I get asked about this all the time.
About three and a half years ago I was getting lots of emails asking: “Where can I get an iPhone case with your artwork on it?”. “A what?” was my answer. I didn’t own a smartphone (still don’t) so this was a need that I wasn’t aware of. I replied “Sorry! I don’t sell any” to the first email, but after getting 6 or 7 emails asking the same thing, I looked into doing something about it.
After doing too much research, Society6 was the nicest-looking print-on-demand site I could find where I could offer phone cases. So I signed up, set up an account, added some artwork, and let people know (esp. the ones who emailed me) that cases were now available.
Fast forward to today, and I now make over $1000 per month from Society6. Crazy. I never would have imagined that that was possible! Hey, I'm not trying to brag, and a thousand a month may be outside the norm (although many folks make much more), but I really just want to show other artists what's possible. And very few artists seem to share their Society6 numbers so I thought I'd give you mine.
There’s lots of reasons why I sell on Society6, but here’s the main ones:
I love the clean design of the site, the way you can add a custom banner to your profile page, and the simple, strong product pages. They really let your artwork shine. It's a print-on-demand site that you are actually NOT embarrassed to send people to.
The product quality is good - really good. I wrote a review about it here.
Keepin’ it fresh
They’re always updating the site, and adding new products, but not too many. No dog bowls or golf towels.
You’re in good company
Some very accomplished artists are on the site, so it’s gotta be good. It’s nice to be on the same site as them.
Society6 often runs free worldwide shipping promotions, which is wonderful since so much of my audience is spread around the world (yay internet!). I share my free shipping promos on Twitter.
I already mentioned how profitable it can be :) As an artist, I believe in having some side income, to keep you afloat in between projects and art sales. In fact, get yourself a whole bunch of side incomes and you’ve got yourself a comfortable situation. Offering your work on a print-on-demand site, on products you feel comfortable with, is a terrific way to supplement your income.
This is worth putting on its own paragraph: Society6 pays you every month to your Paypal account, no matter how little money you made. Most other sites pay you after you’ve reach a minimum threshold, like $50 or $100. Not here... So even if you only sell one thing and make $2 in commissions, you’ll get paid out two bucks the following month. This is important, because it’s ENCOURAGING. It feels good to sell something, and it’ll give you a tiny boost to do more.
Does Society6 take away from my own shop's print sales? Maybe. But there's no way I'm going to start making my own t-shirts, phone cases and tote bags, so I feel like it compliments my own shop nicely.
So why am I sharing this? Because artists ask me about it all the time. There are other artist-focussed, print-on-demand sites you can try too, like RedBubble, Nuvango, Crated, Design by Humans, and ImageKind.
I'm also sharing this because I am genuinely & continuously excited about the possibilities for artists to make a living on the internet.
Of course, throwing your artwork up on one of these sites is not going to guarantee you riches. It can feel like your work gets lost in the crowd, like a needle in a haystack.
So, if you’re interested in knowing more about what’s worked for me, I'm putting together a guidebook, and you can sign up here to be notified when it's done.