How to Kind of Zazzle

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Creating t-shirts on Zazzle

Design on the front of the shirt I sold. The back says, ‘Nevermore.’

When I started my most recent frugal journey, I was looking for all types of ways to save and earn. One idea that I came across was Zazzle.  It’s a site where you can create t-shirt designs (or designs to go on any of their products…iPhone covers, stamps, keychains, etc.) and then get paid commission when someone purchases one. They do the manufacturing and shipping. You just design. You get to set your own royalty fee per product, too.

I jotted it down as an epic fail. I knew I wasn’t a graphic designer by any means. Months and months passed with no orders.
Then the other day something awesome happened. I got an e-mail saying someone had ordered one of my products. I made $3.04 the other day, guys! It’s not a lot at all, but getting paid for something I had completely forgotten about makes me real happy.
Well, I haven’t gotten paid yet. If I want to get paid via PayPal I have to make $50. If I want to get paid via check I need to make $100. So in all reality I may never see that money.
But it still made me feel good about myself that I created something someone wanted to purchase. I like the stuff I made, but I’m under no illusion that it’s fine art.
I don’t even think you need to be an artist to make money in this venture. I made a couple of crucial mistakes.  Maybe you can learn from them.

I didn’t mass produce.

I think I have around 15 products.  When someone’s searching amongst at least tens of thousands of products, what are the odds that they will find mine? I’m not going to do the math.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they’re VERY LOW.
So you need to mass produce your designs. One way to do this is take one design and put it on a ton of different products. Mugs, shirts, onsies, whatever.

I didn’t do any marketing.

Like zero.
This is the first time I’m mentioning to a single soul that I even tried this.
No facebook posts.
No tweets.
And then I wondered why I wasn’t selling anything…
Do you zazzle?  How has it gone for you?  Want to start trying it out?  Hope you learn from my mistakes!  :p

26 thoughts on “How to Kind of Zazzle

  1. lil desiqua

    That shirt is awesome! Edgar Allen Poe? That’s what it reminds me of. You should make some more!!

    I love “found” money like this. I did a couple mystery shops that I totally forgot about and got an email the other day regarding payment… I was so excited ha!

    1. femmefrugality

      Yes, Poe! Exactly. I think I must have been working on a school project or something around that time…it says “Nevermore” on the back. :p
      That’s awesome. I just started mystery shopping. Finding it like that is like pulling out your old coat from last winter.

  2. Modest Money

    Very cool idea. If I was more artistic I would be all over this. I wonder how viable it would be to contract a good artist to create some designs. In addition to putting the design on multiple products, I think it would help to make many slightly different variations of each design and target different keywords. Maybe take some cues from the more popular designs on the site too.

    1. femmefrugality

      If the artist were smart, and you were making profit, they would probably just upload the stuff themselves. But you never know! I love your ideas for producing more and getting more traffic to the store. These are the areas I was lacking in.

      Michelle and Miss T—you totally should! I’m sure you’ll be much more successful than my $3.04 🙂

  3. Meredith

    Go you! Who knows, at some point you may get that check?! In the meantime, fantastic that you’re giving it a go and it can’t hurt, right? 🙂

  4. ERIKA

    This sounds really really cool. I just wish I was artsy fartsy haha. I wonder if my graphic design friends have looked into this? They are so talented, I’d probably want to buy their stuff!

  5. Anthony Thompson

    This seems like a it could be a lucrative business venture. To make the big money, it would take planning, and an effective sales and marketing strategy. I’m actually going to look into Zazzle more closely. But, I’ll need to bone up on marketing.

  6. MyMoneyDesign

    Your designs are really cute! I do something similar with music on iStockphoto. Every time someone uses one of my songs for whatever, I get a few bucks. Considering I do zero marketing or effort, the +$100 or so a year I make from it is pretty remarkable!

  7. Christa

    That is such a great idea! I will have to brainstorm some designs and try this out — I love art, and if I can get paid for it, even better. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Pingback: Philosophy of Passive Income | Femme Frugality

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