This is actually a fairly complex question but comes down to a brief summary of
1. Print to order sites
2. General sales sites – eBay, Amazon, etsy, Folksy
3. Specialist art sales sites (some included in 1)
All three have pros and cons
Print to Order Sites
The first is Print to Order sites. They tend to be low profit (around 10-20% depending on site) but with the potential for massive volume and there is zero outlay for most of them – you just upload and tweak your designs to their printable products and you’re set.
I see them very much as a ‘nothing to lose’ platform
There are probably lots more out there, but this is the list of sites I thought best for me (in particular, sites that are very popular culture oriented haven’t been included because that’s not what I do).
Its also worth remembering that the vast majority will also charge a UK buyer VAT on the products you ‘buy’ (technically when a customer buys something from them, you then buy that product from the site – the difference between what you pay and what your customer pays is your profit). This applies even when the company is based elsewhere as having a distribution centre in the EU makes them eligible for UK VAT
|Site||Link||What site sells||Target audience||Commission level|
|Society 6||https://society6.com/||Varied items||Worlwide||10%|
|King & McGaw||https://www.kingandmcgaw.com/help/artist-submissions||Art Prints||UK||?|
|Teespring||https://teespring.com/how-it-works#how-it-works||Varied Items||Worldwide||Probably around 20-30%|
|Zazzle||https://www.zazzle.co.uk/sell/designers||Varied Items||worldwide||Set your own from 5%|
|Fine Art America||https://fineartamerica.com/sell-art-online.html||Art Prints||Worldwide||Set your price|
|Sun Frog Shirts||https://manager.sunfrogshirts.com/pages/sellers.cfm||Apparel||Worldwide||10%|
|Design by Humans||https://www.designbyhumans.com/store-signup/artist/||Varied Items||Worldwide||10%|
|Bags of Love||https://www.bagsoflove.co.uk/||Varied Items||UK||20%|
I haven’t tried any in earnest yet but do plan on setting up sales IDs on every last one of them. It won’t make me rich, but having a small stream of income from each one would make a difference
General Sales Sites
Number 2 is general sales sites. These can be done in one of two ways
1. You buy stock of your products with your art on and sell what you physically have
2. You use Print to Order sites specifically designed for you to sell and them to fulfil the orders
I’ve had success in the past selling handmade on the three biggies for the UK – eBay, etsy, Amazon and currently have a small but steady eBay income from my other handmade ventures (leather goods mostly) and a reasonably large income for the same on etsy. Amazon I’ve not used for a while but made a lot of money selling handmade jewellery through them in the past. I don’t know what it is like now but I am happy to try. Folksy – I’m aware that it exists but have never tried it, and notonthehighstreet seems to be still going strong and may also be worth investigating
I’ve broken down the remaining sites into purely printers (that print your goods and ship them to you so you can sell them) and dropshippers (on whose sites you can generate images of what your product will look like and sell using those images – when you make a sale then get the details to ship to and you never handle the product yourself. Dropshippers will also generally print your products and send them to you direct if desired.
First is Inkthreadable https://www.inkthreadable.co.uk/ . They are a UK company and anxious to be helpful. I have yet to use them but the site is user friendly and there;s a good range of products to have your art printed on. They definitely integrate fully with etsy and shopify (which are the two I am most interested in selling through) and are apparently working on an Amazon integration.
Second is Printful
They are a US company selling prints on a wide range of items and I mostly intend seeing if I can sell to the USA on a separate etsy ID exclusively using Printful. The margins aren’t going to be great but beyond setup it requires very little input from me. However it will involve etsy fees too. I feel it is worth a 3 month experiment. Due to the high cost of shipping the the UK, I wouldn’t specifically target UK buyers with products from this company.
The printing-only sites I liked the look of most are all UK sites (because shipping cost from anywhere else would be too high). For printed art products, these are the sites with the highest potential income, but also the highest initial costs (because you need to physically have stock before you sell it)
1 Artist Gift Printing
As the name suggests, this company specifically caters for artists wanting their art on stuff and it offers a reasonable range of products. Definitely on to consider (do check prices of specific products against other printers though!)
2 Awesome Merchandise
Another printer of your designs on Stuff based in the UK. For most products, I’ll simply be seeing which of the two sites offer them cheapest and use accordingly
3 Redcliffe Print http://www.redcliffe-print.co.uk/
Good range of art prints plus a photography / art scanning service. This one is on the list because it is local to me and I like the idea of a local place that I can a) collect from and b) can scan or photograph my art for me
4 Room 212 https://www.room212.co.uk/printing-service
Again a fine art printer local to me and the logic is the same (plus they run a communal gallery which sounds awesome). If you’re not in the south west, it is worth looking up similar services close to you.
Fine Art Sites
My final category is fine art sites on which you fulfil orders yourself. It is something I am less interested in and so haven’t included a huge amount but still potentially worth a look at. Commission level tends to be less than you would get selling on a general site, but rather more than you would get on a print to order site (even after you have taken away your cost of getting the product in and shipping it to your customer).
|Site||What is sold||Target Audience||Commission level|
|Artgallery.co.uk||Original art and art prints||UK||65%|
|Saatchi Art||Original art and art prints||Worldwide||65%|
|Artfinder||Original art only||UK||65%|
Hopefully you will find this useful!