Ever needed to focus your attention with a meditation Mandala? Well, I do. My last post was October 2015 and since then I’ve moved. In November to be exactly. That meant that since October not much focus was put on my online money making business. And that has to change.
Don’t get me wrong, I reached a very major goal, buying an appartment and and moving to the new address. And sales in November and December were very good. So I shouldn’t complain.
But this is a new year and a new goal has to be set. Sales this month are sluggish and half way this year I want to double my sales. That means more blog posts and more designs. And a better upkeep of the stores I own. For instance I added a new Japanese Mon and Kamon store to my Dutch Spreadshirt site. I called it Dejima.
If you do meditation, one way to focus your attention is by using a meditation Mandala. Don’t ask me how, but I like the designs of Mandala’s. I started with a simple and geometric one.
My Haida Formline designs keep selling well and I added a new one which was waiting to be finished for months. It is a theme of my own as is the design. A sea otter chasing a salmon. Prey and predator in a Yin and Yang symbol.
Islamic geometric design keep popping into my head. I do want to make more of them. They look pretty and they are so easy to apply on products. This is a Moroccan design from a picture of tiles.
Doubling my sales by July this year is ambitious together with my day job. If I manage then I know I’m on the right track. A good resolution for 2016.
The output of new designs is low last months due to a moving house project, but I got some Shogunate and Ottoman empire designs to show. Firstly, I have two new Japanese kamon designs. On is fictional and the other is real.
I start of with the Hattori mon. It is a clan mon from the Shogun Total War game, although it is a little bit based on Japanese history. It’s a fictional clan based on a famous Japanese samurai and ninja Hattori Hanzou. I liked the Total War PC games a lot, in my opinion one of the best strategy games for PC. I bought the Shogun 2 verion some years ago and I thought “why not use one of the mon from the game”. This version is gold texture on black, but I’ve got also the game colors red on dark grey.
The second one is the kamon of the Inoue samurai clan. This japanese clan came to prominence during kamakura and edo period. The kamon consists of feathers groups in a cirkel. I used a gold texture on a black background in thid example.
When I started with my little business I created a couple Ottoman Empire designs. Most of them are meant for patterns with tiling. But you can use a single tile as a stand alone illustration. I did sold some products this way, but I never used on as many Zazzle products as possible.
Now I’m using templates in Zazzle, I can create products in large batches. A couple of Ottoman designs are revisited and tweaked for processing this way. There a other designs I can use the same trick on, but that is for the future. But first these three.
Updating tags and description of old products can be boring, so I thought it time to add a Bishamon pattern and a Koinobori scale design. These are two traditional Japanese designs you find in different variations.
First the Bishamon design. Its peculiar trianle patterns is said to be derived of the Buddhist deity, Bishamon. For me it makes a very pleasing tile pattern. I will try different colors and see what works best. Mostly I reuse colors of other Japanese which I sold earlier.
If you ever visit Japan you will notice those windsocks in the shape of a fish, also named Koinobori. Most of its body is covered in fish scale shapes. I made some time ago a Koinobori scale design and I sold a couple of products. By chance I came upon another version of a Koinobori scale and I liked it a lot. Primarily because it was a type of Delft ware blue on a white background. Also the line work was better than the Koinobori scale design I made earlier. An example on an Apple iPhone 6 case.
A small remark about the Zazzle marketplace search update earlier this year. I updated a lot of tags and expanded the descriptions. It is still unclear if it had any effect. The designs which didn’t moved stil don’t show any sign of sales. On the whole, Februari was dismally slow, but March made up a lot. Have already had some sales for April, but it looks my sales are flat lining for now.
I haven’t added much new designs to my store lately, but I managed to add a kamon with golden waves and a Zazzle Teddy Bear. Most work I did last couple of months went into recycling old designs to new products. This is an easy way to boost the amout of products without spending too much time.
First new design I want to show of is a pattern. It’s a yellow and orange flower on a light brown background. It has a typical Southern France feel to it.
Golden waves kamon
Next in line is a new Japanese Kamon design. It’s stylized wave design and this time I use a different gold texture. Brushed gold in stead of the sparkly deep yellow gold I used in all the previous design. The old “gold” designs always did pretty well and I’m curious how the more modest brushed gold texture is going to do. Personally I thibk it is an improvement.
