I often receive messages and eMails asking me how to become a FiberDoodles by K4TT Tester. After receiving quite a few such messages in recent days, I thought it would be a good idea to write an entry about the subject.
The very brief answer is: at this time I am NOT looking for more testers. However, I always have my eye out for backup testers. And I sometimes randomly surprise people with eMails or Messages saying - "Would you like to test?"
How the selection process does take place (for those who are interested)
My lead associate has been with me for almost 4 years now in that capacity; but prior to that, she was one of my most loyal clients.
So what qualities do I look for?
Well, for starters, I no longer accept testers who I do not know as clients first. This is not for monetary reasons as one may think - but several designers do talk and share information on copyright infringement. I discovered many years ago, that several of my "cold testers" (those people who asked 'can I test for you' and I said, "sure") were sharing my raw patterns online and in forums. In addition, I've had several cold testers who've I given pdf drafts to, which have never bothered to test the pattern or return eMails on their progress.
So what I DO look for
- I check out your finished products. So posting your photos, especially of your finished works made from FiberDoodles by K4TT patterns, is one of the easiest ways to receive the message "Hey, do you want to test this?"
- I also check out your skill level. While many designers only like to use experienced crocheters, I actually like to diversify my tester's skill levels . Of course my lead associate is an experienced hooker and proficient in all areas of pattern testing - but one of my other testers who tests often for me, is very much a beginner and was still crocheting amigurumis inside out before she began testing for me. Still another tester has been published by a internationally recognized crafting magazine.
Skill levels help me write more cohesive instructions for my clients. The experienced ensures that counts will be accurate, can problem solve and tell ME where an error is within the pattern/correct it and move on, finishing the product without needing to wait for me to provide answers/corrections - the inexperienced help to make sure directions are comprehensible.
- My testers must be patient! I am sort of a perfectionist. I can think a design looks great one minute and completely be disenchanted with it the next hour. Several of my designs have been held onto by my testers for MONTHS and in one case for over a YEAR before I ever released the pattern. Photos of objects made from my patterns during testing CANNOT be released to the public until the actual pattern has been made available.
(Why? because there are some 'designers' out there who lack imagination - they can copy something they see, but can't come up with their own characters/ideas. Best not to give the competition an idea before I am fully confident that the product I am bringing to you is the quality I want behind the FDbyK4TT label.)
- My testers MUST be flexible. I am an artist. I am not always the easiest person to deal with. Creative minds tend to be emotional minds with varying mood swings. We can be divas or whiners. We can get angry and frustrated. There can be down times, where all the items mentioned above, steals the creative juices and we just can't seem to make things happen (or we aren't pleased with our efforts).
"Tester" is not always a fun gig to have - it's not just about making crochet items, it's about knowing how to deal with people - even when they are acting like someone you'd prefer not to deal with.
Although I have had other "designers" test my patterns, designers are not my preference and no, it's really not the competition or sharing of 'trade secrets' - all the information is out there for everyone and I try to share as much as I can with my clients regarding any tips or tricks.
No, it's because I have found that designers know the INTENT or ANTICIPATE upcoming instructions - so mistakes and typos can sometimes be overlooked because the designer actually reads it 'correctly' in their mind.
Regarding TRANSLATORS. I would love it if my patterns were in every language that is spoken on this planet - however, my patterns are more than just written instructions. They are a part of me and my vision of the world around me - it's also MY reputation.
I do not have my patterns translated into languages that I cannot communicate in. This is for my client's protection. Part of why clients continue to return to FiberDoodles by K4TT for their crochet needs, is because I will take the time to help, explain and if need be, make tutorials to assist my clients create my visions. In order to do this, there must be fluent communication between designer and client to understand where a problem lays. Things like Google Translate and other online translators are 'okay', but they are not crochet oriented - so miscommunications can happen.
I have had friends, people I have known for years, offer to translate into French and Dutch as well as German, Italian and Spanish. However, because I am not fluent in these languages to converse with clientele that may purchase them, I have not taken advantage of such services.