A Humble Request + An Experiment

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This idea came to me over the weekend, and it terrified me so much, I knew I had to do it right away or I would lose my nerve. When my instincts pipe up, I listen. And my instincts had lots to say, so be forewarned.

I’ve been thinking about how much I love this blog. Out of the many, many meanderings I’ve taken career-wise — even though relentlessly writing about myself and sharing the things I concoct may not technically be considered a true vocation — it’s what feels most right for me, what brightens my days and keeps me motivated. Creating the content, building a community, improving existing skills and learning new ones. It’s incomparable. I’m convinced it’s a huge reason I became healthy again. Similarly, illustrating and writing books is something I believe I was meant to do. Sewing and photography have been like discovering two children I didn’t know I had. I am surprised by their appearance, it’s still a little awkward, but now I can’t imagine my days without them.

Almost three years ago, I made a pact with M. It was obvious how much I was enjoying this eclectic mix of “hobbies”, and he kept asking me to monetize the blog with ads, sponsors, offering up my services, etc. etc. We are not independently wealthy and his job situation is extremely sporadic as well. His suggestions made me bristle, so we made an agreement that until the end of 2015, I could spend time building my blog and pursuing ways to make a living doing what I love. My way. No ads, no sponsorship for the sake of dollars, no weird SEO or backlinking shenanigans. I don’t have anything against them theoretically, but I don’t like the way the ads look, I’ve only had sponsorship offers from tissue and nail polish companies and I can’t write naturally when thinking about SEO. I was game to offer my services, but then I got stuck on the question, “What kind of services?” At any rate, I wanted to focus on the blog and explore everything that genuinely interested me. I would operate on consistency, quality and trust, I pounded my chest and declared self-righteously. But the crux of the pact was this: If, by the end of 2015, I wasn’t earning a certain amount, I would go find a “real job”. Shortly after we shook on it, I got a book deal, and then the second book deal happened. I was over the moon, and thought I was set.

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But here’s the cold, hard truth: the things I love doing more than anything don’t bring home the bacon. They don’t even bring home bacon bits. At least not yet. I know I’m not very employable in the traditional sense anymore, so I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to think of business ideas, investigating products I could create, learning about textile design, trying to develop a freelance writing/illustration/photography portfolio. All these options require serious time and upfront costs, of which, due to my current commitment to book #2, I am struggling to find. I have every intention of pursuing all these things though.

Uncomfortable details about the cold, hard truth: although publishing two books is an honor beyond anything I could have imagined, would you like to know how much I actually make per book in royalties? A little over $1. I need to sell a tremendous number of books to make a living. And I won’t make a penny until I earn enough to cover the advance payment. For Little Kunoichi, I received $5,000, which is pretty standard for a book advance unless you’re the likes of Stephen King. Not to put too fine a point on it, I received $2500 when I signed the book contract in January 2014, and then received the other half in August of last year two months after I finished everything.

And did you know? To get on the New York Times bestseller list, which then boosts sales, you need to sell roughly 5,000 books in a week (this number is debatable and varies depending on genre, but it’s what I found from my quick research). Though that number is less than I expected, my publisher told me they are hoping that we can sell about 3,000 copies of Little Kunoichi in the first three months. As I understand it, that’s a realistic expectation for my sort of book. I can’t assume that we’ll hit that number, so the bestseller list and covering my advance can feel rather out of reach. As long as I’m being blunt about all of this, I’ve made zero money this year so far. Including all the little odds and ends I did while working on the books, last year I made $9,500. Total. Pre-tax. And almost all of that went right back into book #2 and blog costs. Book #2, by the way, won’t be published until 2016. Plus, if I consider the number of hours I’ve put into the books (and blog), I’m pretty sure I’m clocking in at about 2 cents per hour, if that.

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I don’t want this to be a pity party or come across as woe-is-me, because I wouldn’t trade my current life for anything and I feel so lucky to be doing what I’m doing. I truly think I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. I have the flexibility of spending quality time with my amazing 8-year-old every day and she gets to see a contented mama. If it were up to me, I would willingly continue blogging and creating books for a pittance. I would even pay to do what I’m doing (my husband would point out that I am, in fact, doing just that).

However, I do have a family and responsibilities, and my deadline is approaching. 9 months will fly by. M has been so patient and has been trying his level best not to complain about my inability to make a contribution to the family coffers. I have no aims or even the desire to make gobs of dough and M isn’t expecting that either. We live a very, very simple life. The goal is to at least double last year’s income…perhaps I have a skewed perspective, but it doesn’t seem that outlandish a goal. I have no illusions and know that there has to be trade-offs. As someone who used to make a six-figure salary and ruined my health and damaged relationships as a result, I’m well aware of this. But M’s logic is, “Does it have to be either/or? Make lots of money and be miserable or make no money and be happy? Can’t you find a job that doesn’t stress you out that you like — you don’t have to love your job, right? At what point is living the dream jeopardizing the family?” It’s a fair question, that last one. But I don’t have to answer it yet. I have about 270 days left.

I took inventory of what specifically has kept my interest over the past couple of years and what has drained me:

LOVE AND WANT TO DO
– coming up with ideas
– writing personal stories that I feel will be relevant to others
– creating storytelling packages that include visual elements and words
– variety within structure
– connecting with people in an authentic way, collaborating and creating small but mighty communities
– giving gifts
– learning new skills
– a flexible schedule / being able to work at coffee shops and studios
– being my own boss
– intentional sewing

DON’T LOVE AND DON’T WANT TO DO
– making the same things over and over aka mass production
– putting on airs, pretending to be someone I’m not to impress, gain readers, etc.
– selling and shipping products etsy style
– working alone at home
– doing what everyone else is doing

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Enter the Furoku membership. Furoku is the bonus gift that used to come with the monthly Japanese comic books I devoured when I was a kid. I talked about it in this post, and I waited with bated breath each month because I never knew what kind of furoku would be included.

This was my thought process: what if I offered a sort of subscription? The blog will remain ad-free and I will keep posting regularly, but for $10 a month, members would get a special email with some sort of digital furoku from me once a month. It could be a sewing tutorial/translation I’ve created, or maybe a riotously embarrassing essay from my life that I normally wouldn’t share and would be blackmail-worthy (can you believe I have any left??), or maybe a printable download for holidays — perhaps even a short ebook or some sort of video. So many possibilities! It would be fun for you, fun for me. The hope is that it would start with once a month delivery and potentially increase in frequency or develop into a full-blown site with furoku archives and forums and ways to interact. Maybe we can have virtual sewing sessions! Am I crazy? Have I lost you? I figure it’s worth a shot even if just a handful of people sign up — the one thing I don’t seem to have trouble with is coming up with ideas. But without some sort of financial validation, I can’t justify working on the blog that I hope brings some value or at least a smile to you, no matter how much it affirms my own existence. And the books…well, even a die-hard optimist and arithmetic-challenged bookworm like me can do the math.

