I'm always pinching myself that I am so lucky to be able to make a living doing what I love so much. When you are an #artist, often you feel that things you create can only ever be for an enjoyable hobby. I believe many artsy folk, like myself, lack the confidence to ever imagine that anyone would want to spend their hard earned money on our creations.
Could that also be you, maybe?
It was indeed how I felt. That is until I discovered the popular print on demand site, #Zazzle giving me the opportunity to upload my art and designs to a choice of hundreds of different products. And the icing on the cake was when folk actually started to buy from my store! A real confidence booster for any artist.
Although sales didn't happen immediately, as I will explain shortly.
So how did my Zazzle journey come about? Aha - read on! First, please note that links in this post are affiliate links which may earn me a commission should you subsequently buy at no extra cost to yourselves.
I guess the seed was planted when I treated myself to an #IPadPro and #IPencil about three years ago. At the time I was running my photography business which I really loved, and it had kept me very busy since I started it back in 2006. In those interim years whilst I was building up the studio, I had little time to do any art such as watercolour paintings which I had dabbled with in the past.
Once I had my IPad and had downloaded the incredible #Procreate App, it made it much easier for me to draw and paint on a whim, without having to get out the paper and paints every time. I took a couple of training courses to improve my drawing and painting, as well as my design skills in Photoshop. I was really getting a feel for creating art and the satisfaction it brought me.
I thought to myself how amazing it would be if I could earn a little pocket money from my creations. Although I had no clue then as to the best way to do that. One of the training courses I was on at the time had lots of ideas about selling your work which helped, and led me to do further online research through which I learned more about selling on print on demand stores, such as Zazzle and Red Bubble.
I opened my Zazzle store in early Spring 2018. It was very easy to set up and add some of my artwork to several of their wonderful products. Ah, this is great I thought! But of course, it's not quite as simple as that in reality. My store is just one of thousands on Zazzle. It was very naïve of me to hope my products would start selling like hotcakes just like that!
The turning point came for me a couple of months later when I came across a Zazzle training course run by Elke Clarke and her daughter, Jen, who themselves have been extremely successful on Zazzle.
I was very excited to become part of the training and as soon as I began, I was mesmerised by everything I was learning from Elke and Jen about running a Zazzle business, which no way would I ever have worked it out for myself. It was quite an eye opener.
The beauty of being a store owner on Zazzle is that it is entirely up to you as to how much time you wish to devote to it. In the early days it was still part time for me as I was very busy with my photography studio work, and was only able to work on my Zazzle store for a few hours a month. But even so, with the help of Elke’s training, I was starting to see results as my store began to grow. Success on Zazzle rarely happens overnight, it takes time to get established and as with most things, the more effort you put in, the better the results. However, with the strategies in place that I was learning from my course, it was encouraging to see daily sales coming in even with the limited time I had available to spend on it. By the Christmas of 2018 I had reached the first level in Zazzle's Pro Seller scheme.
During my second year on Zazzle, 2019, things really started to escalate. Being a member of Elke and Jen’s Profit By Design Academy training was invaluable to me. And still is.
I had started to split my time equally between designing for and working on my Zazzle store and my studio photoshoots and editing work. This meant that I was able to spend more time digesting all the training and implementing more of what I was being taught to my store. And it was making a difference for sure. By last Christmas, 2019, I reached the next level, Pro Bronze. I believe that it would have taken me much longer to achieve that under my own steam.
Then came the unprecedented events of 2020 and COVID-19. When the UK went into its first lockdown in March, obviously my photoshoots had to be put on hold. I was more grateful than ever to have my Zazzle store during those bleak months. It kept my spirits up and meant I could still do what I enjoyed from the safety of home. Quite frankly, I have no idea how I would have managed without it.
Of course the pandemic has gone on for much longer than any of us anticipated. It was difficult to find a right and safe time to recommence photoshoots, so I made the decision to stop them altogether and put my all into my Zazzle business, which I had been working on full time since the lockdown anyway.
There’s a lot to be said about doing something you truly enjoy in life and to follow your dreams. If you love the idea of having your own Zazzle store, I can highly recommend it! Elke and Jen offer loads of free training and advice via their Facebook group You’ll find it invaluable if you are just starting out on Zazzle or even if you have a store already. And you can learn lots more via their blog and website
Zazzle has changed considerably even since I started on there. They have a brilliant design tool, available to designers and customers alike, which has evolved a lot for the better since I joined. There are always new things to learn which is why ongoing training for me is so important.
I am very inspired by the achievements of my fellow students on Elke’s training courses especially this story of one of her students who has made a million dollars on Zazzle
Wow! How amazing is that! I still have a long way before I make my first million, however knowing it can be possible is very encouraging. Of course there are no guarantees as to what you earn, but this year, and this holiday season especially, my sales have already exceeded my wildest dreams from when I first started my store. And I know it will get better and better!