Downward Spiral

Now, as I wrote the title I realise it sounds very depressing. I promise it is not as depressing as it sounds, rather I’m venting disappointment.

I discovered and joined Burdastyle during 2007. I loved it! It was right when I got back into sewing and it was great to be able to try many different patterns for free. It didn’t bother me that I had to put them together myself just becuase they were free and gave me the opportunity to try new techniques and patterns without spending any money on the pattern. I recommended Burdastyle around the web and to people I knew; I tried many patterns; I used the community for asking questions; I looked forward to the new weekly patterns.

By providing free patterns the site grew quickly, just by having the members recommend it. In January 2009 the decision was made by the site to start charging for patterns. Of course I’m not that stupid that I don’t understand why this decision was made, the way it was announced was just off the bat and offered no compensation to the members who had helped the site become what it was – and in the new terms had helped bring in new members who could pay.

I have not used a Burdastyle pattern since then, I don’t feel like paying that much for a pattern I have to assemble myself, when a magazine with plenty of patterns cost 1.5 times one pattern at BS. I have some patterns dowloaded, I might use them, but a pattern must be very special for me to buy it.

With money came more staff, but not that many improvements, in my opinion. The blog was more frequently updated before, there was a new pattern almost every week, there were more tutorials provided by BS before. Now, there’s practically one blog post per day, we’ve seen restyles of old patterns for several weeks, the most recent patterns added were from Burda WoF. Some of the restyles aren’t even restyles to me, they’re just the same patterns sewn in a new fabric – it’s inspiration we’ve already got by members linking their creations to the patterns. One restyle was shortening the hem and adding a belt. That was not a great deal of inspiration behind that to me.

I guess I’m just disappointed that one of my favourite sites on the internet has gone downhill and also seems to be in a downward spiral. Now I just go there to see the “blog post of the day”, which sometimes interests me, sometimes not (which is expected, everything can’t appeal to everyone) and check out member’s projects, which are more inspiring than BS’s work. For questions, discussions and more inspirations I visit blogs and other sewing communities.

What also disappoints me is that they don’t seem to care anymore. The original staff cared and were passionate, now it seems like it’s too much focus on making that money they need. I do understand the need to make money, but in their quest for money something got lost. They need to learn to combine those two, that will make for the most success (well, since after the decision to charge for patterns).

And…rant over.

ETA May 29th 2010:
And now on the morning I’m reading that the English page of Burdafashion (well, this link won’t be unique for long) will redirect to Burdastyle. To me they don’t offer the same thing. I mainly use Burdafashion for looking through the magazine archives, does this mean that opportunity is lost, or will I have to do it in German from now on? Or will that part of the site be phased out completely? The downward spiral continues, but I can wait for the answer to my question first (I asked the BS team about the magazine archive). I’m even more sure now that the library will be my main resource for Burda magazines, I don’t feel like support them with money myself now.

ETA II, May 30th 2010:
So yesterday I got paraniod. Burdastyle has done it before, out of the blue started charging for patterns that were previously free. So I don’t trust them. Therefore I spent last night downloading those patterns that are still free (and that I might be interested in) from both Burdastyle and Burdafashion. I now have a nice digital stash of patterns. I don’t know if I’ll use them, but I have them and can use them if I please. Am I cheap? Sneaky? Yes. And I admit it.

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