Seller Guide for Artists: How To Be Successful on RedBubble

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RedBubble is a type of online store known as a print-on-demand store.  What this means is that artists and photographers can upload their images to RedBubble, and sell products with their designs.  Print-on-demand stores typically sell prints, home decor products, and other gifts.  These stores allow designers to sell products with their images without having to worry about maintaining inventory, handling orders, and shipping, while still being able to make money off of their designs.

This article will discuss RedBubble and give information about the store for sellers.  The topics covered are products offered, uploading interface, the dashboard, royalty rates, membership fees, promotional tools and more.


Introduction

First, a little bit about me.  I am a traditional artist who specializes in colorful animal artworks that are created with acrylic paints, pastels, and colored pencils.  I have had my RedBubble store since 2008.  The RedBubble company was founded in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia, and has since expanded to have offices in San Francisco, California and Berlin, Germany.

Patience is Key!

It is very possible to make money selling on print-on-demand stores like RedBubble.  But one thing to keep in mind is that it takes a lot of patience, time, and dedication to make your store profitable.  It takes a while to generate sales.  It can take months to get your first sale.  Unless you have a very popular and well-established brand, it can take a few years for your store to get traction and really start generating sales regularly. Having a POD store is certainly not a get rich quick scheme.

It is also important to keep in mind you are making a royalty on sales.  This means you get a percentage of each sale.  If you sell a tote bag for $20, with a 20% royalty, your earning is $4.00.  You would have to sell a lot of tote bags everyday to make a living wage! While it is theoretically possible to earn a decent income off of royalty sales alone, for most artists this is not the reality.  For the majority of sellers, the sales will generate a passive supplemental income.  If you are making $100 or more a month in royalties, you are doing pretty good!


Find Your Niche

Decide what it is you want to sell as an artist.  Some people do great graphic design and can create beautiful abstract designs which look great on home decor products.   Others, like me, create their art first, then decide which products to sell on later.  Find your niche and stick to it.  Create your own style and brand and be consistent.  I don’t recommend following trends, as these usually fade out leaving you with a store full of products that will not sell in a few months or years.

In order to be successful, you must have a large and diverse portfolio.  The more designs you have, the better.  It is a good idea to constantly be adding new artwork and designs on a regular basis.  It is also a good idea to annually evaluate your older designs, and remove the ones that are not selling at all.


Setting Up Your Store

Setting up your store on Redbubble is easy and free!  Choose your username wisely, as it will be a part of your store URL and cannot be changed later.  You can only have one store per account, so if you want multiple stores, you must sign up with a different email address.

Make sure you fill out your profile completely.  This will make your storefront look professional.  Upload a banner, a profile picture (avatar), and fill out your bio.  Make sure you add your social media accounts and website.  I recommend using the watermark feature, which can be found on the main account details section.  Make sure you add your PayPal account information so you can get your royalty payments.


Adding Products To Your Store

Gallery Board

RedBubble currently offers 53 products. Their product line includes a huge selection of apparel, wall art, cases, pillows, mugs, clocks, acrylic blocks, tote bags, greeting cards, stickers, spiral notebooks, and hardcover journal. New products are added sporadically.  They have manufacturing facilities and distribution centers around the world and they ship worldwide.

The interface to upload products is very clean and compact.  You only have to upload a single image, and then you can add it to all the products simultaneously.  They accept PNG and JPG.  File size is limited to 300MB, which is plenty.  On RedBubble, since they have fewer products, you do not need to pick and choose which products you want to sell.  You can enable or disable each product individually.  I would recommend enabling as many products as your design looks good on.  In my case, I don’t think the colorful dog paintings look good on leggings, so I disable that product for those designs.

Each product can be individually edited to better fit the product.  You can make the image larger or smaller, move it on the product, and even upload a separate file for individual products.  This is highly recommended for products like t-shirts where you want a design with transparency.  As with Zazzle, make sure your design completely covers the design area of the product.  Otherwise, there will be ugly gaps around the image and it will not look good.

Make sure the design fills the entire design area for the product completely


Adding A Title, Description and Keywords

You will need to add a title, description, keywords to each design you upload. Adding a good title, description and keywords is the most important thing you can do to have your design seen.  The title and keywords are indexed by RedBubble’s search, and the description is indexed by Google search.  Having a good title, description and keywords will allow your product to be seen on the site and on Google search.  Without these, your product might as well be invisible.

