Share Your Positive Story Here! 3 pages: [1] 2 3
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 11:22:26 AM
new/should_i_stay_or_should_i_go_now
Quote:
There are two very clear mindsets here. One is filled with very defeatist and negative threads that show up (a necessary evil I know) and it makes me just want to give up entirely and then there are the positive "never give up" hope threads that infuse me with great positive energy to keep charging ahead.

In light of that, let's share some positivity here! What is your story? Whether you're a top designer with a zillion sales or "just" an artist having fun with an occasional sale - let's hear why you feel like you are a success by your own standards and how you got there.

I am not a big seller, don't have a lot of products, haven't even put in a ton of time yet, but have managed to somehow nevertheless achieve a small measure of regular sales and personal satisfaction. Here's my story.

Four years ago, my sister asked if I could somehow design business cards for a group she was involved with. Cards that all looked the same but could be personalized with each member's own info. I thought on it and did some Googling and that is how I found Zazzle. So in late March of 2015, I opened my TherapyDogsBI store with a handful of products specifically for that group. Then I created Col's Creations, mostly just to save the name so I could maybe try out creating a "real" store sometime. On March 25th, I added one product to it - my Justice dog collar, which I designed with my sister & her dog in mind.

Then I walked away for almost a year. Sold six sets of business cards and 15 t-shirts out of the TherapyDogs store. And then, on Jan 22, 2016, that dog collar sold, 10 months after I published it. I count that as my first real sale as it was the first to a random stranger on the internet who somehow happened onto my product. My only product. So for ten months I had a store with only ONE product in it, a store I wasn't paying any attention to, and then that one product somehow sold itself.

A month later, in late February 2016, I added three photo greeting cards. Then I walked away again for another ten months, until the end of the year when in Dec 2016 - Jan 2017 I added 17 products and started seriously trying to design my store front. Didn't do anything in February and added only 4 products in March. Then in April, I had my second burst of real activity and added 20 more products. And on April 30th, I had my second random sale - someone in the UK ordered two of the pillows I had added in Jan. So after my first real effort at setting up shop, it took four months to get a sale. In May, I created my Purple & Green Collection of products, with a specific target group in mind, plus ten other products. On June 28th, not counting the Purple & Green purchases by that target group, I had my third purely random sale, a pair of Zipz I had just created a month before. During June, July and August I added 56 more products. In July, I had my fourth random sale, a photo greeting card I had published six months prior, during my first burst of serious activity trying to set up my shop. I mention the greeting card sale because though it only earned me $0.19, I was over the moon. It was THRILLING to know that someone actually bought a photo I took! That summer of 2017, life started going off the rails so I didn't do anything else until October, eventually adding 27 products from then til the end of the year (2017).

I did nothing in 2018 except for getting a total of 7 products added in April & May. Then had to walk away for another 8 months.

Late January of 2019, I was able to "come back" and have since added about 45 new products, redesigned my category covers, been re-organizing categories and collections, been re-working and re-publishing (or simply deleting) older stuff, been re-working tags & titles ...

My store now has a total of 227 products. No where close to the thousands you often hear you need to have before you will start seeing any real success. But, ever since mid 2017 (roughly 6 months after I started to add products & work on my store in earnest) and despite the often lengthy periods of inactivty on my part, I have seen a slow but steady increase in sales. Now instead of being taken by surprise that I got a sale, I am surprised if more than a week or two goes by without one. And in the last two months I have marked some personal Zazzle milestones. First time to get more than one sale in one day. First "bulk" order (5 pillows to same customer). First repeat customer. First time getting an email inquiry from a customer via the Contact This Designer link. It's all good!

Am I making money hand over fist? No. Do I fool myself into thinking that I might get to a point that I could rely on Zazzle proceeds as a dependable income? No. But every sale I get, no matter how small, gives me the same thrill that first photo greeting card sale did. Out of the millions of choices on Zazzle alone, someone out there decided on mine! I've had sales to people all over the US, plus the UK (seems to be where all my pillows go), Sweden, and Australia. I can add graphic-designer with international sales to my list of odd accomplishments in life. Am I a success here? Not by conventional standards, no, but by my own - yes. I take pleasure in what I am doing and I am actually making real spendable dollars doing it. And it hasn't cost me a thing except time & patience.

Smile
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 12:30:59 PM
I've always like puttering around with my camera. I bought some software to make my photos look better and it actually did make them look better. Intrigued, I put some locational text on them and put them here as postcards and they did actually sell.


But the more I wandered around Zazzle, the more I noticed that the front pages didn't have much photo art, but rather more vector art. So I started playing around with the vector aspects of the graphics program (Corel Paint Shop Pro, at that point). I made a flamingo because it was easy to make, 2 ovals and 3 lines. It sold better than all my travel postcards put together.


So I got Illustrator. And I fell in love. Making photo postcards was fun but making vector art in Illustrator was AMAZING. I was so blown away with the sheer joy of it. It's probably because I don't have a very steady hand so I had failed repeatedly and depressingly at actual painting and drawing. But vector is so forgiving. It doesn't matter if you don't have a steady hand. Just fidget the anchor points around and voila`. Everything that was in my head that looked terrible on paper could finally look awesome on the screen if I just fidgeted the anchor points enough times. And I eventually got far faster at that.



