It was time to branch out and make more moolah. As a one man band artist creating art, selling it, shipping it, designing and maintaining a website, plus buying all the materials and services making up this enterprise, I found the idea of print on demand services very appealing. Let THEM do all the work for a change. After uploading my images, all I’d have to do was sit back and collect cash for prints and products sold, produced and shipped by someone else.

It sounded great — except for the low percentage of sales paid to artists. But advantages included maintaining zero product inventory, expending minimal effort on my part and saving valuable time for creating more art.

I decided on trying two separate services — one for producing products but not prints utilizing the photo art I feature on patalexanderphotart.com and one for producing prints and products on a more playful note leaning toward my graphic design background. For these light-hearted designs, I chose Society6 as my first try-out project where I’d be able to create my own shop selling not only canvas prints but products like iPhone cases, tote bags, throw pillows, t-shirts, laptop cases, stationery cards, even shower curtains and duvet covers. Earlier I’d had a few questions and Society6 had replied promptly, courteously and helpfully — meaning I wasn’t shunted off to check so called  “Help” pages that never have the information you need and where many thinly staffed, not-so-smart companies try to get rid of you pronto.

Uploading  the images for so many different products took more time than I’d estimated. The dimensions and proportions changed so radically that additional work was needed to turn square images into rectangular ones.

It also became quickly clear that Society6 artists needed to link their art products with both their own and social sites if they wanted to make decent sales. Not only are there a zillion artists on Society6, some it seems turning out a new image every second, but chances of art from new artists being featured on the main pages of the Society6 Shop are mighty slim. (So far about 6 of my images have attained this distinction, but I’ve never actually been able to  locate them there.) At the beginning I didn’t think it was such a hot idea to confuse Pat Alexander Photo Art followers with these whimsical new images so different from the style usually associated with my work. Happily though I had chosen a shop name, Alexander Studio, that could loosely tie my work together in case I changed my mind about linking.

Colorful cats

Cats and Cream

And change my mind I did. On Google+, I featured a few test images in the Home Decor community to gauge their appeal. “Cats and Cream” was an immediate hit. Cats in fact were lucky for me from the start. Though I’d read that artists couldn’t expect to make a sale for months until they had at least 100 products in their Society6 Shop, I sold two totes of “Blueberry Cats” to a cat lover In only my second week.

As for future sales — they’re not going to pour in overnight. Will Society6 work for me? Stay tuned.

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