Combining offline sales with an online store!
A few years ago I started trying to sell my photos around where I live. It was really basic - like postcards in local stores and a few framed prints in restaurants and cafes.
Initially it was just the postcards that sold well, but after a bit I was actually selling a fair few prints too! So I got all excited and decided to be a bit more organised!
I now bulk order loads of stuff from my printers and get a big juicy discount. I even went to a local art and wine fair a couple of times with a little stall. I give a big pile of cards to lots local shops every few months and have prints hanging on the walls of several shops and restaurants.
It doesn't take much effort and I've never wanted to invest masses of time in the whole thing. But I started thinking how great it would be if I could slap a sticker on the back of my prints - and a bit of writing on the back of postcards - directing people to an online gallery of my photographs. I could make follow up sales!!
Now I'm no computer/internet guru! I looked into starting my own site but just thought I didn't want the effort. Plus it would mean taking orders using some kind of shopping cart system, having a returns policy, sorting out the shipping etc etc etc!
In the end I found RedBubble, which really was no big deal to set up. It has been perfect for me because it takes no effort - they do all the order processing, packaging and shipping - and it allows me to capitalise on what I do 'offline'.
The sales I make from my RedBubble store help to supplement the money I make from selling prints. I don't do this for a living and it doesn't take much time now I'm all sorted out - but my God it's worth it!
I guess I've kind of combined some of the suggestions on this website by using my little online store to take advantage of the visibility for my work I've achieved offline. I really don't think I would bother with RedBubble if I wasn't selling stuff locally.
Sometimes I get an email from someone saying they bought one of my postcards locally and saw the website address on the back, so went online and bought a print! It's massively satisfying. So I totally recommend RedBubble (I'm sure there are some other good sites too but this is the only one I've tried) to anyone who wants to sell photos but doesn't want the hassle and time-investment of a full scale business. Go for it!