I wholeheartedly believe in what I do and make. I might be off my rocker, but I utterly have faith that I can make a go at this blogging/creating/community-building/book-making thing but I’m not sure if I can prove it fiscally to M in the next 9 months. I have no idea how all those big-time blogs have done it, but my readership growth has been modeled after the inchworm. I have the best, smartest, kindest, most talented and loveliest readers, but there’s not a whole lot of you out there from what I can tell. Sometimes this is discouraging when I see the other people’s stats. But I don’t even need to be big-time! If I don’t achieve our agreed upon benchmark by the end of this year (a humble sum of $20,000), I will honor my word and shut down the blog, complete my book and find a reliable “real” job. But I’m not doing that without kicking and screaming and putting forth every ounce of creative energy I have to make this work.

I want to invite you to ride along and be a part of this venture with me. To create a space of giving, of sharing real (and ideally entertaining) information on how to create a sustainable life that feels right, of forming a small but mighty community — all for the price of two lattes per month. Okay, maybe three lattes. I want to make beautiful, functional or at the very least interesting things for you. I also want to transparently show you the dollars and cents as I progress, and I plan on sharing monthly reviews of my income for the rest of the year. I’ve found that I rarely get a true sense of how people in the “creative” field and bloggers are actually earning a living and I want to do something different. I thought of making that info available for members only, but that felt scammy, so it will be here on the blog and I’ll share the behind the scenes stuff with members. It’s still a little vague and will change organically, I know, but the blog will continue to be a recording of my life and sewing in general, and the membership will be based on the monthly digital gifts that I hope are uplifting and useful along with inside scoops and the nitty gritty of figuring out how to make a life worth living on my own terms.

This is an experiment. Maybe it will be a spectacular failure and I’ll slink away from the overwhelming lack of interest, or maybe I will have stumbled upon something triumphant. Even a few members would be a triumph. I want to try this. Will you?

[Updated: I’ve removed the subscription button for now, and will open up membership every month – thank you, thank you!]

I will leave this post up for the rest of the week as I watch with trepidation and excitement from the sidelines and work on the first furoku. Also, I’m flying by the seat of my pants here, so if anything is weird with that subscribe button, please let me know. You can, of course, unsubscribe at any time. Thank you, my friends, from the very depths of my over-sharing heart.

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Greta, congrats! You should have received an email from me already.

P.P.S The illustration at the very top is the one I used for the dedication page in Little Kunoichi. I dedicated it to M and K, of course.

113 thoughts on “A Humble Request + An Experiment

  1. Sanae, I envy your perseverance in finding a way to do the things you love in life. As I dutifully plod through all the blogs I follow, I realize that your blog is one of only maybe three that I look forward to and read every word. I am signing up, and rooting for you. Buena suerte!

    1. Thank you so much, Claudette! I’m incredibly grateful for your support and encouragement. I’ve been sweating bullets all weekend and all day today and was thinking “I’ve made HUGE mistake…” Thank you, a million times over!

    1. So wonderful, thank you, thank you Denise! My goal is to provide increasingly awesome furoku items (I have SO many ideas), and I’m so excited by the whole idea!

  2. i love and appreciate your honesty. as with claudette, your blog is one of three i look forward to ready daily. i support your desire to do and make a living doing what you love. that is my goal too and i say this while sitting in an office doing what i don’t want to do, being miserable, to support my family financially. i know some day my time will come, soon, but in the meantime, i’m investing in you. just in the short time i’ve been reading your blog, i’ve learned so much, i’m debt free (well major debts anyway) and have changed my spending habits. thank you and its an honor!! best wishes!!!

    1. Oh Tameka – your comment is priceless. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the notion that I’ve had a hand in changing your spending habits and helping in any way. It’s very humbling and I would love to figure out ways to provide more help. Thank you for investing in me — I think that was the root of my fear: I am asking people to invest in me, which is not something I would normally do. Thank you!!

  3. Sanae, I am always impressed with you, but I am even more so today for how freely and truly you write of the troubles that you face. As with all the three commentators above, your blog is one of the most I look forward to for your sincerity, honesty and talent. Its almost always the best blog I have read that day.

    I know and understand what you mean by how little royalties bring in. My husband wrote a book a few years ago, and academic books I think bring in even less than a dollar! So, I totally understand where you are coming from. I don’t know if I can join right away, as like you I am mostly unemployed and because the dollar-rupee conversion rate is terrible. But I am going to think about it and hope to join. Is there only a 7 day joining period? Or can I do it perhaps the next month or month after? I hope you know how tempting it is to be on this secret sanae list?!

    1. I’ve been sort of a wreck and full of doubts, Asmita, and your comment cheered me up so much. The book biz is a major gamble, it’s true, and so is this crazy thing I’m trying. I totally understand the challenges of the exchange rate. I’ve given it some thought, and I think I’ll open up membership every month when I do the income reports. That seems to go together and as I progress and improve upon the membership model, I’m hoping more and more value will be added. So no rush! I’m trying this for 9 months, and if it all crashes and burns, at least I gave it my all! 🙂

  4. I’m in! I think this is a brilliant idea. Not to be a Negative Nelly, but there are quite a few sewing blogs that I have stopped reading because every photo required me to minimize a stupid banner ad for a lawnmover, SUV, or shaving razor I would never buy. I appreciate the time and effort blogging quality content takes, and your desire to stay true to yourself but also make your hard work a viable contribution to your family income. Kudos and good luck!

  5. I like your blog but can’t join, we’re too short of money here, I can’t afford it. I hope you succeed with other bloggers !

    1. I understand, thank you for your openness, Jub. It’s an experiment and we shall see in a few short months how this all pans out….:-)

  6. Sanae, like many of the other commentators, I too enjoy reading your blog. It not only has an authentic voice but the blog is visually calming, without a lot of clutter. This is a particularly bad time in the economy to get work. That contributed to my “early retirement” decision. I too wish I could find other sources of work/income that I could do at home.

    Due to my current income level (zilch) and the low CAD $, I will not be able to subscribe for now. The irony is, if I was working I would have the income to subscribe, but I wouldn’t have had the time to start sew, and therefore find blogs such as yours, and read them!

    I have written much and backspaced a lot of it away! I wish you luck in finding your path! Sending you a big Hug!

    1. Hugs back! I knew off the bat that the membership cost would be prohibitive or unattractive for some, and that’s the reason I want to keep the blog as is. As I said, if I had my druthers, I wouldn’t change anything and keep on keeping on. My druthers can have adverse effects on my household, however, so I’m willing to experiment! Thank you Melissa!

  7. Sanae, I am in the same boat as you, minus the husband deadline. Just looming diabetic payments every month.
    I’ve been doing research too and what you’ve done here is spot on. Offer a product and see if it has traction before investing tons of time. I think this is a great idea too! I’ve been reading a lot from Danny at Firepole Marketing and he also suggests online courses as a way to bring in passive income.

    I hope this works out for you! Can’t wait to hear of your progress! Thanks for your transparency.

