Repeat Offender

I wanted to bring attention to something that happened yesterday, not just to me, but to anyone who is on a Design Team or has ever been on a Design Team for Free Product.  I am a pretty transparent person. I have nothing to hide. I am a stay at home mom who answers the phone for a tour company, does freelance graphic design work and sells my artwork.  I do design teams to get free product. I have no problem with this fact.  I knew what was expected of me before I signed up for it. I know I will not be financially compensated in any way.  If I was not on a Design Team I would not have the product because it would not be in my family's budget.  I run my Design Team for the Digi Shoppe the same way.  Would I love to pay my Design Team for their hard work?  Yes I would, but that would bankrupt me and my family (quite literally).  I do not pay for advertising for A.J.'s Digi Shoppe because I simply can not afford it.  Everything I have every done for the digi shoppe is simply by word of mouth or SEO techniques I learned myself.  Someday I hope my Digital Shoppe makes enough money to pay my designers, but I started in June, and the people who design for me are my friends as well as very talented artists who offered to help me. I chose to do an open design call because I didn't want anyone to think I was playing favorites.  As for asking too much of my team - I tell them all the time to drop me an email or text me if you can not do a post because I know life happens.

My name and Digi Shoppe was splashed all over the Craft Test Dummies FB page, and I felt it was a personal attack on me because I choose to, in her words, "Work for Free" and am "Another Work For Free Offender."  Items she said she would not do, such as deleting posts, she has done, and I personally find this a dishonest act.  I think bringing attention to this is important but making an example of me because I choose to use my free time (the little free time I have) to work for free product on something that relaxes me or ask people to work for free is a little insane.  What I do is nothing different than what she does.  She chooses to think it is different because I have a label (Design Team).  She gets free products, does tutorials and reviews - that is exactly what I do but I have a label.  She also asks people to submit articles (for free). I myself submitted and article recently (I am pretty sure I will not be receiving an email back from her) in exchange for back links to my blog.  The terms were one article a month, but I would receive no money in return (I could possibly get product).  In my humble opinion this is very hypocritical. How is what she does any different than what I do?  She is also contributing to the same problem she has decided to become an advocate for.  I wanted to do the very same she is doing. When I found out you could get free product for writing a blog, I was thrilled, and I wanted to do it too because I read her blog.

There are several designers/crafters/artists who do this and have done this for years to get their foot in the door.  It seems extremely hypocritical that once you have received the benefits (such as people advertising on your blog) you do not want anyone else to share the wealth.  I do not know her background and do not claim to, as she does not know mine, and becoming a target for her has completely changed my perspective of the crafting/blogging industry.  I honestly had no idea what I was getting into yesterday when I commented on the Paperclay Blog or on her FB wall. Am I glad I spoke up? Yes, I am glad I spoke up for the little craft and hobby person who does not mind creating for fun or does not mind being paid in product.  I should not feel like I am crossing a picket line when I post something for a company.  I do this because I love it.  I use Paperclay because I love it and I would use it anyway, so why not get a little exposure in the process?  

Would I love to be a successful designer who gets paid for every piece of artwork I design?  Of course I would, but with a paycheck comes the excessive stress of deadlines and commitments to make the prefect project.  I am starting out, my blog is not even two (my son is older than my blog), I have been freelancing on a regular basis for over four years, and it is stressful at times.  I know my worth as a graphic designer (artist). I do not short change myself in the least.  I do not care who reads my blog, watches my show, buys my artwork (from which I donate half to charity). I do it because I love it!!!  I hope someday to be in a position to pay my design team or receive compensation for myself but right now I am happy with what I am doing.