Tag Archives: amazon

Will my Redbubble shop be a success?

I heard good reviews about Redbubble. So, in januari I pulled the trigger and opened my own Redbubble shop. My attitude is not to be on to many Print-On-Demand platform. It will cause too much maintenance which can’t be justified by the meager sales you get. So why start another shop then?

Redbubble shop

There is a good reason to look around for successful POD platforms. Last two month sales were really slow, especially Amazon Merch is doing poorly. I noticed that other platform will pick up the slack and prevent my royaties incom from a total collaps.

Adding a new POD platform with a good track record can provide income when other platforms are doing poorly. So I picked Redbubble as my new experiment. Since I have the designs already for ready use, it didn’t take me long to get a shop up and running. Seven designs to start with, and januari showed sales from the get-go. As did februari, mostly stickers but an easy income stream for very little work.

Stickers are popular items that Redbubble sells a lot. I expanded the number of designs from 7 to 37 and made sure that at least the stickers were well designed. That should do the trick, right?

Alas, in march I sold nothing and also in april up-to this day. So, why did I go from a great start to a total collaps of sales? Perhaps poor ranking of my design in the Redbubble search has to do with it. For instance my Haida art design are ranking badly, even though many designs in the search result aren’t Haida art at all!

I think Redbubble is still a good bet, I only need to promote the shop better. First I made a proper banner in order beautify the shop as seen in the image above. On Pinterest I made a board with all the Redbubble stickers, since stickers is a big seller. And I need to complete my Redbubble profile better, linking to my social media accounts might give me more traffic. Posting on social media is a must if I want traffic to my merchandize. Let’s see how my shop will fare.

Your Amazon Merch designs will be deleted

Your Amazon Merch designs will be deleted and that is a good thing. Last year I started with Amazon Merch, a new print on demand platform. Since Amazon has more than sixty million Amazon Prime account and that makes Amazon Merch a great opportunity. And I wasn’t the only one who thought that way.

Amazon got swamped with Amazon Merch accounts who produced more than a million designs. Amazon got problems fulfilling a flood of orders and the huge amount of designs made searching by Amazon Prime customers a hassle. Amazon needed to react and did so in a brutish manner. But that can be a good thing for serious sellers.

So, I decided to make a Youtube video about this issue. Yes, I make video’s now also.

Struggling curating stale products in Zazzle shops

At the moment I’m struggling curating my stale products in all of my Zazzle shops. Zazzle itself made changes in its policy regarding stale product. Not anymore six months without views and sales, but a generous fifteen months.

Zazzle had quite some trouble to get the views count fixed, daily counts were useless and counts over longer periods not quite accurate. I depended on views per 180 days and how many pages of products acutal views I would get. This was my measure of success of curating my products. Alas, Zazzle changed the view function completely.

This means there is only one reliable measure for long periods and that is earned royalties. I still intend to double my royalties per six months. The day job is stressing me out and at the moment all I do is curating and culling my products. But, although August should be a slow month I do see a healthy sale. I might get a doubling in August compared to December and Januari. My Zazzle sales are doing remarkedly well and I think all that struggling curating is paying off.

Another factor is that I started selling via Amazon Merch, a possibility I heard on one of the US resellers podcasts. Amazon Merch is a print on demand service which offers two type of shirts in several colors. At first you can upload designs up to 25 shirts. With a healthy stock of designs it take me little effort With millions of paying Prime Amazon customers sales are already good. Although this Amazon service is basic, I have high hopes. I migh double by royalties again at the end of the year. There is no Amazon shop but this link will get you to one of my products.

I also tried to make something of my Cafepress shop. Well, I created a new one. A friend of my who also dabbles with print on demand showed how he organised his products, one shop per one theme. And not like me every theme of design in one big shop. So I created a new shop dedicated to just Haida designs. This is an example of a product.

struggling curating

When creating the Cafepress shop I noticed that it is not mobile friendly and responsive at all. Only the Cafepress marketplace is up to date. I tried to make the crummy seller webshop template responsive, but the underlying is simply too old and outdated. I gave up and leave the shop as is, only suitable for PC and laptops. No wonder Cafepress is doing so poorly as a company. But it’ll be an interesting experiment.

