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sonya

New Member
Hello! I'm happy to have found this forum; it looks like there are already some amazingly talented folks on here already. I live in Shoreline, WA (just north of Seattle), and I've started to look into displaying the photos I've taken on trips through Europe and the US. I'm hoping for advice and critiques on my work, as well as to network with other photographers.

One of my goals is to run a small side business in addition to my "day job" selling products with some of my photos. I recently set up this site to give this a try:

Dutch Harbor, Alaska: http://www.zazzle.com/sonyaseattle

Here's a sampling of some other photos from my travels (only a few of which have any marketing potential):

Germany and northern France:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonya/sets/72157600365739104/

Arizona: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonya/sets/72157594380692037/

Germany, the Mosel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonya/sets/414204/

Belgium: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonya/sets/400630/

Scotland: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sonya/sets/4737/

Anyway, it's great to "meet" you all; I hope to exchange views with you soon!

Sonya
 

BobH

Administrator
Staff member
Sonya,

First of all, welcome to the forum and thanks for signing up! You've been to some really neat places and have some interesting photos.

I'm curious about the zazzle site you've set up. A couple questions come to mind.

First, and most obvious, is whether or not it's worth the hassle. I'm not asking you to tell us how much you're making, but just in general terms, do you make money from it, and if so, it is reasonable compensation for the work you put into it?

To be honest, I have very rarely talked to anyone with a store like that one or cafe press etc that has felt it was worth the trouble.

Ok, so let's say you are making money, how's the quality? I notice you have photo T-shirts, how do they look? I'm curious as to how well the images translates to fabric.

What about the more traditional stuff? Mousepads, cups, that sort of thing? Have you ever seen one that they've done? If so, how does it look?

Thanks,
Bob
 

sonya

New Member
Sonya,

First of all, welcome to the forum and thanks for signing up! You've been to some really neat places and have some interesting photos.

I'm curious about the zazzle site you've set up. A couple questions come to mind.

First, and most obvious, is whether or not it's worth the hassle. I'm not asking you to tell us how much you're making, but just in general terms, do you make money from it, and if so, it is reasonable compensation for the work you put into it?

To be honest, I have very rarely talked to anyone with a store like that one or cafe press etc that has felt it was worth the trouble.

Ok, so let's say you are making money, how's the quality? I notice you have photo T-shirts, how do they look? I'm curious as to how well the images translates to fabric.

What about the more traditional stuff? Mousepads, cups, that sort of thing? Have you ever seen one that they've done? If so, how does it look?

Thanks,
Bob
Hi Bob, and thanks for the welcome.

I can't really answer many of your questions about Zazzle. I literally set the site up three days ago; so far all I've done is what you see, and have ordered a poster to check the quality.

My experience with two similar sites, RedBubble and CafePress, may give you some idea of what I expect, though.

I set up this site on Redbubble to sell greeting cards with my illustrations. I did this only because I have a good friend who is a semi-pro photographer, who was interested in selling his photos on cards, and being more of an internet power-user than he is, I did some research and set up the site to see how it worked. I ordered a card and while it took a LONG time to get to me (well, just over 2 weeks, which seemed like a long time), I was really happy with the card's quality.

I also set up a CafePress site for my local off-leash dogpark group; I ordered several shirts from the site with our logo. The quality was fair but inconsistent. Printing on the dark shirts was particularly iffy, as they first underprint a white layer, which shows around the edges.

So finally, I was reading more about print-on-demand sites and thought I'd give Zazzle a try. My thinking here was that since Zazzle lets you order cards in sets, I would try having sets printed and then selling those either in person or on a site like Etsy.com. I have contacts in Dutch Harbor, which is why I thought I'd use my photos from there. Not a lot of people are selling scenic images of the area (maybe just because no one is interested!).

As to whether people make a living doing this...I'd say it's rare. I made contacts with a couple of others who have enormous "shops" on Zazzle: 3000 to 5000 different projects. Neither of them makes a living. One guy says he gets about $20 a month (!) and the other seller said she's not making a living but hopes to someday.

I don't think I'll ever be able to quit my day job doing it, but the effort to set up a shop on any of those sites is pretty minimal. My thought is I'll just set up a few and forget them. If people come across them and order something, great. If not, well; I could be doing worse things with my time. It really just took a couple of hours to set up the Zazzle site. As of having the illustration card site for less than a month; well, I've sold 3 cards for a grand profit of about $1.67. :)

So there ya go. Sorry about all that typing! Hope that answered a few of your questions.

Sonya
 

BobH

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you very much for the detailed answer. I was pretty sure nobody was making a living from this, I've done enough internet stuff to know it's very rare to actually produce enough money to do much of anything with, let alone live off of. Sure, a few folks start a site and get rich (Craigslist for example), but for most folks, if you're looking for income, go get a second job where you say "Do you want to Super-size those fries?", on an hourly basis you'll be much better off.

However, I'm always looking for places like that where I could make a few extra bucks to try and help pay for my sites or to offset a little bit of my "lens habit". (Always need more...)
 

sonya

New Member
Yep, I'd say the only people who can make a living selling cards etc on sites like Zazzle are those who spend more time promoting themselves than I actually spend in my cubicle at work. I know that on Etsy there are crafters who do make a living, but they're selling handmade goods, probably for more money, to a specific audience. I buy things on Etsy like soaps, lotion, that sort of thing, because I like supporting crafters in at least a small way.
 
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