I apologise if this post is a little 'ranty' but I have been somewhat upset about a comment left on our Facebook wall and want to clarify a few things.
Many of you know me as The Crystal Lady long before I created the Guild, and that I have dedicated many years to promoting crafters with no financial gain whatsoever. (Despite me being a self employed crafter very much on the breadline).
I created the Creative Connections Social Network
for Crafters in 2009 so that we would all have a friendly place to go and make friends. This was and is still a FREE service. Since starting the CRAFTfest events
, yes there is a small stall charge if you would like to take part but this is by no means compulsory and most of our 1000 + members do not. These events take a phenomenal amount of organising and are a burden on the site which although kindly sponsored by Tracey at WowThankYou to cover its monthly subscription costs still incurs costs through this. We are very lucky that we have a wonderful set of team leaders who give up their time to assist our members with their stalls.
Creative Crafting Magazine
was first published in October 2009 and is still a FREE online magazine. There is a charge for the hard copy but this is provided to you at cost by HP Magcloud, we do not put a markup on it. Over the years the magazine has promoted hundreds of crafters who would never be published in mainstream magazines. There are only two of us that bring you this magazine and it is a huge amount of work. Yet we are happy to continue to do it for you all.
I created The Professional Crafters Guild in July 2011 as I was aware that like me, crafters were very offended that their businesses were thought of as a hobby. As part of the Guild they have their registered membership badges to show their customers that they mean business! I also regularly get emails from members asking advice which I always reply to. I am also constantly looking for suppliers to offer discounts to our members along with various other activities to help people. Guild lists are my first stop when looking for crafters to feature in the magazine each issue. The next one has all three interviews from members plus various projects.
For the first few months I offered membership to the Guild for free, I could not however sustain this as I was being overwhelmed with applications. It was taking me entire days just to create the badges and certificates and add people to the site. I wasn't getting any network or magazine work done, let alone my poor neglected jewellery business which was my first love. I was also finding that with it being free, people weren't taking it very seriously and I was getting lots of time wasters. I had to send tons of emails asking for more information from people who obviously weren't legitimate businesses anyway.
So I introduced the small administration fee (£2.50) hoping that this would deter people who weren't serious and also to stop me begininning to resent spending all of my time on it! I am very proud of our members who enjoy being part of the Guild, I have many ideas for it that I will hopefully be able to put in place in time. Please bear with me though as I am only one frazzled mum of two and there just aren't enough hours in the day.
I am very sorry if some people think all of our sites should be free and that I should give all of my for nothing but I am trying to run a business here! It is not my hobby!
Rant over, apologies.