Yesterday was Part II in this series and the day before was Part I – this is all in response to Sue O’Kieffe of Sacred Circle Mandalas (http://sacred-circle-mandalas.blogspot.com) who recently wrote me “i am curious to know out of all the ways you sell your art, which is the most profitable for you and which is the most enjoyable?”
What a great question, Sue!!Â I know some other artists sometimes read my blog – I hope everyone will chime in – this could be very helpful to us all!Â I am really looking forward to hearing from others too!Â We have already done an overview of offline selling and online selling from a shop where you the seller ship directly to your customer.Â Today we will talk about the other kind of online shop.Â After that I will talk about specifics. This is a framed tile from CafePress that showcases my vibrant, colorful painting of Inner Flow II.
Inner Flow II Framed Tile Â© Diane Clancy
Yesterday we covered selling online when the customer orders directly from you the seller – whether from your own website or blog or from one of the numerous online shops where you can list your work.Â You ship directly from the buyer and they pay you directly.
After selling for awhile from these types of shops, I discovered another type of online selling.Â There are shops where I can upload my own images from my paintings onto the site of the shop.Â Â They then can print their merchandise with my image when someone wants to purchase it.
WOW!Â What a concept!! They print, they ship, they bill, they deal with breakage and replacement, they deal with bounced payments, they deal with returns.Â Sounds like a good deal to me!
There are ways that this does work incredibly well … I prepare the image of my painting (which depending on the shop can take quite some effort), then upload it (some shops upload more quickly than others), I put in descriptions and tags (depending on the shop), decide which types of items I will be selling this painting on … and list this painting in the shop.
Actually, it makes sense to decide what you want to place the image on first – because preparing the file depends on what item it is going on.Â Also sometimes there are issues with color and such, depending on the type of object on which you have them print your painting,
Some shops sell only prints of an image – that is, they print on paper (or canvas, etc) – a print that you could frame.Â That is something that I sell myself from my own home.Â But they are able to sell the print with many choices of printing surfaces and lots of different choices in framing.Â They are also able to print more inexpensively than I am able due to economies of scale.
Other shops sell lots of different merchandise.Â So I can have my paintings on mugs, tiles, cards, shirts, postage (real US postage), journals, shoes, caps … the list keep getting longer as these stores offer more choices in merchandise.Â So this is a great way to keep my images on THINGS – something I have wanted to do for over a decade.
They do the printing … and they PRINT ON DEMAND.Â That is, they print my painting on a mug, only when some orders one.Â I don’t have to buy 500 mugs with 1 image, pay the printer, store them at my house, ship them when someone buys one, absorb the cost when one breaks … you get the idea.Â They have all that hassle.
The trade-off?Â I don’t see the mug unless I buy one … so I am not sure of the quality printing and not sure how my color looks on their mug.Â They get the bulk of the money for the sale.Â They will have a “Base Price” – that is the price I would pay for buying my own work – then I can set an amount higher than that.Â That way, when someone buys a framed tile, then I will get a certain amount of money credited to my account.
Ah, money credited to my account … that raises another issue.Â Usually with these kind of shops, you don’t get paid that often.Â Many times it will take awhile for the money to accumulate – and you don’t see that money until … well, each shop has a different agreement on how they handle the money.Â Some artists find this very aggravating.Â Also the amount I make on each sale is fairly small – especially when you look at the time I put in preparing the product.
I LOVE that my paintings are on merchandise that you can buy and use every day at home.Â I so wanted that to happen.Â Some of the other downsides?Â I haven’t developed a relationship with you … you may not remember who the artist is unless I put my name or website intp the painting – in a readable way.Â Â One woman has bought 50 cards of my Conundrum I painting (in 3 different orders) – all I know is her first name, town and state.Â I cannot fillow up with her as a potential customer.Â Clearly, she seems a satisfied customer – but she is not really MY customer. That is part of the trade-off.
Next I will cover the specific shops and move toward Sue’s original question. It helps me think to have written all this down and I sure hope it helps you!!
Tomorrow will be Illustration Friday and then I will return to the marketing (or maybe Sue O’kieffe’s giveway and then marketing).Â Today is my birthday and it is decade changing.Â Thanks for all your good wishes!! Thank you for stopping by!!