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how Society6 works

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I’ve been asked how Society6 works by several readers, so I thought I would share for those who are interested in putting their own work out into the world (or for those who are just curious.)

Step one is to create something you want to sell.  There are many categories of art available on Society6, so you can create anything from doodles and drawings, to paintings and photographs, digital art, etc.

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In addition to artwork that I created, I have also made some of my photographs available.  I especially love how the pictures I’ve taken of antique linens have turned out.

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I actually photograph my artwork as well, to make it a digital file that can be uploaded.  The quality and resolution is better than if I use my scanner.  Since I take the pictures in RAW format (the digital equivalent of a photo negative), I can also manipulate the art in Lightroom or Photoshop without compromising the quality of it.  I don’t make major changes, but I can fix little mistakes, change the color of the background, bump up the clarity, etc.

Once the digital artwork looks how I want, I’ll upload the high resolution file to the Society6 website through my dashboard.

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When the artwork is uploaded, I can select which items I would like to make available in that design and how it should be positioned.  To me, this is the fun part!

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If you ever wonder why some artwork is available on some items and not others, it’s based on what I like and think looks good.  I don’t make every design available on every product.

At this point, I can also select prices for each piece, which determines my “royalty” on each sale.  I left mine on the default, suggested price setting.  It works out to about $1-3/item for most of the items I have listed.  Artists get a discount if they want to buy their own work, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s wholesale pricing.

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Once all of the products are designed and activated, they become available in the front end of the Society6 shop.

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So, here’s why I finally decided to list through Society6 and what I like about it…

  1. It is a no-risk way to put my artwork out into the world.  Since everything is made to order, I don’t have to invest in an inventory.  You could even put artwork up there that you would like a print or a pillow made from and it doesn’t matter if no one else buys it.  This would be so fun to do for a child who loves art or if you want to make personalized notecards, etc.
  2. I can experiment.  I am still in the very early stages of stretching my artistic legs and finding my style.  Putting a variety of work up for sale helps me see what sells well and what doesn’t.  At some point, I’ll make some originals for sale, but for now, it’s a nice way to make a little money off of my “experiments”.
  3. It’s motivating. Painting becomes more than just practice when I know I can list pieces that I’m happy with.  It motivates me to continue to create, to bring pieces to completion, and to put them out in the world.  Much like I’ve done with my blog, I’m sure I’ll look back at some of these early works and cringe, but if I wait until I feel like everything is 100% perfect, well, nothing would ever happen!
  4. Soceity6 promotes my work.  Society6 has a much larger advertising budget than I do and I see their ads everywhere.  This doesn’t mean my work specifically is featured, but it does mean that they are enticing customers to the site, making my work available to a broader audience than I’m able to reach on my own.
  5. It gives my “rejects” a home.  This year, I have started designing products and art for clients.  It’s been a learning process and not all of my submissions are accepted.  Those that are rejected by clients can be listed in Society6, making every piece worth creating from a financial/business perspective.  Art is completely subjective, so what is rejected by one person could find a loving home with another and that’s an encouragement to me.

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If you have’t browsed around Society6, you should!  It’s such an awesome community of some very talented artists.  I find it inspiring just browsing around.  Some of the other I really love on Society6 are Amy Hamilton, Cat Coquillette, and, of course, Craftberry Bush.

So, if you’ve ever thought of putting your photography, paintings, doodles, or drawings out in the world, this is a great way to do it.  Just do it!  Let other people decide if your art is worth buying.  Because I can tell you one thing…  they will never buy it if it’s not for sale.

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PS – This is NOT a sponsored post.  I do make a royalty if someone buys a piece I designed, but affiliate links are not used in this post.

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Comments

  1. This was very informative and inspiring – thanks so much for being so generous and sharing with us!! (And I love how your pieces turned out!)

  2. Hey Marian! I’ve been selling on Society6 for about a year now. I have made all my own designs and try very hard to make my own watercolor graphics. I, of course, can’t paint them, but I do it digitally. Seeing how you have used their platform has inspired me to branch out. I am so grateful that you’ve shared this latest adventure! I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a very happy 2017.

  3. Carla from Kansas says:

    Thanks Marian. I was a reader who asked about it. It’s fun to see what people put out there and the items are quite varied. I was surprised to see duvets! I have your pencil pillow and love it.

