asking for trouble

Selling On-Demand: An Update

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote my guide to selling on-demand so here’s an update on how I’m finding things now.

spoonflower fabric pencil cases


How’s it going? I still sell a lot of fabric in all different sizes and types and make a reasonable amount of money from it. The Berlin office doesn’t seem to have increased my EU orders much but it’s been brilliant for getting swatches quicker to add new designs for sale.

New products: Some new base fabrics plus two new sites: Sprout for custom printed sewing projects and Roostery for readymade.

Biggest sellers: Tiny repeat patterns, tea towel calendars, cut and sew designs on a swatch.

Have I spent all my profits buying from my own shop? I do order a lot of fabric, but most of it is to make things to sell. I also made myself a scarf, which I wear a lot.

Promo opportunities: Spoonflower have regular offers including free shipping day, free swatches and 2 for 1 deals, but often just for 24 hours with little notice so you need to be on the ball. The design contests are back and are a great way to increase your followers.

Top tip: Check your sales notifications (in your profile) regularly and message all your buyers thanking them and asking them to send a link if they post online about what they make with it. Not that many people reply but when they do it’s always amazing.

Visit my Spoonflower shop >>

society6 tshirt


How’s it going? I sell reasonably well on here but the artist commission is very small. It still feels like the most fun site to sell on as the product range and styling is high quality and you feel part of a group. The new product uploader is a million times better and has made everything more enjoyable.

New products: Quite a few cool and high end products have been added recently including comforters and beach towels. You always get a heads up from staff so you can prepare your designs and promote them.

Biggest sellers: Mugs, phone cases and tote bags.

Have I spent all my profits buying from my own shop? Absolutely. Even though I only buy during big offers with free shipping, I still spend a lot. My comforter has definitely put me well in the red.

Promo opportunities: Regular discounts and free worldwide shipping. For major sales, you get an email well in advance so you can plan your promotion.

Top tip: Get involved! Follow artists you like to see their new work and promote your favourites to help them out. Add work regularly so that your followers can reciprocate.

Visit my Society6 shop >>

Gingerbread Man Journal from Redbubble


How’s it going? I get 2 or 3 sales emails every day, though they’re usually just for a single sticker, so I’m not quite making millions here. It’s good that sales are regular and I’m obviously being seen despite not having received any kind of promotion.

New products: Since I joined, they’ve been adding new products regularly including a huge apparel range. Adding them to your shop almost always requires editing every single product though.

Biggest sellers: Stickers, by a million miles.

Have I spent all my profits buying from my own shop? Maybe. I have ordered a notebook and pouch for myself but I also buy stickers with my artist discount to sell on my own site.

Promo opportunities: Sales and discounts are always for 24 hours only with no notice and never on days when I promote sales, so that’s annoying. There are ongoing bulk discounts that can help you increase orders e.g. buy 6 stickers and they’re all half price.

Top tip: Follow the Redbubble blog as they post some very helpful artist tips as well as artist interviews.

Visit my Redbubble shop >>

zazzle wallet


How’s it going? Surprisingly well since I don’t promote it a lot due to high shipping costs. Narrowing my range down to just my favourite products has helped plus their new design tools are much improved. Sales are now pretty regular and often for high end products or bulk orders (I sold 100 tote bags to someone!)

New products: Zazzle are always adding new things but I only pick a few that suit my designs. The partyware has been perfect and I also love the improved tote bags and mugs. Interestingly, they are now highlighting products that aren’t selling or being viewed so you can remove them to make room for more popular ranges or work on promoting them.

Biggest sellers: Tote bags, clearly! I also sell a lot of blankets, posters, stickers and personalised cards.

Have I spent all my profits buying from my own shop? Nope. I haven’t been buying from Zazzle much as international shipping is outrageous and few products are available shipping from the UK.

Promo opportunities: Constant multi-day discounts (on the US site) that remind you to promote different products and seasonal ranges.

Top tip: Make space for customisable text whenever possible. If your designs have text, remove it and add it as editable text; if they don’t, leave some space. I don’t really get why personalised things are so popular but they really are.

Visit my Zazzle shop >>

Got a question about selling on-demand?

I’ve had a bunch of emails lately that I don’t have the time to answer individually, but I will write another blog post soon covering the main points. If you have any questions to add, leave a comment!

This is part of a series of posts about selling on-demand:


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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