Creating Your Own Pattern Business: Tips from Successful Designers

Creating a successful pattern business is a dream for many designers. However, getting started can be challenging, especially with the fierce competition in the industry. In this article, we will be sharing tips from successful pattern designers who have built a profitable business. I hope their insights will help you in your own journey towards building a successful pattern business.
I found these statements in forums and e.g. Facebook Groups and put a list together. What came out is now this article.

Finding your Niche

One common theme among successful pattern designers is that they have found their niche. This means identifying a specific area within pattern design where you can excel. For example, you could specialize in creating patterns for children's clothing or home decor. By narrowing your focus, you can develop a strong brand identity and attract a loyal customer base.
One sentence which stick to my mind is "Niche down until it hurts". And yes, it often does because we all are afraid to miss out on potential customers. But then: The more we niche down the more likely are our customers to purchase.

Building a strong Brand

Having a strong brand identity is crucial in the pattern design industry. Successful designers have invested time and effort into building a brand that reflects their unique style and vision. This includes developing a consistent visual identity across all platforms, such as social media, website, and packaging.
When you use your set of colors, elements and photos again and again people just scroll through social media and quickly realise which content belongs to which designer. Try it yourself: When you scroll through social media do you "know" the one or other designer who has developed a strong brand?

Don't worry if you look into the opposite direction. Being different is not the worst idea in a design business!

Creating High-Quality Patterns

Quality is key when it comes to pattern design. Successful designers create patterns that are not only visually appealing but also technically sound. This means paying attention to details such as color, scale, and alignment. They also ensure that their patterns are easily adaptable to different mediums and products.
In best case these designers show how their patterns look on different products. You (and your potential customers) are much more likely to purchase from a designer who is very open and transparent (aka applying her work to different products), aren't you?

Building a loyal Customer Base

Building a loyal customer base takes time and effort. Successful pattern designers engage with their customers regularly, whether it's through social media, newsletters, or blog posts. They also prioritize customer service, ensuring that their customers are happy with their products and resolving any issues promptly.

Have you ever sent an email to another designer just to get no answer? I did. If you ask me it happens much too often. When you don't get an answer you feel ignored. And in no business anyone should ever feel ignored. In our creative business our fellow designer friends are often soft minds which might need your advice and long for your answer. 

It's a question of respect to answer your emails. I do that not only because I want to close a sale but also because I want to get to know the people who write me. You never know. Your next best friend might be just around the corner.

Pricing your Patterns

Pricing can be a tricky aspect of running a pattern business. Successful designers take into consideration factors such as time and materials, as well as market demand. They also offer a range of pricing options to cater to different customers, such as single patterns or pattern collections.

Having said that I can say: It really depends. Of course you price a set of digital patterns lower than a set of exclusive patterns. Look at your competitors and check (1) where they sell (2) and for what price. If they sell on their own website they can most likely sell their product for a lower price than e.g. on Etsy - last but not least because Etsy takes its fees.

Marketing your Patterns

Marketing is key to the success of any business, and pattern design is no exception. Successful designers use a range of marketing strategies to reach their target audience, such as social media, collaborations with other designers, and attending trade shows. They also invest in professional product photography and packaging to make their products stand out.

Having said that: As a creative soul you can definitely learn to take good photos yourself. I also wand to admit: Create a marketing plan you can follow. It won't help anyone if you have 100s of posts on social media for one month just to flush your account down the toilet because you are totally burned out. The better option is to think about what you can do regularly. You can always increase but it's good to show up regularly.

Building a successful pattern business takes hard work and dedication. By finding your niche, creating high-quality patterns, and building a strong brand, you can attract a loyal customer base and stand out from the competition. I hope these tips from successful pattern designers will inspire and guide you in your own journey towards building a successful pattern business.

If you wanna get started right away start with my free Art Challenge: You learn how to get inspired but I have also added color palettes, drawing prompts and an entire workbook to help you get started!

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