Zazzle Teddy Bear5>
It was about time to add a more funny cartoony image. I found some nice images of teddy bears and I created a vector image. I always think my cartoons are done well, but it is a wild guess whether the products will sell. Here is my first Zazzle Teddy Bear:
Pinterest iPhone 6 board
Zazzle has a wide range of cases for phones and tablets, for instance for the iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, Droid, Kindle, etc. Apple recently released their iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+. Which means Zazzle offered a new range of cases begging to be sold. I thought I could make a board on Pinterest and display all the designs I put on the iPhone 6 cases. And also I could show other Zazzlers designs I like and make some affiliate money in the process. It’s an experiment and I hope it’ll work.
I’ve finally started making my own Haida Formline art, the first one is called the Haida Weeping Skull. Besides Haida art I made a series of new patterns. But first Haida Formline. Copying from the web and recreating copied designs isn’t very satisfying and therefor I decided to make my own Haida Formline designs. I watched the tutorials, from for instance Steve Brown, and penciled down some formline. I figured a frontal face would be an easy beginning and I wanted to do something with a skull since I believe not many used this subject. The process went remarkedly well and I’m quite pleased with the result. I present to you the Haida Weeping Skull:
My pattern shop is getting fuller by the week. Some old designs from the past are applied to a whole new bunch of products of Zazzle. And I found a lot of really good examples on the web which I want to use as patterns. The new patterns are pretty simple and I’ll try maybe ten or so in order to see if they make an impact. Patterns always are a bit of a gamble. These four are on sale in my shop right now:
One particular old design I want to mention is my houndtooth weaving pattern. I updated the design to the look and feel I see in fashion today. To my surprise after only two day on sale I already sold a product with, that’s my fastest sale to date. How a small change can make a big difference.
On my Pinterest page I started a little experiment. With a lot of hype Apple introduced their newest phone, the iPhone 6. What if I made a Pinterest board just dedicated to Apple iPhone 6 cases? Could it help me with any sales? I don’t really sell much cases, whether it is Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Motorola Droid RAZR or Amazon Kindle. Maybe this Pinterest board can generate some traffic.
Recently I’v come to a surprising conclusion that illustrations sell better than patterns. It’s been a while since I posted a blog, October and November were rather busy. But I didn’t sit on my hands. I did some research on my sales to see what actually sells best. I made a lot of patterns, but also illustrations like Japanese mons or Haida art animals. Patterns go well on iPad and Kindle cases and the like. But cases can be quiet expensive.
Zazzle allows you to download an Excel-sheet with al your sales. My sales I categorized in pattern and illustrations. More than 90% of my sales were products with an illustration as a design. Conclusion: illustrations sell better than patterns. Action: make more illustrations. As I mentioned I created some desigs based on Japanese kamons. This is a sample:
This new insight urged me to visit my older designs of illustration and put them on the new products. Zazzle now has gift boxes for sale, ideal for a single illustraion.
It’s a bit early to declare my conclusion correct. Anyway, sales are picking up. November brough me 10 times more dollars than an average month in 2012 or 2011. That could be due to the amount of patterns I created the last two momths. They may help my store and Zazzle products to be found more easily. Mayby the patterns will take off some months later. But for now I’m happy with the increased sales. And I will keep a close look on what product and designs sell or don’t.
A page is added with some great posters in a vintage retro space art theme. I try to find at least 50 good ones, because Zazzle is a numbers game. You probably heard that often. It is all about getting found. Either by having a lot of products designed by yourself. Or promoting a big bunch of very good designs made by others and making money as an affiliate.
When I started with Zazzle I was thinking in tens of products with a design. Later I realized this wasn’t enough, sales were and still are very sporadic. End of 2012 I set a goal of 400 products. That really didn’t help much. Now I’m convinced I have to think in the thousends. Which means heavy use of templates in Zazzle in order to get a 100 products published in one go.
Vintage retro space art
For the affiliate program I want to create a couple of page of designs I like. My guess is that I can get away with about 500 designs of other people on this website, maybe a thousend. Any more and people will overlook most of them anyhow. My second page has a vintage retro space art theme. I’ll try to increase the number up to a 100.
Barcelona tile pattern
last week I also finished a new Barcelona tile design. Again I think it succeeded pretty well. I was able to publish about 80 products in one go, so I still have to work on my templates. It is still far behind the numbers succesfull Zazzle sellers have published. They count in the tens of thousands. Of one person I knows she’s working full time on her Zazzle store. Every day one design, put on about a hundred products.
My production of designs and products has increased considerably and the affilliate link pages have begun. Next project will be Pinterest. To showcase my designs and to promote other people designs.
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.