My introduction to Print-on-Demand website began in 2015, see Unfinished Owl That seems so long ago yet it began my journey into uploading my artwork to these sites.
Let's start with the definition: A Print-on-Demand (POD )site is a place where artists and designers can do their thing and then go through a process of sending their artworks to the site where the platform has products to sell with the images on those items. The products
are then transferred to the artists' or the designer's stores where they are displayed, described, priced, then purchased. The artist/designer gets a percentage of the sales. It's that easy.
The prompt began when my daughter gave me a phone case with a small bird on the case. I loved it. She told me where she purchased it (Society6) and said, "Mom, you could do this." And I did. I did a little research on the site and started making small images in watercolor. The upload process was a bit time-consuming because the assets had to be created for each individual product and uploaded for each.
Since that time Society6 has done what many other sites have done: The upload is for two or three sizes and then they are populated into each product at once. This can then be tweaked by the artist, if necessary.
To make income in the "art world", the tradition is that you paint, or draw, or illustrate, and then find someone who sees your work and buys it, or show at a gallery and someone buys it and the gallery gets a commission, or someone approaches you because they want a pet portrait. That's where the dollars come.
Now, these sites manufacture the artwork from your designs, then post them to your "store", they sell, earnings accrue, and the funds are sent to the artist.
There are a lot of POD sites in the world. For this post, I am reviewing the three POD platforms which I use.
Disclaimer: I am an associate for each of these platforms. I will earn a small commission from any purchase at no extra cost to you. If you make a purchase, I thank you.
Society6 is my first dive into this world. When compared to other PODs, I think S6 has the artist/designer at the forefront in terms of a classier company. For background on the beginnings click this interview with co-founder, Justin Wills The Brains Behind Society6
Like its competitors, Society6 lets creators sell their designs on various products. Unlike them, it prioritizes original art over popular slogans. See artist Carrie Lyman [Lyman Creative Co.]. Carrie was featured in a Society6 blog post who satisfies her wanderlust as a digital illustrator with her art.
Society 6 Pros:
Customers have their choice of designs from the thousands of different artists who submit to Society6. They can choose to have these designs printed on a phone case, a t-shirt, or whatever else it is that they’re looking for.
Society6 is open to creators of all kinds of art. If you draw, doodle, paint, or digitally illustrate, you can capitalize on Society6.
As an artist, the site allows you to retain the rights to your art. This gives you the opportunity to post on other sites, like Fine Art America,
Unlimited image uploads.
Society6 determines how much you can make for the sale of a given item. However, for art prints, you can choose your own price.
While you won’t make a living by selling your artwork on Society6, you can, at the very least, rake in some decent spending money.
With thousands of artists on this site, your competition is heavy. An artist must post frequently and take the time to make sure each upload looks good on each product.
In order to bring in substantial money, you need to promote your products as much as possible.
Artists need to check the products carefully, as not all artwork may convert to a pleasant-looking product. There is a 30-day waiting period for sales. If the product is not to the liking of the buyer it will be canceled and the artist will not receive a commission.
(click the image below to shop)
Founded in 2006, in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia). this online company has grown big enough to have additional offices in San Francisco, California (USA).
Like Society6, Redbubble has hundreds of products and a myriad of ways to find them. A search bar will immediately get you to designs and products where you will be struck by how many options are available.
(image links broadly to Redbubble)
It seems to me that Redbubble has its sights on the products, rather than the artists. This site allows the artist to set up in bulk, that is, it makes it easy to upload and sell your designs on all the latest new products, Like other POD websites, getting customers is the hardest part of selling. Merchandise here tends to be T-shirts, stickers, device cases, and posters. In other words, I think a younger clientele. While the products are cataloged quite well, the items can be overwhelming for the average shopper.
Many of my artist friends use Redbubble. Among my favorite gals, "Belette Le Pink". I featured her in one of my Meet the Artist blog posts.
You only need to upload one jpg for each piece of art you want to sell, and Redbubble will quickly put that art on all of their products with only a small amount of tweaking needed to make the art fit properly.
Redbubble lets you completely control your products and your profit margin - you decide your prices, you pay a flat fee to Redbubble for every product sold, and what’s left is yours to keep.
You are competing with all the other artists on the Redbubble marketplace; once you send your customer to Redbubble, you are also sending that customer to every single other artist on Redbubble! There is every chance that they end up distracted by someone else’s work.
The profits are small, even for print-on-demand.
Zazzle is an American online marketplace founded in 2005. Zazzle's CEO Robert Beaver and his sons, Jeff and Bobby, focus on products that can’t be found elsewhere. The list is enormous but includes baby items, invitations, clothing and shoes, crafts and party supplies, sports toys and games, and much much more.
Many products can be customized: that is, the artist clicks an edit form, personalizing products. It makes for a very special gift, and for me, that is the true difference in this POD shop.
I will post one of my products below with a link to show you how a shopper can purchase a product that they can personalize:
Click the photo below ⬇️ to the Zazzle shop. Note the Personalize this template. The shopper can then change the name, edit, then click DONE and make the purchase.
You are your own boss
You can make money monthly
The buyer can apply personalization
Set your royalty rate
Being your own boss means you have to be accountable.
Minimum balance of $50 before payout.
The minimum royalty rate is 5%, which for some products, literally equates to pennies.
It takes some learning and time to succeed on the platform.
If you haven't tried shopping on these sites, it's worth the browse. There are some amazing artists and designers who are making passive income (doing what they like to do) and have the POD shop do the manufacturing, and the shipping, A win/win for the artist and the platform
You can find my POD shops here on my website by clicking here: Annie's POD Shops
or direct to the shops here:
See my Collections at each shop:
Sasquash Travel Mug by Sophie Corrigan
Dream VI Shower Curtain by SpaceFrogDesigns
Affiliate link. I earn a small commission if you follow this link
and purchase text apps or graphics.