Berlin-based Makerist would love to work with more American crafters. Makerist—voted one of Germany’s top 20 Internet start-ups last year—is a market leader in Europe for digital patterns and e-learning related to sewing, knitting and crochet. They recently entered the North American market, and founders Axel Heinz and Amber Riedl and their team are particularly interested in working with U.S.-based digital pattern makers and with those who love to instruct via video. With Craftsy, now Bluprint, significantly reducing the size of its pattern marketplace recently, Makerist is hoping to bring more of those designers onto its platform.
Orlaith Hendron, Makerist’s Designer Success and Marketing Manager, explains that like Etsy, Makerist is a marketplace focused on DIY and crafting, but Makerist “focuses more on seller services” and “only focuses on digital goods such as eBooks for sewing, knitting, and crochet patterns as well as video tutorials.” (Some of Makerist’s designers sell on both platforms). Makerist handles logistics, billing, payments and customer service for all designers who build a store to sell digital goods on their platform.
“We provide this type of back-office support so that they can focus on what they really love doing, which is crafting and pattern design,” Hendron explains. And Makerist offers all designers on their site the chance to expand their international exposure through the platform itself and through Makerist’s marketing campaigns, a big asset for American sellers who may have struggled to tap into those markets previously.
But Makerist isn’t for every craft business owner. While the company has been in business since 2013, they have solely focused on the three vertical areas of sewing, knitting and crochet, and have few plans to expand beyond that (though they did listen to their designers and customers last year and added vinyl cutting designs). “We would rather do less extremely well than try to spread our focus into too many areas,” Hendron says.
That limited focus and slow expansion is a piece of what Makerist sees as its sustainability model. They support sustainable fashion and showed support for the Fashion Revolution campaign. Hendron says, “We are really keen that all of our designers get a high level of support and promotion.” Makerist has a Design Success Team which helps with “advice, tips and operational activities” to help make creating Makerist stores as easy as possible.
Currently, Makerist has just above 350 sellers in the United States (as opposed to the more than 1000 they have in Germany and the 250 they have in France). Their business model allows the pattern designers and video instructors to set their own prices, and to receive an 80-percent commission (minus a 35-cent transaction charge) that is paid monthly via PayPal or direct bank account deposit.
Makerist sells more than 6.5 million downloads worldwide monthly. They sell patterns and videos in three languages: English, French and German. Designers who speak any of those languages or have patterns that have been translated can sell on one, two or all three platforms.
Makerist is working on a public relations campaign that will tell their Designer Success Stories, highlighting their entrepreneurial journeys. This campaign will be released for International Women’s Day on March 6.
If you would like to start selling your patterns and video tutorials on Makerist, or if you have any questions about their program, Hendron said to email her at tutorials at makerist.com, or you can visit the Sell on Makerist page to get started.
Jill is the author of seven books, an artist, editor, entrepreneur and consultant. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Weekends (www.womenswellnessweekends.