Aha! I didn’t think I could do it, but I can!

I didn’t think it was possible to put a blanket discount on the old RE Classic shopping cart, but I can! It’s not as obvious as on the eStore cart because it’s applied only when you get to checkout, but it is there!

The special offer last weekend on the eStore worked so well that I wanted to do something for actual Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend, and here we are! 50% off everything on the Classic Restrained Elegance shopping cart – literally THOUSANDS of photosets and videos, going back to the very beginnings of the site in 2001, are now available at HALF PRICE!

Why not take the chance to catch up on some sets of your favourite retired models from the early days like Fi Stevens, Paige Robbins, Petra Morgan or Charisma Cole? Check out super-hot early play sessions with Ariel Anderssen, like Bondage Driving Test and Long Term Bondage, or complete your collection of Jasmine Sinclair!

Add the sets to your cart and usual, check your basket for checkout and you will see a 50% discount applied!

Faye Taylor returns to RestrainedElegance.com

Faye Taylor

Kate B RE full quality still

A full sized shot of Kate in the same studio, but using studio flash and the full “RE quality procedure”. This is from an RE stills set, we didn’t shoot a video of it as well.

50% off everything on the new eStore, this weekend only!

Hi Everyone!

This weekend only, everything on our new Surfnet eStore is 50% off!

This includes all the most recent RE updates for individual purchase- which RE members already have access to of course!

But it also includes our EleganceStudios.com long movies, 50% off for the first time only, this weekend ONLY! Check out the trailers: I just put them back in the archives for RE members, or you can watch them at EleganceStudios.com

Don’t miss out on this 50% saving! Check out https://estore.surfnetcorp.com/store/EleganceStudios now!

Slave Auction

Day In The Life

Hannah Claydon, Sophia Smith, Scarlot Rose and Ariel Anderssen

The Pony Girl Trilogy

Bastinado

Acquiesce

Haunted

Highwayman

Amelia’s Sunday Spanking

The Underground

Plus Ariel’s Bastinado and Femme Domme Monologues

Don’t miss out on this 50% saving! Check out https://estore.surfnetcorp.com/store/EleganceStudios now!

Hywel

How Much Does A Bondage Producer Earn?

My lovely wife Joceline (whose screen alter-egos Ariel Anderssen and Amelia-Jane Rutherford you will likely know) just posted a video on her YouTube channel about how much an Internet model earns. Oh my god, this is SO un-British. That probably seems strange to Americans and maybe people from other cultures, but in the UK it is a really taboo thing to talk about. Doing so was really brave.

You can see her film here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aY74D89eIs0

Between us, Joceline and I have evolved a policy of being more and more open and transparent. It’s really important to us. So I thought it would be cowardly of me not to match her in transgressing this British taboo. I’m still too cowardly to vlog about it, of course, so here’s a long essay!

I’ve spoken about website economics in the past in general order-of-magnitude terms. But what can you actually make as a bondage producer?

Well, unlike modelling, income is limited by sales rather than the number of billable hours you can charge to clients for standing in front of the camera. As a result, I suspect that there’s a much wider range of incomes possible for being a bondage producer. Clearly, Kink.com have a much higher turnover than RestrainedElegance.com does. But here’s how the numbers stack up for me.

This is based on my last tax year for which I have accounts; the next year is due to be sent off to the accountant this week but I don’t have proper figures yet.

If you follow producers on twitter it is probably no secret that sales have declined across the industry since then; we’re all hoping it turns around.

My total sales were around £120,000 AFTER deductions from billing partners (who typically take between 15% and 50% of the sales figure customers actually pay to download the content). So I’m only counting the money that actually got paid to me, not what was paid out by you kind folks.

Wow! I must be super-rich, right? Sadly as a producer most of that goes straight out again. There are a lot more overheads than in being a model. So my profit margin was almost exactly 20%. My actual profit, the money I have to live on, was £25k.

Of those sales, the lion’s share was Restrained Elegance membership, maybe 70%. 20% comes from cart sales including Elegance Studios, Clips4Sale and the rest, and the remaining 10% comes from custom video commissions and external jobs. SilkSoles sales are modest, we do that mostly for love. These numbers have been broadly consistent over the last few years.

Of the expenses, by far the biggest was models (and a few other employee costs for friends who help with some admin jobs like web programming and doing data entry on shopping carts for me). That came to £30,000 or a cool 25% of turnover. (This money has to be spent up front, months or even years before the sales from a given shoot might pay off, by the way. So I’ve got money invested in material I’ve shot but haven’t sold yet.)

Website hosting and fees, location hire, repairs and renewals of broken or worn-out kit, insurance, licence fees (for music for the videos), professional fees like accountancy, purchase of props, costumes, bondage gear, and general expenses like electricity and heating etc. make up the bulk of the rest.

This is a little disingenuous, because I also invested £20k that year in the Sony A7RII and lenses, plus a replacement for the ten-year-old video tripod which was no longer really safely holding up the RED on shoot days. I did have some choice about investing that money or not, so I could have had a bigger profit if I’d not done that. This is always the way with investment for the future though- jam today, or choose to sink the cash back into the business for the longer term?

How much worse have sales got since then? Quite a lot worse. I’m going to be lucky to hit £100k turnover this year, even with some big customs and more external jobs. As you can see, when your profit margin is only £25k, losing £20k turnover is a big deal. Annoyingly, few of the expenses scale down with lower sales, at least the way the business is currently structured.

