Interview with Amanda Bosveld from Dear Musketeer

It’s my pleasure to feature Amanda Bosveld from Dear Musketeer on the blog. Make sure to check out her Etsy shop and leave her some love in the comments!

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your creative journey? 

I’m Amanda, from the beautiful island of Tasmania in Australia. I’ve always been madly in love with creating, art and design. I’m a qualified graphic designer by trade, but when I got seriously sick with (what I now know to be) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome five years ago I resigned from my corporate job and have totally changed direction.

This illness has an extreme amount of challenges but it’s also given me time and space to grow the little business that is Dear Musketeer. I find so much happiness in the sweet distraction of creating – even on my many bed bound days I can still design or make. (It’s amazing how much you can still do whilst lying down, propped up on a sea of pillows). It’s wonderfully fulfilling to put my limited energy into something I love so much. I really do miss my old life as a graphic designer, copywriter and marketer. But I have always been drawn to the really artistic side of whatever I did more, so it’s been a beautiful, natural progression of my skills into this space.

My advice is to work with what works for you – don’t be pressured to do what you think is expected of you as an artist. You don’t have to create how others create or run a business in a similar way.

So many of us have unique challenges or limitations and there is no one way that is ‘the right way’ to be creative or to run a small business. My intention for myself this year is to focus on my 2019 goal of a ‘slow and joyous flow’ in my work. I know that I can’t push myself or be always on the go so I’m sticking with what works for me.

I wouldn’t say I have one preferred medium or style. My work includes digital art, painting, drawing and my latest love, fibre art (or ‘fiber’ for all you Americans). But my art for my Dear Musketeer shop is always based around it being wall art as I love interiors and offering pieces to make people’s spaces beautiful.

When did Dear Musketeer get started? How has your art business experience been on Etsy? 

I started Dear Musketeer on Etsy in 2011 but only for a short while since my work as a full time graphic design job kept me more than busy. So I feel I really started just a year and a half ago with my current art range and style.

Etsy has been the most amazing platform. Many other small creative businesses I have talked to say they stay away from it since they think the fees etc are too pricey. But personally, I don’t know of any other selling platform that would give me the same exposure to new customers and therefore more sales.

It is also very user friendly and you don’t need to be some web genius to use Etsy to its full potential. For example, I still have times I can barely get out of bed, so when I feel like this, I change my shipping profiles with a few quick clicks to increase my processing time. Then I simply change it back once I know I’m feeling a little better again. 
All in all, I can’t recommend it enough.

What does your artistic process like? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My work develops as I’m taken ‘where the wind blows me’. Sometimes I’m super inspired by the colours I see around me and ideas just spring into my mind. On my recent summer family holiday to Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula (please Google it and possibly put it on your travel bucket list), I was totally inspired by the white beaches, blue water and huge granite blocks that are coloured orange by lichen. This led to my latest collection of watercolour leaves art. Other times I feel compelled to work with my hands and just experiment and get super stuck into tactile forms of art.
I find inspiration all around me and always carry a little notebook to jot down ideas for later. I also find Pinterest a great platform for compiling (and finding) ideas and inspiration.

For other artists selling prints, do you have any solid printer recommendations?

 My biggest tip would be to do your homework. Email a number of printers and ask all the questions you need to to find out it the company to work with is right for you. If possible find someone local or in your country that will deliver to you in your time frames and with your quality requirements.
I recently changed printers since I wanted to upgrade my printing quality and paper stocks. I would say I was possibly annoying with the amount of questions I asked different printers. I’m fussy and with good reason – I want to give my customers the best! I knew the right people to work with would understand my desire for amazing quality and consistency, plus be able to work with my time frames. I therefore found a printer who I now have the best and easiest working relationship with. The quality and consistency of their prints are amazing, so in turn I’m then so happy and confident to sell to my customers. Win win!!

Are there any projects in the works for the coming year?

Ah there sure is – my work is always evolving. I’m currently in the process of creating prototypes for some unique style wall hangings. I’m also going to expand my print range plus offer gallery pack options and canvas prints with hangers too. Where else my art goes, I don’t know. We’ll just see where my ever inspired mind and whim takes me.

