well_crafted_logo_blackIn 2011, husband-and-wife duo Keith and Jana Harper — both Seattleites — developed Well Crafted, a customizable online portfolio where designers could display their work. The inspiration hit Keith when he became frustrated with manually updating his portfolio time and again.

With Jana as the developer and Keith as the designer, the team of two set to work on their new venture last August when we last spoke with them for a Startup Spotlight.

But things have changed, and their business model has pivoted.

Team Well Crafted, Keith and Jana Harper
Team Well Crafted: Jana and Keith Harper.

Previously, Well Crafted charged customers for its service. But after the startup didn’t receive as much traction as it had hoped for, the Harpers decided to test out a strategy called “Pay What You Can.”

Customers can sign up for $1 per month, and from there, decide how much to contribute. This made sense when analyzing competing websites, many of which had already switched over to the “freemium” model.

But here’s where Well Crafted is different: The company now donates a portion of its revenue to designers who are unable to fund their projects alone.

The more money customers give to Well Crafted, the more funding there is for a new initiative called “10% For Design,” which funnels money to crowd-funded design projects on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

“We’d love nothing more than to help other designers get their projects funded, while at the same time making enough money to devote more time to Well Crafted and other endeavors of our own,” Keith said.

The Harpers are excited about the new direction of their company, and see it as a way to give back to the design community. In the future, they hope to develop partnerships with other companies.

“I’m optimistic about getting traction with this model, because it’s really unique,” Keith said. “We could compete on features all day long with established companies, but at the end of the day, this truly makes us different.”

Here are some of the projects Well Crafted has helped fund.

Suburbia gone Wild – Limited edition Book
A limited edition book by exploring the eerily similar landscape of suburbs worldwide.

The Detroit Printing Plant
Amos is building a printing plant in Detroit for designers who are interested in letterpress & need a space to practice.

2013 Quolendar – Vintage Letterpress Quote Calendar
A vintage letterpress calendar with a clean, modern taste. Printed on Crane’s Lettra cotton paper, made in the USA.

Reach Lily Katz at lily@geekwire.com or on Twitter @LilyKatz.

Comments

  • ChuksOnwuneme

    You guys are just awesome. Are you back in Seattle?

  • http://www.wellcrafted.is/ keith@meetduo.com

    Thank you Lily!

    I just wanted to let folks know that part of the “Pay What You Can” model is the option to use Well Crafted for free.

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