Is Zazzle Shopkeeping Worth The Effort?

Note:  Since this post was written, Zazzle has continued it’s Volume Bonus Program and has also changed its standard royalty rate.

If you’ve ever thought about opening a shop on Zazzle to promote your designs but you’ve been hesitant to do so because you’re afraid it might not be worth the effort, the truth is that it all depends on you and what end result you desire!

First off, if you’re not familiar with Zazzle, let me explain what they are:

( L-R) Co Founder and Chief Product Officer  Jeff Beaver,
Co Founder and Chief Executive Officer Robert Beaver,
and Co Founder and Chief Technology Officer  Bobby Beaver

Zazzle is an online retailer that was founded in 1999 by a man named Robert Beaver and his sons, Bobby and Jeff.  They let users like you and I to upload images based on your own (non-copyrighted) artwork, graphics, images and so on.  This allowes us create our own merchandise like clothing, mugs, hats, iPad cases and so on, or we can buy merchandise created by other users.  You can also use images from participating companies. They enable individuals, professional artists, and major brands, including Disney and Hallmark, to create and offer billions of unique products for customers worldwide.  Users can open one-to-several shops for free and we can set the profit (Royalty) we wish to make on each item.

Now, if you’re looking for a get-rich-quick type of deal, let me tell you now, “This is not it”.  However, that being said, you can make a good amount of monthly royalties all depending on how many designs you create and how many products you decide to offer with each design.  You’ll do better if you allow the customers who visit your shop(s) to be able to customize the items.  You can also add something called “Template Objects” which would be wording or images you assign to be template objects.  This will allow your customers to change wording to however they like it, or add/remove images.  You can read more about the templates here.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to make a living off of Zazzle royalties, but you really have to put in the work if you want to get a lot out of it.  This means constantly coming up with new and unique designs that will attract customers.  Check out what the latest trends are, what the latest popular colors are and work with that.  Just be sure not to steal other people’s work to add to your products.  Zazzle also does have a strict copyright policy and if is not adhered to, they will remove your item(s) from your shop.  Custom monogramming is popular and custom invitations seem to do really well.

What’s great about designing and selling things on Zazzle is that it’s easy to use and you don’t have to be very computer or internet savvy to use Zazzle’s features.  They have guide files that you can use so you can figure out what size your item(s) should be.  They also have a list of niche categories you can download in Excel.

I started designing items and adding them to Zazzle products in my first shop, Pride & More, in 2008 and since then I have opened 7 additional shops (San Francisco Glitterati, You’re So Strange, Pokaholics Anonymous, South City Boy, Libidinous Artist (18+), He Walks With Me and Imperial Palace).  Now personally I haven’t become rich off of royalties, however, most months range between $300 and $700 and then the holidays bring in well over $1000.  It pays bills and buys groceries, which makes me happy since at the moment I’m working for myself and this income is crucial.  If you’re employed and want some extra income, this is a great way to bring it in.  Zazzle also offers a Volume Bonus, Referral Bonus and more.  You can also find a lot of help from their blog and forums.

The best way to make money on Zazzle is to create, create, create and then promote, promote, promote.  Promoting your items is critical to your success.  Using places like Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Flickr are great ways to promote.  I’ve also heard that Squidoo is a great way to promote, which I personally haven’t gotten into using because I find myself a tad confused by it.  I am planning on looking into it further.

So to answer the question as to whether or not it’s worth it to open a shop on Zazzle, I’d say “Yes”.  If you’re the creative type and like to play around with graphics, photography and what not…this is a great place to promote your work and bring in a little extra cash.