  4. three stones + co says:

    Great info – think I will try it out. Thx!

  5. Deb P says:

    I think I might give it a try, Years ago I tried Zazzle I sold some items but I didn’t like how they paid you, so mostly used it for product credit. How does Society 6 pay you, monthly, yearly?

    • marian says:

      You should! They pay every 30 days, but with a 30 days “grace period” to make sure the purchase is valid (the item isn’t returned, etc.)

      • I did sign up and uploaded one of my flower photos, only problem is my cameras resolution is not high enough for some of the products. Dear Santa, I need a newer camera!!!

  6. That antique linen purse must be for me – they’re my initials!

  7. Deborah Nisson says:

    Marian. We got our rescue dog today. A nine week old puppy. Australian shepherd Labrador mix. a while litter was abandoned in Alabama and an Aussie rescue group in Delaware got them. We drove from our home south of Annapolis MD to Delaware in the ice storm today to get her. Named her Elsa–ice and she has one blue eye the exact color of Elsa’s clothes in Frozen. Sebastian really inspired me. I want to get the Pottery Barn bed for her but may have to save up since it’s the Christmas crunch too. Merry Christmas!!
    wanted to send picture but can’t figure out how?

    • marian says:

      Aw, I love that!! I hope she is a wonderful furbaby for you. :) Sebastian is such a treat for us. A tip about the Pottery Barn bed, you can buy an insert that fits it perfectly off Amazon for a fraction of the cost of the PB one. I think $30 or so. I bought the insert there and the cover from PB when it was on sale.

  8. Thank you! I just sent a link to your post to my oldest daughter. Society6 might be the perfect way for her to get her artwork out into the world.

  9. Kim Price says:

    The cross stitched linen zipper bag is amazing, I can’t tell it’s not actual cross stitch.

  10. Hi Marion,
    I love my “blue dishes” phone case. It suits me perfectly! Thanks for explaining how it all works, interesting and I look forward to seeing/purchasing more of your things!

  11. Marian, I’ve been toying with doing this or maybe Etsy and actually committing to my art as thought it has value to others! This might be a good way to test those waters! Thanks for sharing your growth-

    • Yes, that’s exactly how I felt. If and when I do print my work to resell (on home decor, etc.) selling Society6 first can show me what is popular, but it can also give me some capital to do that.

  12. Hi Marian,
    I went to society6 website to see your products, I really liked some of the things you offer, I was particularly interested in your cross stich pillows and the blue quilt one but when I read the description I was dissapointed they are made of polyester, a big part of my attraction to those pillows is the fabric, usually a linen or cotton or a combination of both(vintage fabric is ideal but I know tha’s hard to come by and would probably make them quite expensive).I’m not a fan of synthetic fabrics so I didn’t purchase any of them however I would purchase if you made them of natural fabric and I would be willing to pay more for them. I just thought you might want to know.

    Thank you for all the great information you put out there.
    Have a wonderful Christmas,
    Isela.

    • I agree with you! I love linens and cottons and wish they made those options available. Maybe they will at some point. Their synthetic material does have a nice weave to it, though, so I’m okay with it for an accent pillow here and there.

      • Maybe you could join Spoonflower and make your own line of Mustard Seed fabrics too! Same idea as Society 6, they will print it up for you on different fabric content and you can choose which one/ how much you need for your project. Some of my favorites are the tea towels. Just be careful, that site is addictive even for the occasional seamstress!

  13. Jo Ann Bastanjoo says:

    I LOVE the zipper pouch with the BLUE embroidery. Was it one of your pieces? I’m confused, though, because someone commented that they couldn’t tell that it wasn’t cross-stitched. Was it not cross-stitch??? And how did the sewn in Society 6 tag happen? Do you buy from them?

    Great post and thank you!

    • Kerry Sanders says:

      Marian designs/draws the pictures. In the case of the cross stitch, she photographed an old piece of embroidery, the photo is then sent to Society6 who PRINT it on products such as pencil cases, mugs and cushions. So the pencil case is actually flat.

  14. Jo Ann Bastanjoo says:

    Hi Marian,
    I LOVE the embroidery work on the zip pouch. Can you make the PATTERN available for purchase? PLEASE????

