Actually I stopped creating designs for my Zazzle shop three months or so ago. I sold the one or other item, but that happened without any activity from my side. I somehow thought that it was either art or Zazzle, and I definitely preferred art.
However I have been reading the posts of the zazzle group I am a member of, Zazzle family, and on one day I explained why I wasn’t doing any thing zazzlish. The answer was to go to Zazzle and have a look for art created with markers and coloured pencils. I would find loads of art used for designs. Indeed, I did.
Now I know: it is not an either – or thing. Doing art does not mean to give up creating products for my shop. Of course it takes additional time to prepare my art pieces for the design process. But on the other hand: Is it not a wonderful way to show my art to the public?
The fish on the mug above has been drawn with pen and ink and coloured with copic markers.
I’ve got a shop on Zazzle, and I am a member of Google+. I am also on Twitter, and on Facebook, and have been using those two for marketing too.
I have been tweeting the products scheduled all over the day, and as I used Hootsuite I could see whether any of my tweets were clicked on. As far as I could see, the number of clicks was very very low. In addition to that I myself find it boring to tweet just one product, even if the tweets are sent all over the day. And if I find the process of tweeting boring – what about the readers of these tweets?
I am using Google Analytics on my Zazzle shop page, and I can see that I am getting a few clicks via Facebook. Facebook has the advantage that you have a thumbnail of the product. Thus people can see what the product/design looks like, and I think this is important. So I will keep on presenting new products on my Facebook Fan Page.
This week I began to experiment with marketing on Google+. One thing I did was to speak about the design or the art on the product – not the product itself (everybody can see that it is a mug, a mousepad, or poster, as Google+ also shows the thumbnail). And the other thing is that I tell the story behind the art/design. Why did I take this photo, and what does it show? How did I feel when I took it? With graphic design it is a bit more difficult, but I think that each piece of art and design tells something about ourselves, our feelings, our attitude towards creating things.
Of course this takes far more time than just typing the url of the product. But when I did this today and the day before I deeply enjoyed it. It wasn’t boring at all for me. And I hope that people like the stories I am telling about me and my art and eventually may consider buying the one or the other products…
It is the 1st of June, and the first half of the year is almost over. It is time to think about things. In the last five years or so I have been active all over the web. I’ve acquired a Flickr pro account, and used flickr not only for presenting my photos but also to show some of my art.
I’ve been blogging regularly, focusing on my creative activities with the one and other thought about daily life in between.
I’ve registered with Squidoo, created over 60 lenses with the focus on art and music and on the products of my latest activity, Zazzle.
For one year I have been very active on Zazzle, creating designs with photoshop and vector software, and at this point of the year I’ve got about 500+ products in my store. May has been a very good month for me, with even some bulk sales.
But up to now I didn’t have a central meeting point, a place where I could weave the various threads of my internet activities together. Today I did the final step:
The website is still under construction, but I will continually add content. Besides the fact that this website shows my various sides (Zazzler, Squidooer, blogger, photographer and artist) to the world around me, it helps me to remember them and to keep them all balanced.
It was March 2011 when I began to really create items for my Zazzle store. I can remember how I had to take my heart into my hands and jump – fighting against my inner critic who was telling me that my creations were far from being good enough to be presented to the world.
Well, one year later my inner critic is still grumbling and mumbling, especially when I try out new things like this bookplate.
For the first time I downloaded the guide file and directly worked on that, and I worked on it for the first time with the pen of my graphic tablet. All the other times I opened up a new file in Photoshop which I thought was big enough to cover the mugs, stickers, cards and whatever. Now I know that working with the guide files enables me much more to fit the design to the object in mind – this time a sticker which can be easily used as a bookplate.
I even can imagine myself to try to design a binder, doing it with the guide file. I myself love pretty binders (and I hate the ones we have in the office – just those plain white and black Leitz binders), so I think it could be really fun to have a go with them. So, off to new adventures then!
I love to read real books, and I love to put bookmarks between the pages. Bookshops offer wonderful bookmarks, but I wanted to design my own bookmarks, either for me or to give them away as a present.