How to deal with a noisy anti social neighbour

Surely many of you have once in your life to deal with the question: “How to deal with a noisy anti social neighbour?”. And so have I. I’ve been living in my appartement for more than twenty three years. It is a small appartment building of six households. Not always the relationship with a neighbour was perfect, but with a bit of talk we were always able to get along.

You must know, the appartments are goverenment subsidized. Over 30% of homes in the Netherlands are subsidized, an OECD record. Last couple of years the government started to allow extra increases in rents for those housholds who earn average or more and are renting a subsidized house. Now, in subsidized housing you don’t get the upper crust of society, but as a result of this policy change two good and decent neighbours left and bought a house somewhere else in the city.

They were replaced by less than stellar neighbours. “Now, now, be tolerant!”. As I said befor a bit of talk works miracles. Unfortunately the young man who moved in next to me isn’t very susceptible to reason. He thinks his appertment is his “crib” and rules are for losers. Well, he doesn’t say that but his action speek volumes. Loud music during the day, shouting and talking deep in the night with his mates. And occasionally extremely loud parties well into the morning.

One gets used to everyting. But not able to sleep because the neighbour thinks himself a very cool hipster who needs to entertain his “bros” on a Monday night is something which gets annoying very quickly. Especially if one has to work the next day. I’ve talked to him at lease six times about the the noise he’s producing. But alas, he is just stonewalling me with a fake jolly and upbeat demeanor.

So, the neighbour has zero percent interest in the other dwellers of the building. Fair enough, he’s an immature dick and an anti social neighbour. I can handle the noise during the day. At night I need to sleep though. I was looking for a solution and lo and behold there is something like ear plugs for sleeping. Last year I have used them a couple of times and they work like a charm. If think get really bad at night I pop them in and I’m done.

I accepted this neighbour as he is and they sleeping ear plugs are an excellent backup plan. But this can’t go on for ever. There is a silver lining to this gloomy story. I too will soon be a home owner. Last december 2014 I decided to look for a property. And in about a month I’ll move to my own appertment. No more random politically motivated rent hikes and no more dubious neighbours. And I will talk about my new situation if the future for sure.

Setting up a Cafepress shop alongside Zazzle

Years ago I set up a Cafepress shop for the Dutch Mars Society. Cafepress was the place to go for print-on-demand t-shirts. I always found the user interface unfriendly and difficult. Soon after I discovered Zazzle and was impressed how Zazzle implemented their user interface. I left the Cafepress shop for what it was and moved on to Zazzle.

Nevertheless I’m in the business of selling digital design, which means I have to explore every possibility for selling my stuff. Over the years I have collected a number of images and it would be a shame not fully exploit them. So I gave a Cafepress shop a second chance.

Fortunately Cafepress improved their website and the user interface for shop owners. Now it is easy to put a design on many products, not as cleverly done by Zazzle, but good enough. Creating a shop is easy and you have products on display in mere minutes. My Cafepress shop is of course named DigitalHomestead. And I’ve already got a few designs on display:

There are two things I don’t like about a Cafepress shop. First, most importantly, the customer can’t adjust a design on a product to his or hers liking. Which means I have to adjust the design on for instance a t-shirt myself and hope shoppers like my choice. Zazzle in this is absolutely brilliant. With Zazzle a shopper can do almost anything with the design. Scale, move, rotate etc.

The second thing is that a Cafepress shop won’t be used that much. After a query Cafepress will direct buyers to their own market-place where a shopper can purchase your product. Only, at the low commission Cafepress set as default for their market-place.

Nevertheless I want to use my design as much as possible in order to make money online. Every dollar is welcome. And a Cafepress shop will help me in this. I guess it’ll be a couple of month before a make a sale.

Barcelona tile pattern for Zazzle merchandise

I’ve added a new Barcelona tile pattern to my Zazzle account in order to create a bunch of products. It’s not the first Barelona tile pattern, but this one I explicitely show off for the first time on a website. For the purpose of selling, that is. Below is an Apple iPhone 4s case as an example, but I’ve got dozens of products with this pattern.

Most of my patterns I get from books and I redraw them in Inkscape. If you’re into patterns for products designs, a vector graphic program is essential. Especially if you need to design fo a whole range of products at Zazzle.

I’ve got a bunch of examples of Barcelona tile patterns. They pretty colorful and bright an I find them very well suited for Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy cases or the like. As you can see above, a nice clear and bright picture on a webpage.