Selling, Without Selling Out

To most people, selling your art usually means spamming everyone in your friends list to buy, buy, buy! But very often, that can have a terrible effect on your network and social connections. Here are 5 tips I have learnt of how to effectively sell, without selling out.


1. Don’t Share More Than Twice a Week

If you share your art through Facebook, Twitter and more, be careful how often you do it. If you do it too much, it will feel like bombardment to your friends, and often they will hide/unfollow you because of this. Naturally, by doing this they will never see your updates from that point on (unless they visit your page directly) – which is definitely not good for business or your social connection!


2. Spread Your Net Further

If you are only sharing it through a few social networks, consider going bigger with your message. Often, when I produce a funny shirt, I will make sure to send copies to all the humour/t-shirt roundup blogs to get the word out. I did this with Stolen Air Guitar which resulted in my design being displayed on a few big blogs and getting shared through many of those “image” sharing websites (see here). Sure many of them don’t actually include the link directly to Redbubble, but when someone wanted to buy it all they had to do was type Buy Stolen Air Guitar into Google and there it was.


3. Play On Parody

Parody, as we know, is a big seller on Redbubble. But the important message here is the word Play. Sure Parody might be a great ticket to get seen, but remember to do somethng that inspires people every now and then – basically show you have some substance. If someone was scanning your page to hire you for your designs how can they really see who you are through one genre?


4. Start A Riot

Ok, while some designs get people to think, they don’t often start a riot. But this tounge-in-cheek expression is important to keep in mind when designing for a saturated market. People love to share designs that make you rethink culture, start discussions and get your brain ticking. Animo does a great job at this, with many of her shirts playing on our thoughts about society and designed to get you thinking.


5. It’s All In The Detail

With my Stolen Air Guitar shirt I was focusing on a quick, fun market to churn me out and go viral in a short amount of time – and it worked. But if you want your designs to stick in people’s minds for a while (like my highest seller: Beetles On Abbey Road), focus on designing with detail. Detailed designs show that the designer cares passionately about his design, and has spent many hours constructing it. The detail can come from paying attention to the characters, subject matter and message that your shirt is sending out. RubyRed , Simon Sherry and Chris Wahl do this extremely well (which is why their work features in the Top Sellers List), often merging humour and parody into their detailed designs.


6. Get Out – Inspired by Simon Sherry

As Simon mentioned in the comments below, it’s important to remember to get out there and talk to people. It’s not enough that you promote your work online, you also must meet with other designers, focus groups and other areas where your work will be appreciated. But there is something I want you to take away from this point: Don’t sell to people. Go to the events/catchups to find out about others. When they ask you what you do, tell them – but don’t sell – just talk.

A few Redbubble members used to run general catch ups with anyone who wanted to attend to take the conversation further, but it doesn’t have to be just Redbubbler’s.

These days you can host an event by just choosing a date, local bar and then creating an event on Facebook (or other places). It doesn’t have to be massive (or official) but you will be surprised how many people may be interested in attending.


7. Focus On The Pull, Not The Push – Inspired by Animo

As Animo mentioned in the comments below “Don’t Actively Sell”. This is a very hard thing for people to get their head around, as it requires a level of selflessness that is not easy to work with.

The market pull is more powerful if you continue to share, inspire and teach others while rarely focusing on your own artwork. This can have huge advantages and can increase your network of followers beyond your target market.

If you are pushing your own artwork all the time, without focusing on others you will eventually be ‘unfollowed’ or hidden. “Unselling” goes against everything we have seen/been taught throughout our years with traditional advertising. But this is the era of Social Sharing and if one of your shirts (enter James Lillis’ JOKE Design which has since been dropped from RB) goes ‘viral’ you will reap some big rewards. And by simply having features, stories and even artwork of other artists in your feeds and journals you are more likely to keep new visitors.


To be honest, this list could go on forever, but hopefully by now you have picked up the best trend for selling, without selling out: Create for your target market (quick and fun or detailed), share it with the right people/blogs and then get back to designing. If you create quality, people will notice.

What are your tips for selling, without selling out?

Journal Comments

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