So it isn't like I was already an artist looking for an outlet. I couldn't really truly create anything that looked beautiful until I found Illustrator and since that sort of art does reasonably well here (although not as well as wedding invitations) I stick around.


Love Love Illustrator.
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 1:36:51 PM
Susannah Keegan's story resonates with me, as I had to give up drawing things by hand well before I started on Zazzle, due to benign (but frustrating!) hand tremors/motor control issues.

Because of this, I turned to digital art, creating abstract works from my own digital photos using the filters in my graphics program. I like doing abstract art because people can see in it whatever speaks to them on a personal level. My success with that has been somewhat limited, but it's very thrilling when they do sell.

Looking for something that might have more popular appeal, I settled on creating some simple, symbolic graphics. These have been much more successful, especially when paired with text templates.

I've also been starting to do more vector-based art. It can be slow-going, as I'm still learning, but I hope to get faster with practice. If nothing else, the slowness of it is offset by being able to reuse parts and change the fill and stroke colors. I only recently figured out how to create gradient fills in vector shapes, which was another boost, and has already paid off with a sale. It's my hope that continuing to deepen my knowledge in this area will improve my design skills and create greater success. I think that sometimes, just finding something that gives you hope is itself a piece of success.

Some of my more successful efforts have come from unexpected places - products I made on a lark or when I found myself frustrated and needed to try something different. Guitar picks and temporary tattoos are two examples of this. I don't necessarily understand why they work with my art, but a sale is a sale, and I can't argue with success! So my advice: experiment.

I think finding the right tools to aid your creativity matters, too. Switching from a mouse to a trackball made a huge difference for me. A tool for sampling color outside my graphics program has also been a great help.

I don't necessarily measure my success by the number of sales or their frequency, or by how much I'm making. Of course I like making money, but I also celebrate the smaller successes, like figuring out things that I can do with a tool in my graphics program, or finding something that works well on a new product. It's the little things that keep me going, along with having a spouse who is enthusiastic about my work, and a sister who is my best customer.

ETA: I forgot to mention that last year I stepped way out of my comfort zone, and applied to a gallery to display my work for a themed show that ran for the month of June. All five works were accepted, and I sold something, too! I'm hoping to return for that show again this year with new works. I love this gallery because they're all about serving the community, with activities for parents to bring their children to explore their creativity.
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:01:18 PM
Just so everyone will not think I am negative I will post my positive short story here...

I came here from Redbubble where I was having very little success selling my art. That was in March of 2015. I used to think it had been months before I got my first sale but a recent check of my sales history shows I was wrong about that. I actually got my first sale after about a month here. (not sure why if felt longer than that...) In fact I got two sales in April of 2015, one in July 2015 and then it was September before I had any more, but after that and since then not a month has passed without at least a few sales. I still don't get payouts every single month but most months I do.

When I started here at Z it was with the idea that I would try to slowly build up a steady passive income doing something I love that would become at the least, one stream of income to supplement us (hubby and me) as we get closer to his retirement.

I am starting to see that goal come to pass at little at a time.

In four years since I started here I have worked on creating products and promoting them almost everyday and at the very least, a few days a week. I have gone through the usual trial and errors of a newbie, learned a whole lot and I made Bronze during my 3rd year here. 2018 was the first year I saw really good payouts and only had 2 months out of the year where I did not meet the threshold.

I have two stores but only about 6500 products between the two. My goal now is to refine my offerings and products to increase the number of evergreen designs in them both and to fix a lot of my early mistakes.

The good news is this is still fun and doesn't really feel like work so it is easy to stay motivated. I have wanted to be an artist since I was a little girl and I am finally getting to give it my best shot.

and if it doesn't work out, at least I had fun trying.

Edit to add: if you want to know more about my background in art there are some posts on my website that tell more and I once posted a long post in Fuzzy's show me thread that I now cannot remember the name of... but it is a cool thread that I wish I could find again!

I will add this link from my website for anyone who might be interested in reading it...

https://shellibean.weebly.com/art-and-gifts/on-becoming-a-digital-artist

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:33:55 PM
I don't really have an exciting spectacular story. But it is a positive one, nonetheless, for me.

