The Power of Drop Shipping for Artists

I have always loved to create art, and like many artists, maybe even you, I've long been interested in selling my work. However, art is not my full-time career path and being a part-time artist on top of working a full time job and juggling the rest of life's demands is nearly impossible for most people. Sound familiar to you? 

In fact, 10 years ago, I tried selling my art online. I worked three jobs all summer to pay for an art and imaging center to take very expensive digital images of my largest pieces; I paid $3,000 (no joke) at the time for a web designer to setup a website for me to display and sell art prints with cart checkout functionality (because sites like Shopify and Squarespace didn't exist back then); and I bought hundreds of dollars worth of prints to hold an inventory. 

After opening up shop, I made a handful of sales, made a few annoying trips to the post office to mail one-off packages, and then I let the business dissolve, never to be profitable.

Why? Because I was in my young twenties growing a science career and moving all over the country to do ecological fieldwork. I didn't have the time, any more money, the skillsets, the car space, or the resources to grow a product-based business. Few first-time artists do.

When I came back to art ten years later, I was thrilled that the landscape had changed for the better. Not everyone has thousands of dollars and 40 hour weeks to invest in their art start-up, and now you don't have to. Today, the affordable scanning technologies, website creation platforms, and print on demand (POD) and drop-shipping companies make all the pain points I had with my first business obsolete. Today, you can build your own beautiful website with no coding skills required, you can take beautiful images of your own art for a fraction of the cost, and you don't have to invest in and carry inventory if you don't want to. 

 Quick view of my easy-to-make website with Shopify and how lovely it looks :)

This last point was the biggest game-changer for me. POD and drop-shipping companies not only make an art business a bajillion times easier for artists, they are also a much more eco-friendly option. After a decade in the ecology field, this element was important to me. 

If you are an artist navigating the complexities of selling your work, you might also be searching for a solution that aligns with your eco-conscious values while sparing you from the headaches of inventory management, logistics, and shipping hassles. Enter drop shipping—a game-changer for artists like you and me.

Wait, what is a POD or drop-shipping company? Print on demand (POD) companies print your art only if an order comes in. They don't print in bulk, unless you ask them to. Now, if they are offer drop shipping, they will take your online print on demand orders, and then ship them directly to your customer's receiving address. You don't have to receive those orders and then get them to your customer, drop shipping eliminates you as the monkey in the middle. Sound good? I thought so too.

Here are other reasons why drop shipping could be the perfect fit for your art business:

Smart Spending: Say goodbye to the financial risks and burdens of stocking inventory. Drop shipping slashes overhead costs by eliminating the need for bulk orders and excess stock. Plus, it offers competitive pricing comparable to local printers.

Environmental Friendliness: With drop shipping, you eliminate wasteful inventory and you have the power to choose eco-friendly materials for your prints and shipping. There are POD companies in countries that have high-bar sustainability standards and provide services to artists no matter where they are in the world. Some of my favorites are Prodigi and Jondo, both of which are constantly striving for the most ecofriendly products and methods to offer customers. Lastly, some POD companies have printers all over the world, so they can produce and ship from the closest center to your customers. You are reducing carbon emissions during transportation and making it a greener choice.

Time Liberation: Bid farewell to the time-consuming tasks of logistics and inventory management. Those tasks are the worst! Drop shipping takes that weight off your shoulders, granting you more time to immerse yourself in what you love doing most - your art!

Adaptability and Growth: Flexibility is key with drop shipping. You can operate your art business from anywhere in the world and tap into a global audience. It's also a boon for testing new products and expanding your business without the logistical nightmares of managing physical inventory.

Space Optimization: Artists often grapple with limited studio space. Drop shipping eliminates the need for storage, keeping your workspace clutter-free and allowing for a more organized and spacious studio environment for your creative flow.

My fellow artist, imagine unlocking the potential to grow your art business from anywhere in the world, on a global scale, all while championing eco-friendly production methods, and reclaiming precious time to devote solely to your craft. Drop shipping isn't just a method, it's a much needed solution for artists seeking a smoother path through the business side of art.

I wish POD and drop-shipping had existed 10 years ago. It would have saved me a lot of time and heartache. But, you live and you learn. This time, I have done it much more effectively and efficiently, and I brought my science brain into building my business. I did a ton of research before settling on a POD company that aligns with my values for quality, cost, and sustainability. As a scientist, I am also a firm believer in sharing knowledge. Community growth happens so much faster when people don't have to recreate the wheel. If you want to get more tips and tricks for your art ventures, join my insider list below.

And with that, I leave you to think about how you too can leverage new technologies to create or rediscover your art dream. Don't hesitate to reach out with questions and share this with a friend or family member who might find it useful.


P.S. If you missed last week's post about setting up your online shop, check out it out here: Selling Your Art Online: Out with Etsy and In with Shopify.

Back to blog