Recently were Part I,Â Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V and Part VI in this art marketing series – 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?” I have been getting some good feedback from various people that this is being helpful to them.
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 (much more to be said about that!), online selling from a shop where you the seller ship directly to your customer, online selling from a shop where the site produces the merchandise and ships directly to the customer and an overviews of Etsy, 1000 Markets and CafePress.
Today we will focus on one online shop (Zazzle) where you the artist upload your images onto the shop site and then put those images onto merchandise that you choose. Then the shop itself (not you the artist) is the one who prints the item up and ships it directly to the customer.Â Check back in Part III to refresh your memory of some of the pluses and minuses of this method of online selling if you like. I have 4 online shops currently where I put my paintings onto merchandise and then sell it right there from that site.Â I will give you details about my 2 current favorites and tell you why I like them.Â They are CafePress and Zazzle.Â These are links directly to my shops – it is easy to go to the main pages from there. Some artists have other favorites and I hope you (they) will post about them in the comments!Â Today we look at Zazzle.
This postage (YES, real actual US postage!!) from my Zazzle Shop showcases my vibrant, colorful painting of Evening Stroll.Â Â You can see that they also have room for the description to capture interest, details of what one is selling, and also the various views of your item. (Refer to earlier posts if you want more on this.)
Evening Stroll Postage Â© Diane Clancy
I like Zazzle a whole lot!!Â You can probably tell that I think their offering real US postage is amazing to me – I love it!! This process is similar to working in CafePress – but also different … so bear with me.Â You can open a shop.Â Â See Susan Elkin’s shop as an example of another shop. You can use one image on all items or a different one on each. A great thing about Zazzle is that it is free – you can have as many items as you like for free – unlike CafePress.Â Also you get to set your own price markup.Â As far as I know, Zazzle doesn’t mark down your items like CafePress does if you find an item through the main site instead of going directly to someone’s shop.
I started with CafePress – and have listed tons on items … just lots and lots – so the process is very familar to me.Â It was what I started with.Â Most people think Zazzle is easier to work with – in some ways it is.Â There are fewer screens one needs to work through to get to finalizing one’s product. The last post focused on CafePress.Â Since we have already talked about CafePress and since I know it better, I will sometimes use them as a reference point.
Zazzle works well and faster than CafePress – in some ways.Â To be clear about the process (to prepare for writing this) I just listed 2 new products.Â The first one took forever – it got locked into not being able to go to the next step – this happens to me quite frequently – which is why I am not fonder of Zazzle than I am.Â The second item I was able to create quite quickly.Â Another problem that I have with Zazzle is – the last time I checked, one also could not change the text on an item once it was created – I think this is a real mistake.
My problem is this – they seem to assume you know how to work with their templates … and they seem pretty obvious – but I am never sure if the process is just very buggy (that means things don’t work like they are supposed to) or if I am doing something wrong.Â Whenever I have asked, and when it goes smoothly, it does seem like I am using the templates correctly.Â But, for instance, I have been able to choose the font type maybe once out of every 5 items I make.Â The rest of the time I end up using the default because I can’t get the font thing to work – even though I choose it and press close to show I accept it.Â I do the same thing on the times it works and doesn’t work.Â Remember I am a graphic designer used to using programs and I am sort of geeky – so it is not that I am computer-phobic!Â I waste a lot of time trying to get from one step to another because it doesn’t seem to function correctly.
Zazzle also has templates for the items you want to put your images on – you can download them and work with the templates directly.Â They also have the sizing info right there as are you are choosing an image for a new product.Â This is fantastic – because it makes things potentially simpler – one can then bypass the templates.Â One does still need to prep the image different ways for different items.Â It can get a bit challenging – but doable.Â Choose an item – put it in your shop – then upload the image you want to put on this item. Go ahead and put the image onto the merchandise …. after you put the image, you can write a description (as in Etsy, 1000 Markets and CafePress) and also put in tags.
Tags are important – tags are what allow someone to find your work out of all the 100,000’s of pieces that are there.Â You can name this particular item – I use the name of the painting with the name of the type of merchandise.Â They also have you choose which category your item goes into.Â CafePress also has you do this – even though I didn’t mention it before.
Then you can set your price.Â These kinds of PRINT ON DEMAND shops generally have a base price that you would pay if you bought your own work.Â Then you set a price increase (by percentage) to add to the price so that you make something when someone buys your work.Â Â This is where you make your money from this type of online selling.Â Of course, you will want to strike a balance … more profit per item vs more affordable so PERHAPS more people will buy it.
You can add a banner to your shop and do some editing of how you present your online store.Â My own way of marketing is that I strive to give some consistency and a similar feel to all my online marketing – it is not identical at all … but hopefully someone would recognize that it is me!
The variety of merchandise is great and they keep adding more.Â I love seeing my work on all the various items!Â I am not sure if there is a way to have sections to your shop or not.Â But it is easy to choose to see all the mugs at once – but their links on the side.Â It is also wonderful that there are fan clubs and you can join someone’s fan club. (I hope you will join mine – my Zazzle is here).Â It is also a fantastic thing that people can leave comments for your shop and for individual items.Â This makes it much more interactive with the collectors than at CafePress.Â There is a community where you can interact with other people – I have not explored this at all.Â I am sure (as everywhere else) that the more you connect with others, the more sales you make.
Sales – this brings us to a part some people don’t like.Â When you sell your work at Etsy or 1000 Markets, you get paid directly, right away (usually), by the buyer.Â Besides developing a relationship, you also get the money.Â When selling from Zazzle (or other on demand shops) you get paid either once a year or when a certain amount of money accumulates.Â So you don’t see the money quickly unless you are a very high volume seller.Â This doesn’t bother me because I feel like it is money in the bank – but some people do not like this.Â It is part of the package though.
Many people think Zazzle is the best online shop to put one’s images onto merchandise.Â I have heard many people promote it over CafePress.Â One still needs to pay attention to sizing images to some degree.Â I like Zazzle and hopefully I can figure out how not to get so slowed down by the problems of setting up new merchandise – I do not know why that happens so consistenly for me.Â But I love my shop and will continue with it.
As with ALL these different types of shops … one needs to market your own shop – and I need to do a lot more of that!
I have a shop at Imagekind – they sell prints of my paintings, framed and unframed, and also cards.Â They are a very good, respected shop with an extensive selection of papers, canvas and frames.Â I also have a shop at Redbubble – Redbubble sells paintings on paper, canvas and posters with different finishing for the prints.Â They also sell t-shirts. Many people love both of there shops.
So I recommend both CafePress and Zazzle as the best for me so far.Â I welcome hearing from others what your experiences and thoughts are!!Â We may differ for sure!Â I hope that we can help each other know the strengths of each shop.Â Please feel free to ask questions to get more information – I am glad to share what I can and so are others! … thanks for coming by!!
Technorati Tags: Diane Clancy, vibrant colorful painting, Â Evening Stroll, Etsy, 1000 Markets, Sacred Circle Mandalas, Sue O’Kieffe, marketing, CafePress, Zazzle, Redbubble, Imagekind, merchandise, Susan Elkin