On a recent misty morning, I went for a run to scout the East side of the Fremont Bridge for a photo shoot. What I found in the fog was yes, a bridge, but also a soaring cathedral, full of skyward arches and graceful lines. Made of cement not stone so a modern day church, a gorgeous resonant hymn to transit, the Fremont Bridge, Portland, Oregon.
Deep listening, sitting with my fears in companionable silence, neither trying to deny them or fix them, instead looking at them to discern their shape, sift the physical observations and through the fog that those observations trigger in me.
Deep listening, sitting with the emotions of others. Intermittently, not trying to fix them.
“I feel out of control of my life,” said one. I tried to fix it. Ooops.
“I was so angry for so long,” said another. I just said thank you. Thank you for letting me know.
Deep listening to what comes up for me and why. The peaceful calm of sitting with my emotions, tracing them to my physical observations and searching through the misty shapes triggered is really useful.
The path was overgrown but there were horse hoof prints in the mud. Which meant this could be a trail. I followed it and discovered some closer views of something I’ve only seen from afar before. A power substation:
It’s odd to me how the trails run so close to and even right under the most unnatural looking things. This transmission tower looks like an alien praying mantis from this angle:
The power transmission forms are so geometric in stark contrast to the organic forms in the plant life in the surrounding area:
I’m glad I took the overgrown path today. It was less traveled as they say. No doubt I’ll go again that way.
Where’s a good place to sell your photographic (or other) work online? How do you evaluate those marketplaces?
Recently, Molly Jacques, a freelance illustrator, wrote The Freelance Diaries: Supplementing Your Income. In this post she covers 3 things you can sell: sell the original product, sell a digital product and become an affiliate. Molly’s overview got me thinking about the various platforms available now for art listing and sales. Inspired by a section in The Handmade Marketplace called, “Evaluating Marketplaces”, I decided to do some comparison research.
For the comparison, I chose Creative Market because Molly and sketch noter Mike Rohde list and sell there. It is a “mousemade” only shop. I chose Søciety6 because an artist I follow on Instagram, Tess Wyatt, is there. I list on RedBubble and I wanted to see how it stacked up with the others. So those are the three I’ll start with. For the topics to compare on, I chose a few to start and refined them during the process.
CAVEAT: I based the information in the table below on my understanding of the information I read today. I could be wrong and by tomorrow the info could be outdated. Base your decision about whether to list with these services on your own understanding of the terms and conditions.
|Products – What can you sell?||Photos, graphics, templates, themes, fonts||Wall art, clothing, cases & skins, home décor, cards||Wall art, clothes, cards, calendars, home decor|
|Manufacture – Do they make it or do you have to?||Digital download only, i.e. “mousemade”||not clear if this is Søciety6 or another party from what I read.||By 3rd party|
|Price Range for a single photograph. How much money is in this?||$3 to $20||$15 to $20||$6 to $18|
|License – What rights do retain?||Simple||“you retain the rights to your work”||non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license|
|Customer Relationship: Can you contact your customer?||Yes, you will know the name and contact info for your customer and can answer questions.||not clear from what I read on the site||No, you will not know the name or contact info of your customer.|
|Commission / Listing Fee – How much does the listing service take?||30% of sale price||The base price for each product includes seller fee$1 for identity verification with Paypal||The base price for each product includes seller fee|
|Payment Options – What kind of account do I need to get paid?||Paypal||Paypal||Paypal, check or ACH Direct Deposit|
|Payment When – How often will I get paid?||1st of the month, 30 days from sale||1st of the month, 30 days from sale||Varies by payment method. 7thst of the month, for Paypal, for all sales in the previous month if your receivables are > $20|
|Partner Program – Do they have a referral program?||10% of every purchase for a year from all new customers you refer||10% curator commission paid on base price for prints & framed prints. No minimum||None|
Generally, artists like Jacques list on several platforms so the choice isn’t really either / or. It’s more of a both/and. The questions are , “What are all the options out there?” and “Which fit my target market?”. For more on a diversified online selling strategy, see Laura C George’s blog post, “Why Society6 Can’t be Your Only Strategy.”
There are several other listing services out there such as Big Cartel, Etsy, Cafe Press, Amazon, SmugMug and 500px. However, not all are equally useful in today’s mobile age. For example, Cafe Press, Red Bubble, Creative Market and Søciety6 do not have a mobile app for the seller. Smugmug has an app focused on uploading and following. 500px has a traffic and statistics app available for Plus users. Amazon has some apps but they are not specifically for the seller to manage a shop. However, Big Cartel and Etsy both have seller-focused apps. The ability to manage your store while on the go is key to being responsive.
There are more comparison posts listed below. For photographers, the consensus from the below is that are few sites better than Smugmug but it is too expensive for the sales generated. For handmade work, the consensus seems that Etsy is still the best but there’s a broad array of alternatives that are also good. Don’t take my word for it. Have a look at the below.
What listing services look good to you? What do you use for your store? Are there other factors you’d like to see included?
Send the listing services that you’d like to see explored and if I get 3 I’ll write another comparison post.
