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Beginner's handbook Ecommerce platform guide

How to know when you should leave Society6 and Redbubble to start your own online store

By Reading Time: 2 minutes

A graphic designer has a ton of options to sell their stuff online these days. With print-on-demand becoming an easy choice for anyone who isn’t lazy enough to put together a few designs, services are cropping up to help out budding business people with generating some extra income (or an outright business, for that matter).

Some designers choose to go with setting up their own stores with one of the many ecommerce platforms that are now available, such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and more. Others choose to go with an already existing third-party site, that’s already set up and sells their stuff. Some examples are InktaleRedbubble, Society6, and Zazzle.

These sites take one design and make them available on everything.

These sites take one design and make them available on everything.

Many artists go with these ready-to-go third party sales platforms because they have an existing user base of loyal customers that buy from their range of designs. That means tonnes of exposure and takes care of marketing. Right? Well, not really. These sites have hundreds of thousands of artists vying for attention (seriously, that’s not an overstatement) and hoping to get that visitor’s purchase. To be one of the 10 artists to be featured, then, is near impossible. General consensus on the web says that uploading your designs simply isn’t enough.

Let’s face it, if you want to get noticed, you have to work on promoting yourself.

So if you’re going to have to do the marketing yourself, then why not make your own store? Here are the reasons for going with one or the other option. See where you stand based on what’s most important to you:

The benefits of going with an already-existing third-party sales platform like Redbubble and Society6:

  • quick setup since you don’t have to create your own online store and everything that goes with it (accepting payments, design, branding, product descriptions, etc.)
  • access to the existing user base of clients with the chance (though very small) to be featured
  • you don’t have to deal with the customer service – the platform takes care of that

This is a good option for you if you don’t have much time, or don’t want to deal with things like setting up a domain, optimizing your store, developing a brand.

Benefits of creating your own online on-demand drop-shipping store:

  • instant payment – since you manage the payments, you have access to the money as soon as the customer makes the order
  • everything’s under your brand – the domain is yours, the logo, the communication. This all works to strengthen your brand and make the experience more memorable
  • your customer information belongs only to you – then you can use it how you want for future marketing purposes (because email marketing is the #1 ecommerce driver)

This is an excellent option for people who are serious about starting a brand, but don’t have years of experience in retail, ecommerce and programming. It will take some time to set up, and it’ll be up to you to create an awesome buying experience.

Depending on how invested you are in maintaining and developing your brand and creating your own community, you might want to consider moving away from the comfort blanket of Society6 and Redbubble type platforms to make your own online store.


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  1. Angie V.

    Thank you for writing this post. You say big truths here.
    It is absolutely true than in Society6 IT IS ALMOST IMPOSIBLE to get noticed. There are a ton of great designers and ideas there. I believe is easy to upload your designs and as a creator to feel pleased to see them on products pretty easily… Then your friends and followers maybe order some things and that’s it.
    Your post made me want to dare dive deeper since I have already tried to establish my blog’s platform. And I am seriously thinking of extending it to a shop.
    thank you

  2. Lisa Bernier

    I enjoyed your post and find it helpful, except one thing….
    If I forego Redbubble and the like, who prints all my stuff for me?
    Thank you!

  3. Ali Shahbaz Mehdi

    Well there’s one thing you don’t talk about..
    I’ve used society6 as well as I have a bit of experience with setting up my own estore. The question I’d like to ask is; Okay great society6 (or similar) provides payment options, client base, ready-made setup instead of doing everything forms scratch but how do you fullfill orders automatically? They also provide high-quality printing on a number of items and setting up our own store, printing can be a problem, right?

    Are you implying Printful supports dropshipping kinda print service for artists and designers using their own store?

  4. Adam

    I agree that all those 3rd parties platforms are full of millions of great design. I started to use Amazon Merch but it’s the same as others. Nobody will promote our design without us taking part in self promotion. Here the good question from the blog comes. Why don’t open own shop. WooCommerce – a lot of work to set up and must pay anyway
    Shopify – very known but must pay monthly too
    My question is. Do I have to have a shop to use your services? Thank

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