Our new follower on Twitter, @ZacKent96, tweeted a saying I like: “Forgiveness doesn’t mean you excuse the crime. It just means you’re no longer willing to be the victim.” I agree with it, in part, regarding my “job” as Zazzle designer, and believe I should cautiously apply it, if I see Zazzle improves their business.
On January 6th I wrote the entry Zazzle is Smudgey Business. Not too much has changed on the Zazzle website since then, and I have not added new products, seeing that my attitude continues to be miffed and leery. However, after Kat and I made the difficult decision to lower our prices, by lowering all royalty rates to 5% store-wide, I’ve been watching the status of my catalog to see if the number of sales would grow. They have, actually.
It could be anything from US economy growth, to how Zazzle is shifting, to the choice we made in lowering prices.
I know the daily views my products get have about tripled, ever since the DOW hit the 20 mark, so maybe business is looking more positive this year, and shoppers are ready, with their wallets, to browse and buy.
Not only that. According to Northern Nevada Business Weekly (NNBW), Zazzle is moving their business from California to Nevada this year, not only because manufacturing is a hard business in the state of California, but also because the college, small town appeal of Reno in Nevada attracted the executives. (Read the full report here.) Chances are Zazzle is making a promising shift, too, one that will result in more sales and hopefully lower overall prices, giving designers the ability to either higher their royalty percentage or at least gain more because the number of sales are more.
All in all, Autumn Angel Art has sold 4 products this year without advertising or promoting our products. So that means our sales came from either 3rd party promotion, Zazzle ads, or shoppers browsing the Zazzle marketplace, in other words, not generated by our own efforts. The combined total that customers paid was about $87 (subject to variance due to foreign currency conversion), and our royalty earnings were $4.40. This seems very small and impossible to make a living from. The question that remains is, if a designer labored to create a catalog of 40,000 products, would he/she be able to eventually make a living, or would something go awry? With our AutumnAngelArt store having 432 products and a meager average of 18 sales per year, can we continue to make more products and expect our sales to go up, or is the entire business a gamble?
As a result of such doubt, we shall not place our future in the hands of Zazzle, even though we enjoy creating products. Yes, it’s a very relaxing and enjoyable trade. But even though we forgive we shall not forget, nor shall we allow ourselves to become the victims of fraudulent dealings. I willingly strive for the ability to do-it-myself or else find a better way to advance my trade. In the meantime, mercy is appropriate. Because manufacturers all across the United States have been failing, and the economy is only this year looking up for everyone, it may be that a little grace is all Zazzle needs to succeed, and they will in return show compassion to their designers, rather than getting unfairly rich from artists’ hearts and souls.