I doodled to pass time when my kids napped (during younger years) and/or were at school and/or busy with other things that didn't require my attention....and after housework was done. Stumbled across Zazzle one day at the end of July 2007 and figured why not post something. So I pulled out my doodles and worked on scanning them into my computer. I did it just to see what would happen. Within 3 months I started making sales, so I invested in art programs, and added more designs/products. I figured it would be a good way to earn pocket money since I needed to do something while kids were in school and husband didn't want me working outside of the home in case our kids would ever need me while at school and during breaks. When family told me I was wasting my time and that I should just hire a sitter for those needed times and go get a real job, I stated to them that the IRS deems this a real job. To declare that made me feel like a success (for my own self)....because I was getting to be home with and for my kids while also earning a bit of money. Then shortly after the Pro program started I earned my badge, and I felt even more personally successful (especially after earning it the hard way). My 5 kids are all grown now, with their own lives, the youngest to be 21 this year, and one has made me a grandmother twice over. And I am still enjoying being here, working on designs, posting products...Every sale brings a smile to my face and I get excited thinking about where my designs are going (and they go to some amazing places! I posted the whereabouts in another thread not too long ago). Zazzle is my happy place (well one of my happy places), even if that is hard to believe (I'm not the negative person...or as negative a person that postings here seem to make me appear to be)! Oh, Zazzle also gave me the freedom to homeschool my youngest through Middle/High school and now allows me to be here should my grandsons need a "sitter". All of that makes me feel beyond successful!
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 4:55:07 PM
I have been into photography for the past 15+ years (started out on Flickr when it was still fun). I learned how to edit and manipulate my photos with layers, etc to get the effect I wanted. I started selling on RB and sold some through Getty images too. After I had my oldest son I actually closed down my accounts with RB and Getty.... but let's go back a little farther just for fun!

The thing is everyone has a story. I am not special. But my story is still important to me. It's what made me, me...

I count myself lucky that my first job was installing flooring with my dad. It taught me work ethic and from that shaped how I tackled any task put in front of me. No matter what job I have had in my life I have always done it to the best of my ability. It is not a reflection of the company whether I did the best job I could... it was always a reflection of me and the work ethic I had. And in reflecting on my life I can honestly say that no matter what it was I was choosing at the time I excelled at anything I actually gave a * about. I have had many jobs (kennel tech at a pet store, telemarketer, bag clerk at a grocery store, server at a banquet hall just to name a few).

Around 20 years old I got a job on a Demolition Crew. I consider this one of those defining moments in my life. Sitting in a mall food court listening in on the conversation beside me with a gentleman saying how he was having such a hard time find good guys for his crew... I looked at him and said “would ever consider hiring a girl?” and he responded “you're pretty small” hahahaha... oh and I was – like size zero, 110 pounds, shop in the kids section small... but I convinced him to give me a week. Day one I was put on garbage because obviously I was a grunt... well I filled a 40 foot bin by noon by myself and the job stuck. The thing is if I had never had the guts to speak up about wanting a shot I would have never met my husband as he was on that crew. I loved that job.

I got my own apartment and I decided to go back to school for Culinary with the dream that I was just going to take off on my own and travel the world while cooking at any restaurant I could get a job at. I got a job bartending at night to help support myself while going to school too (which was another job that I loved… and I became a karaoke all-star hahaha).

Now I really did not expect to fall in love though. Like I said I met my husband when we both worked on the same Demolition Crew so we were friends for almost a year before it really grew into anything more. So after I finished school for Culinary I did not want to go off and travel anymore. I tried cooking for a living but honestly if you aren’t going to use it to travel it just was not the life for me. I mean you are underpaid, over stressed and are working every weekend and evening.

I decided then that I was going to get into a trade, specifically an electrician. I literally looked up every electrical company in the city and set to contacting them all to ask for an apprenticeship. I came across Electric Motor Rewind. I found the owners email and contacted him. And although he could not offer me an apprenticeship at the time I managed to get a job as the shop planner to begin with (so basically in charge of all the paper flow of the shop). I did estimates, communicated with customers, service reports, etc… Going back to always doing my job to the best of my ability meant my list of responsibilities grew. I helped out in shipping and receiving, started doing all the purchasing for the shop, created manuals to train any new employees and the list just grew and grew. Eventually they put me into inside sales. In the 1.5 years I was with the company my salary was increased more than $10,000 a year and my love for the industry grew even more so.

I was then approached by another motor shop to be their inside sales rep and they offered me a huge pay increase. By the time I got pregnant with my oldest I was making $62,000 a year.

Our journey to parenthood took some time but finally those two pink lines showed up on the test. The second I became pregnant I knew I wanted to be the one there for every waking moment of his day. So as the end of my maternity leave started getting closer I began looking for options that would allow me to be home with him during the day. I began applying at hotels for overnight housekeeping. I had an interview and was told I would hear by that Friday. Friday rolled around and still nothing. I called to follow up and was told “oh yes I told so-and-so to call and tell you that you are hired”... who knows if I hadn't of called if the job would not have gone to someone else. Funny enough I went in expecting to do housekeeping and was actually offered the job of Night Audit.

For five years (with one year off for my maternity leave with my youngest) I worked graveyards and then came home to little or no sleep to raise my kids. But after having my youngest it started going from little sleep to almost no sleep at all. It was too much and my husband did not want to be married to a zombie anymore. So we made the decision to tighten the financial belt and have me stay home full time.

Being a mom is by far my greatest accomplishment and a huge defining factor of what makes me, me. And as with anything I just try to do the best that I can. So que the crafting for birthdays, holidays, school events, etc... and thank you Pinterest for always having my back. From there a new path grew for me.

I kept having people tell me that the invites and décor I was doing for my own kids should be turned into a job. December 24, 2015 I took the plunge... To turn my designs into a business and “If You Have The Visions Designs” was formed. It hasn't been a walk in the park. People who you figured would be supportive seem to be the ones who could care less. But I could not be happier to be able to work the hours I want while only needing a computer and some WIFI. I get to make beautiful designs for people for the special moments in their life and that to me is amazing too. Everything I do is an expression of love.