      1. I’ve never heard of Firepole marketing and I’m going to check it out! If nothing else, it would be entertaining to read about my attempts, right? And yes, I do think I have an incredibly loyal and dedicated group of readers. Small yet mighty, that’s how I roll. 😉 Thanks, Em!

  8. good luck on your adventure this year! As always I enjoy reading your blog. This also reminded me of the site Patreon, where members produce regular content (videos, comics, etc.) for paying subscribers. You should check it out if you haven’t already!

    1. Another site I’m unfamiliar with – I love getting all this info! How cool that members produce content. I’m not quite sure what that looks like, and I want to learn more. Thank you, Meg!

      1. Definitely check this out. Patreon is a way of getting fans to patronize content that already exists, in this case, your blog. People can then pledge a monthly amount, and you can use the Patreon site to share extra content with fans.

  9. Hi sanae, I enjoy your blog, and respect your idea, but won’t be signing up just yet (have my own debt hole to climb out of). I don’t know if you’ve read ‘1000 true fans’, but if not, I suggest you do. http://kk.org/thetechnium/2008/03/1000-true-fans/
    I also think, esp as what you’re offering is unspecified digital content, that perhaps $10 is too much? I say this in the context of thinking of it as $120/year, and $120 American dollars/year (some of your readers will be thinking in terms of exchange rates). I have no idea what your readership is, and I don’t keep a blog of my own so I have no insight from that perspective, but if you can build ‘1000 true fans’, who buy your book, and subscribe to your project, it seems financially you’ll be doing well, even at $5-$8/month. Good luck! (And as a mother of 3 girls, I do plan on ordering your book 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you brought up the price, Jo! I agonized over it and it was a very deliberate choice for several reasons.

      a) The Japanese comic books that I used to read were about $10 with the yen-to-dollar exchange rate at the time. My parents were scraping by, but they still bought the books for me every month because they knew how much I loved them. The price felt symbolic in that sense.

      b) I thought about how I fritter away $10 a month without much thought, even though I try to be conscious of our spending. Library overdue fines. A couple of extra snacks that get tossed in the cart at the grocery store. But I’ve also willingly paid $10 per month for independent magazines, or a yard of lovely fabric, or a beautiful stationery set and never begrudged those costs.

      c) Oh…I wish I had 1,000 true fans. I would have made the membership 50 cents. I honestly don’t know how many people truly read my blog or how many would feel like it’s worth $10 a month, but it seemed like a good testing threshold. If it’s less than 10 people, so be it. I hope it’s more. I do plan on putting a lot of effort into the furoku, and to make that as informative/entertaining/useful as I possibly can.

      d) I’m really bad at math. It’s easy to calculate members instantaneously this way.

      No one needs to sign up. I can’t stress enough that this is an experiment and if it turns people off, I understand. I always try to remain upfront about what’s going on with me, and however it turns out, I know I will have done my best. Thank you, Jo. 🙂

  10. Is there a way to subscribe one month at a time? Our income is pretty variable 🙁 I love the idea though! I want to add myself to the list of people who check your blog first thing on a post morning 🙂

    I also like the suggestion about e-books or online courses! You could do mini ones too, like tips for sewing Japanese patterns or where to find the books you use? I’ve also seen blog’s with monthly sponsors, or with ads only from things related to the blog. When it’s done nicely it doesn’t feel weird at all, more like sharing your favorite things. Any of us who sew, write or take pictures knows how much time any one of those can take and I’m sure that no one would begrudge you whatever form of income it takes to keep you here!

    p.s. I love that you want to show the behind the scenes of your money making adventures! I’ve always wondered how that works too 🙂

    1. Thank you, Kathryn! I’m thrilled that you check my blog with each post. 🙂 Let me think about the option of subscribing one month at at time – I’m not sure how to do that in a way that’s not a pain for you, so I’ll get back to you on that!

      I’ve toyed with the idea of developing some sort of online course as part of the membership, but that’s still fuzzy…I have some hurdles to get over on that one. As for sponsors…hmmmm….I don’t know why I’m so hung up on keeping the sidebar empty of stuff. I might have to examine that a little more closely.

  11. I just want to say that as a reader, I have no objection to ads. There are lots of ways to have ads that don’t literally get in the way of the content.

    The other idea I have is to charge (non-furoku members) for your beautiful downloadables. I don’t know how feasible or profitable it would be, but it’s an idea. I’ve also seen bloggers make downloadables free only the first day they post them.

    1. Hi Ellie, I am loving all of your suggestions! I do plan on having a shopping cart on my blog at some point (after the book is done) and to directly sell some downloadable items. I want to try to test out as many options in the time I have remaining in a way that feels un-gimmicky for me. I’m glad you don’t mind ads, and if I actually had a huge readership it might be worth it, but I’m not sure that I have the numbers…thank you for the ideas!

  12. I like your furoku idea although I also can’t do it at this time. My advice there would be to think about how the content is different (ie worth charging for) than the content on your blog. As a reader, I also don’t have an objection to ads (as long as they’re not pop-up). I would also suggest offering downloadable patterns or images for a fee.

    Regarding the husband’s request to monetize and your statement that you will shut down at the end of the year if you’re not successful at it, eegads! That will be so sad! Just like finding a job one can tolerate/make money but not be a millionaire, why does this have to be an either-or type situation? You have stated how good it is for you to learn and grow in this forum, and your dedicated readers are so appreciative. I think you have built a really wonderful community here. A job doesn’t mean it has to completely disappear, right? If it’s something you could do on the weekend, that would be good. I’d worry about feeling really resentful if the requirement for getting a job was to completely shut down this other side of yourself. Just my two cents.

    1. Thanks for your advice, Margie!

      I think I’ve built a wonderful community too, but I know from past experience, I’ve not been able to juggle a traditional job with a blog. I know plenty of people do it, but I’m not sure I’m effectively managing the book + blog combo as it is. It’s okay if none of this works out. The thought of that does make me very sad, but if I don’t throw things out there, you never know if they’ll stick, right? I appreciate everyone’s honesty!

  13. I’m in!! I have sent you a more detailed reply in response to your email informing me that I had won the book!!!! YAY!!

    1. Wonderful, Greta! I’m so glad you won the book (random.org chose #1 – how often does that happen?). I bet your granddaughter has a wardrobe rivaling K’s 😉 And thank you, thank you for the encouragement!

  14. I feel you Sanae! My kids are still preschoolers but I would love to have some way of making some income to justify a little bit of daycare and to engage my brain.

    1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that very same conversation with so many of my friends who are moms. My secret agenda with the membership is to also provide options for doing just that if you’re the crafting type, using myself as a guinea pig! Thank you Amy!

  15. i’m in, too. it’s the least i can do for all the wonderful content you provide free of charge! i have been a keen reader for ages (i had a day sick in bed last year and read your posts right back to the beginning) but have never managed a comment to say thankyou. so… thankyou. very much!

    1. Ailsa, I am incredibly touched that you actually read through my entire archives (!!!). Thank you so very much for taking part in my attempts at figuring this all out!!

