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Comparing artist profit: Fine Art America vs. Printful

By Julia Gifford - Reading time: 3 minutes

Our previous post comparing Society6 profit with Printful sparked discussion, and some people asked for even more insight as to the true earning potential on similar POD sites. And so we’ll continue the Comparing Artist Profit series.

Fine Art America – the Print on Demand site for fine arts

Fine Art America is a POD site that helps artists sell their photography and art as digital prints online. They print and ship the images to the customer.

As the name says, the platforms is heavy on fine arts. Meaning you’ll see more fine art, digital images of paintings, etc. As opposed to digital artwork you’ll see on other POD sites.

FAA price policy

Different from most other POD sites like CafePress, Redbubble, Society6, FAA has a unique pricing policy.

The one thing about the pricing for FAA is that though it’s transparent for the artist (you get paid as much as you ask for), it isn’t very transparent in terms of how much the buyer will end up paying – as in, what FAA markup is.

The artist sets the price that they want to receive for the sale of any of their prints (including regular prints, metal prints, acrilyc prints, canvas). Regardless of that the buyer buys, you’ll receive the amount you asked for.

Then there are other products for which you set a different amount you want to receive, such as greeting cards, duvet covers, throw pillows and phone cases.

If a buyer orders extras for their order, such as framing or an added mat border, you receive 5%. Since the art is so customized in terms of size and customization options, it’s difficult to say how much that 5% comes to. FAA sets their markup to add their commission, as well as the price for materials and construction.

Since they’re focused on Fine Art, the assumption is that the art will be bought to be placed, for example on a wall. The product options are extensive in terms of visually demonstrating it on a wall-type scenario. For example, you’ll get acrylic prints, metal prints, and more. With few other options, like throw pillows and greeting cards.

Likelihood of artist profit – it really depends

A quick perusal of what FAA sellers are saying online, they seem to all be in agreement that purchases are few and far between, but the chances to add a hefty profit exists. The general consensus is to not sell your art at little value, because people don’t want to think that they’re buying “cheap art”.

An additional element to FAA, which differs from other POD sites, is their yearly Premium plan, that offers additional extras, the most important of which, is the possibility to add more images to sell than on the free plan.

As cliché as it sounds, the artist’s profit comparison really depends. There are two factors that impact artists profit:

1) How much you ask for

2) How much of your purchases are prints vs. other products

If you choose to make more money, you will. The same goes for Printful.

The mathematical breakdown of profit margins

SInce FAA puts their markup on top of what you’ve already set what you want your profit margin to be, we’ve automatically imageined that you set your profit on FAA at $10.00. Then whatever FAA sends to afterwards (we created a test account), that’s the price we “set” for the Printful sale, and based on that amount, deduced the profit you’d have, selling at the same price point to your customers.

Price you sell at

Profit with Printful

Profit with FAA

Canvas Print

Framed art print (18×24″)

Throw pillow (18×18″)

Sublimation tote

Small art print (6×8″)

Large art print (18×24″)

$47

$128.18

$27

$30

$12.56

$35.24

$3.50

$78.18

$10.00

$13.00

$5.44

$22.24

$10.00

$10.00

$10.00

$10.00

$10.00

$10.00

Average profit margin

42.7%

35%

Of course, you can choose to set your FAA profit higher, but the price you sell at will then also increase.

You can see that for different products you stand to gain a higher profit. For example, for the small art print, you stand to make a great profit margin on FAA. However for framed art prints, you’d make a larger profit through Printful.

The moral of the story is to know what you’re getting into, see which model suits you best, and evaluate which products you want to sell (and where you can get the best margin on).

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  1. Edward Fielding

    I sell regularly on FAA and my profit level for a 18×24 is more in the $75 range. The numbers in this article have no basis. BTW – I also use Printful for direct sales from my blog.

    1. Kim Myran

      If you’re not truly fine art, don’t use FAA, you won’t be taken seriously by FAA, other artists, or buyers. It’s not the place to sell your cool digital designs, slogans, etc. You may have really good art. Still, look at the title and thats what buyers expect … Fine Art. Nothing wrong with that or the site. Just know the audience it attracts, not how many people shop there. Know what they are shopping for.

      Kim

  2. Roger

    I’m currently bouncing around different POD sites. FAA seems easiest to use by far in terms of incorporating a store into my site. I’d like to ask the previous commenter Edward Fielding on which prints he’s making $75 on an 18×24. I did look at your site Edward and I loved your work but I didn’t find anything for sale at that price, let alone that price plus a markup. Can you please elaborate on your comment?

  3. Marissa

    The profits look nice, but how much advertising does printful do verses faa? Is there one that is geared more towards someone doing their own advertising? Or do both sites advertise well?

  4. Gladys

    Well my art is realism oil painting and my customers don’t o art posters! they we fine art giclee on rag paper. You don’t have that

  5. Mike Savad

    @roger – that would be his mark up price, you would have to see the total price on the site. i’ve never tried printful, never heard of it until now. i can say you can make money on fine art america, but it really depends on how well you advertise, and what your work looks like.

    many people have heard of FAA, i’ve never heard of this place, and that alone will effect sales. if i join a new pod, it has to be a place a person has heard of before. otherwise i’d be wasting my time uploading. i have over 3000 images now, so that is an important thing.

    the pricing structure on this blog is inaccurate, because on FAA you set your own price. marking your items at $10 profit, will do you no good in the long run. i don’t know how printful does it, if its by percent or a fixed amount, but because you can set your own price, you get that price. and you don’t have to fiddle about with percents.

    if you have a good product, it will sell even if the price is high, people are buying quality.

    —Mike Savad
    http://www.MikeSavad.com

  6. Ramon Jamison

    I’m a new artist on Faa and I can’t upload any pictures. I’ve taken every step possible to configure my images in the create section with no success.Faa allows me to upload from Instagram to see my images on their products but that’s as far as it will go. It gives me two options on selecting photos a browser then Instagram. The browser doesn’t work at all not sure if it’s the device I’m using.

    1. Gemma

      You are most likely using images over the size limit. Right click on image and select properties and that will show you the size. If it is over 25 meg, you can’t upload and the screen doesn’t really tell you that or why.

      #beentheredonethat

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