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How to Successfully Sell Art on Redbubble

 

This post contains links that I receive a small commission from at no cost to you if you purchase something

Many of us artists who are new to selling on Redbubble, or have tried to sell on Redbubble and have tried to figure out their niche and what sells best, and how and what to promote, often give up after a year or two, or even less. These 10 artists give their advice on how to successfully sell art on Redbubble and what has worked best for them.

Redbubble Artist @artiisan

“My most selling products are definitely phone cases, but also notebooks and t-shirts are very popular! My top selling design is Floral Dance. I have only had good experiences on Redbubble. The RB team is so helpful and really interested in promoting their artists! I’ve been featured on the RB front page three times in three months and they’ve also re-posted my work two times on their 160k Instagram account. When RB featured my work Floral Dance on their front page, my sales went crazy and now Floral Dance is one of the top selling floral designs on the site. I also do some marketing on my own Instagram account @art.iisan where I mention when there’s a sale on or just post pictures of my products. I also have other sites that I sell my designs on, but Redbubble definitely makes the best sales. But I should also say that I’ve been very active myself; I add new works almost weekly, post eye-catching product pictures on my Instagram and tag Redbubble in the pics. I also take part if Redbubble arranges competitions, such as last spring’s #Staycay design challenge. Try to build good visibility! 🙂

Redbubble Artist @ednama

“I sell stickers the most on my Redbubble shop, especially the ones that have been featured on Redbubble’s homepage, such as this one. I promote my artwork mainly on my Instagram account, I share my drawing progress and interact with people in the comments. Redbubble is a really great platform that you can sell your artwork instantly, so your followers can buy your latest work! Besides Redbubble, I also sell self-printed products on Etsy, where I pack and ship the products directly to the buyers – I love to include a small thank you card within the orders, so to show how much I appreciate every single one of them!”

Redbubble Artist @vonplatypus

“My Redbubble bestseller is a design called Missing, which imagines the Loch Ness Monster being searched for through the milk carton ads that look for missing people. Being featured a few times in Redbubble’s Found section definitely helped make this design popular, because although I have the same design available on other sites like TeePublic and Society6, none of those have come even close to the numbers Missing has done on Redbubble. To be honest, I don’t do a lot of marketing of my designs – I usually find it more fun to promote the artwork of others at my websites TeeMagnet.com and Compete-tee-tion.com. This is probably partially because my focus with my artwork tends to be sites like Shirt.Woot.com, where you sell the rights to the artwork and it becomes their exclusive property. Although many find the rights issue to be a drawback, I find that it can be a real plus for people like me who are less active in marketing their own work – in a way, the site does it for you! It gives me more time to make new designs, rather than dwelling on things I’ve already created.”

Redbubble Artist @obinsun

“The most successful item sold in my Redbubble shop are T-Shirts of my design “Cat Got Your Soul?” As far as marketing goes, I have a neglected Twitter account and that’s about it. I make up for my lack of marketing by being prolific when it comes to producing art. The more I create the more my work gets noticed which equals more sales across all designs. I do sell on a variety of POD sites too, but most of my income comes through Redbubble, Threadless and Design By Humans. For Threadless I submit to contests as much as possible and with DBH I simply upload all my work just like I do with Redbubble. The two things that contribute most to my overall sales would be having a design featured on the Redbubble “found feed” and getting a print on featured on Threadless.”

Redbubble Artist @BeardyGraphics 

“So, my Redbubble shop bestseller is this guy – “Blue Beard”. I use Instagram  and Facebook to promote my illustrations & stuff. Sometimes Redbubble puts my art on their Facebook cover, or make a post about it. So it works, of course :). Also, I sell my art on Society6 and TeePublic. I think that sometimes sales in my Society6 store are more successful because they offer free shipping from time to time, but sometimes I think all of my shops share somewhat equal success.”

Redbubble Artist @5mmpaper

“The design I sell the most is an 80’s retro Memphis inspired pattern, and mostly on phone cases. The sales increased drastically when RB featured this product on the homepage, and I am still selling it well as it is also featured in pattern design suggestions by RB. To promote my work I mainly post my work on Pinterest, and I also submit my work to groups when I upload new work. I don’t really use teams that much. I also sell on Society6 and find I sell a bit more there, and also a larger variety of designs. I feel that with really good texts and keywords on S6 you can make a bigger difference in terms of showing up in the search results. The kind of products I sell on RB are also different from S6. On RB I sell more lifestyle products such as phone cases and notebooks, and on S6 I sell more home decor products such as pillows.”

