Kara Stewart, photographer, artist and friend of 2 Guys, told me about “Zazzle” recently. You may ask, what the heck is Zazzle? So did I. Read on for an explanation by Kara and her experiences :
So what exactly is Zazzle? What can you do with it?
Zazzle is a POD (print on demand) company, similar to Cafe Press. Customers go to zazzle.com to buy all manner of products that art has been printed on (iPhone cases, iPad cases, iPod touch cases, Doodle speakers, mugs, binders, posters, aprons, buttons, hats, key chains, necklaces, bumper stickers, t-shirts, custom postage, Ked’s shoes, ties, magnets, pet clothing, stickers, photo sculptures, mouse pads, business cards, rack cards, labels, envelopes, greeting cards, bags, skateboards, coasters and more).
Customers also go to zazzle to create their own personalized products, and products for specific needs and events – t-shirts for family reunions, wedding/baby shower/anniversary invitations with their photos and info on them, mailings for certain events, etc.
Artists and photographers use zazzle to sell their art in all these various formats.
So as a photographer, you can create products featuring your work and sell them? Cool. How do you get started?
To get started as a shopkeeper on zazzle, you just go to zazzle.com and follow their easy directions to create a shop. Just click the Sell link at either the very top or the very bottom of the home page. Basically, to set up a store, you enter your information and choose certain preferences and then you have the basic shell of your store. You can then begin designing products with your art on them to add to your store. Zazzle has a ton of tutorials to assist, as well as a very active forum with lots of other zazzlers willing to help and lots of ‘stickies’ for new zazzlers to read through and get information.
What does it cost and how do you determine how much to price items at?
It is FREE to have a store on zazzle! Many artists prefer zazzle to other PODs because zazzle is more artist friendly in their terms and costs. As far as how to determine the price of your items, that is totally up to each person’s discretion. As you create items, one of your last step before posting them to the marketplace is to choose a royalty for the item. You can price the items as you like. One common sense way to get a ballpark is to see what other zazzlers are doing. Check out other zazzle stores or search the marketplace for the particular item you are trying to price and get a feel for what others are charging. Also check out what the tutorials and forums have to say on the topic.
Have you dealt with zazzle’s customer service? Are you satisfied with your zazzle experience?
I have ordered several items from zazzle and been pleased with the quality. I haven’t dealt directly with zazzle customer service, so I can’t speak to that. However, as I mentioned before, zazzle has ‘Zazzle university’ to get you started and answer your questions and lots of tutorials and a very helpful forum.
How has the response been to your zazzle site? What has been your most popular item(s)?
I have only been open since mid-April so I am still a zazzle noob. Zazzle is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. You have to prepare to put in a LOT of time both in creating and marketing your products and store, and in learning (watching the tutorials, reading the forums, educating yourself in both creating your products and marketing them). But so far, I have had some sales and am working for more. I really enjoy creating the products – I love to create the Keds’ shoes and ties the best because there is so much flexibility and freedom. For the shoes, for example, you choose everything about the shoe from the eyelet color to the lace and stitching colors! It really is fun. Even for the greeting cards, you get to choose the interior color of the card, the font of text, border – everything!
My most popular items so far have been my dog products – postcards and mugs. And I have also sold some mugs with a beach theme and iPad cases.
Having some experience already with zazzle, what recommendations would you have for someone just getting started with their zazzle site?
The number one thing I would recommend after setting up your shop is to watch as many tutorials as you can stand to and definitely read through the forums, especially the New to Zazzle section. This will save you a lot of questions and re-doing and hassle. Also prepare to spend some time learning. But once you create a few of some products to get a feel for it (such as mugs, postcards, or sneakers) to get a feel for it, you will love it! You’ll love the freedom of design and ability to offer your art on products just as you envision it.
I know that you host your photo website on SmugMug, which has some printing capabilities built in. When would you use SmugMug (if ever) and when zazzle?
The difference between the SmugMug products and zazzle products is that for the SmugMug products, people order say, a mug, with your image on it. But you don’t get to see the actual product or choose or design anything about it. Neither does the customer. With zazzle, you actually design the mugs the way you want them – from the size of the image on the mug, to the interior mug color, to the text font, color, to borders around the images, etc. And you can also give the customer the ability to further customize. So that is an advantage over SmugMug with products. However, that being said, I am not even offering prints or posters on zazzle at this time because I really do feel that SmugMug is definitely a photographer’s site. Their print quality on prints is beyond compare. And I don’t want to offer anything but super print quality on any of my images. zazzle does a great job on cards and postcards, magnets, etc. But I’d want SmugMug to print my frameable prints.
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Thanks for the insight Kara – it sounds like a fun and creative way to share your photography. For those amateur photogs looking for a way to monetize their hobby, this may be something to look at.
Kara’s zazzle storefront can be found here: http://www.zazzle.com/artinphotography . She has some really fun products, (click on any of the images in this post and you’ll be brought to that item in her zazzle store).
If you have any experience with zazzle or other POD (print on demand) service, please let us know. And thanks for visiting 2 Guys Photo. Posted by Ed