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I want to sell prints online - feedback please

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MonkeyPie

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So I have had a couple people request prints from me (both online and off), and so I decided to set up an Etsy shop. Now I am just deciding how I should go about printing, so I''d like some feedback.

I have two options for printing, since I don''t have an at-home printer (yet).
1. Print through a local printer (like Costco) for inexpensive prints that I can pick up any time I want. Costco does great prints that I have hung in galleries and used in my portfolio before, but they don''t have the same feel that more high-end printers have, if you know what I mean.
2. Print through an online vendor that has done many gallery-quality prints for me in the past, and have him either ship the print straight to the buyer or ship to me first. He costs a little more, but if I built a working relationship with him like this I''m sure prices would go down. Plus he tends to price down for me anyway because I use him so much.

Another thing is that I''m really not sure how much to charge. In the past I have printed with Costco and raised the price by a dollar or two to make my money while still returning the payment for the print. I can print up 20x30 so I can really go any size I want. A glance around the other Etsy shops that sell prints doesn''t tell me much - they range every price I have ever seen!

I''d love to hear your thoughts on this, ladies. I''m finally putting my toes in the water!
 

Italiahaircolor

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Well, judging by the look of your photo''s you''re going to have a very specific cliental that wants the edgy look.

I would say at this point, because you''re an unknown, I would find out what a print would cost and double that. So for example, if a print cost you $10.00 you charge $20.00...that way you''re getting paid for your work, but you''re also attracting people who might not want to spend $50.00 or $60.00 on a picture.

Remember, when you''re starting out on a venture like this, you''re at the "bottom"...you have tons of room to grow with your business...but you''re first impression is going to create your reputation and it''s nothing will ever be able to change that. You can always raise your prices as your prints become popular...but the most important first step in a business plan is to create buzz; low prices mixed high quality works every time!

Also, go with the vendor that offers the best, most consistant quality...even if you pay a dollar or two more per print...esspecially if your customer is going to be receiving the print direct from the company...you don''t want to send off lack luster product.
 

MonkeyPie

Ideal_Rock
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Thanks muchly Italia - that really helps! I think what I will do to start off, is order a bunch of prints from this guy (of the most requested shots) and put them up for sale at that size, rather than offering options. If my prints get popular enough then I can always offer a "choose your size" option down the road. I wish I could show you guys my gallery and see which ones you think are marketable
 

Italiahaircolor

Ideal_Rock
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Ok I just want to point out one thing...

If you only offer one print, you''re going to lose customers. When it comes to art people are very visual. No one buys a fab print ''just because''...they see a print that will meet their needs and fill a space. If you only list one print for sale people may drop into your area, love your style but not care for that specific photo and you will lose a paying customer. Like I said, you only have one shoot to captivate someone with your pictures and you need to take advantage of that opportunity to the best you can!

And also, why would you go out on a financial limb and preorder a bunch of prints that might not sell for a long time if at all? Be smart with your money now and it will lay the ground work for money management down the road. You don''t need to be spending money on things that might sit in your office for a while better you spend that money advertising on a photography website!
 

MonkeyPie

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Hm, that''s a good point Italia. I was planning on picking out about 15 of my best shots and ordering around 5 or so of each, but I can see how some might end up gathering dust if I choose badly.

Here''s a question then - would you mind waiting a little longer to receive the print then, if I had to order it through this guy, if it meant you got exactly what you wanted?

Also, I''m wondering how I would post this in Etsy. Generally from what I can see, you post one image and offer it in a particular size to have a set price. How would I offer the full range of my images without a link to my gallery? (I''d rather not do that, since it will open up the opportunity for people to steal my images more often or order something that I can''t offer as a print.)
 

neatfreak

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Monkey, why not do both on Etsy? Many vendors have some that they have "in stock" but you can also convo them for a custom order.
 

MonkeyPie

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That''s a thought - maybe offer a print in a certain size, then add a line in the description about ordering different sizes?
 

Italiahaircolor

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If you make note in your listing that each print is special order I don''t forsee there being an issue. But on top of Etsy have you considered selling at a local artist mall?

There are a bunch in Ashville NC that offer booth rental. If you found the right venue you could make a fortune.
 

MonkeyPie

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Date: 3/11/2009 4:52:28 PM
Author: Italiahaircolor
If you make note in your listing that each print is special order I don''t forsee there being an issue. But on top of Etsy have you considered selling at a local artist mall?

There are a bunch in Ashville NC that offer booth rental. If you found the right venue you could make a fortune.
I have, actually. I considered art festivals, too, since we have a TON of those every year. Booth rental is CRAZY though! I''m not sure where else to try.
 

AmberGretchen

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I like the idea of a combo of pre-done prints and special order. I think most people will be understanding that if they want a special order, they might have to wait a little longer - I know that wouldn''t deter me.
 

