Will A Bundle Spark Pagan Buying?

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  November 22, 2013 — 14 Comments

This week saw the launch of the Pagan Bundle, a one-week special deal in which for $50 (or more) you can purchase a bundle of goods and services from a variety of Pagan vendors, saving hundreds of dollars off of the normal list price.

bundle_logo

“We’re taking a bunch of awesome things made by great people and selling them all together at a huge discount. Simple as that. The Pagan Bundle proceeds will help support excellent pagan practitioners who produce superb and original works for the benefit of us all. The project was born from a longing to help those who are striving to make a full-time living with a spiritual practice or craft, so that they can focus less on the month-to-month struggle to make ends meet and more on doing what they are here to do; creating awesome things that enrich the lives of others.”

Included in the bundle are books by Brendan Myers, music from Amelia Hogan and Sharon Knight, access to video teachings by T. Thorn Coyle, and tattoo designs by Morpheus Ravenna, among other items and services. When I asked Ravenna about her participation, she said that “I joined on as a contributor to the Bundle because I think it’s a great idea, and because it’s the first project of its kind that I’ve seen that’s been designed by and for Pagans.”

Morpheus Ravenna

Morpheus Ravenna

“The Bundle is a way for me to sell my own artwork and creations, and so it benefits me directly. But I also feel strongly about creating a vibrant social economy that supports the arts, and so I’m also on board because I’d love to see more projects like this succeed for other creators. As an artist, I’m keenly interested creating a world where artists and creative people can make a living doing what they were born to do. The Bundle is a beautiful way for me to help support a whole bunch of great creative people while also hopefully bringing a bit of success to my work as well.  I also had a lot of fun creating some original, new designs for it. Jan asked me to do a range of original designs that would be of interest to people from different traditions and backgrounds, so I got to step outside my comfort zone and explore different thematic and symbolic areas. I’m the kind of artist who responds to novelty and a bit of creative pressure. In the process of working up the designs, I found myself developing my style into new areas. So it’s been a creatively fertile project for me.”

Fellow Bundle participant T. Thorn Coyle added: “We need more art and magick in the world. Many artists struggle to get their work out, and do so much for our communities. I’d like to see more artists getting paid for their efforts. I’m proud to be part of The Pagan Bundle because I love supporting beauty and magick, helping to re-enchant the world.”

T. Thorn Coyle

T. Thorn Coyle

Curious to know more, I posed a few questions to Jan Bosman, a web designer and creator of the Pagan Bundle project, about how this came about, and what the goals are moving forward.

What inspired the Pagan Bundle?

“It started last Samhain with a conscious effort on my part to be more generous with the people I encounter in my life (I was inspired by Brendan Myers’ book The Other Side of Virtue). I began attending pagan events a few years ago, and I’ve since become close to a number of inspiring, authentic and powerful people – they are musicians, artists, authors, spiritual teachers, and practitioners of one flavor of paganism or another. They are doing what they are on this earth to do, and yet none of those callings tend to translate into lucrative careers. I dislike watching idly as those I care about struggle to provide for themselves and live month-to-month while trying to be soulfully employed. I have a good job designing websites and the luxury of not worrying about meeting my basic needs or the survival of my business, so I was compelled to find a way to help. After a few weeks of trying to figure out exactly how, the answer came to me in a dream – a very lucid and specific dream (down to the pricing model and distribution). The format of the Pagan Bundle was partially inspired by other bundle sales such as the Humble Bundle, as they are fantastic vehicles for helping contributors become more well known and well paid.”

Do you think this bundle initiative will provide a boost for the individual vendors?

“That’s the ultimate goal of the whole thing. All the profits from the sales are split evenly between the eight contributors. If we sell a few hundred bundles, that’s a huge direct impact for them. It’s a difference that helps them not have to worry about how to pay rent for a few months so that they can continue the awesome things they do, and so that they can have a bit of a cushion to finance a new project. In those terms, its easy for me to see that we all benefit from this. I’ve donated a few thousand hours to organizing the project and building the website over the last year, as well as a decent chunk of money to make it happen. If we get hundreds or thousands of sales, I can cover a bit of overhead, but I’m not taking a cut – it’s all going to the artists, authors, musicians, magicians and teachers.”

Jan Bosman

Jan Bosman, creator of The Pagan Bundle.

 How are you promoting the bundle?

“The eight people who have contributed goods to the Bundle all have followings of their own, and all of them are promoting the Bundle to their blogs, mailing lists, social media, and so on. One of the ways I hope to provide a boost for the contributors is through the cross-contamination of their fans. For instance, someone may buy the Pagan Bundle solely for the 6-week Introduction to Energy Work online course may find themselves a big fan of Sharon Knight’s albums – a fan that may end up buying the rest of her stuff as well. We’ve also been running a few promotions that give people discounts while they spread the word to their friends – not because 89% off isn’t enough of a saving, but because spreading the word is a huge help to the whole project.

 Thus far, sales have been steady but measured. I’ve learned that its a damn hard thing to build a big website to sell something at the same time as promoting it.”

 How were the creators picked for this project?

