Setting up an online shop

I’m trying to set up my online shop properly. In case you’re wondering what I’m doing.

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When I’ve worked out how, I’ll tell you. OK?

Where am I researching selling art online?

Good question. I’m asking myself, and asking Google, this:

What are all the nifty little ways I could make it possible for people to buy my images?

Maybe for only a small profit, but, well, many small sales is also a start, considering I’m currently earning zilch point zilch, so buying a few grocery shops a month would be a massive positive step.

Selling originals, vs selling commercially printed posters

Well, you know how when you visit my shop right now, you see all the real handmade originals I sold last Christmas? I did that the simplest possible way: Putting a PayPal button on my page. (You do that with a WordPress plugin by the way). I looked into Shopify etc, where you can make a nice-looking internet shop, but decided that it was better to host my shop on my own site.

In case my shop is swanky and sorted by the time you read this, here’s what it looks like today.

My shop in April 2015. Photos with a PayPal button - the simplest format.

My shop in April 2015. Photos with a PayPal button – the simplest format.

Originals are costly

  • Handprinting things takes a lot of time. It’s worth it if you can sell originals for a high price (like, if you’re well known), because it really does take that long to make them.
  • I don’t mind that I sold that batch low, I just wanted to create some flow around money, but hour-per-hour it wasn’t a sustainable business strategy.
  • Plus, as you can see – I’m sold out, and now I have no more stock. (And post and packing from Germany turned out to cost sooo much!).

Repros are cheaper but the profit margin is smaller

  • So I’m looking into using one of those outsourced companies that does it all for you: You upload the images, and the customer orders the print directly from them; they do whatever, the sizing, framing, postage, and you take just a royalty.
  • The good thing about trying one of these services is, you don’t have a cupboard full of products. You get to test the market and it only costs you time.
  • Do you use one of these services? Are you happy with it?

I’m finding this article on Print on Demand, on the Abundant Artist website very helpful.

Printing on other products, with customers in mind

One of the things I’m thinking about, is that I don’t really draw pictures with the intention that someone would want to put them on a wall. The prints above were pretty much the only ones I did with that in mind.

When I did that print, I thought of maybe the wall of a child’s room. I think my images would look good on children’s gear. Do you?

Maybe the odd one as a funny t-shirt? Maybe even a mug or an iphone case!!! Wooo. I’m getting carried away, because The Abundant Artist led me to Zazzle.com. The above article mentions several other services – essentially, printing designs onto all manner of clobber. I’m a little daunted by the time it might take to set this up, but it could be really satisfying.

Other outlets?

There’s franchising. I have only a vague idea of what that would entail. Like, selling, I dunno, a fabric design or something! Wow, wouldn’t that be incredible! Let me know if you know where to look for inspiration.

There’s raising your reader level so people come straight to you to buy. And having simple things on your website, like a proper email newsletter. It’s the groundwork.

You probably have to do all these things! And see what, if any of it, works!

But I’m very very interested: what works for you?