Everyone goes nuts way before holiday time, getting ready with their new Christmas card and ornament designs, hoping for big sales come November and December. But, in my experience, the holiday time has never been big money-making time of year. Even though I tend to sell more, those items don’t bring in the revenue.
With the new low royalty of 5% instead of 10% as minimum, I have lowered most of my Christmas items to stay competitive, and competition is absurd at Christmas. It’s almost as bad as wedding season, and I do that too.
But lowering royalty rates, combined with Zazzle’s constant holiday sales, means that income just doesn’t add up very quickly. And sold products can bring wildly varying royalties according to which sales code the customer has used. One day a sale of a Christmas tree skirt can bring in $3.00 and then another day I make only 50 cents for the same item.
Photo cards are cheap, and with a low setting on the royalty meter, even a big bulk sale of Christmas photo cards usually gives me less than a dollar income. Fortunately, I know this. And even when I hope this Christmas will be different (and I always do hope for that), common sense tells me that it won’t happen.
I have many personalized ornaments that sell regularly, but those don’t make me much either. In fact most of my regular selling items at the holidays are relatively small items, like address labels, stickers, and postage stamps. And with fewer people sending Christmas cards, even those sales are not encouraging.
The designers who win at Zazzle are the ones who don’t do it alone. Teams can create, promote, blog and sell more, and it’s all about being found. And the better they do, the more Zazzle promotes them, it seems. This year little gold “award” stickers appear next to Zazzle’s favorite items. And guess what? It’s the same ones who are always at the top, out in front, and promoted most. It’s a vicious circle that ensures sales are funneled to the top few. The rest of us must work extra hard to get noticed. We aren’t necessarily worse designers, we simply don’t have the resources to do it all. I guess that is fair in the world of online selling.
This is the third non-Christmas I will have. My kids are grown, and although they would love to receive gifts, I must tell them once again that it won’t happen. Something small for each, but I won’t be out Christmas shopping and wrapping gifts to stuff under the tree. In fact I could do without a tree altogether, but they would call me Scrooge if I didn’t at least set up a tree.
Before we know it, the season will be over. And then the real work begins, as the cut-throat wedding season begins! At least there is income to be had with that, but it’s not easy either. For these reasons, I plan to eventually keep my Zazzle stores as a side job, and not spend every day striving to make a few dollars. It’s nearly at the point where the money I make, does not make all the hours I spend online, worth it. Until then, I will be working my hardest to keep the paychecks coming.