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12 // Selling My Work

A while back, I was introduced to the concept of Red Bubble. If the name throws you, don’t worry. This is not a balloon-selling service. It’s a website that allows artists and designers to sell their work and turn a (small) profit off it. I realize I mention my former boyfriend often on here, so I apologize, but he’s the one who turned me onto the idea.

I had watched him beginning to sell some of his work on the site for a while, and every so often he’d get a fun little email alerting him that he had made a sale. By my last calculations, I think he ended up making quite a lot of money off the iPhone cases he was making. His subject matter was more focused on Dr. Who and Nintendo. But regardless, his stuff sold. And he didn’t even have to do lots of promotion. It just kept happening.

A few months ago, I received a very unexpected email from a girl I had never met. She had managed to stumble across my design portfolio online and had seen one of my shirt designs. A design done for a screen-printing class, promoting the book (turned soon-to-be movie) “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” She asked me if my shirt was for sale. I remember laughing to myself, because that screen-printing class had turned out horrendously and I had lined the screen up wrong. The print was crooked and wrapped halfway around the shirt. I had chalked it up to a lost cause, but I’d decided to keep the shirt design up on my site because I liked it. Even if it wasn’t real.

So I started mulling over her question. What would be the harm in selling it? How hard could it be? I’d make one sale and be done with the whole thing. So I set up a Red Bubble account. Sent in my Illustrator file. Picked my shirt colors it would display on. Then I sent her an email response with a link to my site, and true to her word, she bought a shirt.

I decided to branch out the merchandise into iPhone cases on a whim. They were a little pricey in my opinion, but I wasn’t the one setting the prices. All I had control over was the percent of profits, to an extent. Which trust me, isn’t much. But anymore, there have been more people buying my things. All I have, literally right now, are the various “Perks” shirts (in black ink and white ink) and an iPhone case design. But people keep buying them. People I’ve never met ever. I’ve done a very TINY amount of promotion on Facebook and Twitter right when I put up my first design, but I honestly didn’t think it’d go anywhere. That was back in December or so.

I made another sale today, and I’m up to something like $30 that I didn’t have before I started this ‘selling’ process. I’m always so pleasantly surprised when it happens. I can’t imagine how people come across my work. But I think it’s kind of cool. And I really hope they’re happy with their shirts and cases. I’d like to do some more quotes. Work on my type skills. Could be a fun project!


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