What Selling Platform is Right For Your Art

If you create things that you love, and hope you make something out of what you do, then there are a number of options that you have in order to do so, and the more options you have, the harder it can be to make a decision, so I’m dishing the dirt on the pros and cons of some of the most popular options that are available based on my own personal experience! This post is primarily directed at art, but some parts can be applied to a lot of areas of small business.

Redbubble

These platforms are the ideal place to sell your artwork absolutely hassle free on a huge variety of different products from tshirts and sweatshirts to canvasses, mugs and stationery. It’s as simple as uploading your work, adding a few tags and a description then sitting back and waiting for sales to come in. Redbubble do all the manufacturing, deal with shipping and returns, and you just get a few emails to let you know how things are going, and a payment into your PayPal account. Simples.

The downside of this, however, is that you’re looking at relatively small margins. You get to pick what percentage markup your designs have on Redbubble’s base price, and that’s how much you pocket – mine are all at the standard 15-20%, which means that the most I ever make out of a sale is a few pounds on a tshirt, but as a lot of my designs sell as stickers, I get maybe like 20p.

Because of this, it makes Redbubble the perfect place to sell if you just create your art as a hobby and are looking to maybe make a little bit out of it. This is where I upload all my odds and sods drawings that I think would look cute on a shirt but aren’t in keeping with my Happiest Fitness Co brand, and as I just draw these designs for fun, I don’t mind if I’m not really making money from them, and whenever I do make a sale, I get a little buzz.

Similar platforms to Redbubble include Teepublic and Society6

Etsy

Etsy has very quickly become the place to go when you’re looking to buy something that’s a little different. Its the handmade, one-of-a-kind and small business haven, and because this is the place that people go when they’re looking, you have a decent chance of being found.

Sure, all the work is on you. You have to make your products, ship the products (although if digital art is your thing and you don’t want to be printing everything, you can create listing for digital download), deal with the queries, maintain the listings etc, but the payoff is that apart from listing fees ($0.20 per listing) and the little cut that Etsy take on your sales, you pocket the rest, so as long as you factor those costs into your pricing you’re all good.

I use Etsy for my Lottie-Bounds store, where I make handmade clothing items and accessories, and this works perfectly for that because Etsy tends to be the first place people go for these sorts of things.

Shopify/Big Cartel

Platforms like Shopify and Big Cartel offer afforable online store options for businesses big and small alike. Like with Etsy, all the work is on you, but you also have the added work of maintaining a store-front and theme, but this give the professional look and it also gives the opportunity to add in other features like mailing lists and the ability to have your own domain.

The downside of these stores is that as well as doing all the normal work, driving traffic is also down to you, so you’ve gotta do the marketing and SEO work too. That said, however, they are super user friendly, even if you’re not a tech boff. I use Shopify for The Happiest Fitness Co’s online store, and its simple and it works well and it looks good.

Just Because

I can’t imagine that there’s anyone who hasn’t been told at least once in their life, and most likely by their mother, that ‘just because *this person* did that, doesn’t mean you have to. If they jumped of a cliff, would you follow?’ while you rolled your eyes because it really wasn’t a big deal.

These were always things that we wanted to do; places we wanted to go or styles we wanted to copy, not things that we felt obliged to do, but as you get older, everything suddenly becomes more about what you feel like you should be doing, rather than what you actually want to do. Sure, some of these things are things that we think we should be doing for good reasons, but then there’s also a good number of things that might not always be good for us, and these are the things that we should maybe give a miss, at least every now and then.

Just because other people stay late at work, it doesn’t mean you have to

When I started my new job, I thought that just because the guy who sat next to me came in an hour before me, and often stayed past when I left, it meant that I wasn’t doing my job well enough, and frankly that’s just not true. So long as I come into work, do the hours I’m contracted to do and complete all the work that needs to be done, that’s good enough. If others want to come in early, stay late or take on extra work, that’s on them, but I did enough of that in my previous jobs and now I like that I’m able to walk away when 5 o’clock hits and not have a care in the world.

Just because you’ve made plans, it doesn’t mean you can’t cancel them if you’re not feeling it

If you’re tired, having a bad mental health day or for whatever reason you don’t feel up to it, you shouldn’t feel bad about cancelling plans. People might not always understand it, but that doesn’t matter. Put yourself first.

