Over the last four issues, I covered the steps of working with a Content Management System called WordPress in order to start a free – or inexpensive – website for yourself or your arts organization. And I outlined how to get started with e-commerce with that site to sell your artwork for yourself or for your organization.
There is another aspect to selling artwork on the web that could be a personal sales or organizational fundraiser angle for you: what about selling art work “branded” products to benefit yourself or your organization through your website?
A “branded” product is a T-shirt or a mug or a shopping bag with art of your own or art that represents your organization. If you take a look around your home or office, chances are you will see lots in your kitchen, closet and on your walls.
There are many businesses on the web that produce “on demand” products with your artwork and their items. One demand means that those companies don’t produce anything ahead of time; they wait for an order for your T-shirts or cards to come in, and produce it right then and ship it for you.
Cafepress is one of the most popular businesses on the web that do this, while Zazzle is also a popular company with thousands of products. Check each of those websites for the range of products you can have printed with your artwork, your logo, or any combination to give away or sell to promote yourself.
You’ll need to open an account with them, choose items, upload artwork and set up your store. And it’s a good idea to order one of each product yourself to check quality and colors before going public, be it coffee mugs, t-shirts or cards.
And because both Zazzle and Cafepress can supported by WordPress “plugins” – free add-ons to WordPress – you can embed a Zazzle or Cafepress store right in your WordPress site. That means people can shop right from your website and not leave it, even when they check out.
CafePress and Zazzle work well, but be sure and look locally before you go with either. Check for T-shirt and printing shops in your town; they can do the work for you and you won’t pay a commission to CafePress or Zazzle. And by shipping yourself, you will be able to include brochures and other personal touches in the package and keep an eye on product quality, too. Or, you could do a combination of both: Cafepress and Zazzle will have some products not available locally.
And remember: if you use someone else’s artwork on products, be sure to get a MOU or contract with the artist (not my area of expertise) for the use of the art. You may need to pay for the use of the art. And include the copyright symbol, too, on products.