Reviewing RedBubble with New Artwork

As an independent artist there are many venues that do print-on-demand so it's hard to vet them all. However, having heard good things about RedBubble from fellow artist friends, I decided to try them out. I'm happy to share that I've added them to the list of stores that sell my artwork. Recently, I added some new artwork featuring a re-designed version of a Chow Chow character. I created it a while back for a friend's comic pitch that unfortunately didn't make the cut for an anthology. I felt it was a shame to shelve the character so I decided to take another crack at "Gordon" to see if I could push his design further and make him more adorable. I'm all about the cute these days and feel like it's a direction I want to keep going in, at least for now.

I ordered some things from both my RedBubble and Society6 stores using the same design in order to compare the quality, colour accuracy and speed of delivery.

My First Impression of RedBubble:

RedBubble performed better than my other store, Society6, when it came to delivery time but for Canadians I think there may be a bias. RedBubble has a location in Burlington, Ontario and I'm in nearby Toronto. Society6 ships from the US so there will always be a delay at the border. I think customers in the US would get comparable delivery speeds because RedBubble also has a American location.

I was already impressed with getting my packages quickly—within 5 days—along with a follow-up email to confirm delivery but it didn't end there. All of items from RedBubble arrived together. The packaging was also really well-designed and my mug was even safely nestled in a sleeve within the outer package. I don't know how many times I've received things from other vendors where items arrived bent or broken so this was nice to see. You can tell they put a lot of thought and care into it. Their attention to details—a tiny wooden clothes peg holding the tee-shirt tag, overall product quality, colour consistency amongst the products, and printing accuracy—helped make a really good first impression. I'm quite happy I tried them out.


My Society6 items arrived separately (because they use different fulfillment vendors) and took much longer, likely due to clearing customs. While Society6 provides tracking while in transit in the US, they don't extend that after it reaches Canada so that's something I'd like to see improved. Most items took about 2 weeks to arrive but the notebook ended up taking over 3 weeks! I had just sent in a request for a replacement, fearing it had been lost, when it finally arrived. Doh! One thing I will say is that their return/refund system is quite smooth and painless. Their customer service response is pretty good; I waited less than 24 hours.

Because Society6 uses different vendors I believe that's why the colour wasn't consistent from product to product. For instance, although the travel mug (on the left, in the second image below) looked good it was a lot more yellow than I would have liked. The hubby and I were split on which stickers we preferred, the glossy Society6 stickers or the RedBubble matte treatment. Both were of very good quality. Time will tell as to which one is more durable. The notebook turned out nicely. The paper has a nice smooth texture similar to 28-lb bond paper. I can foresee filling it up with lots and lots of drawings!

The Re-design

And lastly, some of the sketches leading up to the revised design of Gordon.

My Experience with Society6

After some research, I recently decided to start selling some of my art on a print-on-demand site and chose Society6 to start with because I had heard good things. I wanted to be free to create art and keep the logistics of printing, inventory, and shipping to a minimum.

Quality and Service

I've been with them for approximately 3 months now and I have purchased some of my own products to gauge the quality and service. With the exception of a printing error that seemed to always occur with one of my designs on a red T-shirt, the quality has been exceptional. Although Society6 has been have been very quick to respond and replaced the shirt free of charge each time, we couldn't isolate the problem because, as it turns out, they use multiple vendors to print their T-shirts. Below are the items I felt turned out quite well.

Prepping Files for Print

It wasn't immediately apparent to me what the specific dimensions of my files should be for each product. However, once you upload your image, another window opens up with a listing of other products you can add. This is also where dimensions are listed and where you can select fabric colours. Different products require different dimensions of your artwork. When you upload the additional files, the products are automatically added to your store. I was happy to find that it was also easy to remove a product or update their options.

Profit and Sales

I've started to make some sales but the profit on shirts and cell phone skins are quite low and are fixed amounts. Prints and some of the larger products are where you would find the most profit. I understand that the number of views and favourites determine whether you get showcased on Society6's pages so hopefully posting more artwork to their site will help move me up in the ranks. :)