1st Quarterly Report: The $$ Lowdown

It feels a little gauche and taboo and unseemly and awkward, but this is a blog about making a living as an artist, so I thought I should start posting a quarterly earnings report. Transparency seems like the best way to answer the question, “Is the reward worth the effort?” For the sake of full disclosure, then, in the first three months of 2019, I earned … drumroll … fanfare … dun-ta-dah! …



It’s the 10% commission I made on the sale of two Spoonflower tea towels in February. It’s still early days, so I’m not terribly discouraged by this tiny, wee number. I kind of find it encouraging. I love hearing that artists are selling. It means that people are buying and that this whole artistic venture is not all for naught. If in two years I still can’t buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby with my quarterly earnings, then I’ll have to consider going in a new direction. But, until then, let’s see if we can make something happen!

To get the sales figures up, I need to deal with my Spoonflower shop first. I only have eleven designs in there right now, and I’ve done nothing to promote them. My immediate goals are to:

  1. add to my design inventory (Enough dawdling, already.)
  2. demonstrate how the designs can be used (Quilts, collages, etc.)
  3. create more tea towels because apparently everyone already knows how to use tea towels. I think. Maybe?

I was still a little perplexed myself, so I googled, “how to use tea towels,” and it looks like I’m not the only one! I found:

My favorite tea towel tip is in the video: wrap up a baguette like a burrito and hand it around the dinner table. Guests can rip off a hunk of breadular goodness while keeping the loaf unsullied. Love it! It’s relaxed, but refined. A nice way to be. It’s permission to eat with your hands!

from Studiopatro in San Francisco

7 thoughts on “1st Quarterly Report: The $$ Lowdown

  1. I admire your transparency. I think more people should do this!

    As a writer, I’ve made $100 this year! From eight published pieces! It’s a good thing it’s a labor of love, right? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been on their a year and about a half, and while I’m not rolling in the money I have gotten better in sales (100yards last year)

    Some take aways I’ve personally made, and maybe they will help you are: upload everything, I don’t know how many times a design I love goes completely over looked but a design I don’t think is good, or uploaded on a whim is what sells. Is this expensive no, which brings me to tip 2 you can upload on the cheap by using spoonflower’s fill a yard option, uploading 42 designs at once for the price of a yard. 42 might sound like a lot right now, but offer various colorways or designs that pair with what you have done, shockingly enough some people like solids as well. Enter and vote in the contests it will get some extra eyes on your designs, join the Facebook fan group if you haven’t, I’ve gotten awesome feedback from their. One that I personally try to do is design different, when everyone is designing flowers it might seem like hey I should design flowers but their are hundreds available, if you design something off the beaten path if people want that you are their only option, and the only one that comes up in searches. Good luck to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is really helpful, Rob. Thank you! Lots of good things to think about, and you’re very kind to share them. You’re smart to choose themes that few designers are using, plus you have a knack for giving them fun and clever twists. It’s a great strategy. I’ve been wanting to get back into Spoonflower challenges, so you may have given me the final push I needed. I just ordered a Swatch Sampler of 30 designs because my patterns are kind of huge, but I’ll give the Fill-a-Yard with 42 a try next time around. So much more economical. And I wasn’t aware of the Facebook group, so I’ll check it out.

      I’ve admired your work since I came across your awesome avocados! I greatly appreciate your taking the time to pass along your insights. Thanks again! Wishing you continued success!


      1. Sure we should all help each other out. My observation are no means law, as I said I’m by no means an amazing seller. With the FAY if you need more space you can use it, just won’t get as many designs.
        The contests can be fun, winning/loosing designs doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with sales. Placing in the contest can be something i can get grumpy about, but honestly I’ve had some low placing designs that still sell, and the avocados which are kinda a fluke at 10th place.(my designs don’t tend to fit the expected asthetic that wins contests) but for almost a year didn’t sell more than a fat quarter.

        If you are ever curious about anything, art programs, strategies, technics etc.. most designers are more than happy to talk to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s great to know. I’ve always been impressed by the friendliness of the Spoonflower community.

    I think it’s fascinating to see what sells and what doesn’t. Sometimes it seems like there’s no rhyme or reason to it, so I think you have the right idea: put it all out there and see what flies. It’s kind of a liberating idea too because it’s easy (for me) to get caught up in being curatorial. And I totally understand getting grumpy about the contest placement, but I admire you for doing it anyway. Showing up is what counts. Good luck in the Abstract Minimalist challenge!


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