But as well as the things you shouldn’t be doing just because you thin you should, there are also things that you can do even though you didn’t do what other people did..

Just because you didn’t go to university, it doesn’t mean you can’t get to the same place as someone who did

I’ve actually just started working with a girl I went to school with. She went to university, and got her job through a graduate scheme. I went straight into work after sixth form, and after gaining skills and working hard, I am just one level below her, and with another year of experience and study support through work, I could move up into the same position she works in with a university degree. Sometimes there’s more than one path.

Just because you haven’t got a huge following, it doesn’t mean you don’t a good following

You could have a million followers, but if one a few hundred actually bother to support you, then you might just be better off having a few hundred followers who cheer you on at every possible moment. I mean, the Instagram algorithm is screwing us all over anyway..

There are however many billion people in the world and every single one of us is unique, so just because one or two people make you stop and think you’re missing out on something or doing something wrong, do you think that’s right?

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Are Instagram Pods Really The Answer?

Just to prefix this post, I have absolutely no qualms with Instagram pods or people who use them, these are just my musings!

The humble Instagram pod; a supposed way of boosting engagement on the platform that we all want to love and love to hate at the same time.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the term, an Instagram pod is simply a group chat within Instagram DMs, where friends/fellow bloggers/like-minded people chat and share their latest posts, with the idea being that other members of the group will then head on over to the post to like and comment to give the image a better engagement than it might of done otherwise, for example if thanks to Instagram’s notorious algorithm meant that it wouldn’t have otherwise shown up on their feed. Sometimes people in these pods will also do shout-outs for the other accounts in the group on their Stories in order to help each other out with followers.

When it first became a thing, there wasn’t a day when I didn’t scroll through Twitter without seeing a good few weeks of people asking if anyone wanted to join their pod, or people asking if anyone had room in their pod for them, and of course naturally it led to a little bit of drama as well, with some people being told they couldn’t join certain pods, or people complaining about pods etc. Twitter loves a bit of drama.

I myself have never been part of an Instagram pod, so I can’t really vouch for their effectiveness, but as an outside-grammer, it can become quite easy to spot a pod if you pay attention. Sure, you’ll always see friends supporting each other as much as they can, but you start to notice the same people cropping up in the comment section of every post by the same group of people. Now I love my friends and will always try to like every single one of their posts, but I wouldn’t comment on everything and I certainly wouldn’t expect them to do the same for me.

Yes, statistically the posts seem to have a higher engagement, but as a person who likes to look a little beyond just the photo, it all looks a little inorganic, especially when the comments just say things like ‘oh this is a great photo’ or ‘you look fab’. The same goes for story shout-outs. Sure, I do shout-outs for my favourite accounts, and often I might feature the same people, but I do try to mix it up every time, however when the same group of people only seem to share each other on a weekly basis, it just screams pod to me and I can’t help but feel like its a bit forced, plus if I didn’t follow those accounts the first 10 times you mentioned them, chances are I won’t follow them after the next 10..

Now these are just my own observations, and I really don’t mean any shade to anyone who does use pods, especially if they’ve worked really well for you (if they have, I’d love to hear your experiences so do drop me a comment!), I’m just curious to know if anyone else feels similarly, and given that they seem to be talked about a whole lot less than they used to, are Instagram pods fading out again?

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My Aulani Must Dos

Credit: disneyvacationclub.disney.go.com

So I can officially say that I go to Aulani THIS MONTH now, and its actually only like two weeks away which is crazy and I feel somewhat unprepared, but mainly just so stupidly excited that I spend a lot of time squealing. I’ve wanted to go to Aulani for so many years now and I honestly never thought it would happen, or that it would be a once in a lifetime trip, but now Matthew and I are DVC members, I’m so happy that I can actually visit this paradise on earth without selling a major organ.

Planning wise, we’ve kept it fairly low-key. Although it wasn’t originally intended to be, this trip is our pre-moving-house relax and refresh before everything goes completely mad, so I don’t want to have every second planned to a tee, but in the last few weeks we’ve been doing a bit more research on what the resort and surrounding areas have to offer, and I’ve compiled a list of a few things that I want to make sure we do while we’re living it up in Disney paradise.

