Some Tips and Tricks for Running an Online Art Shop

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to open a shop of my own to sell my art. It was so cool to see artists make so many things with their own hands and sell them out of their own bedrooms. Over the years, I’ve been doodling ideas all over the place and dreaming about making and selling stationary with my own art on them. This summer, I decided it was time to turn my dreams into reality and I started selling my own stickers on my Etsy shop. There were many moments of pure joy, as well as moments of frustration. It wasn’t easy, but in the end, it was worth it. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the course of this summer that maybe can help inspire you to open your own online art store!

  1. 1. Research, research, research!

    From stickers to keychains, there are so many different types of customizable objects to design and sell. It was really hard for me to choose which kinds of products I wanted to sell; I wanted to design a variety of different products, but I also had a limited budget. A good rule of thumb I learned over time is to make sure that the products you choose use materials that you have access to. I eventually chose to focus on stickers because I can easily buy materials for sticker making online, and the materials weren’t at a price that was too expensive for me. The equipment used to make stickers is very accessible—all you really need is a sticker cutting machine (I have a Cricut Pro) and some sticker sheets. Plenty of artists have also put up videos on Youtube, describing how they make their own products and recommending various materials as well as services. Before diving into sticker making at home, I watched videos from Katnipp and She Meets City about the different aspects of selling stickers. These videos helped me to figure out the logistics of sticker selling. Sticker making is also very flexible because you can either make it home, or you can outsource it and buy it from a producer like StickerApp or Sticker Ninja. In short, look into different experiences with making a product you’re interested in selling to gain some insight and to make decisions before you dive headfirst into creating!

  2. 2. Design what you enjoy designing.

    When it came to designing my stickers, I chose to make designs that I knew I would enjoy drawing. Part of the process is making sure you actually like what you are doing—it is really telling in a product whether or not the artist was passionate about it. I came up with ideas for my stickers by thinking about what I really wanted and craved for, like bubble tea (which I couldn’t get often because of the pandemic) and fruits (which I love eating). Personally, it helps to sketch ideas out with a pen and paper before jumping right into digital art because it’s easier to mold your ideas into something more conceivable. If you’re stuck and can’t get any ideas, try scrolling through Pinterest or Etsy! Instead of copying what’s already there, look into what images appeal to you and what exactly makes them appealing to you. It’s also helpful to watch studio vlogs on YouTube because watching the process behind art can help spark ideas on what to do for your own art making routine.

  3. 3. Set goals for yourself that you can break down into small, tangible tasks.

    Much like how professors set deadlines for projects and papers, it’s important to set your own deadlines in order to make things happen. By physically setting down specific due dates for myself to get certain things done, I was able to make the end products happen. It’s good to set goals that push you a little bit out of your comfort zone but are also realistic. For instance, I wanted to make stickers, but I put down a number for how many designs I wanted to make so that I could plan everything out. I also found it useful to write down two to three goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of the month. While I didn’t always meet those goals, it helped get me on track to achieving them. Calendars are a huge help, as it makes it easy to map out where you should be in the process throughout the month.

  4. 4. Don’t let failures discourage you!

    As much as we don’t want them to, mistakes and mishaps are bound to happen. It was frustrating for me when it came to printing and cutting my stickers because a lot of technical issues popped up. From my printer printing the wrong colors to the Cricut machine cutting in the wrong places, there were lots of areas to troubleshoot and sticker papers that were messed up. But through it all, I was able to learn about the settings that best fit my needs. There is no one way to do art. Just because one method works for one artist, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for you. It’s only through trial and error that you can figure out a way to make products that you feel good about!

  5. 5. Take a break once in a while.

    It’s always great to have that rush of creativity and create as much as possible. But it’s also super important to give yourself a break from creating once in a while—before your excitement for creativity dries up. It was hard for me to take breaks at first because all I wanted to do was draw, draw, and draw some more. My parents would make me go with the family for weekly walks, which not only helped me get art off my mind for a moment, but it also helped spark new ideas from the places we walked to. Try to take breaks that can help you take both a mental and physical break from sitting at the desk all day!

No matter how much experience you have with art, opening an art shop can help you grow in terms of creativity and skill. If you’re interested, check out my Etsy shop, flutteringemily, here!

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