  16. I have read and enjoyed your beautiful unselfish blog and am rooting for you to succeed so am joining. There are a couple of ideas above that I like : charging for downloadables and having ads that are related to your blog as long as they don’t dominate a site, flash or gyrate. I think most people realize that is our modern everyday life…we tolerate baggage fees and ads everywhere we go so why not in a blog? Everyone has to earn a living. You can still deliver pure and honest content.

    As far as traffic, I notice you don’t list other sewing blogs you like and read. If there are, it would be great to show them. I always look for these lists when I visit a blog. I especially appreciate those that show the title of each blog’s latest post and a photo. I find it but very helpful to find another blog that is featuring something I am interested in. It doubles the value of a blog to me. In return, if those bloggers would list you, then it markets your site and increases readership.

    So you go, girl! I don’t think these ad ons to to your site change you, your core, your pure writing or anything else. It may look a little messier but I am able to ignore a side bar. And besides, maybe that side bar has something I need? You would be doing me a service in that case!

    1. Many, many thanks Kay!! So the download idea seems to be quite popular – I’m trying to figure out if I host that on my own site, do I try through etsy…hmmm. Good thoughts! I’m still resistant to ads mostly because I’ve heard they really aren’t that beneficial and I worry that my eyes would bleed if I saw some crazy irrelevant ad pop up by accident (which will definitely happen with my tech unsavvy-ness). And great idea about other sewing blogs – I have forever meant to do a redesign to include that as well as portfolio links and galleries of all the sewing I’ve done. Now I feel incredibly motivated to do so!!

    1. Thank you so, so much T! You are such a huge inspiration for me – I feel so lucky I get to live in the same city with you!

  17. I signed up! Why not? When I think about ways that I casually spend $10 and then think about spending it this way instead, it makes me happy. I love to support people doing awesome creative things, and it will be such a fun surprise to see what you have to offer each month 🙂 I am lucky (?? in some ways) that my husband has a job that doesn’t really allow me to work, hehe. He is gone so much that one of us (me) needs to be home with the kids, keeping the house together, etc. I do feel like a single parent lots of the time, but I also have my evenings free to follow whatever creative pursuit I am into at the time. So far I have kept my blog sponsor/add free- I always figure the small amount of money I would make wouldn’t be worth the obligation that comes with it. But my blog is more show and tell, it doesn’t offer the same level of wonderful insight and creativity that yours does. I would be so sad to see your blog go away!! I would also love to see you get into textile/fabric design, I think your artwork would translate beautifully to fabric- a bit like Nani Iro? I could definitely see your designs on linen and double gauze, yum…please make that happen 🙂 Also, I have one brand new niece and another on the way who are getting a copy of your book! I am wishing you success in all of your creative pursuits!

    1. Oh, Kelly – I’m beyond words at this point, I’m so grateful! Let me tell you, you seem to make taking care of kids and whipping up a phenomenal wardrobe so easy, it’s awe-inspiring, really. And yes!! Textile design is high on the list. And thank you so much for ordering my book! I call it my second baby :-).

    1. Fabric design is on the list, Cherie, on the list! Thanks for cheering me on — the feelings are mutual, of course!!

  18. I have been reading your blog for a while now, and just signed up. What you do here is totally worth the $10. Not everyone will be able to make it work, but all of us who read your words and follow your work know it’s value far surpasses this price. I am a self-taught sewer, fellow Seattle-ite, mother of two girls (one second grader, one 5 year old), stay-at-home-mom who endeavors to find a productive outlet for her creative energy. For me, there is both escape and inspiration in this space here. In you. Thank you.

    1. I’m so honored, Sydney! Thank you for the outrageously kind words and the membership support, and they motivate me to keep trying harder to improve!

  19. Hi Sanae, I’ve been following your blog for a couple of month now (the only one I’m following regularly!) and it has been so inspiring during that time … so I decided to join your experiment too although I am in a similar financial position like you are.
    I also stepped out of the rat race like working life that seemed more and more meaningless and made me feel increasingly unhappy to try to live in a more sustainable way – unfortunately although getting a lot of positive response these attempts are rarely rewarded in an economic way!
    But I really want to support other forms and ways of making a living, beyond the usual patterns of working life. And it thrills me that on the other side of the planet people are trying to do so too! Your plan “to create a space of giving, of sharing real (and ideally entertaining) information on how to create a sustainable life that feels right, of forming a small but mighty community” in my opinion is a much more valuable thing to do for a sutainable social development than a usual “real” job, where you earn a lot of money. I also fully understand and support your desire to keep your blog free from ads or other commercial influence to concentrate it on good quality content!
    So I am happy to come along with you and wish you all the best!

    1. I’m really starting to run out of ways to express my appreciation and gratitude because they’re growing by leaps and bounds. Thank you Michaela for your support all the way from Germany (and there are others from around the world – I want to be able to acknowledge every location)! I’m going to give it my all, no holds barred!

  20. Sanae, I think your reach may be much greater than you think it is. How that will translate to subscribers I don’t know. One of the problems with the digital age is that there is so much “free” stuff available that the value of good online content is diminished in the eye of the reader. In much the same way as the cheaply priced simple dresses at a maker’s market might give impression that what we create is quick and low value.
    It’s been a long time since I subscribed to a periodical, but I think part of the magic was receiving a tangible thing in the post. Perhaps some of the charm of the Kuroichi was the same? Digital content wouldn’t float my boat, but gee I’d notice your absence if you left this space!
    I am definitely looking forward to ordering your book and having it arrive in my letterbox one day.

    1. I agree 100% that there is an overwhelming amount of free content available, and maybe there are more people than I’m aware of out there who find my yammerings interesting and/or helpful — that would be awesome! I do feel like it’s a bold proposition for people to invest in more digital content, and ultimately I’m hoping that it’s not just content but connection as well in the form of a membership site. 9 months! That’s my testing period. It’s all I’ve got so far :-). And thank you for ordering my book. I too feel like nothing beats snail mail/tangible objects and if shipping wasn’t so cost-prohibitive, I would be sending out monthly packages (that was my first idea). But who knows, maybe it’s something that can happen in the future?? Thank you, Shelley!

  21. Sanae– I think you are amazing! What a fantastic idea this is. I LOVE your blog– it’s one of the few in my reader that I’m excited to see and that I rarely just skim through.
    I recently quit my office (AKA bringing-home-the-bacon) job and am currently looking for ways to save money in every area of my life, so unfortunately I can’t commit to your subscription at this moment. But I am going to think about it and figure out a way to jump on board later this year because I know it will be worth it. I love the idea of getting sewing advice, pattern translations, videos, etc from you!! Designing fabric is another awesome idea that seems perfect for you, though I know it probably requires an up-front cost…
    Have you ever thought about doing a podcast?
    Also, I plan to buy both your books! My daughter is going to get your kid’s book this summer and I will be first in line to buy your sewing book. I’m rooting for you!!!

    1. I’m blown away by the outpouring of ideas – thank you very much, Sarah!! And thank you for your commitment to buy my books!