MonkeyPie

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Date: 3/11/2009 5:08:01 PM
Author: AmberGretchen
I like the idea of a combo of pre-done prints and special order. I think most people will be understanding that if they want a special order, they might have to wait a little longer - I know that wouldn''t deter me.
This is good to hear! It means others will hopefully be less turned off by having to wait a few extra days.
 

musey

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Date: 3/11/2009 5:08:01 PM
Author: AmberGretchen
I like the idea of a combo of pre-done prints and special order. I think most people will be understanding that if they want a special order, they might have to wait a little longer - I know that wouldn't deter me.
Same here. I would personally be happy/willing to wait as much as 1 month for a special order (though I'd probably expect it to take less time than that, probably more along the lines of 2-3 weeks) like that.

Also, I think on Etsy people are accustomed to waiting longer than with other mass-production sites. I know I am. If I order something from Amazon.com, I want it here within a week or I'll be a bit perturbed. Something from etsy could take 2 weeks + and I'd understand that that's the nature of dealing with independent artisans.
 

waxing lyrical

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I''ve always gone with route #2. I always work with pro labs for all of my prints, especially ones I sell.
 

MonkeyPie

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Date: 3/11/2009 5:21:33 PM
Author: museyAlso, I think on Etsy people are accustomed to waiting longer than with other mass-production sites. I know I am. If I order something from Amazon.com, I want it here within a week or I''ll be a bit perturbed. Something from etsy could take 2 weeks + and I''d understand that that''s the nature of dealing with independent artisans.
That''s a very good point!
 

strmrdr

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8x10 no signature other than your copyright stamp on the back $40 - print 2 of a few images to test the market, use the unsold ones as gifts.
16x20 signed and numbered $150 - special order
20x30 signed and numbered $450 - special order

You should use a pro lab for small prints and a fine art lab for the 20x30.
mpix is a good place to start for the smaller sizes.
 

strmrdr

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Also unless your going to invest $2500+ in printers and use archival ink you should not print your own.
A lot of photogs are shooting themselves in the foot by self printing on consumer printers.
It will bite them and hold them back.
 

strmrdr

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laine

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Ditto to what others have said. I would print maybe two 8x10s of the shots you want to sell (so you have something on hand, but not too much invested), list them and mention in the listing that other sizes are available, and to convo you if they''d like to special order a different size.
 

luvthemstrawberries

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Date: 3/11/2009 5:21:33 PM
Author: musey

Date: 3/11/2009 5:08:01 PM
Author: AmberGretchen
I like the idea of a combo of pre-done prints and special order. I think most people will be understanding that if they want a special order, they might have to wait a little longer - I know that wouldn''t deter me.
Same here. I would personally be happy/willing to wait as much as 1 month for a special order (though I''d probably expect it to take less time than that, probably more along the lines of 2-3 weeks) like that.

Also, I think on Etsy people are accustomed to waiting longer than with other mass-production sites. I know I am. If I order something from Amazon.com, I want it here within a week or I''ll be a bit perturbed. Something from etsy could take 2 weeks + and I''d understand that that''s the nature of dealing with independent artisans.
Ditto here too! I think you''ve gotten good advice so far - I think listing in one size but offering special order in other sizes may be a good option. But special order for any of them may not be bad either, and may save you some $.

Let us know when it''s up - I like your photography!!
 

swimmer

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Nov 9, 2007
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One thing I have sensed MP is a higher cost for signed prints. If your printer sends it off to them...well then its unsigned. And when you become famous
well, still if someone is looking for original art they probably aren''t expecting it to arrive the next morning. Check esty to see if prices are higher for signed pieces perhaps? And what are normal delivery times? Good luck!
 

MonkeyPie

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Wow, I forgot about this thread! :)

I do have an etsy shop up and running, it has been since I made this original post...and I have sold one print. Lol it''s hard to find out what people like and will buy. I have tried putting my site out everywhere and it doesn''t seem to be working, so I only have about 15 or so prints to choose from. I''m not sure what else to do for it. I''d give you guys my shop name but I''m pretty sure that''s against the rules...so just search macro? Lol!
 

luvthemstrawberries

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Date: 5/15/2009 2:34:29 PM
Author: MonkeyPie
Wow, I forgot about this thread! :)

I do have an etsy shop up and running, it has been since I made this original post...and I have sold one print. Lol it''s hard to find out what people like and will buy. I have tried putting my site out everywhere and it doesn''t seem to be working, so I only have about 15 or so prints to choose from. I''m not sure what else to do for it. I''d give you guys my shop name but I''m pretty sure that''s against the rules...so just search macro? Lol!
Ha shows how much I pay attention to the dates on the threads... I''d never have thought this was started 2 months ago if you hadn''t said that... haha.


Hooray for selling a print!!
 

princesss

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Well, I can tell you from experience that the wait time was perfect. Enough to build anticipation but not so long you sit there and say, "Where the HECK is my picture???" It made getting home from work exciting.
 

MonkeyPie

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Date: 5/15/2009 2:59:46 PM
Author: princesss
Well, I can tell you from experience that the wait time was perfect. Enough to build anticipation but not so long you sit there and say, ''Where the HECK is my picture???'' It made getting home from work exciting.
I tried to get it sent out even faster, but apparently tubes are hard to find here! Lol but it was a good learning experience - I found out where to get them for the best price and the best way to ship. Yay!
 
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