Making money online: selling art

If you have ever asked yourself: Can I make money online taking pictures? The answer is yes. If, more specifically, your question is “can I, as a novice, make money taking pictures?” let this novice tell you that absolutely you can! 

Home decor has always been an important part of our self-expression. Just like choosing the perfect outfit everyday, well-curated home furnishings can say a lot about who we are as individuals. 

In this day and age, workers are increasingly working from home rather than in an office. More time at home allows people to reflect on whether or not it’s time to change out the dingy wallpaper or swap out that wall clock that hasn’t even had functioning batteries since April. Big box stores are always an option to buy replacements. But like I said, furnishings can make a statement and “Clearance – 50% off” isn’t the statement most people want to portray. That’s where Redbubble and Society6 come in. These two companies allow creatives to upload files of their artwork to be turned into a wide variety of home goods. Coffee mugs, beach towels, framed prints, coasters, and spiral notebooks are just some examples of the items that could all bear your unique design. There’s no shipping or mailing to worry about, Redbubble and Society6 take care of everything so all an artist needs to do is upload their files and wait for buyers.


A piece of art is shown for decoration.
Here’s an example of the gorgeous pieces you can find on Society6 and Redbubble. This may have even been the product of yours truly 🙂

Now onto my experiences on the two platforms and where I think they excel or could use some improvement. 

Redbubble (RB)

Pros

  • The analytics dashboard they have is great. Creators can even link to Google Analytics to see what is driving traffic to their shop.
  • RB does more staging of their products compared to Society6. RB shows an item along with other home furnishings where as Society6 only shows what the product will look like without a potential buyer being able to envision how it might look in a home.

Con

  • The item selection is more limited than Society6. Society6 has more furnishings (bar stools, patio chairs, etc.) than Redbubble.
Photo shows a picture of art (a photo) on a desk to show how the art may look inside someone's home
An example of how Redbubble stages their products.

Society6

Pro

There is a wider variety of products for buyers, as I mentioned above – including more furniture which has a higher profit margin than smaller items like stationary cards or stickers. 

Con:

There is no analytics page (that I can find). So if you’re running a lot of marketing campaigns to drive traffic to your Society6 shop, you won’t be able to see where viewers are coming from like you can with Redbubble. 


How can I get started?

You’ll need a photo-taking device of some sort and a method to transfer said photos onto a computer (neither Redbubble nor Society6 has the functionality to add artwork via their apps so you’ll need access to their desktop sites). You’ll also need access to software to edit your photos. I use GIMP (it’s completely free – but be sure to donate to the developers to show your appreciation for such a great product). Adobe Photoshop is also another option.

You’ll need to edit your photos because different products require different photo resolutions to ensure the best possible quality. The dimensions needed for a sticker are different than for a full size comforter.

I’d love to hear your experience with either selling on Society6 or Redbubble, or any other platform for independent artists! And if you have any questions on how to get started on these platforms, don’t hesitate to reach out.

— J