      So, podcast. I LOVE podcasts and have actually been wondering if I’d be able to do one. But I have a squeaky voice that makes Mickey Mouse sound like a baritone and let’s just say I am…an awkward speaker. There’s a reason I like to write. I think I can interview people well, but I’m not very eloquent myself. Then there’s the fact that podcasts are also free content that require a lot of time commitment, but maybe it’s something I can try to include on the membership site?? Hmm, I just thought of that. That would be an interesting twist.

      Thank you for the props!

  22. Sanae…you are so amazing. Your strength, resilience and honesty are so inspirational. I’m a stay at home mum too, necessary because my kids are adopted and me being in the workplace opens up a whole can of worms in respect of attachment issues. It’s been very touch and go over the last few years, and we’ve been saved on more than one occasion by the generosity of family. We’re now on a path back to financial security but at the cost of my husband being away from home all week, and with the uncertainty of short term contract work. And, I, like you know were are rich in many other ways. But…the bills need to be paid. So I’m in! I think this is genius and can’t wait to see how it pans out. Can I also suggest that you seriously find a way to sell your art. I love it and would buy it. I can remember how excited I was by your giveaway. I’m praying for success for you. You are a trailblazer….God Speed!

    1. We are deeply familiar with short term contract work, as that’s what M does, Evie. It can be a very stressful way to exist, though it does give M the opportunity to work on his own business (he’s a born entrepreneur). He’s been doing it a long time, though, and we’ve becoming pros at uncertainty. I would love to sell more illustrations and I think what’s been holding me back is the technical side of things and not really wanting to use etsy or other services (I’d like to sell directly on this here blog). But now I’m getting revved up to conquer all the things that have been holding me back. All your comments mean so much to me!

  23. Your illustrations are so gorgeous – have you ever thought about marketing them through websites which print artists’ work on things like cell-phone covers and pillows, etc.? I just bought a cell phone cover with an artist’s illustration through Nuvango, and love it. http://nuvango.com/new-artists I don’t know if you’d make much money, but they say artists make 20% of the sale.
    There’s also http://society6.com/ and http://www.denydesigns.com/ .

    Also, Rae Hoekstra recently posted about how she developed a relationship with Cloud 9 fabrics and eventually designed for them. I can’t think of anyone else more than you who would be a fabulous textile designer.

    1. I’m so flattered that you think I would make a good textile designer!! Yes, it’s on my must-do list for sure. Thank you, Nicole! And though I know about society6, I hadn’t heard of nuvango or denydesigns before – I do like the idea of having my illustrations on different products. Adding them to the list!!

  24. Hi Sanae!
    I think your idea is great! I am with the others that said “soft”(?) ads on the side bar don’t bother me..and even if you don’t have the traffic that seems like it’ll make it worth it, every little bit helps. Also, Spoonflower…for your fabric..any of your illustrations would do. 🙂 I think you can set up something on there to sell your designs on fabric…would be so cool!
    Also, I can’t join this month either…but next month I think I could. Hope you find a way to open it up for subscription…maybe a button on the side and no time limit..like subscribe whenever.
    You can totally do this!

    1. Really, no pressure, Anna! My thought is that if there’s even a handful of members, I can start with an experimental group and will keep improving upon my offerings based on feedback. By the time my end-of-the-year deadline approaches, I have visions of an awesome membership site. And I love the idea of a membership button – that I don’t mind in the sidebar at all :-). Thank you, thank you!!!

  25. I’ve always love your honesty in writing, and this most recent post in the perfect example of how endearing transparency can be. Thank you for writing from the heart and for sharing your struggle with us. You have the most generous spirit in giving both of your time and talent for this blog. And generous in tangible gifts as well! I get excited to think about the possibility of you becoming involved with textile design. I can’t begin to imagine how lovely that could be!
    As for your subscription idea, having so recently sewn using your amazing pattern tutorial, I can attest to its value! I really like the idea of being able to purchase downloadable tutorials as I would certainly pay to have you hold my hand throughout the process. I might have a hard time selling my husband on the yearly subscription, especially since I just asked him cut our cable reception to save $$. No ESPN for him . . . he might balk at the double standard. But I will have a talk with him (we discuss most financial purchases); he is well aware of my high esteem of you:) And bravo to you for being so creative and willing to try something different!

    1. Oh thank goodness you think it’s endearing and not off-putting and desperate (it’s a fine line, I’m aware :-)). Thank you Lucinda! Again, I need to stress that there’s no pressure to sign up. At first I thought I would be terribly disappointed if no one signed up, but the emails, the ideas offered up here, and just the sheer amount of encouragement makes me feel like the blog is worth fighting for. Still, I have a pact to keep, so I will continue to find various ways to make a so-called creative living that doesn’t compromise my basic tenets.

  26. I just repeat so many others : keep going, finding ways to earn a living from doing what we love seeing from you. Fabric design, tutorials, open subscription, etc.

    Especially the tutorials. Your voice shares humor and kindness with the insecure novice who has never put in a single zipper or button-hole. I am hoping to learn to sew, from zero to hero. Your guidance could be awesome (for $5-10 an independent mini-lesson?) (live support appointments at $20/hr?) and courage-building. I would alternately love a book (self-published ebook?) on beginning sewing for the creative spirit.

    1. These are such intriguing suggestions, Lena! Would anyone really pay for live support appointments?? I’m so curious!! And courage-building…I love the sound of that, and wonder how I can do it? As for a beginning sewing book, that’s already in the works as book #2 :-). I now have about a million ideas and love thinking about all of this. Thank you!

  27. Hello! I think this is a brave and wonderful idea! I can see a lot of potential in it and think you are onto something good! I like your approach of sharing and putting it out in the open, even if it is not yet totally refined. I think a community building and community supporting concept will eventually pay off. It feels a bit like the dead poet´s society, our secret creativity club 😉 I would do anything to support and help you! xo

    1. Gah! I just wanted to sign up and saw that I need a credit card! I don´t have one and won´t get one in the future, I just don´t need it! Is there another way to pay? I always pay evrything with paypal and have never needed a credit card before… Could you send me a monthly paypal invoice?

      1. Oh, my dear friend Ute, thank you for the enthusiastic willingness to join! So I created the button through paypal so you shouldn’t technically need a credit card. Let me know if you’re still having trouble – I’ll email you separately too!

        1. I just tried again, landed again in my paypal account and got the message that for this form of payment you set up for the membership, direct deduction from my bank account does not work, only from a credit card account registered with pay pal. Hoping for another way!

