Selling artwork online allows you to reach potential customers from across the world 24/7. However, it can be hard to decide which of these platforms will be the most profitable for you. Each are slightly different in their own way. I hope this article will help you decided whether or not you want to use Society6.
I have already written an article called “Where To Sell Your Art Online” that gives a brief overview of many websites where you can sell your art and Society6 is included in that video. However, in this review and in the video above, I not only talk about Society6, but I show how to create an account, upload your art, and more.
This is one of many in-depth reviews/how-to videos that I have done. Here are links to some of the other ones I have done:
–Fine Art America
I invite you to read this article and/or watch this video about Society6. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss new ones when posted!
I will be answering the following questions in this article:
- What is Society6?
- Who can sell on Society6?
- What can I sell on Society6?
- How much does it cost to sell on Society6? Is there a commission fee?
- How and when do I get paid on Society6?
- How do I upload artwork to Society6?
- What happens when I sell a product on Society6?
- What promotional/marketing opportunities are there on Society6?
- What is the Society6 Affiliate Program?
- Can I purchase my own products and get a discount through Society6?
- What is the “Trade Program” on Society6?
- What is the “Wholesale Program” on Society6?
- What is the “Blog” on Society 6?
- Can I work for Society6?
- Have I sold anything on Society6?
- What do I think of Society6?
WHAT IS SOCIETY6?
Society6 is a print-on-demand company that was founded in 2009. Their goal is “to provide an open platform for artists to share their art, feed off the creativity and talent of those around them, and sell their original designs on an array of different products to customers around the world.” – Society6 Website.
There are over 350,000 artists on their website from over 160 countries.
They offer over 70 different products on which you can put your artwork.
They are larger than some print-on-demand websites I have worked with but also smaller than others. Redbubble, for example, has over 700,000 artists on their platform. At 350,000, Society6 is half the size. This can be both a positive and a negative as it means there is less competition but also means they may not be as popular as a platform as others.
You can read all about their company here: https://society6.com/about
WHO CAN SELL ON SOCIETY6?
Anyone can sell on Society6. They pride themselves in being an open website for artists from all around the world. It is easy to register. On the home page, just click “Join/Login” in the top right corner. Once you are on that page, just make sure to select the “Upload Art” option and then enter the information asked for. This is where you can enter your username. Note that it can’t be changed, so choose wisely!
If you need more advice when getting started, check out the help center where they give you help and advice when starting on Society6: https://help.society6.com/hc/en-us/categories/200300807
WHAT CAN I SELL ON SOCIETY6?
Society6 is what is known as a “Print-On-Demand” platform. This means that you don’t sell physical pieces of art that you ship to customers. Your artwork is put onto products made by Society6 and shipped to the customer by them.
There are currently over 70 unique products that Society6 can put your art onto. Some of these products include:
-Home and Living
With so many products available, there is something for everyone. I like that you can see what your artwork would look like as more than just a drawing, painting, design, etc.
On Society6, the size of the file that you upload will determine which products you are allowed to sell. If the resolution isn’t large enough, not all products will be available. If you want all products to be enabled, your file size needs a horizontal asset of 15000px x 9000px, a vertical asset that’s 8000px x 12000 px, and a square asset that’s 12000px x 12000px, at 300 dpi. Here is a link to the size of images recommended for each product: https://help.society6.com/hc/en-us/articles/228101307
I will say a few things at this point. Print-on-demand platforms can be great. Like I just mentioned, you are able to get your art out in so many different ways than what you could normally do on your own. However, depending on what type of artist you are, not all products will really fit well with your art. For example, as most of you know, I am mainly a traditional 2D artist. I paint on canvas and wood. My art works great for Wall Art reproductions such as different types of prints but it doesn’t look so good on clothing. If you are a graphic designer, your artwork may look better on clothing than it does on a canvas print like my art (that definitely isn’t always the case but just an example). You can decide what products you want your art to be on which is good. Most of the time I just leave all of the options enabled because it doesn’t cost you anything. And who knows, what you think may not sell could just be the next big thing.