But no matter the good, bad or ugly... every single choice I made in life was sending me here. Every choice!!! I always appreciate that what’s better for me in this life will never come easy. Simply it won't. Without the hurdles, the tears, the bloodshot eyes, the trials. I wouldn't be who I am today. I'm proud that I decided to stand not to give up, to dream not die, to float not sink. Every decision in my life was my path to this moment right now. So proud I made it this far and I still will keep going up and up. I want the very good of everything despite the challenges. I want to say that I've looked life in the eyes and won my wars. My fight will never be over.

So many thoughts, feelings, & emotions attached to this year particularly so... I could list a million "gripes" in relation to the whole getting older process and what it's doing to my outward self, but today I choose to focus on what it's done to my inward self... always growing, always evolving, never settling! This is life... we are given one and it's up to us to live it, after all, so many are out there fighting for theirs. I choose to move... keep moving forward, focus on love, relationships, experience adventure, dream... and above all, DANCE!! And always looking forward to continuing with my journey...

It was recently said that people of our generation measure the success of their life in the experiences and journeys. I think this is a true statement to the adventurous nature that cannot be held back. We want to be out. Road trips, long weekends, hikes, hot steaming coffees with friends, waterproof maps.. It all comes together in that moment when you're realizing that life itself is the trip you'll treasure forever.

Love
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:12:06 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
I once posted a long post in Fuzzy's show me thread that I now cannot remember the name of... but it is a cool thread that I wish I could find again!

I think you're referring to the Artist's Corner thread in Show Me (the purpose of which is to talk a little about one's history as an artist and to demonstrate one's evolution as such.)

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:29:47 PM
I discovered POD the first time back in the late 90s (or early 00?) when Cafepress started, some years before Zazzle entered the game. Had the idea to offer my cliparts and images, cards and such I sold back then on CD and later on via download, also on POD products. But the services were limited back then and the listings had a cost (you had a free version but it was very limited). Plus there was the getting payments issue, living in Switzerland. So I let it be.

Years later I searched for a POD service that offered the print of freely customizable art calendars, which I successfully offered my customers as download until then. And I discovered Zazzle, which was the only POD company that offered blank calendars. That was before their unlucky calendar overhaul. I was busy back then, so I decided to look into it 2 years later I think. And got my bad surprise realizing they dropped the blank grid with their calendar changes. So I left again.

Finally I re-entered the Zazzle game 2 or 3 years ago, when I decided to switch from my graphic design job back to my art, creating custom pet works first. I spent some months to check out and test various things, then I posted finally some stuff, but never really promoted it. You see that attempt still now. Got busy again and restarted again, taking my time.

As most of you know, I started being pretty talky here in the forums, especially pointing out things that had to be fixed and/or made better. I was (and still am) testing and playing around and thought to get some stuff fixed before I really started. Such as these bad mockups. Or the not correctly working Fill functionality (the mods will surely hate me for all these rants, LOL).

I made some sales until now, but these were all custom requests. With 2 exceptions: 2 sales of the same Collie Angel postcard, one per year, the last 2 years. never expected this and had to grin both times when I got the notification. never felt that happy having earned a few cents ROFL

Right now I've finally found out the ideal product code I needed to get things done well, and will publish my really first products (unless I fall asleep at past 3 am). With one customer poster sale already on the waiting list (the poor lady is waiting a week now). And in the hope, I can get my website done, too, so I can get started.

Good things come to those who wait. And some tend to exaggerate with waiting Laughing
Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2019 6:34:05 PM
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
I once posted a long post in Fuzzy's show me thread that I now cannot remember the name of... but it is a cool thread that I wish I could find again!

I think you're referring to the Artist's Corner thread in Show Me (the purpose of which is to talk a little about one's history as an artist and to demonstrate one's evolution as such.)



yes that is the one! thank you for the link!
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 6:14:58 AM
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:
I think finding the right tools to aid your creativity matters, too. Switching from a mouse to a trackball made a huge difference for me.

I am left handed but like many lefties, learned to use a mouse in the right. (Which actually works out great because that frees up your dominant hand for multi-tasking at the desk.) While right-handed mousing works fine for me for all the usual computer uses, there's not enough fine motor skill there to manage working with graphics and trying to use a mouse in my left hand was foreign to me. My sister (right-handed) swears by a trackball but I couldn't manage one, at all, with either hand. So years ago I bought a Wacom pen tablet and it is the best thing ever! It's a can't-live-without tool for me. Can do things in my left-hand as naturally as taking pen to paper, and can still multi-task using the mouse in my right without having to switch hands or tools.
A pen tablet probably wouldn't help someone with tremors/motor control issues ?? but I highly recommend one for anyone involved in digital art/graphic design. It's a whole new ballgame when you can use your hand naturally instead of a mouse.
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 6:23:53 AM
Susannah Keegan wrote:
So it isn't like I was already an artist looking for an outlet. I couldn't really truly create anything that looked beautiful until I found Illustrator...

