What to do When Sales are Slow in Your Print on Demand Store

What to do when sales are slow print on demand stores

Hey guys!  Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on what to do when sales are slow in your Print on Demand shops and online stores.

In retail, whether online or brick and mortar, there are sales cycles.  This means that sales slow down at certain times of the year and peak during other times, like at Christmas.

It can be frustrating and confusing to go from making several sales in a month to barely any, but that is totally normal and just the reality of retail. It does not mean you’ve failed, so don’t get down!

Think about how you personally shop. What times of the year do you spend the most money and when do you save? You will most likely find this reflected in your sales.

Here you can easily see the cycle peaks and lows during the year from my Redbubble analytics:

sales cycles on print on demand online retail stores

You can see my sales peak in November and December and drop down in the spring. Then they steadily climb back up until August when people shop for Back to School.

Now this sales cycle is totally normal and something you will need to get used to and prepare for, especially if your sole income is through online retail shops.

Instead of getting frustrated and throwing in the towel, there are lots of things you can do during these low times to get your shops ready for when the sales start to rise again!

Here is a list of ideas:

  • Work on your website or blog. Start one if you haven’t yet.
  • Continue creating and adding new designs to your shops.
  • Find new ways to promote your shops. Start using Pinterest for example.
  • Grow your social media followings.
  • Go through your stores and fix or delete under-performing designs.
  • Go through your designs and update keywords.
  • Enable new products you haven’t offered before.
  • Do a brand overhaul: new logo, banners, etc.
  • Promote sales. If your sales are slow, so are the websites you sell on and they will often have really good sales during slow times to get people to buy.
  • Ask others for feedback. You could ask friends or other Print on Demand artists for feedback on your stores and/or designs.
  • Network. Find and join support groups with like-minded individuals. There are lots of Print on Demand groups on Facebook.
  • Learn new business and marketing strategies through YouTube or other sources.
  • Take a break. Sometimes we need some time away to replenish our creativity.  Go on a holiday or spend time with friends and family and come back with new ideas.
  • Open a new store. There are lots of print on demand sites out there, perhaps there is one more suited to your style. Here is a list of Print on Demand sites to try.
  • And most importantly don’t give up!

Looking for more? You can find lots more tips about selling your art through Print on Demand websites in the resources section of my blog.

Happy selling!

Cheers,

Julie

How to Fill Out the W-8BEN Tax Form for Print on Demand Sites

print on demand tax forms and information


Ah tax forms, one of those annoying administrative tasks we have to do to sell artwork online through Print on Demand websites. Many U.S. based Print on Demand companies, like Zazzle, require a W-8BEN tax form to be filled out and submitted in order for payments to be processed.

This form can be confusing, and if you don’t submit it or fill it out properly your royalties can be subject to a whopping 30% withholding tax!

As long as you live in a country that has an income tax treaty with the U.S. (such as Canada) you do not need to pay this withholding tax, or may have to pay a reduced withholding tax. Here is a short list of countries with tax treaties with the U.S. and their withholding amounts. A more comprehensive list can be found on the IRS website.

To get started, you will have to download the W-8BEN form from the IRS website.
Below I have provided an example of how to fill out the form as a Canadian.

how to fill out us tax withholding W-8BEN form

Things to note:

  • The SIN number (Line 6) is the same as a U.S. Social Security Number. I am assuming most countries have an equivalent personal identification number for tax purposes.
  • The ____% rate of withholding (Line 10) may differ depending on the withholding tax rate of your resident country. This is where you will use the list provided at the link above.

I hope this guide will be helpful to those of you who are getting started selling your art through Print on Demand websites and are required to submit this form.
Let me know your thoughts or questions be leaving a comment below.

Cheers!

Julie

Looking for more information about selling your art through Print on Demand sites?

Check out these posts!

How to Design for Print On Demand Websites

how to design print on demand websites

If you’re just starting out selling art and designs on Print on Demand websites it can be overwhelming!  How do you decide what kinds of designs to make?  How can you optimize your artwork for all the different Print on Demand sites?

Below I’ve compiled a list of tips to make it easier for you.  I’ve been selling my art through Print on Demand websites for over 4 years now, and I’ve learned a few things in that time.  I use Photoshop and Illustrator mainly, but these tips can work with whatever software you use.

So, read on if you need help with designing and optimizing your artwork for sale on Print on Demand sites such as Society6, Redbubble, Zazzle, Teepublic and others!

(Here is a list of 10 print on demand websites I recommend)

Designing for Print on Demand Best Practices

  • Research trends. Use Pinterest or a search engine to see what kind of art is currently trending, then use this for inspiration to create something in your own style.
  • Start with a large file size (10,000 pixels covers most products).
  • Keep your designs in layers to easily make changes or re-use elements later on.
  • Design with the products you want to sell in mind.  For example, most Print on Demand sites offer products like t-shirts, throw pillows and cell phone cases.  Keep these products in mind while you create your designs.
  • Keep images crisp (300 DPI), and colours relatively saturated (more saturated colors tend to look better when printed on fabric).
  • For drawings, use a scanner if possible (rather than photographs) and use the available settings to scan a large, high DPI image file.
  • For line drawings or black and white drawings, use Illustrator to make your lines crisp.  Check out my tutorial here for instructions.
  • Don’t up-size your artwork if possible, this leads to a pixelated fuzzy look on the final product (this is why you start with a large file size in the first place).
  • Depending on what kind of artwork you make, you may need to adjust the size or medium you use in order for them to look good on the computer. Play around.
  • Don’t use copyrighted images, text, logos or anything else, or you risk the image being taken down, or even your account being suspended.  Some sites allow “fan art” but make sure you follow all the rules.

