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wazzabears Wazza Bears Australia
Bulli
Posts: 623

Hi all
I get emails and you prob do too, asking for my pattern or sell a kit. I feel real relucant to do this as I feel my ideas are mine and I feel selfish and don't want to share bear_ermm
But after saying this I have made a basic pattern for a pattern comp I am entering and I have been asked by a mag to do a project, which I am thinking about. ( I haven't responsed to yet).
Like to know how you guys feels about producing your pattern to sell?
Look forward reading your responses

bubbles Bearz by Ilze
Canberra
Posts: 391

Hi Peta,  long time no squeak, how are ya going? 
Anywhoos, to answer your Q:  Although my pattern/kit bears have similar facial features to my Limited Edition and OOAK bears, they are completely different in design.  I also use different techniques for my LE and OOAK bears.  I do this because I'd like to keep offering collectors unique, non-commercialised bears.  Besides, my LE's and OOAK are miniatures...pattern and kit bears are MUCH bigger.

wazzabears Wazza Bears Australia
Bulli
Posts: 623

Hi Ya Ilze
Yes it has been a long time. I worked full time so it was really hard but now I am on mat leave expecting my 4th baby and have heaps of time, so I am fully getting back into my bears again. I don't think I will go back to work, with 4 kids it would be hard.
Any how, Yes that is what I was thinking keep my complex and exciting bears ( OOAK) and making some more basic patterns with similar features, for the public.
I have been thinking about it for ages but this week alone I have had about 5 emails asking me for a kit. And this has sparked my questioning.

doodlebears Doodlebears
UK
Posts: 7,414

doodlebears Celebration Ambassador

Hi Peta, I am just about finished making three patterns for sale, a bear, a rabbit and a panda. I thought about doing this for a long time, I had loved to buy a bear pattern when I first started making bears and thought I would offer some basic patterns for others who are just starting bear making. All I have to do now is take some good, clear pictures of my critters then I will list them on Ebay and my website and see how they sell.

Hugs Jane.  bear_thumb  bear_flower  bear_thumb

bubbles Bearz by Ilze
Canberra
Posts: 391

Wow, another little bundle of joy on the way.  You must be sooooo excited!  I wouldn't be going back to work either....gosh, I have my hands full with only 2 bear_tongue

Way back, when I started making bears I also had heaps of requests for patterns and so I came up with my line of patterns/kit bears.  Funny enough, I still get asked if my clawed bears are available as patterns/kits, but then I just explain the whole thing about keeping my LE's and OOAK non-commercialised and people usually understand.  I think you should definitely do the project for the magazine!  It is great advertising for yourself, not to mention how much exposure you'd be getting from it.  I would also take the plunge with offering patterns as well....and if you feel it does not work for you, you could always discontinue the patterns.  I think your patterns will sell very well, your bears are sooooo cute!!

wazzabears Wazza Bears Australia
Bulli
Posts: 623

Thanks Ilze
I appreciate your comments. I agree that you have to keep some of your secrets like your minis with claws. I can imagine how many requests you would get. I see it all the time in forums asking how to do claws. I am glad I posted this, It has given me more confidence to work on the idea.
This little one was a very big surprise but a very happy one, I will have my hands full but I have 2 at school and my 3rd is starting school next year so it should not be to bad. I find babies really easy. It's the school kids I can not seem to cope with, they change when they start school. I soak up every minute during the day before thay come home.hehehehe
* Jane- I too having been thinking about it for 3 yrs, I wish you all the beast with your patterns and please keep me posted on how they go. i am very interested about other experiences

Jellybelly Bears Jellybelly Bears
Australia
Posts: 4,066

Yes Peta, I've struggled so much with this and it is so difficult because the letters are always so nice and you feel so appreciative for the compliments that you just want to give in.  I haven't started selling patterns yet, have sold them to magazines but thats it, and, as Ilze said, I don't give away my unique designs or techniques...you have to hold on to the things that make your bears special.  I'm not sure if I will eventually or not...I don't have time at present and I wonder about how much it is worth it...I kinda like making my bears and don't want to not do that and only sell designs...its a tough one!

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

I'm on my 3rd kit line, going back to 1992, 2 years after sewing my first bear, and learned a lot along the way. I still have my original patterns, hundreds and hundreds, for both my work and kit designs. All but one creation have been designed with sewers in mind that want to learn techniques and how I do/did techniques, but they were more simplifed than the amount of time and work that I put into my retail work. Trade secrets and all!

I had little Cubblet, a seated polar bear cub of long pile upholstery fabric - as a retail product first; after too many requests I did create its pattern, though I needed to enlarge it as the originals were quite small - 1 & 1/2" tall - and it was hard for even me to turn the legs and paws right-side out: there were many little darts blocking their way along the seams. Thank goodness for the tread-turning method I posted Tues or I couldn't have done it either!

As soon as the kit became available, loads of them sold and the demand for my retail version dried up. Which was OK as I was more than a little tired sewing them by then and had moved on to many other designs.

Someone mentioned taking photos of the bear (for the cover, I think?) and their kits will be ready. If I  can give only one more bit about kit selling success, it's that my customers have always commented on having pictures included that were taken during the progress of creating the bear. Depending upon how well you can describe a method/technique - succinctly and yet fully - the adage about a picture beng worth a thousand words is never truer than here. It also cuts down on the number of words you need to use!

