Recently were Part I,Â Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V 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 and 1000 Markets.
Today we will focus on one online shop (CafePress) 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 CafePress and the next time at Zazzle.
This journal from my CafePress Shop showcases my vibrant, colorful painting of Underground.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.)
Underground Journal Â© Diane Clancy
I love CafePress – it is the first place that I put my paintings onto merchandise – and this has been a dream of mine for over a decade!Â I can’t tell you how magical it was the first time I saw MY painting on a mug!! WOW!!Â I was (and still am) thrilled!Â So this idea really works for me.Â I want to make my work accessible and affordable to a wide range of people – this has always been part of my plan to make this happen.
This is not a one step process though … so bear with me.Â You can open a shop.Â A free shop is where you can have one of each different item that CafePress has.Â So that is quite a lot!Â They have tons of different shirts and you can have one of each type.Â Last I looked there were 3 different types of mugs and you can have one of each type.Â See Susan Elkin’s shop as an example of a free (basic) shop. You can use one image on all items or a different one on each.Â The limit of a free shop is only one item of each kind.
Given that I want you to be able to choose from lots of my mugs, I chose to do a premium (paid) shop.Â You can easily start with a free shop and then upgrade if you like.Â I did that myself. So get your shop and shop name and you are ready to start.Â You can have unlimited basic (free) shops – but I like the idea of various paintings all together.
You need to download their templates for the items you want to put your images on.Â This is one of the trickier parts of CafePress – one needs 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 and 1000 Markets) 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 There is a limit on the amount of tags (as most shops have a limit) and a limit on the number of characters (including spaces) that you can put in your description.Â You can name this particular item – I use the name of the painting with the name of the type of merchandise.
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 or dollar amount) 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.Â There is a new situation at CafePress that I do NOT like at all.Â It is my understanding that they cap your price increase to 10% when people find your work by searching by tag.Â I personally think this cheapens the work and makes it too cheap and is unfair to the artist.Â I spend quite a lot of time preparing the work and then …. but as for now, those are the new rules.
When you have a premium (paid) shop, you can work on the shop template and make quite a few changes to make the shop look how you want.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 fantastic and they keep adding more.Â I love, love, love seeing my work on all the various items!Â You can have sections of your (paid) shop so that I have one section with all mugs and another with tiles.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 CafePress (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.
Needing to prepare the images so differently for the various items, is one reason many people are not thrilled with CafePress.Â Given that I had a system set up before I know about other shops, means that it bothers me less than it bothers some people.Â Also there are a lot of steps for uploading, putting the image on, adding a description, adding tags … there are some short cuts to make some changes … but some people find it a little complicated.Â My main issue is that they have cut my profit arbitrarily if someone finds me through tags.Â I think that is a bad decision and a wrong one.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 Underground, Etsy, 1000 Markets, Sacred Circle Mandalas, Sue O’Kieffe, marketing, CafePress, Zazzle, Redbubble, Imagekind, merchandise, Susan Elkin