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A Guest post by Richard Keech.
RedBubble is a user friendly website that facilitates selling your art work, while also establishing a sense of community for artist to develop within, where they can communicate, collaborate, critique and support each other.
From the point of view as a photographer, it provides a great way to sell your photos and artwork in several mediums. It has a user friendly upload page, a simple tagging and description system, ability to set individual mark up prices, and then images are instantly available for purchase.
An important thing to know about Redbubble is that it is not a photo-sharing site suitable for dozens of holiday snaps like Flickr, it is focused towards artists sharing and selling their passion.
As mentioned above, uploading is very easy on Redbubble. After you have created an account, to upload your first work, simply click on the red button labeled “Add Your Work” on your My Bubble page and follow the prompts. There are very easy questions about what title to give the artwork, 10 main words for tagging (more details later) the media (i.e photography), and product selection. You will also have the choice to set the mark up ranging anywhere between 0 and 999.999% – with the standard set at 20%. At the end you can choose to add the image to groups.
Redbubble allows you to apply up to 10 tags to each of your works, which are used to assist searching for artworks on the site.
Redbubble suggests that a tag should be a descriptive word or phrase about the work each separated by commas i.e. a photo of the Rocky Mountains at sunset may have obvious tags (mountains, sunset, Rocky mountains), dominant colours (green, brown, blue), genres of art work (landscape), seasons etc. Importantly the tags should be of the most dominant features as the buyer will search for words in tags, and will purchase the image most relevant to their search.
The product range on Redbubble is directed more towards the fine art end of products with a smattering of pop culture, while using the best quality products they can.
Within the print range, they offer greeting cards, matted prints, laminated prints, mounted prints, canvas prints, Framed prints and posters. Alternatively calendars, t-shirts, stickers and kids clothes are also available.
It is a personal choice to which products suit your images, where some sellers will offer all products and recommend one particular product that suits the image, other sellers will only offer 1 product for sale.
When a product is bought, a notification email is sent to your inbox from Redbubble, however no action is required, as they print the work, package it, and send it out to the buyer. When creating your account on Redbubble, they allow you to choose your method of payment. 1.Paid into a Paypal account, 2.Paid via cheque, 3.Paid straight into a bank account – each of these options have a minimum amount before payment is made (from US$20.00).
As mentioned, there is large community on Redbubble – in a similar fashion to Flickr, known as groups. These groups range from subject (roses, sunsets) to colours (black with a hint of colour, between violet and crimson) to location based (art of the Middle East, New South Wales Photography) or even to technique based (Zoom Effect/Zoom Blur, or 1:1 Macro images). Groups really are the key to getting the most out of Redbubble, joining ones about a topic that interests you is a great way of connecting like minded people, seeing amazing art on your chosen subject, as well as getting support, advice and critique from people with a similar passion.
On a regular basis, groups run basis challenges related to the theme of the group i.e your best running water image in the ‘streams and stream crossing’ group. Its a nice way to compete in a friendly environment, as well as seeing what other images other artists have submitted. If you win a challenge, you are able to add comments to your images, stating the win, or the top 10 place etc.
One of the features on Redbubble is the ability to add people to your watchlist. The watchlist will notify you when one of your followers post an artwork or favourite someone else’s work.
Its a great way of getting a stream of new inspirational work, exciting new artists, as well as interesting news about Redbubble.
Up to now we have been looking at what Redbubble is and how it works. But to gain a true understanding of the website, there are some downsides to mention:
Some people (very few) join Redbubble already having a fan base and start selling works straight away. Where as the majority may slowly develop a following and make sales occasionally, or some people upload and are still waiting for their first. Redbubble has a huge number of users, not all are photographers (although they are the majority) some are poets, some are writers, some painters as well as pop culture designers. This means that there is a lot of competition on the site (at last look there were over 6m works on the site). To sell on Redbubble you need to market yourself, there are forums and journals on Redbubble explaining the different ways you can go about this. On a positive note, Redbubble does supply banners and widgets to place on your own site, however it is up to you to do your own marketing.
Personally, I believe it is a good way to offer my works for sale in an environment where I can control the mark up. I like to be able to offer my works printed on quality products that I feel support the quality of my work (nothing worse than having a great print marred by being put in a poor quality frame). I also enjoy having the supportive environment to inspire me, to critique my new works and to learn new techniques from, with the occasional physical meet up to get out and about with fellow artists.
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