Introducing Substation

Even if we meant to keep it quiet a bit longer

Jesse von Doom
2 min readMar 18, 2020

I’ve long thought membership models are a strong and sustainable way to make money for independent artists, writers, makers — all independent creators, really. The platforms that make these models possible have proven the viability of a membership economy. They work for some people as-is, and that’s great, but I think there’s a lot of work still to be done in the space.

For the last year my partner Anthony and I, with the help of some friends, have been working on a new approach to memberships we’ve been calling Substation.

To start we built a free, open, and distributed DIY version of Substation that lets you set up recurring paid membership through your own Braintree account. You can compose rich HTML email to all members using a service called Mailgun. It takes a little setup, but it’s free, working, and available today, hosted on Glitch.

All you need to do is press a single button and follow a few steps we’ve outlined the Getting Started documentation. You’ll have your own Substation club hosted on Glitch or embedded on your website, and once your Braintree and Mailgun accounts are ready you’ll be open for business.

Substation screenshots showing sign-up, dashboard, and email composition

Our plan was to launch this DIY Substation along with the turn-key hosted version we’ve been working on, but plans change. With so many creatives scrambling to figure out how they’ll make ends meet we decided it’s better to put this into the world now and sort out the rest later. If you’ve been thinking about starting a subscription, membership, or club for the thing you do / you make / you love then we’ve got your back.

In the next couple days I’ll post videos with setup instructions. If there’s interest we can do a few Zoom Q&A, and if you need help just reach out and we’ll make time to talk.