Yesterday I was poking around Cafepress and decided to upload some of images in order to create a store that houses a few limited edition products.
The reasons for doing this? Apart from the obvious of selling some things, as I have mentioned before next year I will be teaching a course to visual art students which goes under the title of Working the Web. Apart from students designing their own site and examining online practices that will assist them in their professional life, this course introduces ecommerce for visual artists. So I am in the process of exploring a number of easy options that are available. Options that are easy to set up, manage and are suitable for visual artists to use as part of their professional life. So this cafepress store is an experiment.
Another key reason is that it looked to be particularly easy way to set up a newsletter. I know this sounds a bit odd but one of the benefits of a having a store with cafepress is that you can also run a newsletter. Now it’s up to you what you fill the newsletter with, so you can use it announce anything you want. Since I signed up for the free account I thought this was not a bad deal at all.
Cafepress will host the newsletter for you so I set a subscription service up thinking that I can use it as a general newsletter. Often I have thought that it would be a good idea if I ran one and a good few readers have asked for one. I have been just a little lazy but if you think about it a newsletter makes sense. I have run a number of challenges such as the Bags of Fun challenge and Katrina survivor fundraisers like the All that Jazz Quilts and next year I will run the Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge so a newsletter would be handy to spread the word.
For those who are interested in CaféPress within minutes I had opened a store. The time consuming aspect was preparing images at a suitable resolution to be printed on various products. Within a couple of hours I had a basic store front up with something to sell. I spent more time reading things like user agreements and privacy policies than I did setting up the store.
Since this is an experiment I chose a free account. The upside of this is that I can try this way of working out without having to pay out anything. This is ideal for students and anyone on a tight income and lets face it most people in the visual arts are. The downside is that I can only have one product type at any one time.
I started off with spiral bound journals thinking that the size would be ideal for stitchers either as a visual journal or a notebook. They are 5×8 with 80 sheets of paper, which makes them not too heavy to carry around. Since I have found the best way to catch ideas is to carry a notebook of sorts around with me I thought others would find this size note book appealing too. The pages are unlined so it makes it ideal to quickly sketch out an idea. The glossy cover has an image of my stitching on it. I could have developed a whole range of reasonably priced journals but since I am on the free account I could only put up one.
Then I thought that people might like some postcards and greeting cards. They come in multiples of the same image. I am not sure how these will go because to Australian eyes they look expensive but they are an obvious product to try out.
Finally I saw the coffee cups and since I write this blog every morning to sound of slurping coffee for fun I loaded an image that was the right size to wrap around a mug. You never know I might earn enough to buy myself one!
My café press store is here These products are going to be limited edition products I am going to trial something for a month then change the images. So next month on the 5th there will be a different journal, postcards, and mug available and so on every month. I want to see if things sell, what sort of things sell and if sales come from blog related traffic or via other sources. I would also be interested in hearing about the successes and failures from anyone else in the crafting/quilting world that has used this service
Anyway that’s the news for the morning I am off to have a second cuppa!