OMG, I couldn't draw so much as a cat to save my life, but like Fuzzy I found a lot of joy in creating digital art from my photos and found you can do pretty neat things from scratch too in making use of the custom shape tool, patterns, layer effects, etc... Learning vectors is on my want-to-do list.
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 6:27:51 AM
Col's Creations wrote:
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:
I think finding the right tools to aid your creativity matters, too. Switching from a mouse to a trackball made a huge difference for me.

I am left handed but like many lefties, learned to use a mouse in the right.


I'm the same!
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 6:37:36 AM
Gina ©gleem wrote:
I don't really have an exciting spectacular story. But it is a positive one, nonetheless, for me.

I think it is spectacular because it's exactly the kind of real-life story that inspires people. Life isn't always train wrecks and overnight millionaires - most times it's just life evolving over time with a combination of luck and as my husband loves to say, skill, technique and sheer determination, that get us all where we are.
Smile
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 7:25:16 AM
Col's Creations wrote:
A pen tablet probably wouldn't help someone with tremors/motor control issues ??

I have a Wacom pen tablet, too. It's sort of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there are the same problems I would face using a pen, pencil, or brush. On the other hand, it's fairly easy to undo things, being digital. I don't use it a lot, but it's more natural than using the trackball for some tasks, and on a really good day I can use it to doodle, if I don't need great precision. I can also use it to get some basic ideas/outlines onto a digital canvas, and then use that framework as a guide, copying over it with vector shapes. I've also converted several of my older designs to vector shapes in a similar way.

Using the trackball gives me more control than I had with a mouse. Between the pen tablet and the trackball I've developed ways to workaround my shaky hands. I'd otherwise be stuck with just my abstract work, or using my less than stellar photography (which is also affected by my tremors), or drawing wobbly stick figures.

So I consider finding a way forward another form of success. In some ways, these little triumphs matter more to me than $$$.
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 8:15:29 AM
I am loving reading everyone's stories and learning more about the artist behind the art!

I (like Shelli) consider myself an artist from the womb and it runs in the family in one form or another along with a tendency to go from one thing to another all the time.

So I grew up drawing and doing creative things. I remember sitting while Mom or my Grandma showed me how to draw an eye or lips or help me make Wonder Woman paper dolls! lol so many great memories!

I worked big box retail for many years. I have co-owned with my mom and sister a handmade candle/bath and body shop and a tea room/bakery where we also catered and in 2007 the building owner where we had our tea room sold the building and the new owner had other plans for the building so we decided that it was time to move on and do other things. We were all pretty exhausted mentally and physically from working 16 hour days for the last few years and my goal had been to be able to stay at home with my son so I did.

My mom introduced me to blogs about then and that's where I stumbled on the world of handmade collectible Holiday sculptures and decided to give that a try. I sold my hand made sculptures and some original paintings on Etsy from 2008-2012 and built up a bit of a following and a couple of people that were regular collectors of my Halloween figurines. Then burnout happened from all the time I had to spend on various social media sites promoting my work (I was on every possible site there was) and decided in late 2012-early 2013 that I was tired of spending my life on the computer and the stress of creating enough products to sell and dealing with the shipping and worrying about if my one of a kind piece would make it there with out getting broken.

I gave up all social media except Pinterest and Instagram and then finally everything except Pinterest and delved into the world of art journaling and art to solely please myself . My husband, who's hobby is photography, started putting his photos on Zazzle around 2011 or so and making postcards and tried to encourage me to put my art on Zazzle, but I kept putting it off.

In October of 2017 I finally started putting my art up and then made a black stripe hand "painted" in photoshop just as an accent for things like pillows to go with a bold art blanket and that stripe sold my first 4 items. 3 mugs to a customer just under 2 months after starting here, and then a lumbar pillow a couple of weeks later. I sold 2 totes with my art on it in January and that was really exciting. That whole first year I was not very dedicated and rarely visited the forums, but around October 2018 I decided to really make an effort and my sales picked up enough at the holidays to earn my basic pro badge. My sales are still very slow and far between, but last week one of my candy tins got an editors pick and I sold 6 to one person. Getting editors pick was really fun for me. I have also enjoyed "making friends" on the forums. I love seeing how my art looks on products and it makes me so happy when someone likes my stuff enough to buy it! So I'm here for a hobby, but it would be amazing to make some real money doing it.
Anyway that's my story and I'm sticking too it.
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 11:00:02 AM
As my ABOUT paragraph states, I began photography at a fairly young age. Just point and shoot.

However, growing up in an artistic family, I guess my EYE was there to create better than average pictures. A lot of my artistic talent came from osmosis:
My dad was a draftsman, so I learned about details.
My mother a painter, so I learned about colors.
My sister and two brothers all dabbled in drawing/painting.
My sister in recent years has branched into beaded jewelry.
My younger brother is able to do EVERYTHING!!! He plays many musical instruments, does painting, sculpting, even had a foundry where he did bronze sculptures of his own art and for others ....

Myself - I have tried many artistic media. I have knit and chrocheted since age 5. I played in the high school orchestra (saxophone). I dabbled with printing my own photos for a while.