Zazzle does not offer a proper bookmark template. Most of the people there use the rather tiny business card template, but I was not very happy with that. My favorite books are the big and heavy ones, and I could see the tiny bookmarks getti9ng lost in them.
So I asked some very experienced Zazzlers (a wonderful group of helpful and supportive people on Facebook) and I did a research on Zazzle’s marketplace (for non-Zazzlers: That’s the webpage where the products are shown) and I found three additional ways of creating a bookmark:
- Bookmarks based on the rack card template. They are big enough, but who wants 50 bookmarks at one time? And 50 bookmarks with the same design? Not me!
- Bookmarks based on the note card template. Well, you’ve got the two bookmarks on the front if you cut the front page, but what about the back page?
- Bookmarks based on the postcard template.
I decided to have a go with the postcard template, and here they are, my first bookmarks done this rather special way:
Yesterday I met a friend, and I showed this card to her. I just wanted to show her what I was doing on Zazzle. I was very pleased when she said that the card was beautiful and that she would like to have it –and some more!–for her cards collection. So I sold the card to her and will order some more.
Probably she would not have bought it online. She could take the card in her hand, feel the good quality of the paper and make sure that the colors were natural.
As a consequence I will order some of my cards from Zazzle in order to show them to people or even to sell them.
Taking photographs and uploading them to Flickr where they can be seen worldwide is one thing. In the beginning it was not easy for me and took some courage, but now it is nothing extraordinary.
Selecting photos for Zazzle products has been very difficult for me in the beginning. Would they be good enough to be shown on mugs and mousepads, bags and cards? I try to select them very carefully. Not every photo that I present on my Flickr account can be used for creating a Zazzle item.
And now I really took my heart in my hands and made the big jump – I selected one of my pastel paintings for Zazzle. Here it is:
Once a week I go through the photos on my hard disk and select a new one to upload on my Zazzle account. This time I was looking for photos of buildings.
I uploaded a photo of the Deutscher Dom on the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin and created a postcard out of it. Here it is:
Yes, I am a shop owner now (sounds of trumpets, please). Umm, not really, of course. Not of a brick and mortar shop somewhere in Kreuzberg, but of a virtual shop somewhere in the wide world of Zazzle where I am offering some nice products with some very nice photo shots on it. (I would not dare to brag about them if I hadn’t got some very encouraging and motivating feedback on them)
She who owns a shop hasn’t only to create products, she also wants to sell them. That’s the difficult part, at least for me.
Creating products – that means selecting my best photos and deciding which would look good on a mug, a mousepad, a card or a sticker. I ask myself if I would buy the product myself, and if the answer is yes, I create it and put it up for sale.
For sale, yes, and here comes the difficult part. I have to promote it. I have to convince other people that they should buy it. (have to buy it!) This is somewhat difficult for a person who has been fighting to gain self-confidence for most of her life. I have been brought up with “One does not talk about herself,” or “modesty is good for a girl”.
It took years for me to believe other people when they complimented me on something I did. The internet played a big part to make me change my mind and to get confidence – my photos on Flickr, and most of all this blog here and the community around it – kudos to you, my readers!
But in spite of all that I still am not good in promoting myself. However, I keep on trying and learning. And so (sounds of trumpets again) I present to you my Squidoo page with a selection of my Zazzle products: First steps into the Zazzle World
Last weekend I installed my new Photoshop Elements 8. I don’t know why, but I am always a bit afraid of installing new software on my laptop, but everything was nice and easy. And of course I had to try it out.
Normally I put the results of my photo processing activities on flickr, but somehow my inner creator told me to do some zazzling. “What’s that”, you may ask. Well, zazzle.com is an online platform on which you can put your photos on mugs, mousepads, postcards, greeting cards, stickers, magnets and other things, and then offer those products for sale.
Some time ago I had created my first greeting card, and now I’ve added some more products. It is really fun. Searching for the proper image and enhancing that takes most of the time. Uploading it and putting it on a range of products is the result of half an hour (including the time you need to think about which product you like to design – for example there are different kind of bags to chose from).
For me, the fun I have while creating the objects is the main reason for zazzling. Of course I won’t cry if somebody decides to order one of my postcards, bags or magnets…