For now, I’ve compensated by buying less kit (anticipating this might happen is partially why I did the two big-ticket purchases in that previous tax year). I’ve brought a few more jobs in-house. We’ve reduced the shooting schedule a bit because we’d got to the silly point of having more than two years of content on disk- which makes no sense when sales may decline further if the economy tanks some more, the pressure from piracy and the looming threat of increasing government censorship.

So we’re striking a balance between shooting fantastic new stuff with hot new models, getting through the content we’ve already shot a bit more, and finding more shoots via customs. I know a lot of producers have switched over to customs funding 100% of production- I don’t want to do that even though it would probably be better business. I hope it isn’t pretentious to claim to be an artist and the commissions are fun, but if I didn’t get to shoot any of my own ideas I don’t know that I’d be able to carry on long-term.

I’ve been in the business for nearly 17 years now, we have good brand recognition I think, and a fantastic audience of regular customers. I’m lucky enough to be able to do this full-time, and I know not all producers can do that. I don’t know how this compares to other producers right now. I get the feeling I’m probably losing out by not pursuing customs more assiduously – but in return I get to shoot more stuff from my heart, which is REALLY REALLY important to me. It’s why I took this up as a full-time job in the first place 🙂

I get the impression that producers concentrating on mass video production are doing best right now- the guys and girls posting daily new videos to Clips4Sale funded via customs. I could do more of that if I pulled back on how many stills sets I shoot. I love stills best, though.

So unlike Joceline, I don’t have any real notion of where we sit in terms of how much it is possible to make as a bondage producer so I can’t give you a broader perspective. I hope it’s been interesting, and I hope you don’t hate me (seriously. I had shivers writing this post. It is SO Un-British to be open about this stuff. But. Transparency. Bravery.)

Urgggh. Please don’t hate me.

Hywel

What To Do If Your Account Is Blocked

Hi All,

I’m back from my sort-of vacation and catching up. I noticed a couple of accounts blocked by the automated security scripts while I was away. These scripts look for unusual patterns of activity in accounts, like logins from many different countries in a short space of time, or lots of failed login attempts. To be on the safe side, if they spot something, they block the account so you can’t log in to the members’ area. Rather than remove the block, if it proves to be a false alarm (which it almost always does) I can issue you new login details with a new username and password- better security practice than just resetting.

A couple of my emails to people notifying them of this have bounced, so if you’re getting the blocked message when you try to log in, please email me.

Cheers, Hywel

New Shopping Cart

Hi Everyone

Today we’re introducing a new shopping cart system (the same system as EleganceStudios.com uses) for people who prefer to purchase sets individually rather than get them all with a Restrained Elegance membership. We’re keeping the old cart system for old sets in parallel. (With 5000 sets on there it’s too big a task to port it all across in the absence of an automatic data transfer system).

It’ll now be possible to purchase a set individually on release day, rather than waiting anything up to a couple of years for it to appear on the old system.

The new cart is a more modern system which is a lot easier for us to maintain. It also allows us to include the full-sized JPEGs for each set as well as standard size for the first time. Both are included when you purchase and download a set. (The full sized versions are in the “full” subdirectory, naturally enough).

Videos are in full HD MP4.

I know many people prefer to buy individual photosets and videos than get a subscription.

We’ve been trying for ages to catch up with posting sets on the old cart system (Classic Restrained Elegance).

That system is old, but flexible… the downside is that the data entry takes a long time. I’ve been paying a friend, Stefan, to add stuff to the cart for me for at least the past decade. Bless him, he’s religiously managed to find half an hour or so almost every week for TEN YEARS to do just that, but catching up just doesn’t seem feasible. At least not without me spending literally weeks of Hywel time to do it, which given I have to shoot and edit new stuff isn’t feasible either.

Although the new cart isn’t as flexible, it *is* a lot faster to do the data entry. We can only have one pic to illustrate each set on the cart product page but that’s OK, I’ll live with that.

I’d have done this a couple of years ago except that I was hoping for a possible automated way to transmit data from our content management system direct to the shopping cart – meaning only one lot of boring data entry for both cart and membership site. I’ve just bitten the bullet and done the data entry by hand for a couple of months of updates. It wasn’t too bad- much quicker than the old cart.

So from now on you’ll be able to purchase photosets and clips from the shopping cart on release day.

Follow the updates here: http://www.restrainedelegance.com/whatsnew.php and you can see a “Buy This Set” button for each update.

I’ve gone back as far as April for new sets. I’ll be adding new sets to the cart as I update the main website, and I’ll work my way backwards until I catch up with Stefan posting older sets to the archives and the old cart system working forwards.

The latest content will go to the new cart. Old stuff stays on the old cart. There’s a few gaps especially in the archives; I’ll fill those in as soon as I can.

I’ve put links on the preview tour What’s New page to the cart entries for archive stuff as well. All 5000 old sets will eventually get linked that way- I’ll add the link to each set as sets come up in the members’ archive. There will be gaps sometimes in the archive links where sets were uploaded in multiple parts originally or where formats don’t play well with the cart systems.

I hope this will be much more convenient for those of you who want to purchase sets individually. The new cart should all be up and running and working- it is the same cart Elegance Studios uses- but if you do find any oddities or spot incorrect links etc. please let me know. Having two carts is not ideal but it seemed like the most sensible solution.

Cheers!

Hywel