WhoPaysKnitters is a fast growing, crowd-sourced database for freelance knitwear and crochet designers, tech editors, sample knitters and teachers. An open community, users can submit rates of pay and leave reviews of their experiences with companies that commission freelance work. Freelancers are then able to use our database to gain a deeper understanding of company cultures and pay expectations. Companies, in turn, can use our database to see how they compare with their competition. By crowd-sourcing data, those working in the fiber industry can contribute to and gain a fuller picture of previously shadowed rates of pay.
A core value of WhoPaysKnitters is to cultivate a safe environment in which users feel comfortable sharing information without the fear of retribution or backlash from the companies reviewed. As such, anonymity is a cornerstone of our organization and the data we collect is clear of personally identifiable information. Although we are unable to prevent someone from submitting inaccurate reviews to our database, the veracity of our crowd-sourced data comes as more reviews are collected — outliers are easily identifiable.
I received my first design commission from a major publication in 2012 and was elated, but unsure of how to proceed when the editor asked how much I wanted for the design. After Internet searches came up empty, and I was unable to find any information on Ravelry, I asked a couple of designer contacts I had made at knitting conferences. While having those connections was helpful, I was still unsure of whether I was being compensated appropriately for the time and talent that went into the work. Today, because of WhoPaysKnitters, freelancers are empowered with the knowledge of the going rate for a design and encouraged to ask for it in their contracts. As an established designer, having the ability to look at what others are being paid has helped me know that I am being paid competitively, and has directed me to the companies that are the best to work for. Companies benefit from WhoPaysKnitters by attracting high quality talent as a result of reviews showing that they treat their freelancers fairly and pay them a living wage.
As WhoPaysKnitters grows and evolves, we are working toward adding an analytical component to our website so that the information that we display is easily manipulated. Using data visualization tools and dashboards, we hope to be able to layer information so that users can answer such questions as, “Which companies are the highest rated for sweater designs using worsted weight yarn?” Currently, WhoPaysKnitter’s technological infrastructure is primarily self-funded, but does include occasional small donations and revenue from advertisements. All work done on the site has been voluntary. As we move toward an analytical component, we plan to introduce a subscription service to help pay for the work that goes into creating the layered information, but we will continue to upload and display the information as it is currently found on our website for free.
WhoPaysKnitters is an important contributor to the fair-wage discussion in the fiber industry. However, our site is only as good as those who contribute to it. I’d like to encourage you to visit WhoPaysKnitters and submit your rate information. Together, we can raise the tide and make sure that freelancers in our industry are compensated fairly for their work and that good companies are recognized and rewarded with high quality submissions from designers, tech editors, sample knitters and teachers.
Look for Alex’s work on the pages of Interweave Knits, Knitscene, Knit.Wear, and Knit Simple. Her first book, Dressed in Knits, is now available at your local yarn shop and bookstores everywhere.