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Comparing artist profit: Fine Art America vs. Printful

By 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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