    Thanks!
    Jo Ann

    • Yes, I can make the pattern available for free! I have made some other patterns from antique linens available on my site in the past. Just search “cross stitch pattern” and you’ll find them.

      • Jo Ann Bastanjoo says:

        Thank you so much!!!!! I will be anxiously looking for it. I find that I have to have something to work on when I watch TV. Idle hands and all that……..LOL

        Merry Christmas to you and your family (including Sebastian!).

        Jo Ann

  15. Denise says:

    I have bought a different product through this company before and can vouch for the quality of the products that society6 sells. Very happy with the shipping and customer service.

  16. Fatimah says:

    I had a question. I am an artist as well and am interested in using this site. However, how do you know the quality of the products. I.e. the quality if the blankets, pillows. Is there a variety of bags you can chose from for your art to be printed on?
    Thank you. I’d appreciate whatever answer you have

    • marian says:

      I had received some prints from someone and was pleased with the quality, so I decided to give it a try. As far as the other products, I’ve ordered some of them to check them out for myself. The quality of everything has been great, even if I would do some differently if I was printing myself. For example, I would print pillows on linen or cotton and stuff them with only feather inserts, so there is a bit of a trade-off. I don’t have to deal with inventory or putting up the initial investment for each item in multiple designs, but I do give up control on the materials. Now, you can select which products your pieces are printed on, so if there are products you don’t like, you don’t have to sell them.

  17. After you first mentioned Society 6 I went and put some of my art work up for sale. Thanks for sharing. I have been reading your blog for a long time-hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas !

  18. I had not heard of this before now. How cool!
    Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely have to check it out.

    Merry Christmas week to you!

  19. MaryLisa Noyes says:

    I’m passing this on to my daughter. She is studying to be a Veterinarian but art is her downtime passion. I am hoping she will be encouraged to put her drawings to good use. Thank you

  20. stacy says:

    so when you buy buy the coin purses or pouches are the actually cross stitched or printing (picture) of cross stitching?

    • marian says:

      It’s a picture of a piece that has been cross-stitched, but as you can see from the photo, it’s pretty convincing!

  21. Heidi I says:

    Thank you so much for this post; it was very helpful!

  22. Colleen says:

    Are you concerned at all that at some point in time your artwork may show up on something from another retailer? I have a good friend that is an artist, was an art teacher in a local school, and now teaches online and travels all over to teach. At one time she sold her art to a large company that printed flags, aprons, all sorts of items and she was paid for her art work. At some point in time a really large retailer took her artwork, changed the color ways and printed it on items and sold them. It was so very clearly her work. And because they are so very big it was impossible to fight them. She received nothing for her work that the used. I’ve heard this story from many artist and I’ve read many articles about copyrights to artwork. Do you have any concerns about having your art work, that you have used on these items, used by a large retailer and not giving you credit or paying you for your artwork?

    • marian says:

      Yes, I think that’s always a concern when you put your ideas and artwork out there. I’ve already experienced content, ideas, creations, and photography being used without compensation or my permission. It would be a shame to not share your work, though, as an alternative. Artwork kept in a box may never be stolen, but it may also never be appreciated.

  23. ART Murphy says:

    Thank you for this post and your continued creativity!

  24. Thank you for explaining all of this!

    I had bookmarked Society 6 to explore as a seller (having already purchased some items (fyi for your readers, the quality is top of line!); but I hadn’t had time.

    This has been really helpful! Thanks again,

  25. Amanda says:

    Could you make your farmhouse toile as a wrapping paper for next year? That be awesome if society6 printed wrapping paper. And have you tried that stone wrap from HomeGoods? It’s sooo cool! Merry Christmas!!

  26. Rozlynn says:

    I am not sure what I am doing wrong, but I can not just type “Miss Mustard Seed” into the search bar on Society 6 and have your page come up. Hmmm, I am stumped.

  27. I know! The search function on Society6 is frustrating and doesn’t really work. If you put society6.com/missmustardseed in the URL, it’ll pull up my shop.

  28. Thanks so much for sharing this information with us, Marian! Maybe I’ll get up the gumption to give this a try in 2017. 😊

  29. Jill Bruce says:

    Oh Marion.. I am so happy to see this Thanks for sharing.

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