As designers who use Spoonflower know, we've always had a bit of a flaw in our commission policy. When you make a design available for sale on Spoonflower and someone else buys it, we pay you a 10% commission. All well and good. The exception to this has always been swatches, which until now have not paid any commission. The reasoning behind this went as follows:
Swatches act as test pieces for larger purchases. We want to make these 8" x 8" squares of fabric as cheap as possible -- and now and then, as on Free Swatch Day each year, even to make them free. Designers share our interest in making swatches as accessible as possible as an investment in selling more fabric later.
Flash forward two years to now, after we've been able to study data from shopping behavior (and designer sentiment) over a fairly long stretch of time. It turns out that in many cases swatches have a value on their own, either as squares for quilts, patches, or -- as in our recent ornament contest -- as 8-inch-square cut & sew patterns. When the end product is a swatch, it's not fair not to pay a commission.
We still want to be able to give away swatches sometimes, but after a good deal of thought and analysis, we've decided that even when we give away swatches, we can still afford to give designers their $.50 Spoondollar commissions. We will absorb it as a promotional cost. The only difference now between swatches and other fabric sizes is that, when you buy your own swatch, the $5 price will not receive the designer discount of 10%. So swatches will still cost $5, but if you are a designer who sells fabric in the Spoonflower marketplace you'll now be able to earn Spoondollars on all the swatches you sell to other people.
Good news indeed. Thanks for being patient with us while we figured out how to make it all work!