I don’t like that Society6 doesn’t allow you to tile or grid smaller file sizes onto larger products. If your original resolution isn’t good enough, then you are just not able to sell all types of products. Platforms such as Redbubble allow you to still enable all products and allow you to just put a background colour to fill in the empty space or tile your design.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SELL ON SOCIETY6? IS THERE A COMMISSION FEE?
It is free to signup and list your items on Society6. Society6 charges a commission or base fee for any products sold. You are able to set your profit margin through a percentage on only “Wall Art” products that then is applied to the base price for the customer. For all other products, artists receive a 10% profit.
For example, if the base cost for a 12×16 canvas print is $25. If I add a 100% markup, then my profit will be $25 which means the customer will be paying around $50. Again, you can change this percentage on each of the wall art products separately or all together if you would like. I try to set it similar so the profit I am making is similar to what I would made from my personal website.
I like that Society6 allows you to change the markups for the wall art products. However, I’m quite disappointed that you aren’t able to change the markups on all of the other products. This is a major downfall to Society6 in my opinion as Redbubble, a big competitor, allows you to adjust the markup on every product. You can read more about my thoughts on this at the end of the article.
I will get into how to change the markup percentage in the next section.
HOW DO I CHANGE THE MARKUP PERCENTAGES FOR MY PRODUCTS ON SOCIETY6?
In order to change the markup percentages, first click on your profile icon in the top right and click on “Manage My Posts”. Then you will see in the top right in a box it says, “Set Store Markups”. Click on that and then you will be able to change the markups for the wall art products. If you edit the “Department” percentage then it will be applied to every product under it.
Again, for all products that aren’t “Wall Art”, artists receive a 10% profit.
On this page, you can see the base prices for each of the wall art products.
You can also watch in the video at 19:35 to see how this is done.
HOW AND WHEN DO I GET PAID BY SOCIETY6?
Society6 pays its artists through PayPal. As far as I know and according to their help page, PayPal is the only option.
You will receive payment in the first three business days of the month as long as the order has been shipped at least 30 days before. This means that sometimes you may have to wait almost two months to receive payment.
For example. You sold a print on May 10 and it ships on May 12. The 30-day grace period ends on June 11. You will be paid for that sale between July 1st and 3rd.
You will set your associated PayPal account when you sign up for Society6.
There are some more articles that can answer more questions about this in the help center: https://help.society6.com/hc/en-us/categories/200300807
If you need to change your PayPal account associated with your shop, go to “My Account” by clicking on the profile icon. Then at the bottom, you will see a little button that says “Change Verified PayPal Email Address”. Or follow this link to contact the artist support team: https://help.society6.com/hc/en-us/articles/227119388
HOW DO I UPLOAD MY ARTWORK TO SOCIETY6?
You can watch how to upload an artwork here: 9:57
Or you can read the description below.
Uploading artwork can be started from a few different locations. By clicking on the profile icon in the top right, then click on the “Manage My Posts” button. On that page, in the top right there is a button that says “Add New Artwork”.
Once you click on that, you will be prompted to add in a title and then some photos of your art/design. You can add multiple images but only one is needed.
From there you need to check a box saying you are the copyright owner of the work and then say if it is mature content or not.
You will then be directed to that last page of this process. Here you can choose which products you want your design on and customize them a little bit. You can change the zoom and how it is aligned within the product but that is about it. It is also very evident which products your image fits and which it doesn’t. You can only enable the products that fit the image size.
On the left-hand side, you can adjust the title, write a description, select a category, and add tags. You can also set the markups for the few Wall Art products that allow that on the left-hand side as well. Once that is all good, you can simply check the box above the publish button and then hit publish.
When you hit publish, the status will change from “Draft” to “published.
