Art or Photography sales

Date: Thu Nov 01 2007
Suppose you're an artist or photographer and you produce imagry. There are several existing ways of earning an income from that imagry, but what about directly earning income through a web site?

Here's the model:

  • The public at large visits your web site and sees all the pretty pictures you've made.
  • Some portion of them become ... purchasers ... in that they want to buy copies of your artwork to hang on their walls.
  • You create artwork and display some or all of it on your web site.
  • You arrange for taking orders off your web site, and order fulfillment to handle shipping the artwork to your customers.

There are several ways to achieve the last point, taking orders and order fulfillment. The method you choose will then impact the sort of technology required to run your web site.

Produce and ship the artwork yourself

Suppose your artwork is entirely unique like welded sculptures or restored antiques that you dress up in funky ways? These are unique objects. You can't send off instructions to a factory to make a few thousand of the things, you can only make them yourself. So, then what?

You need shopping cart and catalog software on your web site. You need to be able to take credit cards for payment. You need to become familiar with UPS, FedEx, DHL or other shippers.

Cafe Press to handle production and fulfillment

Cafe Press offers a very interesting and low-maintanence option for selling a variety of products. Their service is to offer several products from T-Shirts and other clothing, to posters, to coffee mugs, and more (including, coming soon, U.S. Postage Stamps). You can customize the products with your own artwork, build a web site containing these customized products, then sit back and watch the money roll in.

Well, it's not quite that easy, but that's the idea they promote. And it is pretty easy, just don't expect to get ultra-rich unless you do some promotional legwork.

The process is

  • You design artwork to be printed onto products (clothing, housewares, etc)
  • You upload the artwork to their web site
  • You select a set of products, and you set your own prices
  • From there Cafe Press operates an online store, taking and fulfilling orders.

You can do it with a "free" version of the web site. But you have little flexibility with that. For $6.95 per month you can have a fancier site, that gets higher priority listing on Cafe Press's web site, and which you can customize with a lot of freedom.

Design and Sell Merchandise Online for Free