          1. Hooray that we figured it out finally! Thanks for the support Ute – you are, as always, unbelievably kind!

  28. So I read this, went away and thought, and came back and read all the fabulous things everyone says. Here is my 2 cents if you want it…
    1. I really really really don’t want your blog to go away!!!! This is a valuable and beautiful thing you have built here, and it is a privilege to read and be a part of the community you have developed. All the respectful, thoughtful, and encouraging conversations. Everything.
    2. I want to support you and your endeavor, but I am in the same boat saying ‘how can I make my skillset make $ for our family’s needs.’ My go for broke solution is setting up a sewing studio in my basement and beginning teaching sewing lessons out of my home starting with some camps this summer. That means all my spare dollars are going there right now. But I also feel like I don’t want to miss out on what you are doing. You should not feel like you should apologize for asking others to partner with you in your vision. It is a privilege to be asked. (It seems similar to Colette’s Seamwork Magazine, only not as fully developed yet.)
    3. If you had fabric (quilting cottons sell well, even if that is not your personal sewing genre) I would buy it! I think your artistic style is not similarly represented in the quilting cotton world and there would be a great market for it. I also agree that other types of fabrics would sell well. I don’t know about the moneymaking side of things, but Carolyn Freelander just came and spoke to our guild – she just submitted a portfolio to a maufacturer and things just took off for her because she had something unique to offer. I think your artwork would have the same potential as it is so unique.
    4. The fabric discussion got me thinking – there are a number of fabric designers that have done or do other types of surface design – stationary, other products. Ann Kelle and Anna Maria Horner come to mind. I think this would be awesome for your artistic skill set. Kate Davies does knitwear design, but sometime she sells bags, kits, curated items off her blog and it seems they sell out quickly. You might be able to do something similar with other products/kits/curated items. Also, having a way to purchase prints of your artwork right from your blog would be great.
    5. I am praying for your financial success because I would be heartbroken to see this go silent. Thank you for your transparency and honesty and for creating this peaceful space online. Because we move often I end up with “imaginary friends” online that move with me. Only you actually engage with us here, and I feel like if I ever got to visit family in the Pacific Northwest again I would love to actually meet you in person (you aren’t just imaginary) – if that makes sense. Anyhow, I am cheering for you that some amazing doors open for you financially over the next 9 months!!!!

    1. Oh Beccy! First of all, the thought and effort and consideration you put into your comment made me cry. In fact, this whole thing is making me cry — from the uncertainty, the possibilities, the outsized encouragement. Clearly, the privilege is all mine, but I’m short on articulation powers at this moment. I had an inkling that the cost and appeal of the membership would be limiting, but I wasn’t expecting this wealth of ideas and suggestions and I’m inclined to say that’s worth even more than the membership fee. I too would be heartbroken to have to take down my blogging shingle, so to speak. I’m taking this leap to forge ahead and try things totally out of my comfort zone (without compromising my values, of course). I’m not a natural business person and have a lot to learn!! Thank you a millionfold, Beccy.

  29. Hi Sanae,
    I thought I would just join the chorus and give you some feedback. I love visiting your blog but I do not pay for digital content. Probably, like Lightening McStitch up there said, the amount of free online content available to us makes it difficult for me to conceive of paying for it. I also feel like that kind of commitment (for me) would be a step towards spending more time online, which I already struggle with. The internet is very much a place I go to put off dealing with real life. Everything in moderation. 😉
    That said, the two reasons why I return to your blog are; your design sense and *you*. I think everyone has said it all already up top so I won’t try to think of more creative ways to repeat their comments but these two things are very special!
    What I do buy online: fabric, sewing patterns and books – specialty craft, children’s lit and professional resources (I teach adults in a human service field.)
    If you curated a fabric selection or designed your own fabric, I would anticipate a lot of my Canadian dollars flying over the border. 🙂 I am definitely buying your books and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate non-white, spirited little girl characters in children’s books for my brown-eyed, brown-haired, non-white little girls. This, to me, is the most important contribution you are making. Children’s books are something I will always spend too much on and not feel a tiny bit guilty about!
    So, I hope this was helpful feedback and I wish you the very best!

    1. Thank you so much, Traveller! Your forthright comment really helps me focus on certain options because yes, payment for digital content is probably not going to float most people’s boat. My ultimate aim is to create a place of more interactivity and connection via the membership, but as I’m making it abundantly clear, I’m still figuring things out as I go. That seems to be the way I do everything, including this blog. Thank you for validating my sense of style and I’m beyond flattered that you choose to spend your valuable time here. Fabric seems to be the winner, and I do, in fact, have a lead to get on the textile bandwagon, but it’s been put on hold because of the book. I’ll be able to go more full-force in June, which is the plan!

  30. Hi Sanae!
    I’m on board! Of course. Love the “sanae ishida Studio” brand.
    Do you know Elise Joy Blaha? Her Blogs is one of my favourites and she started selling selfmade product in small Editions last year and was very successfull. She also wirtes very open about the same issue: making Money with this whole blog Thing. She was selling Artwork (design prints, prints of paintings and photo Editions), make small things like wooden apersands and stuff. Always limited Editions and they sell out fast. Go take a look when you find the time, shes very inspiring.

    Greetings
    Marit

    1. What a great resource and thank you, thank you, thank you, Marit! I just read Elise’s small business story series, and it’s so good! My mind is whirring and I need to harness all of this energy to get the book done and get cracking on all these ideas! Thank you again!!

  31. Hello dear Sanae,

    I read your post and have ‘gone away’ to think about it before I ‘replied’. Much of what I wanted to say has been said by others but I will say it anyway. I admire your honesty and thoughtfulness – that’s what attracted me to your blog at first, and especially how you shared with us your journey towards financial clarity and debt-reduction. That really spoke to me. I admire your artistic skills, your style (and K’s style too, of course!) and your many, many gifts. You wrote a few posts ago about dreaming of or wanting to be friends with stylish people you admire. I feel like that – how fantastic it would be to be friends with you in real life! I hope that doesn’t sound too weird!! But how wonderful it is to be friends with you via your blog – to receive inspiration from your unique way of seeing and sharing the world.

    So, I’m in. And like others, will be praying for doors to open via this new adventure with your wonderful blog. Oh, and in case you need another idea…. I’d love to see you write a book for grownups – though I dare say grownups will enjoy your children’s books – I will have to buy them for a friend’s child so I get to read them!! Yes, so, a book with your drawings and your lovely words, perhaps about being yourself, finding your own way, not giving up on the dream….

    Warmest wishes
    Jenny from Australia

    1. I would so love to be real-life friends, Jenny – not weird at all! Thank you so very much for your support, and funny you should mention a grown-up book because that’s what I’m currently working on! I’m not allowed to say much about it right now, but it’s about sewing and will have stories. Very fun to work on, but also a lot more involved than the children’s book! I was able to juggle the children’s book with the blogging and other projects a lot more easily, but this second book is pretty much all-consuming. Only two more months to go (fingers crossed that I won’t need an extension) and then I’m diving in to improve blog content, offerings and exploring business ventures!!