Mickey shaped snow cones

The most iconic food in Aulani will get in my belly (you know, once I’ve got the perfect Instagram shot)

Go to the spa

So I have never actually been to a spa or had an actual massage, and I feel like I’m seriously missing out on this experience, so where better to do it for the first time than in Aulani’s full service spa? I feel more relaxed just thinking about it..

Sunrise and ocean yoga

I’m that super weird person that loves to check our gyms and fitness options wherever I go on holiday, and I cannot stay away from a Disney resort gym, but Aulani not only offer yoga classes held on the beach at sunrise (which I’ll definitely be doing), they also have a yoga class held on the lagoon floating on surfboards! I mean, I’ll probably fall off, but I’ll be giving it my best shot.

Exclusive merch

Y’all know I’m a sucker for some good Disney merch, and apparently about 90% of the merchandise sold in Aulani is exclusive to the resort, so I can’t wait to buy some unique beauties. PS. I’ll be doing a giveaway or two after my trip, so stay tuned!

All the water activities

Matthew and I have already scouted some amazing looking activities to fill our days with, including nearby Wet’n’Wild waterpark and Maunalua Bay for parasailing, banana boating, jet skiing and more, so while we’ll be chilling big time, there’s also gonna be a lot of fun going on!

Photos galore

I always take so many photos when I’m in a new place, and I can’t wait to explore the resort and document it in photos, not to mention the fact that Matthew is going to have to put up with being my personal photographer so that I can also appear in a bunch of these photos – I mean, Insta needs and all

I’m just so buzzing to get out there and get some sunshine and warmth and Disney magic!

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Things I’ve Learned While Trying To Beat The Algorithm

Instagram; it makes us all sigh just a little bit, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram. It was the first social media platform I used to promote my blog, and you know what they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so its an amazing place to express yourself, but since the introduction of the infamous ‘algorithm’, interaction and growth has been pretty sucky, and everyone and their mums have been theorising various ways in which to take back the platform for the greater good.

I am, of course, one of these people. Having failed to reach my end of the year goal for 2017, I’m determined to do it this year, and I’ve already written about my plan to make this my year on Instagram, now we’re a few months in, I’ve already learned a few things along the way.

People actually like seeing me in photos

I used to avoid photos of myself like the plague – they never seemed to get even a fraction of the likes that any of my other photos did – opting instead for photos of clothes hanging up or as flatlays, but it turns out that people actually like little old me in photos! My outfit photos lately have been super popular, so I guess you’ll be seeing more of me on the ‘gram.

Timing isn’t always everything

I use UNUM to plan my Instagram feed, and even on the free version of the app you do get some insights, one of which being you’re supposed best time to post based on previous likes and comments. Well, I gave it a go, and I can quite safely say that its totally hit and miss. Sure, certain times of day are always going to be better than others – I tend to post on my lunch break at work, and that seems to work for me, probably cos that’s when most people are checking their phone anyway, but even when I followed what the stats told me to a tee, it didn’t guarantee the post would be super successful.

Posting what I love makes me so much happier with my feed

Since the new year kicked off, I’ve been concentrating more on making my feed something that I love to look at, even if no one else did. Yellow is my favourite colour, and integrating it into my feed has made me super happy. I’ve also been using a cute textured throw blanket as a backdrop for product photos to mix things up a little and not shying away from my Disney side so that every aspect of my personality and life shine through in my photos.

Support and shoutouts are super important

If I’m being totally honest, I think the biggest factor in the growth of my following so far this year is thanks to supporting other accounts and other people doing shoutouts for me. I did a Twitter request for people to send me their Instagram links so I could go on a follow spree, and I followed about 100 accounts, most of which returned the favour (although I didn’t expect or ask them to), and I’ve also gained a lot of followers when other bloggers and accounts have included me in shoutouts on their stories, which I am so grateful for. Asking for help, especially when you’re about to hit a milestone, is nothing to be frightened of, and people who support you are always happy to help!

Quality over quantity

I’ve been working so hard on improving the quality of my photos this year. Rather than just taking photos on my phone, I’ve been utilising the 50mm macro lens on my Sony a5000 to take most of my photos and I’ve been so happy with the photos I’ve been taking, and I think I’ve definitely been seeing an increase in likes on *most* of my photos since then. I say most because, y’know, the algorithm is still against us all..