I love digital photography and the ease of weeding out terrible images and improving others. When I discovered SUBLIMATiON printing, I thought I'd give this a try with my photos.

I went to a workshop up north and got the computer programs and printer/ink to set up my "shop" in my garage. It was lots of fun. I tried selling at craft shows. As others have mentioned, it was a lot of work and not very successful. Having inventory (be it crocheted hats, or posters and cards of my photos) was never the right stuff. "Do you have it in blue ... this size ... on a mug ...?"

When I discovered POD I fell in love. Zazzle was my first encounter (I don't recall how I came across it). I was still working full time, so it was just evenings and weekends dedicated to my store/s.

It's been nearly 10 years now. I don't always make payout, but had enough income to term it a business, not a hobby. In Vallejo, I worked with a crafting group with a brick & Mortar store, to get their items in their own Z store. I also curated a store for an individual artist. (They were not too successful and both have now close.)

I moved down to Southern California about 16 months ago and recently connected with an art association that has a "booth" at a local craft gallery, and individual artists at the gallery. My first artist who joined my AtistRepurposeStore last week, just sold her first item yesterday. I have another individual artist who is getting my help to get HER store open and running on Zazzle (I think you will like her artwork). I have a third individual who is showing interest and the Art Association is getting close to requesting their store.

I may have taken on more than I can handleShocked

On my own stores. I have begun to take my poorer photographs and generate silhouette images in the last month. Two items have sold in the last weeks. Also, I have been turning some photos into half-tone images for my store TheColoringCave. I sold 4 of a recent postcard today.

I think I am on the way to "success"
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 11:06:31 AM
MelroseOriginals wrote:
I am loving reading everyone's stories and learning more about the artist behind the art!

Same!
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 9:02:33 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
I came here from Redbubble where I was having very little success selling my art. That was in March of 2015.

Huh, we joined at the very same time. That is wonderful you've reached Bronze! Though still far off that is a personal milestone I am lately feeling is a realistic one now.

Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
Edit to add: if you want to know more about my background in art there are some posts on my website that tell more...
I will add this link from my website for anyone who might be interested in reading it...
https://shellibean.weebly.com/art-and-gifts/on-becoming-a-digital-artist

I just read that and what you wrote about painting boxes and felt and not having many records of your early works brang back so much.
Though my brother is the true artist in the family, I am the one with the rep as the creative one. Since I have no talent for actual painting/drawing, I painted ON things. Walls, furniture, planters, wooden boxes and knick-knacks, doors, patio pavers - whatever I could make paint stick to to colorize my world my way. I started with dozens of those enticing little bottles of cheap acrylic paint and endless rolls of painters tape as geometric designs were always my thing. I spent hours at the kitchen table of whatever apartment we were in painting my boxes and things; trying to get those perfect crisp clean "lines" without smearing colors was a zen thing. I did chairs and dressers and tabletops and boxes that I would line with that felt you sprinkle on. And walls. Such fun. Luckily our landlords were always tolerant and never took our security deposits for repainting. My husband is super tolerant too. He's come to expect that if he is out of town for a day or two, the kitchen might be five different colors when he comes back. He knew what he was getting into though - The first place we shared together, I decorated the walls and cupboards with endless little squares of colored construction paper I patiently cut up and applied in geometric patterns. Talk about Design on a Dime!
From what I always called "puttering with paint" I moved into polymer clay, beading, decoupage, fabric dying ... And of course then digital art, which for me stemmed from photography being a lifelong hobby I shared with my Dad combined with my other hobby which was teaching myself how to build/code webpages which fed the logical side of my brain as it's like solving a puzzle. Graphic design and image manipulation went hand in hand with putting something up on the web. So Zazzle seems like a pretty good fit.



Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 9:23:49 PM
@Lisa: I about fell off my chair reading your story! Installing flooring wasn't my first job, but it turned into a 20 yr career for me as my husband and I's own small business. I'm not petite but I know all about being the girl on the job.Shocked I loved doing demo work.
I also wanted to go to culinary school, specifically the NECI, after regular college, but luckily by the time I finished getting my BS I had figured out I wanted nothing to do with actually cooking. Turns out all I really enjoyed was the presentation - cutting up fruit and stuff for fun garnishes, LOL, and decorating buffet tables and such.

Anyways, your post was brimming over with sunshine. I hope the Mods make it a sticky so I can go back and re-read it if I ever feel I am slipping from the sunny side of life. Thankyou for sharing!
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 9:36:47 PM
Col's Creations wrote:
@Lisa: I about fell off my chair reading your story! Installing flooring wasn't my first job, but it turned into a 20 yr career for me as my husband and I's own small business. I'm not petite but I know all about being the girl on the job.Shocked I loved doing demo work.
I also wanted to go to culinary school, specifically the NECI, after regular college, but luckily by the time I finished getting my BS I had figured out I wanted nothing to do with actually cooking. Turns out all I really enjoyed was the presentation - cutting up fruit and stuff for fun garnishes, LOL, and decorating buffet tables and such.