“While a number of the creators were personal friends of mine, I had to come up with some very specific criteria in order to keep a consistency of quality and to ease potential logistical issues. I picked contributors must produce authentic, excellent and original works, preferably to the benefit of the greater pagan community. This isn’t required of every single item, but the bundle should be well-balanced. Contributors also had to be able to provide items in digital format. In large part because if we happened to sell 3,000 bundles, that’s a completely unmanageable demand to have to instantly fill. An all digital bundle means that distribution cost of the goods is pennies, as we’re only paying for bandwidth and not physical shipping. I also gave consideration to creators who: are making (or attempting to make) their spiritual practice or craft their full-time profession; are currently unemployed or underemployed (i.e. struggling financially); and have a substantial online presence and following (as this is a key method of promotion for the project).

Our eight contributors are fairly well known, create high quality stuff, and they can all use a boost in exposure and income. I knew most of them, and those creators recommended the others. We stopped inviting contributors after getting eight because more would mean further having to split the profits of the project, and less of a tangible impact for everyone. That said, there are many countless creative pagans who fit all of those criteria and, especially if this first Pagan Bundle sells well, I would consider more of these sales in the future – in which case there would most likely be a more open invitation process.”

 It should be interesting to see how well this initiative does, and if this new approach to selling Pagan goods and services on the Internet will create a new paradigm for promotion and sales. That will no doubt be up to the consumer, and they have 5 days left to make their voices heard. Be sure to check out interviews with all the creators, and more about what’s in the Pagan Bundle, at: http://paganbundle.com/.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Carter

    It’s a neat idea, but there’s nothing in there that I’d want, other than maybe the coupons so I can spend more money on stuff. It’s a shame really that they don’t have a better selection of things. I love Sarah Anne Lawless – why do they have her giving tattoo designs? A print to hang on my wall would be great, but I’m not getting it inked on me.

    • Scylderon

      They’re meant to be tattoo designs as well as ceremonial artwork – you can print them and hang them on your wall or display them on an altar.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    It’s a great idea. I can think of numerous ways of how this kind of project could really help the Pagan (and related) communities in the future.

    I’ll have to see what is on offer.

  • Lupa

    If anyone from the project is reading, neither the FAQ nor the contact form seem to be working for me in Chrome, nor is the contact form on Jan Bosman’s site–yay, WordPress! (Would love to know when this gets fixed, since it’s a neat idea!)

  • MadGastronomer

    I think they’d have done better to have less stuff but a broader range and a lower cost for the first one. Also maybe some less-well-known stuff. The reason Humble Bundle succeeds is that it’s a several *very different* things, so that as many tastes as possible find something in it they want, and then it’s cheap enough to buy all of it for just a couple of things, plus it’s all (or almost all) indie artists, people most people won’t have heard of, so there are new things to discover. This is all BNPs, or at least well-known ones.

    Instead of having three books and a sample of a fourth all by one guy, *one* book by him, and *another* by someone else. Just *one* Sharon Knight cd, but maybe a variety of single tracks by less-well-known artists. Two sets of ceremonial art that’s all black-and-white line art? How about maybe 3 black-and-white pieces, by one artist or more, and then some color images by other people?

    It was first presented to me as “like Humble Bundle, only for Pagan stuff!” I just think it would be more appealing if the *model* was more like the actual Humble Bundle. There’s so little in that that I would have any use for that even if I had fifties dollars to spend (which I emphatically do not), there’s not enough in there that I want for it to be worth it.

    • Charlie

      You’re confusing the “model” of the Humble Bundle with the actual content. And there are frequent enough Humble Bundle sales where ALL of the content is very similar. That in and of itself diminish its merit or worth. It took you three paragraphs to say, “Maybe next time they can pick stuff that’s more relevant to me personally.” Having some more constructive suggestions couldn’t hurt, as there may be more Pagan Bundle sales in the future.

      • MadGastronomer

        No, it’s “Maybe next time they can pick stuff that appeals to a wider range of people, and here are some suggestions of how to go about that.” I’m unlikely to have any money to do any buying at all any times soon, so what I want specifically is irrelevant. But the wider the range of products, the wider you can cast your net. Just good business sense.

  • Henry Buchy

    c’mon you cheap @$$ pagans, get off yer wallets. help these folks out, after all they’re just trying to make a living at being pagan, and besides they are offering you un calculable benefits at such a bargain price!

    • MadGastronomer

      How about maybe remembering that a whole lot of people are out of work, or are underemployed? There’s not a lot of spare money lying around. $50 is more than I have for food, meds AND gas for the next week.

      People are “cheap @$$” because they’re POOR.

      • Placental Mammal

        Or that what’s available in there might have nothing to do with some peoples’ own personal practices? There is stuff out there I’m willing to buy, but what’s in that bundle has little or nothing to do with what I do or what I’m interested in.

        • Henry Buchy

          aww, that’s no way to be. think of the sacrifices they are making placing their wares at bargain basement discount rack prices. to paraphrase JFK ” it’s not what your religion can do for you but what you can do for your religion” lol

          • Placental Mammal

            I’m not buying things I’m not using.

    • epredota

      *wry smile*

      • Henry Buchy

        *innocent look*