I’ve learned that POD companies have a very strange attitude when it comes to sharing profits with their artists. The general POD attitude can be summarized as “Buyers visit our websites to purchase our products (e.g. canvas prints)… and you (the artist) should feel lucky that we let you put your images on our products.” As a result of this attitude, many POD companies don’t allow the artists to control the prices of their prints. The prices are simply dictated to the artist. The general attitude is “We control the prices. You should feel lucky to be here. Take it or leave it.”
The FAA and Zazzle pricing model is much, much different. I specify exactly how much I earn on each sale in real dollars (not percentages). If I wanted to earn $5,000 for the sale of a 24″ x 36″ print, I set it. If I want to charge $25 for a greeting card, that’s fine, too. It’s completely up to me. They don’t force me to accept a certain price…And I’m not tricked into creating sales percentages. They DO discount my income when they choose to run sales and when you “cash in” a discount coupon, my income is reduced. MY thinking is that perhaps I will make up for the decrease in income, by an INCREASE in volume. To give you an idea of MY income, I earn ten cents on my post cards, and ten dollars on large canvas reprints. Roughly two dollars on a sheet of First Class postage stamps. That’s it. I kept the prices down, in hopes of folks being able to afford my work… I’d prefer you share it and enjoy what I do… THIS includes my time and effort to design a particular piece. I recently created a business logo for someone, who failed to buy one product. I lost time and money. I don’t know. Is THAT the life of a graphic designer? However, there have been others who I deeply appreciate, for believing in, and appreciating my work and when the design is complete, they invest in the products that work for them…
Another reason I chose these two companies, is this: Try to track down a phone number for customer service on most POD websites! The phone numbers don’t exist. If one of my buyers has a question about placing an order… or tracking an order… or selecting a frame… there is no one to talk to on these other sites. Not only can you not talk to anyone… you also can’t return your purchase for any reason. They have a “no returns” policy! That’s completely unheard of for my online business. Not only are the telephone numbers for Fine Art America and Zazzle published on my sites, but my personal telephone number is also included!! I want to know if you have a particular color in mind, or need a custom size for a particular wall. I KNOW your wedding is important, and want your invitation postage to be PERFECT!
With regard to my cards, postage and other products, communication is the greatest key to successful customer satisfaction.
I chose Print-On-Demand for my work for ease of distribution. They take the orders, fulfill them, package and insure them, ship them and do all of the paperwork. Something that I am terribly inept in performing! You don’t want to see anything I’ve shipped personally! I spend more on tape, bubble wrap and cardboard than you invested in the work!
Finally, quality. Both of these companies produce the highest quality products on the market. You can be assured that when you purchase a canvas print from FAA, or a simple coffee mug depicting my art from Zazzle, you are investing in a long-lasting, top-notch product that will be with you for a VERY long time! And THAT it my ultimate goal. Providing the investor with a quality product. When you go to my personal website and click on a piece, you are taken to the POD company representing that piece.
I hope that this clears up a few issues and questions of why I chose to take the route of POD companies, and explains why I am represented by the companies that I am.