Redbubble Artist @EricFan

“My best-selling piece on Redbubble is Space Sloth followed closely by Music Man. At the moment I haven’t been doing a lot to promote my work, since I’ve been busy with a lot of book projects. In the past I mostly used the usual social media platforms for promotion: Facebook and Instagram primarily. The staff at Redbubble have been very helpful as far as gaining more exposure, by featuring my work on the Found page, and in some of their blog postings. I sell my work on a few other sites, namely Society6, DenyDesigns, Displate, Caseable. I’ve had good success on Society6, I think because (again) the staff have been very helpful about featuring my work, and they have a good system for generating traffic with their curator program. The curator program allows other users to “curate” other artist’s work and post it to sites like Pinterest and blogs, for which they receive a royalty from each linked sale.”

Redbubble Artist @aterkaderk

“I sell the most of my coffee cup sticker. It’s a flower pattern and drawing I made for fun one day. I didn’t have to do any outside marketing. I know sharing posts on Instagram and Pinterest can really help people, but I was surprised when I started selling lots of stickers after a few months. I was lucky enough to eventually have my coffee cup sticker reach the trending pages, and eventually it got to the first page. Then, I got featured on the front page of the site and since then I’ve been starting to sell phone cases, shirts, and notebooks here and there.

I definitely think selling content that can reach a wide audience is helpful, as well as having lots of different items. Stickers are the easiest to sell because they’re cheap and people buy a few at once. I make a decent amount of money from my other sticker sales combined, but it’s not really one design in particular besides the coffee cup. From my experience, having one product that does really well can make you the most money.”

Redbubble Artist @evasabrekova

“My top selling works include Lighthouse, Redbeard, andMeow Meow Meow. People buy them on stickers very often, but also on t-shirts, pillows and canvas prints. I am not in any groups, because I don’t have much time for being active in social networking 🙂 Somehow two of my works entered into the Found page, and one on the main banner of the site and it increased sales significantly. Maybe it’s because Redbubble follows me on Instagram and sometimes likes my work? In any case, all advertising and promotion of my work I do on Instagram.

You can also find me on the websites Design By Humans (registered a couple days ago, so too early to say about success) and the Russian website maryjane.ru (not bad, but most selling works are differ from RB) and pinkbus.ru (a few sales).”

Redbubble Artist @AdamSpringer

“My most popular popular piece is “River.” The items I’ve found sell the most are the more traditional, be it canvas or paper prints. However Redbubble is so interesting because they let you place your artwork on so many different mediums. I love when I sell a throw pillow or clothing apparel because I know that person is going to be interacting with my work more intimately. In this day and age having a social media presence is a key tool to help sell artwork. If a popular Youtube star reposts about your work it helps sell your product tremendously. It all comes down to who you know! Other places I have found helpful to sell art and interact with the community are coffee shops, bars, etc. Its a good place to meet people who are interested in art and have good conversations.”

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General Tips 

Title your work with a descriptive and catchy title.

Tag your work with words that accurately describe the work, and use as many multi-word tags as possible .

Descriptions are picked up by Google and other search engines – be as descriptive as possible.

Join and participate in Redbubble groups and become an integrated part of the community.

Promote your work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, WeHeartIt, etc. Using tools like Tailwind for Pinterest can be invaluable.

Buy your own work to sell in coffee shops or other local businesses, or to give as gifts and show off.

Journal often to let people know what you’re up to or that there’s a new design in your shop.

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Recommended Skillshare Classes

A Step-by-Step Guide to Art Licensing: Sell Your First Piece of Artwork Online

A Step-by-Step Guide to Art Licensing: Sell Your First Piece of Artwork Online

Intro to Selling Art on Redbubble

Intro to Selling Art on Redbubble

Print On Demand for Artists: Painting to Pattern to Product, The Complete Process

Print On Demand for Artists: Painting to Pattern to Product, The Complete Process

Recommended Blog Posts 

Why You Should Sell Your Art on Redbubble 

How to Make Sales on Redbubble 

A Practical Guide to Promoting and Selling Art on Redbubble 

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Join the Small Business Artists Tribe on Tailwind!

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