First you make a 'bear' to see how it will turn out, then when everything's as you like it, you make another, which is photographed along the way. Before digital photography and computers I did the drawings by hand. It slows down the progress of the second bear to stop and take it to your photo area, which should be set up permanently (which may cause difficulties by itself!!) to speed this portion up, but it's faster to input pix into kit text than it is to do hand-drawn explanations.

You've all got the right idea: unless you want every kit customer to be able to replicate your 'look' design an entirely different line for kits and for your retail work.

To share something, in burning everything to DVDs that I was able to retreive after my computer loss last week and my massive early spring cleaning last month, I found the very first bear's head I'd ever sewn. It was for a mini pink-blooming green cactus design by Deanne Crim at her first S.M.A.L.L. Tea Party (convention) at her AZ home in 1990. It was so bad that I made another - not much improvement and I threw it away, tho my sister who had been collecting bears for years before that rescued it. She lives near San Jose CA, home of Bears in the Woods, which I understand was the first all-bear shop? Any way - it shows that perseverence pays off!!!

One of our recent threads was about cotter pins & other jointing methods. The subject of paper fasteners like those projecting out through the mesh below the pink head show what I meant in that thread, about why you wouldn't use them: the width of the 'legs' would greatly enlarge the hole in the fabric or seam that you'd insert them through and weaken the joint as you turn the head or the limb. The fasteners do have a nice flat wide attached Head, but cotter pins with loops or Ts function so much better inside the bear.

First bear head sewn:
FIRSTbear_head72.jpg

A few weeks ago:
Female72.jpg

Michelle Helen Chaska, Minnesota
Posts: 2,895

Peta: First I will start off saying I am a hobbyist and don't sell bears. So what can I add to all of this you may ask? Well it is just and idea but here it goes. My friend who never sewed much or designed anything in her life sketched out this computer band with a bear head on top of it. She made it up and sent it into McCall’s and they signed her up to publish her pattern in their pattern book. Just like that. She got royalties. Now I don't know how much she made on the pattern, but they kept it for two years in the book.

So what I am trying to say is, how much does your OOAK sell for and decide if selling the pattern yields you more money. Or just design something and contact McCall’s, Vogue, Singer....all those pattern books you see in the fabric store and see if they are interested in publishing your pattern. Just a thought....Oh, but keep it simple....take a look at the books under the craft section and this will give you ideas of what they are looking for. Remember, the general public does not have access to the luscious fur we have. So keep in mind the fur in the store is what people will be buying.....Think Bigger Picture Here....

fredbear Fred-i-Bear
Johannesburg
Posts: 2,243
Website

Selling patterns- always makes me think as to what business you are in-a bear artist or a shop keeper.
Saying this thou I realise that some people have to live from their bear business and ifbears are not selling then of course you have to look at other means of an income and patterns are a good way to go. In Germany when exhibiting there, every time someone looked at one of my bears the first question was - Is it available in a kit form. Many customers think that if they do not purchase the bear - too expensive what ever reason and purchase the kit they will get the same bear- now this I think is not true as we all have our "tricks" hence 10 artists using the same pattern and producing 10 different bears.
When I have produced kits- mainly for the South African market- it is a very basic bear pattern- normally a pattern I will do for a class- I will give basic  bear making tips, pictures and explicit notes and place the pattern in suitable packaging. I also state that the pattern can be used for whatever purpose what so ever, as no two bears will ever be alike- and that the finished result depends on the time and effort the purchaser puts into making the bear.
What I do not do in a patttern is to give my own "bear making ideas" that have taken me many years to learn. These are things that will make my bear just that bit different to the basic bear pattern I would produce in a kit form.

Again, I have seen more and more bear artists at shows- this was mainly in Europe selling more and more of all their bears in a kit form, mohair inluded- no wonder then they are not selling their own productions as "copycats" are purchasing the pattern to go home to make their own bear.

My first bear I produced was in a pattern I purchased- the ears went were the pattern said they must go, as did the legs and arms, I followed the instructions- never checking to see if I liked the bear or not, or even if they were in the correct position, pattern said there they must be, so there they went. If the gusset had not been accurate- it was me and not the pattern- since then I learnt it was easier to develop my own pattern as I had bought too many patterns thrown together just for the artist to make easy money.

Lynette

StarHawk2003 VallierBears
Shropshire
Posts: 270

Hi there,

I do seem to notice that people who make patterns or kits seem to make outstanding bears and friends but they arn't usually what the artist themselves go for... I think people who do create patters for sale usually still get sales through them as there Artist bears are usually different and are stuck with the artists traits on them.

If I did ever make patterns, They would be my style to an extent but also different as to not over shadow MY made bears with my traits.

Richy~

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

In Germany when exhibiting there, every time someone looked at one of my bears the first question was - Is it available in a kit form. Many customers think that if they do not purchase the bear - too expensive what ever reason and purchase the kit they will get the same bear-

Oh yes, Lynette! I do remember those comments & questions - worded so as to not let you know that in recreating your kit they thought they were going to be the next 'You' on the scene!! 
I was totally amazed at the number of full kits (only my first 2 designs were patterns & illustrated instructions only) that sold in Germany.
I explained that they were written in English but it didn't seem to faze them, even the ones that couldn't /didn't speak English during our transactions.
Perhaps they intend their jr high school kids or grandies to interpret the text for them!

Just as we speak of different retail outlets (auction sites) for our work, it seems that many of us field a number of different arenas: wholesale shop sales, kit designers, teachers, retail work, supplier, etc... Not as many as we'd like are doing straight out bear retail sales.

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