can pricing seems to be the best option to combine both valuing our work fairly and providing financial flexibility to knitters at the moment.

How did I come up with the “fair” price point for my patterns?

To come up with the “middle” price point for my patterns, I took minimum wage per hour worked for the designer as one assumption and an average number of copies sold based on surveys I did last year as the second assumption, and also included any other cost that arose in the creation of the pattern. This is my definition of fair and sustainable pricing as it will allow me to continue doing this work while getting compensated and to pay everyone involved in the creation of a design fairly.

I’m a designer, how can I use “Pay What You Can” pricing on Ravelry too?

At the moment, it’s a bit tedious to set up as there’s no native functionality for Pay What You Can pricing on Ravelry.

However, it is possible! Here’s how I did it:

  1. Calculate the “middle” price and set price points above and below. I chose 20% increments, but you’re of course free to choose whichever other price points you’re comfortable with.

  2. Adjust the price of your pattern to the highest price point.

  3. Add your explanation of “Pay What You Can” to your pattern page. Leave it open, don’t save it just yet!

  4. Create a new promotion on Ravelry for every price point you want to set:

This is the slightly tedious part. You’ll have to manually create a promotion for every pattern and price point you’d like to offer. As far as I know there’s no way to copy promotions right now, so buckle up and just do it.

You want to choose the “Coupon Code” promotion type, set it to multiple uses per customer and extend the duration for as long as possible. Add a coupon code (I used my pattern names for easier tracking). Then, you either choose a percentage discount or flat discount (depending on your price points) and set it to be applicable when the customer purchases a specific pattern. Choose the pattern you want to use the promotion for. Save the promotion.

Activate the promotion on the next screen and copy the very last link on that page - the one that allows for automatic application of the coupon code.

5. Add the link to the respective price point in your pattern description.

That way, everyone who clicks on the coupon code automatically gets the discount.

6. Add the direct checkout link to the highest price point in your pattern description.

You can find the direct checkout link on the pattern page in the Pro section - it’s the link inside the code snippets for adding Ravelry buy buttons to other websites!

And it’s done! As I said, it’s quite labor intensive, but this is the fastest way I found. If anyone else has any other tips on how to implement this as a designer, feel free to leave a comment down below!