  32. oh Sanae, i’m so curious as to what is going to happen to sewing blogs. i think, as others have said, from my understanding it is difficult to get people to pay for digital content. the guy who helps us with computer problems was formerly a journalist. he was saying the whole ‘print is dead’ thing has caused so many issues for newspapers and that when papers offer online subscriptions, apparently, they are not all that successful. most people read the free articles and when they’ve met their quota go elsewhere for news.

    in the sewing world, i think there are a lot of us who maybe feel a bit undervalued for what we do. but then in a way, we have done it to ourselves by not charging for our work. for instance, if i am asked to be a part of a pattern tour, i get a free pattern. but i also sew the pattern, buy the fabric, take and edit photos and write a blog post. not exactly a fair exchange. even the level of photography that is expected of a sewing blog is just a very high bar. in my city, a photo session like one that i do with my kids would probably cost somewhere between $500-$700. and yet i do it for blog tours for free. i’m not complaining. i enjoy taking photos of my kids and i am glad to grow in my skills. i am so glad to document their lives. but it just feels like no one is winning in this. from the sounds of it, pattern and fabric designers aren’t winning either. so i don’t exactly know who is, but certainly the sewing industry is booming. someone has to be. we bloggers are doing a lot of work for free and a lot – a LOT – of free advertising.

    i second (third, fourth) what others have said about soft ads (though I have heard you make a pittance from ads) or doing something more with your illustrations. I love your illustrations. What about designing stationery? fabric? – i often find printed fabric choices to be slim pickings! i just bought a shirt for hazel with a little bear on it with flowers around it that looks like something you might design. what about tshirts? i think there are a lot of options worth exploring.

    1. Such great points, Rachel! I do wonder about blogging in general — isn’t the popular consensus that it’s a dying medium? It feels like such a perfect fit for me, that notion truly get me down. I’ll be the grandma still blogging away, all by my lonesome in 2055…:-) And thank you for the additional vote for illustrations/fabric design! Painting and drawing are close to my heart too, and I wouldn’t at all mind making a living doing that more commercially. So much to think about. Thank you!!

  33. I love your art work and would but a print or two if they were available. I would not, however, pay to subscribe to on-line content. When I pay for something for pleasure I want to be able to hold it in my hand like a beautiful book or art or jewelry. That said, I do not mind ads on blogs as long a they’re not the “pop up” type.

    Best of luck! Very few people earn a living wage writing books, so don’t feel bad about that aspect of your journey. You are very talented, honest, and vulnerable and I look forward to seeing what you create next.

    1. I really, really appreciate your candid comment, Jenny! All this feedback is so invaluable, I’m just trying to process it all and I’m taking copious notes! I don’t feel bad at all about the book career; I try to be realistic though of course there’s that tiny little pea-sized hope that maybe I could succeed at it beyond my wildest dreams. You never know until you take a leap, I say. That said, I have worked all my life (or at least since I was twelve) and am fully prepared to explore all avenues of money-making. I’m loving all the input!

  34. Hi Sanae,

    I read you post on Monday and had to have a good think about my response. My inner self had a pro con battle and its Friday and still no closer to what the answer is. Beware: this will be an essay…

    Let me start by saying that I adore your blog. I pop by religiously on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, hoping to gleen some clothing or craft or food inpsiration, but sure to go away with a really good read. On the flip side, I hardly get digital downloads aisde from sewing patterns. I’m a very tactile person – I love to touch and feel. So I still own a paper diary, touch a paper magazine, and love to stroke fabric.

    That being said, I am in awe of your creativity and love the pictures that you create. I thought really hard about what I would download, and I think things like photoshop brushes, or small high resolution digital formats of your art that don’t have copyright restrictions so that I could combine them and have them up on spoonflower for fabric of my own or something similar.

    If you have a look at creative market, you’ll see lots of digital design packs with hand drawn sets that have been turned into photoshop and illustrator brushes. I would pay for that. Not needing a huge 600 doodle package a month, but say 10 to 20 themetic pictures (think from watercolour blobs in various colours, sizes and shapes, a set of small woodland animals, a sea creaturess etc.) that over time, i could combine into a fabric piece, or a custom stamp, or my own diary insert, or a name card for the shop I hope to set up one day, or even stickers. I’d happily pay for that as I get the joy of creating, but also get an end product. I’d be happy to get in touch with themetic ideas 🙂 The thing about that is for those who don’t want to do anything with creating something further, there can still be beautiful pictures as straight out printables if you combine them yourself and have them as a solid picture for printing.

    Oh, and I don’t mind small, unobtrusive ads. I hate mega banners, flashing lights, stupid gifs that chew up my mobile connection and noisy frou frou. But side bar affliate links I can handle as I’d love to see what you endorse 🙂

    Okay, after my long long long speil, I am going to sign up. But a caveat – I may end up cancelling my sub if there isn’t anything to my taste after a few months… Unfortunatly, I don’t have a lot of cash to spare as my situation is like but also the the opposite of yours where hubby is on an unpaid sabatical. But hey, like you said, $10 (or really, $15 once you take in the exchange rate) is like 5 packets of tim tams.

    I wish you the absolute best, and am excited to hear your creative brain cogs turning. Cheers!

    1. Brilliant, Grace, just brilliant! OK, so the Photoshop brush idea never occurred to me, and I LOVE it. I myself have paid for Photoshop brushes in the past, and the idea of illustrations + brushes is just genius. And yes, you can definitely expect some high res goodies as part of the furoku.

      I’m all about tactile objects too, so I completely understand and if my plans turn into something viable, the hope is that I can also ship out physical, non-digital gifts in the future too. That would be so so gratifying for me.

      And absolutely: cancel whenever you like. I honestly didn’t think anyone would sign up so this is just amazing. Amazing. And the ideas that keep coming! I wish I could be more eloquent and be able to say thank you a jillion different ways.

  35. I have no suggestions myself, but someone you could talk to is Heather at Craftlit.com. I think you will find some ideas from stuff she has done,and I’m sure she would be happy to respond to questions and share ideas.

    1. That’s a great suggestion in and of itself, Bibliotecaria! I will reach out to her and find out how she’s making it work! Thank you!

  36. I think iTS à great idea you have, and I really hope it works out for you. I think iTS great you are trying to come up with something like this to be able to continue doing what you love. I am too struggling with similar situation- dropped out of six figure salary to stay at home with kids and I also have this need for creatieve outlet which would ideally being home at least Something.
    That said, I don’t do digital content, I don’t even use my kindle and I have one pdf pattern that i actually used. There is just something irresistible in holding à book, or fabric or sewing pattern in my hands. If I had bigger budget I would subscribe just to support you, because I think it is great when someone follows their Dream.