Title

The title should include four to eight words describing your design.  Be descriptive.  The title is searchable, and key words here are important.  Don’t just call it Image 1, or Abstract Design.  Be specific.  If it is a painting of a rainbow colored Siamese cat, then call the product “Colorful Rainbow Siamese Cat”.

Description

The description is not searchable on RedBubble, but it is indexed by search engines such as Google.  Having a couple of sentences describing the design in detail, along with your name, can really get your design ahead in the search results.  Tell a story about the design, your inspiration, how it was created, use descriptive words about the design itself.

Keywords

You get 50 keywords on RedBubble, so use them all!  You can use individual words, such as “Siamese”, and you can use phrases, such as “pet portrait”.  Make sure to think about the main subject of the design.  For my Siamese cat, I used the following keywords: Siamese, cat, cats, feline, pets, colorful, rainbow, psychedelic, vibrant, kitty.  This included the subject (cat, Siamese), description (colorful, psychedelic, rainbow), and related terms (cats, pets, kitty).


Setting Your Royalty Rates

You can select your own royalty percentage to anything you want. However, you want to keep in mind that your products need to be competitive with others in the marketplace.  For most products, a markup of 20% is good, as it is the default.  Wall art can be marked up more as you see fit.  The royalties are set in the Product Pricing section which can be found in your Account Details.  Each product has a royalty percentage that you can set.  Individual designs cannot have different royalty rates.


Manage your Portfolio

Manage Portfolio

In the Manage portfolio section, you can see all your designs at a glance, and see basic statistics for each one.  The speech bubble icon 💬 represents how many comments the design has received.   The dollar sign icon 💲 represents the number of times that design has sold on a product.  The heart icon ❤️ represents how many times that design has been favorited by others.  The eye icon is how many times the design has been viewed.  Evaluate your design every year and see how many sales each one has gotten.  You want to maintain a large portfolio, and I do not recommend hiding any designs unless they are outdated and have not sold at all in years.

The great thing about RedBubble is that you can reupload a design to a product.  If you get a better scan or photo, or want to have a specific design for a product, you can do this.  All you have to do is click the Edit button.  Using a single image and just moving it to fit the product will work on most products, but some products really need their own customized design.  For example, for t-shirts you do not just want to use your rectangle shaped painting.  You need to cut out the design and make it on a transparent background.  This works for the die-cut stickers too.  For the Hardcover journal and coffee mug, where the design wraps around the product, you may want to consider extending the background so that the design is not cropped too much or lopsided.

Organize Your Products Into Collections

It is a good idea to curate your designs into collections.  This makes it easier for people to find your designs, and also groups similar designs together.  Since my artwork all tends to have a similar style but with varied subjects, I use my collections to separate by subject.  For example, I have a Colorful Cat Paintings Collection, Colorful Dogs Paintings Collection, Fantasy Art, and Colorful Animals among others.


Get Your Designs Found

Adding your products to your social media accounts is one of the most important things you can do to promote your products.  Set up social media accounts, such as a Facebook artist page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and make posts about your products regularly.  If you have a Pinterest account, make a board for each product type and sections for each individual product.  Pin everything, and pin often. Join groups and pin there, too.  Pinterest is the best way to get traffic to your products, since most people go there to buy things.  Post on Twitter everyday, multiple times per day, if possible. Join Facebook groups specific for RedBubble or other POD stores and post there, too.  Make blog articles for your products on your own website.  Make sure you have links to your online stores on your website in a prominent area, such as the menu.  There are a lot of things you can do to promote your artwork and products.

RedBubble has groups you can join and enter your art.  They also have contests.  These are both good ways to get exposure on the site itself.  I also recommend installing Google Analytics to your store, so you can keep track of where your traffic is coming from.  If you notice that you get a lot of traffic from your Pinterest account, then you know you can focus on pinning more there, for example.


Keep Track of Your Sales

Keep track of your sales on a regular basis.  You need to do this to measure how successful you are, and to keep records for tax purposes.  I have an Excel spreadsheet where I copy and paste the sales into each month.  I have one sheet for each year, and divide each sheet into months, and add up the total sales for each month.  Then I can see how I am doing compared to last year.


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