Now that you have some designs to work with…

Optimizing your Designs for Print on Demand

  • Each website has it’s own file size and type requirements so make sure to check that before you start uploading.
  • Curate designs for each platform. Some designs might work better in different stores depending on their audience.
  • Save layers separately if you sell on Zazzle because you can layer different images and text on that particular POD site.
  • Create the same design in different colors and variations, especially once you have an idea of which designs are popular with your audience.
  • Adjust designs for individual product types. For example, use a transparent background for a t-shirt or sticker, use coloured background or make the design into a pattern for tapestries and pillows, remove text for leggings and apparel where it doesn’t work, etc.

Extra

Here are some more posts to help you sell your art online:

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful.  If you have any other ideas or questions feel free to post in the comments below!

Cheers,

Julie

Julie Erin Designs in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

green black tropical monstera leaf pattern

Hey guys! This past month I had the opportunity to travel to Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific side of Mexico.

While I was there I had some fun taking photos with my new Canon EOS Rebel SL2 DSLR camera I got for Christmas this year.

My boyfriend helped take some photos of me wearing my A-Line dress from Redbubble.

monstera tropical paradise leaf pattern dresses

See a more detailed review of my A-Line dress from Redbubble in this post.
I also photographed my Beach Mandala beach tote bag from Society6.

sunset beach mandalas tote bags

Both of these products were perfect to take on beach holiday.

woman modeling beach sunset puerto vallarta mexico

These pictures were taken on the resort we stayed at, Club Regina Puerto Vallarta near the marina.

On one of the days while I was lounging on the beautiful beach near the resort, I drew this mandala in the sand.

beach mandalas art sand ocean puerto vallarta

Another day while we were out exploring the city, I found some beautiful street art which included mandalas, so I had to stop and strike a pose!

zona romantica old town puerto vallarta art woman posing


Check out my Instagram account to see more photos from my trip!

Also take a look at my Society6 store for some more beach holiday essentials such as:

Can koozies

rainbow can cooler koozie drink holder

Beach towels

world map travel beach towels essentials


Have you traveled to Puerto Vallarta before?  If not, you really should.  It’s a beautiful place full of warm people, great food and amazing nature.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Cheers,

Julie

Yoga Mats on Society6!

trendy modern fitness workout gear

Guys, I’m really excited to announce that Society6 now has yoga mats!

ocean sunset mandala maps

I think my designs work quite well with this product. And the best part is that they are actually reasonably priced!

I’ve spent several hours over the past weeks customizing my designs to put on these mats, some were quite old so it was hard to locate the files on my computer!

light pink mandalas yoga fitness

These are so nice I might have to get one myself and then review it.

mandalas fitness workout gear


You could even combine the yoga mats with matching products to round out your fitness gear, like a tote bag or leggings!

reusable bags fitness yoga gear


These yoga mats come with a strap, are only 3.6 pounds, and are made out of latex and heavy-metal-free materials.

Check out my full yoga mat collection here.

Let me know what you think of these by leaving a comment below. Strike a pose!

Namaste,

Julie

PS – shop all my of my products here!

Painting a Mandala on my Wall

This is a video I created showing the process of painting a large mandala mural on the wall of my apartment!

mandala large scale paintings

I already had this beautiful turquoise colour on my wall so I just used silver acrylic paint for the mandala.

Before I started painting, I created a template using string, a thumb tack, and white pencil crayon which easily wiped away with a damp cloth after the paint was dry.

Some of you have asked me to explain the process of creating the template so I will attempt to describe this below.

You will need:

  • 1 thumb tack
  • string or yarn
  • pencil or pencil crayon
  • ruler

Steps:

  1. Place the thumb tack where you want the center of your mandala to be.
  2. Measure out a piece of string from the thumb tack to where you want the largest circle of your mandala to be (this will be the final size of your mandala).
  3. Cut the string and tie one end to the thumb tack, and tie the other end to the pencil crayon.
  4. Keeping the string taught, draw a circle all the way around, with the thumb tack in the center.
  5. Cut off the pencil end of the string by a few inches.
  6. Re-tie the pencil to the new end and draw another circle inside the first.
  7. Repeat the process until you get close to the thumb tack and cannot draw any more circles.
  8. Remove the tack, then use a ruler to draw lines across and diagonally from the middle.

You can use my Mandala Drawing Template as a guide for how your final template should look. Let me know if you need any more clarification!

It took me about 8 hours to complete this painting.

Check out the video and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Would you do this to your wall?

Cheers,

Julie