    Few ideas, probably mentioned before in comments:
    – fabric design. Your drawing/painting style is lovely and would be à good fit for fabric. It would also sell Well.
    -selling your drawings in print form like for exemple Katie Daisy. She also went and got all sorts of big compagnies which used her drawings on pillows, pottery etc. Downside -you would probably end up on Etsy and I don’t know how you feel about that.
    -workshops-i imagine you could teach “how to” for Japanese pattern books in your sleep and i’d guess plenty of people in your area would be interested. Or workshop in gauche painting -your stuff looks lovely, so you could teach that.
    – collaborate to illustrate childrens books. Maybe your agent can help you there.
    -another way to go is “straight sewing”, and start seriously connecting with other sewing blogs(someone mentioned adding blog list. I was pleasantly surprized you have not done that by now- I like that you are “just you” and don’t packages yourself with other’s. Its refreshing and biggest reason why I read you. Well aaide from amazing creations for K)
    Good luck, I am keeping my fingers crossed, and perhaps i too can subscribe later on.
    P.s. I have auto spelling in perhaps dutch on my tablet and I know that my comment is Full of strange stuff. Capital letters in wrong place for exemple. Just insert most logical word when in doubt…

    1. Love your feedback Jelena! It’s a jarring transition, isn’t it, to go from full-time work to stay-at-home? There’s nothing wrong with either, but I just know there’s a way to bridge the gap for those who want that. I appreciate your ideas and they’re all on my list too! Many, many thanks!

  37. Kudos to you for your honesty. I love to read your blog and would be sorry not to have access to it. Like so many others have suggested, I would pay for art prints or even some gorgeous fabric that you’ve designed. I hope you would find a way to have a shop or have an option to pay for online courses rather than having your soulful content disappear. I would also pay for an English translation of tutorials for women’s sewing patterns. Your artistic, yet clean looking blog is a treat in my hectic week.

    1. It’s so heartening to read so many chime in on the fabric design and art prints/illustrations! I’ve always wondered if the market is already saturated with surface design and illustration prints, but I’m now revved to try them and also versions with a twist (like Photoshop brushes!). Thank you Tammy!

  38. Hello Sanae! I want to say yes, will it be for a year? I would love to contribute in any way too, maybe info, art or photographs. Big fan from Singapore.

    1. Oh so great, Ruth! My hackneyed plan is to try this out for the next nine months. If it turns out to have legs, I’ll keep going. Also, no one is committed to keep paying every month. You can cancel your subscription at any time with no hard feelings at all, absolutely! I love the idea of contributing in other ways – let’s chat! 🙂

  39. Oh, please don’t close down! I would love love love to support this venture, which strikes me as a brilliant idea and which I am sure will be well worth it for subscribers as everything you do, you seem to do so thoroughly. I am sorry that, being an unpaid full-time mother myself, I can’t really commit to a subscription right now. But I truly hope it works. There are certainly many, many fantastic ideas in the comments above. My only suggestion would have been, how about considering taking on a very part-time job that is neither soul-sucking nor scintillating, but which might just be able to swing things so that you still had almost as much time but managed to make a little financial contribution to the household which would cross the threshold to just enough. I have in mind, say, two mornings a week of waitressing in a coffee shop, or child-minding a baby whose stay-at-home Mother wants to get a degree and needs a few hours help a week. But I think that other commenters’ suggestions are much more exciting! Maybe at the end of each year you will be able to offer the furoku for individual sale and I will be able to treat myself to one or two 😉 I sure wish you did have enough subscribers that you could charge less, but purely for a selfish viewpoint; I am sure your work is worth more than you think of charging for it! Oh, and I am another who read through all your archives when she first found your blog. Been reading for mybe 6 months now. Good luck, and sorry I can’t subscribe!

    1. Wow, it astounds me that anyone would go through my entire archives – thank you so so much, Jessica! And thank you for the reinforcement – like I’ve said, in many ways just the outpouring of ideas and suggestions and a feeling of solidarity mean just as much as signing up for the subscription (the cost of which, I hope I can one day reduce if it grows). I’ve toyed with the idea of part-time work, and a fabric shop approached me but they wanted weekend hours, which I can’t do for childcare reasons. But definitely something to ponder more!

  40. Hi Sanae,

    I just discovered your very wonderful blog several weeks ago, whilst I was doing a Google search for the inimitable Nani Iro double gauze in the Mountain Views pattern (we live in Denmark and it is impossible to find a shop here that stocks it) and wouldn’t you know it, your Nani Iro Month post from the summer 2014 came up! Since then, I have perused your archives and I am absolutely smitten! Smitten with your charming style, your boundless inspiration and calm and honest voice.

    I am so much looking forward to being part of this exciting adventure so count me in! Good luck and I wish you great success!

    1. How wonderful, thank you Farzana! Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Who knows how this will all turn out, but it’s exciting to try. 🙂

  41. PS, I wanted to say that I don’t think you need to share financials with us – members or non. This is your blog, it’s your project, it’s your finances. Maybe you want to do so – if you want to basically give an ongoing tutorial about how this process works, and how it’s working for you. But I don’t think you are obliged to do so at all, and I would feel a bit intrusive even looking at that information.

    Love love love to you and all (in a blog-reading, respectful sense)
    Jenny x

    1. Oh Jenny, you’re so sweet — thank you!! It is a little uncomfortable with the whole money thing, isn’t it? I actually think it’s good for me to be totally accountable like this. I’m figuring out that I have all sorts of weird money issues, and I promise to do my best to not make it feel intrusive on the readers’ parts and more educational, though I of course would welcome feedback to improve in whatever way I can. 🙂 xoxo

  42. I’m all in as soon as your subscription button is up again! I love having a way to support artists who make my world a brighter place.

    1. Tegan! My sweet friend, thank you for the support – your comment alone is worth everything! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  43. As usual, I’m late to the party… I feel like I’ve neglected all of the blogs I love to read so much. AHHHH life! ANYway… you have always been one of my favorites- I would be so sad if you ever stopped blogging! I truly enjoy your sewing, your illustrations, and your funny stories about K. I am with many others here, and think you should absolutely get into fabric designing. Also, the other day on IG, I saw that little owl you painted- if that were for sale, I would buy it in a HEARTBEAT. Are you really opposed to selling your creations? I feel like you could make some money doing that. My 2 cents. XO

    1. Hey, I’ve completely missed all the parties out there these days, so I’m so happy you’ve stopped by with your nuggets of wisdom, Erin! I’m not at all opposed to selling my creations, but I have been deadlocked on where to start. I figure this public declaration is an excellent way to get me moving in the right direction! Thank you!

    1. I’ve heard of the book, Sanne, and now I definitely want to read it! I’ve heard a few interviews with the author via podcasts, and he seems like a really nice, down-to-earth guy. 🙂 Thank you!

  44. Hi Sanae! I’ve been out of touch and now I’m clicking through your blog since I haven’t read in a while. I’m sad because I have missed out on all the inspiration I’ve been missing by not reading regularly. I am so happy to read about your book(s)! And I think this new idea for the blog is great. I will sign up for sure, especially if it reminds me to keep myself up to date on the regular dose of Sanae-spiration. Will send you an email too.-Sarah

    1. Oh, you’re the sweetest, Sarah! So good to see your comment and would love to catch up soon! I hope the Netherlands are treating you well, and will email you shortly. 🙂

  45. hi sanae san,

    you say,

    writing personal stories that I feel will be relevant to others

    well ( i send a link of my artwork ) i have a story but i don’t know how to finished it and my wish is the story will be writing in japanese and in english, because my child are half.
    (sorry for my poor english)

    best regards phil b

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