Anyways, your post was brimming over with sunshine. I hope the Mods make it a sticky so I can go back and re-read it if I ever feel I am slipping from the sunny side of life. Thankyou for sharing!


Thank you Love Love Love I still very much enjoy cooking for my loved ones (except baking - it never was my favorite... they get cookies at Christmas time and that's it). I hope one day my kids will realize how lucky they were to have good meals cooked for them 7 days a week, 365 days a year hahaha. Except Friday nights. My one night I refuse to cook. I figure I cook 3 meals every single day for years and years and I deserve to be taken out as often as the trash is Laughing Laughing Laughing
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 11:35:54 PM
Col's Creations wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
I came here from Redbubble where I was having very little success selling my art. That was in March of 2015.

Huh, we joined at the very same time. That is wonderful you've reached Bronze! Though still far off that is a personal milestone I am lately feeling is a realistic one now.

Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
Edit to add: if you want to know more about my background in art there are some posts on my website that tell more...
I will add this link from my website for anyone who might be interested in reading it...
https://shellibean.weebly.com/art-and-gifts/on-becoming-a-digital-artist

I just read that and what you wrote about painting boxes and felt and not having many records of your early works brang back so much.
Though my brother is the true artist in the family, I am the one with the rep as the creative one. Since I have no talent for actual painting/drawing, I painted ON things. Walls, furniture, planters, wooden boxes and knick-knacks, doors, patio pavers - whatever I could make paint stick to to colorize my world my way. I started with dozens of those enticing little bottles of cheap acrylic paint and endless rolls of painters tape as geometric designs were always my thing. I spent hours at the kitchen table of whatever apartment we were in painting my boxes and things; trying to get those perfect crisp clean "lines" without smearing colors was a zen thing. I did chairs and dressers and tabletops and boxes that I would line with that felt you sprinkle on. And walls. Such fun. Luckily our landlords were always tolerant and never took our security deposits for repainting. My husband is super tolerant too. He's come to expect that if he is out of town for a day or two, the kitchen might be five different colors when he comes back. He knew what he was getting into though - The first place we shared together, I decorated the walls and cupboards with endless little squares of colored construction paper I patiently cut up and applied in geometric patterns. Talk about Design on a Dime!
From what I always called "puttering with paint" I moved into polymer clay, beading, decoupage, fabric dying ... And of course then digital art, which for me stemmed from photography being a lifelong hobby I shared with my Dad combined with my other hobby which was teaching myself how to build/code webpages which fed the logical side of my brain as it's like solving a puzzle. Graphic design and image manipulation went hand in hand with putting something up on the web. So Zazzle seems like a pretty good fit.





I think I would have reached bronze sooner if not for so many international sales. I absolutely believe bronze is an attainable goal for you in the near future.

Sliver seems very far off and I wonder if I’ll live that long... lol. I meant that in the most positive way! 😜

Sometimes I miss those old days when I used to make art just because that is what I do. It never occurred to me to sell any of it back then. I always gave it away. I can tell you my very first art sale ever was at RB and I was actually stunned that someone spent money on my creation. It was a goofy one too. lol, but that was such a thrill! I still get excited about sales, to think people like my work is really amazing.
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 1:03:10 AM
I think that it is telling, more than any negative posts, that the topic for positive stories contains just one really positive story, that of Lise Provencher - the other are as usual: creative fulfillment but not much money.

@Lise Provencher: Would you please tell us more about your road to success as a Zazzle designer?


Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 3:29:53 AM
Col's Creations wrote:
Gina ©gleem wrote:
I don't really have an exciting spectacular story. But it is a positive one, nonetheless, for me.

I think it is spectacular because it's exactly the kind of real-life story that inspires people. Life isn't always train wrecks and overnight millionaires - most times it's just life evolving over time with a combination of luck and as my husband loves to say, skill, technique and sheer determination, that get us all where we are.
Smile


Thank you. I have enjoyed reading all positive stories here and am glad it is understood why I feel mine is also positive.
Smile

RetroVintageStore wrote:
I think that it is telling, more than any negative posts, that the topic for positive stories contains just one really positive story, that of Lise Provencher - the other are as usual: creative fulfillment but not much money.

@Lise Provencher: Would you please tell us more about your road to success as a Zazzle designer?




I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion. All stories here have been positive. If you are presuming only hers is more positive due to her Pro level, then it must be said that not everyone here desires to share their Pro level. And even if some here are getting creative fulfillment, but not much money, why does that matter? Why does that make their story less positive? If it makes them happy, that is all that matters.
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 4:59:58 AM
@Gina ©gleem: People who didn't care at all about money, only about creative fulfillment, aren't here, they are on deviantart.

Regarding Lise Provencher, it wasn't just her Pro Silver level, but that combined with her recent join date: 02.01.2016 So she reached Pro Silver level - she earned 25 000 USD - in just 3 years! That means more that 8000 a year on average, more than 600 USD a month on average. From other "negative" topic it seemed that most people here earn less than 50 USD a moth, so her accomplishment is really impressive.

@Lise Provencher: Did you take Elke Clarke's 5 Steps course? Sorry if I ask you something too intrusive, but it's important for me to know if somebody can reach this level of success on their own or her course is quite the only way (unfortunately, I don't have enough money to afford it).