So I’m quite proud to say I’ve gained about 300 followers this year, give or take a bunch of follow/unfollowers (ugh), and I’m really hoping I’ll reach my 2018 goal fairly soon, but we’ll see! If you want to join me over on the gram, you can follow me @lottiedoesdisney!

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Quality over Quantity

I’ll always befriend a cat

I was in primary school when I first realised that I didn’t have to be friends with everyone to be happy. Year 6, to be precise. Despite going to a tiny little school with small classes, it was already subject to a bit of cliqueyness, and I decided that rather than making myself miserable by clinging onto a group of girls who I had convinced myself didn’t really like me, I could sit by myself, or with people in lower years who I got on with better, and while that didn’t make me particularly ‘cool’, it did make me happy.

Even before then, I knew what it was like to have distant friends. My closest friends while I was in primary school were either in the year above me, so left for secondary school, or had moved to other schools a few years previously, and I got to see them on weekends or at mutual after school activities, so not seeing my best friends every day was quite a normal thing for me.

As I went into secondary school, as is fairly normal with an all girls school, I learned more about how fast-moving friendship groups could be. I started off in the ‘popular’ group in year 7, but quickly learned that I wasn’t actually happy there and moved on, and that pattern continued through my school life – when I wasn’t happy anymore, I found myself drifting away and I moved on. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t skipping from friend to friend by the day or week or even year, I was just quick to pick up when things weren’t working anymore, and I was ok with not having hundreds of best friends at the same time. I picked up some great friends over this time though, many of whom I would still consider as friends today. You see, the good ones stick.

I’ve just never felt the need for fake friends. You know, the ones you see at parties every now and then who pretend to be super interested in your life, when you know they don’t really care about you, or the ones who are only there when they need something from you, but god forbid you should ever go to them with a problem. I’d rather have 10 really good, real friends, than 100 people who couldn’t tell you anything about what’s going on in my life. It might make it seem like I’m a real loner when I say that I have no friends in my hometown anymore, but its the truth and I really don’t mind. I have wonderful friends scattered across the country, and even some across the world. I might not see them every day, or even every year, but they’re there and they’re there for me through whatever.

They matter to me.

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We’re Too Easily Offended, Huh?

We are almost one fifth of the way through the 21st century, crazy right? We live in a world that’s more advanced than even our own grandparents could have ever imagined, yet the advances that we’ve made, especially over just the last few years have been about a lot more than just technology.

You see, we now live in a world where acceptance is becoming more important and more common than ever before, and while unfortunately this still needs to see some improvement, it is now more ok than ever to be different.

I say unfortunately, because there are still more than just a handful of people who refuse to be accepting. These are the people you see on social media saying things like ‘this is political correctness gone mad’ or my personal irritant ‘people are too easily offended these days’, you know the kind. More extremely, these are the sick people who are behind shootings in gay clubs, acid attacks on members of the trans community and the people who blame the rape victims, but I’m not going to even give those people the time of day in this post.

I want to get you thinking about the comments made by the former. You see, I clearly don’t agree with them, but for very logical reasons. Take the ‘people are too easily offended these days’ comment, not only does it imply that it’s the fault of the upset person that they feel that way, but it’s also suggesting that we’ve not made any sort of advancement in the way we see things and feel about them. It’s not that people are ‘too easily offended’ by your racist/homophobic/sexist/whatever comment, it’s just that we finally live in a world where we’ve realised that it’s ok to voice our opinions and and stand up for what we believe in.

So many people throughout history have been oppressed, whether that’s been due to race, gender and identity, sexual preference, or quite frankly anything that hasn’t fit the so called ‘norm’ of a particular era, and we’re finally passed that oppression, or are at least getting there. So it’s not ‘political correctness gone mad’ when an establishment has toilets that aren’t gender specific, and women aren’t ‘too easily offended’ by the suggestion that what we wear is to blame when a man can’t control himself when he’s around them. It’s just that we now know that we can voice the fact that some things aren’t ok, and if that upsets you and your backwards way of thinking, that sounds a hell of a lot like your problem, and not ours.

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