Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pay It Forward - A Positive Trend in Online Crafting Communities

Here are two facts you may not be aware of:

1. I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and a depression that cripples my ability to function normally.

2. When you see "PIF" on a for-sale listing, it means "Pay It Foward."

What do these two facts have to do with each other?  Because of the mental battle that plays out for me every day, I'm always seeking to find positivity with which I can surround myself.  It's the reason I started crafting and networking in the first place and it's the main reason I'm so excited about PIF!  If you haven't seen the movie or heard the expression before, to pay it forward means to perform an act of out-of-the-ordinary kindness because such a gesture has been extended to you.  According to my good friend Wikipedia, it is to "ask that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead" (see article) and the concept as we understand it has been used at least since Ben Franklin's day.  By paying it forward, one is allowed to multiply the impact of a single act of kindness.

Paying it forward is a trend that seems to be popular on artisan marketplaces.  An artist creates a listing for craft supplies or a product they've made and labels it as "PIF."  If there is a listing fee, the artist then only charges the minimal amount necessary to cover the price of listing the item(s) and the shipping fees (if desired).  For example, on Etsy PIF items sell for only 20 cents, which covers the marketplace listing fee.  On Artfire, since no listing costs are ever incurred, PIF items generally vary between 20 and 50 cents.  Unless the items the artisan lists were obtained free of charge, they're selling them to the general public at a loss.  The whole idea is to benefit or "bless" someone with something of value for less than the price it's worth.  Generally, the listing will specify that the purchaser must pay this generosity forward by listing their own PIF item or by performing an act of kindness to someone they come across.  If this promise that the seller agrees to by purchasing the item is followed through on, the goodwill of one person has been multiplied to at least two others.  It's truly uplifting to me to see the handmade community embracing this concept and spreading it to fellow artisans and consumers alike.

In the spirit of PIF, I've decided to participate by listing my destash as pay it forward items.  I have multiples of jewelry findings and beads that I've used in different pieces but don't desire to use in the future.  I'm going to pass these along to others via PIF and hope that I can contribute to its impact.  I'm not a spiritual person, but I do believe that what one puts out in the universe is often what one receives back.  I'm hoping that putting out some positive vibes in the universe will ultimately benefit both others and myself.


Kelly said...

What a beautiful idea! It's refreshing when someone promotes good will outside of the holiday season; and especially when it is at some kind of loss for them.

Elle said...

I agree! Thanks for supporting this idea!

mv said...

Thank you for this excellent explanation of the PIF concept. As someone who has a hard time receiving, I find it relieving that I can give and the person can give forward instead of back, I'll accept the karma instead :) Thank you for this blogpost!

Elle said...

It really is a cool idea isn't it? Thanks for reading!

H. Nizam said...

Hey that's a great idea!
I am not a spiritual person myself but from my experiences I learned that every time I have done a good thing I would almost automatically get more in return, although I have never expect it.

According to the Law of Attraction everything you think with full attention, energy & concentration will come to your life.

I wish you all the best my friend,
let's keep in touch.

Elle said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm really hoping that this idea will move forward!