I gave up on Etsy. It's US-based and in the end, for me it was just too big. My store got swallowed up and disappeared into it. No amount of keywording, hash tagging, even paid google advertising, improved my visibility. Chooice.co.nz is local, and that, I'm discovering, has several benefits.
Setting up a Chooice store is not too different to creating one on Etsy, except that I had instant online support from the admins when I ran into a glitch. We're not only in the same time zone, we're in the same city.
I can sell my physical product here too. On Etsy I was limited to digital downloads. Shipping overseas from New Zealand would have cost $50, outrageous when the colouring book itself is under $20. Now postage is a tenth of the price and I can allow pickups.
In a covid-world where the global marketplace has shrunk to a small, locked-down island, selling and shopping local makes good sense, both logistically and ethically.
On Chooice, my store is called Artyfacts. Pop in sometime.
I've been building an Etsy Store and yesterday I made my first sale. Soooo excited by a $2.00 purchase! It's very gratifying to know that someone liked my doodle enough to pay for it.
Creating my store has been a huge learning curve for me, one that I'm (mostly) enjoying. Of the 18 products I currently have available, only one is a physical product; an actual, hold-in-your-hand colouring book. The others are all digital downloads.
There are many, many advantages to printable digital downloads. For starters, there's no shipping, which is huge! The cost of sending my colouring book from New Zealand to the US is four times the price of the book itself, making it an outrageously expensive purchase.
With digital downloads, the transaction is immediate, wherever in the world you are. Etsy takes care of the techie side of things, so I'm not having to come to grips with an app to enable the process on my website. Etsy also has the security well and truly covered; the SSL certificates and payment gateways sorted; which provides peace-of-mind for both me and potential buyers.
Another advantage for would-be buyers is that I don't put any restrictions on the use of my digital colouring pages. I allow people to print as many as they like and do whatever they want with them.
The advantage for me as the producer is that I don't have to guestimate quantities, hold stocks or run out of them.
Best of all, no trees are harmed in the process. A win-win situation for everyone.
The best thing about creating my own product was being able to choose, from start to finish, how to go about it. When I work as a graphic designer my clients control everything. I can offer suggestions, solutions, options - but at the end of the day they are only that. The client has the final say.
When I developed my colouring book, I was the boss of everything. I designed both the logo and the layout, drew the doodles and decided which ones to include. I chose the cover image and made the centre spread a single A3 poster-sized doodle. All of this was fun, creatively satisfying.
Equally rewarding was the control that I had in the production and manufacturing process. I decided to Indie publish it, doing a small run with a printer that I trust. This enabled me to use Indigo printing, which is more environmentally-friendly than offset printing. I was able to choose paper (stock as it is called in the trade) not only for its thickness and colour, but because it was ethically and sustainably produced. See my Colour-it-Green page if you'd like to know more.
I recommend using Crayola pencil crayons to colour my doodles, not because I'm being paid to do so (I wish!) but for both aesthetic and ethical reasons. The crayons give the best result of any brand I've tried on the stock, with vibrant colours that blend and shade beautifully. And the information that Crayola provides on their website about the manufacturing process, green initiatives and social responsibility, is reassuring.
It turns out that colouring my doodles is not only mindful and relaxing, it's guilt-free too!
I've just had the best weekend. Beautiful weather, beautiful South Pacific island… and between swimming and eating and blobbing on a lounger; colouring.
I love colouring doodles. There's no pressure. I don't consciously have to choose colours like I would do if I was colouring a picture - blue for the sky, green for foliage - I just pick the colours that appeal in the moment and they always look good. There are no right or wrong choices, only individual preferences. It's very relaxing.
Inspiring too. The lagoon colours and dancing light on the water make for a magical backdrop: deep, inky-blue on the horizon blending into azures, crystal turquoises and gold where it meets the beach. The colours of my doodles mirror my surroundings.
And this is the wonderful thing. The essence of this sparkling day is somehow captured in the coloured page and connected to the memory. When I look at it, everything about the day comes back to me. I remember the sound of the surf on a distant reef, the conversation I had with my partner, the smiling island lady with a red hibiscus flower in her hair who brought us our lunch… I feel the warmth of the sun and gentle sea breezes. I'm transported. I'm reliving the best of days.
My colouring book is diary of sorts, a time machine.