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 5:14:00 AM
RetroVintageStore wrote:
I think that it is telling, more than any negative posts, that the topic for positive stories contains just one really positive story, that of Lise Provencher - the other are as usual: creative fulfillment but not much money.


I think that is the point though; many don't judge their success by dollar amounts or by how they compare to what others are doing.

Quote:
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
- excerpt from the Desiderata
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 5:24:16 AM
Col's Creations wrote:
RetroVintageStore wrote:
I think that it is telling, more than any negative posts, that the topic for positive stories contains just one really positive story, that of Lise Provencher - the other are as usual: creative fulfillment but not much money.


I think that is the point though; many don't judge their success by dollar amounts or by how they compare to what others are doing.


You are right! For me, I do make money, but it isn't about the money for me. Maybe it was in the beginning when hubs, and I, were raising our 5 children and I wanted to help supplement our income without taking myself away from our kids, but now it is just about doing something that I enjoy. My success isn't in my Pro level, which I choose to keep private. (I only show my badge, but not the level). And I do not determine my worth, my success, my happiness, based on that of others and/or others opinions of what they believe mine is.

I'm looking forward to seeing others sharing their positive stories Smile
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 6:02:21 AM
Gina ©gleem wrote:
Col's Creations wrote:
RetroVintageStore wrote:
I think that it is telling, more than any negative posts, that the topic for positive stories contains just one really positive story, that of Lise Provencher - the other are as usual: creative fulfillment but not much money.


I think that is the point though; many don't judge their success by dollar amounts or by how they compare to what others are doing.


You are right! For me, I do make money, but it isn't about the money for me. Maybe it was in the beginning when hubs, and I, were raising our 5 children and I wanted to help supplement our income without taking myself away from our kids, but now it is just about doing something that I enjoy. My success isn't in my Pro level, which I choose to keep private. (I only show my badge, but not the level). And I do not determine my worth, my success, my happiness, based on that of others and/or others opinions of what they believe mine is.

I'm looking forward to seeing others sharing their positive stories Smile


I agree and hope that lack of pro status does not discourage any stories. This thread is not about monetary gain or Zazzle success stories per say (Although those are positive as well). Its about positivity and I have enjoyed every persons story on this thread. I think even small victories deserve to be celebrated! I myself am not a monetary success, but I do not place my happiness in any aspect of my life on monetary gain.

eta- The take away I got from Lise is how she often did things no one expected and worked hard, and even tough times can bring happiness if you choose to find it. I didn't even realize her pro status.
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 6:50:06 AM
MelroseOriginals wrote:
[quote=Gina ©gleem][quote=Col's Creations][quote=RetroVintageStore]

eta- The take away I got from Lise is how she often did things no one expected and worked hard, and even tough times can bring happiness if you choose to find it. I didn't even realize her pro status.


That is exactly what should be taken from it... Everything takes hard work. I treat Zazzle like any other job I have had. I should also add that I absolutely love designing. No I did not take any courses from Elke. I can't say why I have had the success I have had other than I work hard at something I enjoy doing... I put all of myself into my work. I have often thought of turning off my level badge (perhaps I will).
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 6:58:52 AM
Gina ©gleem wrote:
For me, I do make money, but it isn't about the money for me. Maybe it was in the beginning when hubs, and I, were raising our 5 children


So it is quite simple: you don't care about money because you have it, I care about money because I don't have it. When you had less money, you cared about it too. Anybody cares about money when they join Zazzle, although maybe some would not care any more latter (if the things improve for them in real life) and stay just for the pleasure of creating.

But there is nothing positive in well-to-do people telling poorer people not to care that much about money.

@Lise Provencher: thank you, that's good news!
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 7:04:33 AM
RetroVintageStore wrote:
@Gina ©gleem: People who didn't care at all about money, only about creative fulfillment, aren't here, they are on deviantart.

Regarding Lise Provencher, it wasn't just her Pro Silver level, but that combined with her recent join date: 02.01.2016 So she reached Pro Silver level - she earned 25 000 USD - in just 3 years! That means more that 8000 a year on average, more than 600 USD a month on average. From other "negative" topic it seemed that most people here earn less than 50 USD a moth, so her accomplishment is really impressive.

@Lise Provencher: Did you take Elke Clarke's 5 Steps course? Sorry if I ask you something too intrusive, but it's important for me to know if somebody can reach this level of success on their own or her course is quite the only way (unfortunately, I don't have enough money to afford it).



I wouldn't lump "everyone" together... first of all I would never have my art shown on a site named "Deviant art". I just do not wish to be associated with that image of "deviant" and words matter to me.

second what was more telling to me was you own post revealed how you interpret "positive" and "succesful" and I was able to conclude that success to you is attached to the money. There is nothing wrong with that, it is your prerogative but it shows how we all have different ideas of what is positive and what is successful.

I think if you look at what Lise designs you can see why she has been able to quickly climb the ranks here at Zazzle. She has outstanding designs on the most popular selling products and deserves to be where she is.

Her Zazzle success does not diminish my own in any way.


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