I want to explain how CafePress works for anyone who is interested in this kind of venture. It is what is called “Print on Demand.” You can see my shop here (www.CafePress.com/DianeClancy). I have prepared lots and lots of files prepared very carefully to their specifications for each item and image that I want to make possible for customers to enjoy.
Emma in Flowers I, Digital Â© Diane Clancy
Then I uploaded all the files to “My Media Basket” so that I can have access to them in my shop. After that, I get an item with no image and add my image to it (that is very easy and fast). I also write a description or story to draw the person in so they can appreciate the painting. Also, tags are connected to each item so that if someone searches for a tag, say “whimsical,” then my images will show up in the listings … the very long list … but still it is in there. But I think direct referrals from me will be where most of the sales are – please tell your friends if it feels appropriate!
So, I am investing quite a lot of time into this project – like weeks for all the images that I used – but not money directly. Once you have your product all set, then you can set a price. There is a base charge for each item and you get to decide how much markup you want to do. The range of markups very greatly – I kept to low-medium – wanting to be fair to me and to the customer.
At home I have lots and lots of cards and prints that I have printed myself (on an archival printer). Lots and lots. Those cost me money directly – lots of money – the supplies are expensive. CafePress is print on demand. If no one ever orders an item, then the product will never get printed with my image – that is the big difference and what makes it workable.
Print on demand is a gigantic leap forward in making it affordable for us artists to market out work (besides originals). There are also places that print prints that are very affordable and make a lot of sense to me. I am glad to share hints and help people if you want to try it.
I have heard from my sales that have received their orders, that the quality is stunning. One customer said the quality of printing on the tote bag was much better than she had seen before. I put in quite a large order tonight because I want to see the quality for myself and have examples to show!
Today I worked on my Fanciful Animal Images site. Since I have started handing out business cards for this niche business, I wanted to get the site in reasonable shape. Did a little upgrading my regular site too .. but more to do with that tomorrow.
~ Diane Clancy