If you’d like to have a richer experience while drinking a pint, here are 3 great resources to expand your enjoyment:
The first is a video series. The craft brewing revival and industry today owes much to the UK writer Michael Jackson, aka “The Beer Hunter”. The craft beer revival started around 1965. Jackson popularized the idea of beer styles (pilsners, IPAs, porters, stouts) which gave people a language to talk about the growing number of craft brews.
in 1989 he produced a 5 episode TV series called The Beer Hunter. In the first episode, California Pilgrimage, he interviews Fritz Maytag (yes of Maytag, the company) who bought the then almost bankrupt but now famous Anchor Steam brewery in San Francisco. If you’re interested in the genesis of California craft beers, Maytag is one of the critical catalysts. In later episodes Jackson takes you to the UK (Best of British), Bavaria (The Bohemian Connection) , the Netherlands (Our Daily Bread) and Belgium (The Burgundies of Belgium) and ends with a dinner cooked with and served with beer (The Fifth Element). These videos are available on VHS / or you can search You Tube for the Beer Hunter. While there are sound quality issues, I watched the series here.)
Though he passed away in 2007 at age 65, he’s still honored with gravitas at the World Beer Cup as late as 2012. Jackson is widely credited with sharing what was going on in the beer industry with brewers. In the spirit of continuing to share, his short form writings are on his website. A simple search on Amazon will show you the breadth of his books.
The second great resource is a beautiful book called, The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes (2013). My husband bought this for me for Christmas! Green and brown embossed stylized bottles of beer adorn the cover. The font choice, color and contrast are beautiful and the cover is the tan color of the head on a porter. Inside the page design includes botanical drawings (very orderly) as well as beer mug rings (very messy). But I digress.
For each beer style (Jackson’s contribution), such as, Porters and Stouts, there is a chapter, in this case “Turn on the Darks”, which has the history of the style, and then Two to Taste for each variation of the style: American Porter, Dry Irish Stout, Brown Ale, Baltic Porter, Milk Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Foreign Extra Stout, American Stout, Imperial Stout. I could complain that he left out Imperial Porters but this list should keep me busy.
There are 12 chapters including “classes” on lagers, pilsners and other cold fermented beer, witbiers, hefeweizens and other cloudy wheat beers, pale ales, IPSs, Trappist and abby-style ales, barley wines and other winter warmers, aging beer in wood, and sour and wild ales ending with Around the World in 80 Pints and pairing brews with food. This is a great guide for understanding what you’re tasting, how styles differ from each other and the distinctions within a style.
The third and last great resource is an app called Untapped. Having trouble remembering which beers you’ve already had? Untapped allows you to keep track of what beers you have tasted as well as rank and comment on them and share them with others. For each beer the app lists the style (again Jackson’s contribution), ABV, average rating by others, comments by others as well as your comments and rating.
Untapped also has a wish list feature so if you read about or hear about a beer you want to try you can add it to the wish list. Lastly, Untapped has a “Find It” button which will help you find where you can find a particular beer around you. Given some of the beers in The Complete Beer Course, I’m going to need this feature. Untapped awards badges for, well, a huge variety of things: Photogenic Brews for taking pics of your beer, God Save the Queen for drinking British Beers, Das Boot for German Beers, Heavy Weight for dark beers, etc. And they go from level 1 up to level 50. (Try the app CaskFinder in and for the UK.)
With a sense of the history of the craft brewing industry, a course to guide you through the styles and an app to help you keep track, drinking a pint at your local will only get richer. Enjoy!
Always drink responsibly.
If you have a bit of extra time over the holidays or on a weekend, here are 3 of the most delightful Bay Area Gardens that I’ve discovered this past year. They range in age from older than a century to practically new and in purpose from garden design and plant sales to a museum quality collection of species.
Flora Grub Gardens (started in 2004) in San Francisco is my most recent find. As a testament to the power of social media, I discovered this one through the Instagram feed of a work colleague (Thank you @kmctighe24!). A delightful sense of whimsy permeates the garden. If you happen to have a wreck on your lot, you can turn it into a planter!
Not only is this sense of whimsy on the ground, it is also in the air. The flying bicycles below have air plants or tillandsias tacked to the fenders and handlebars.
There are also areas of calming order like this patio set outside the coffee shop:
And things you might put in your garden all attractively displayed as if they belonged there.
This table looks like fun:
Flora Grubb carries a great range of succulents in many sizes and other types of plants as well.
More than the other gardens, Flora Grubb Gardens helps you see, “This is what a garden can look like in your home.” Check out her website for exquisite photographs of the site.
In contrast, Ruth Bancroft Gardens (started in 1972), focuses solely on a deep catalogue of succulents planted in a permanent garden punctuated by sculptures. Docents lead tours and if you have questions, volunteers are on hand to answer. There are volunteer plant sales so if you fall in love you can take one home if it’s available. I was so impressed with this garden when I visited that I wrote 3 entries:
Lastly, I had heard about the Arizona Cactus Garden (started in the early 1880s) at Stanford for ages before actually finding it earlier this year and writing about it. It too has a museum quality collection of succulents, many of which are very old and all are permanently planted. This place is definitely DIY. There is no help in engaging with the garden. There’s no gift store, there are no docents, there are no plant sales, there’s no call to action and nothing you can do with the passion the garden may invoke in you. Talk about a Marketing opportunity!
Whether you want help designing a garden or just want to wander in someone else’s, these 3 gardens will give you joy.