The uploading process on Society6 isn’t bad. It is fairly straightforward and simple. I do like some other uploading processes as they are all on one page. This one is on three pages but the first two are very simple. I don’t like, as I mentioned in a previous paragraph, that you can’t tile or grid a small image to fill a product. I also find the editing of the products to not be as good as some other print-on-demand websites. It is far from the worse but I’m just saying there is better out there. They do allow 20 tags, which is nice.
HOW DO I EDIT AN ARTWORK ON SOCIETY6?
Go to the profile icon in the top right. Click on “Manage Posts”. By hovering over any of your uploads you will be given the option to edit. Simply click that and make the adjustments you would like. Make sure to save before leaving the page!
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I SELL A PRODUCT ON SOCIETY6?
When you sell your work, you don’t have to do anything. You will have a pending sale on your Earning Dashboard where you can see all of the information about the purchase. Society6 then creates and ships the product for you.
The one thing it doesn’t show is where the customer is from. It’s a very picky thing of me to say but I find it fun to know where my customers are from.
WHAT PROMOTIONAL/MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES ARE THERE ON SOCIETY6?
Society6, like Redbubble, is a little different than many other similar platforms in that it doesn’t have promotional opportunities that you pay for. Instead, they give you the tools to be able to promote yourself.
They have a seller’s guide and some guides to using social media to help boost your sales. Here is the link to the seller’s guide and if you look on the left-hand side of the page and scroll down, you will see a “Marketing and Self-Promotion” tab with more ideas.
WHAT IS THE SOCIETY6 AFFILIATE PROGRAM?
There are actually two types of affiliate programs on Society6. One is more for customers called “Refer A Friend”, and the other is for artists, designers, etc. called the “Affiliate Program”. However, feel free to use both.
The Refer A Friend program allows you to invite friends to make a purchase on Society6. They get $15 off their first purchase and you get $15 off as well. Plus, the $15 works with other promotions. This means you could use it to purchase your own products to then sell at local markets.
If you hover over the profile icon in the top right, you will see an option called “Referrals”. By clicking on that, you will see your referral stats and that is where you can get your link to share with your friends/followers.
The Affiliate Program is free to join. By sharing other artists’ designs with a special link, you are able to earn up to a 10% commission for each purchase made. There are no minimum sales needed to cash out earnings. Your links are good for 30-days. Then they must be renewed.
Both programs are nice additions to Society6. The refer a friend is a great way to drive business to their website and reward you for curating more sales for them. The Affiliate Program is pretty standard for websites like this. 10% is a good amount but I wish the links lasted longer than 30-days. I know of other websites where similar links will last 3-6 months and sometimes even a year. However, if you are sharing on social media for example, you usually don’t need your links to last longer than 30-days as by then you will have shared new products and links.
CAN I PURCHASE MY OWN PRODUCTS AND GET A DISCOUNT ON SOCIETY6?
Yes. You can purchase your own products and Society6 will give you an artist discount. From my experience, this can be combined with other discounts as well.
WHAT IS THE “TRADE PROGRAM” ON SOCIETY6?
As far as I understand, the Society6 Trade Program is like a membership. It seems to be geared towards interior designers, hospitality clients, boutiques, and more helping them get curated help to please their clients.
Here is a list of the membership benefits:
30% Off Everyday Discount
Expert Curation Assistance
No Order Minimums
You must apply for this program. On the info page, it doesn’t say the cost, or if there is one. But you can apply following this link: https://help.society6.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=512307
WHAT IS THE “WHOLESALE PROGRAM” ON SOCIETY6?
The Wholesale Program is mainly meant for people who want large amounts of products at a time.
You get similar benefits to the trade program plus a few others including:
Dedicated Account Representative
I don’t have a need to purchase wholesale, but I think this is a cool idea.
You can access the Wholesale Program page here: https://www.denydesigns.com/pages/s6-wholesale
WHAT IS THE “BLOG” ON SOCIETY6?
The blog on Society6 has many uses. It is a place where artists can be featured for their work, write articles that help other artists, and where artists can learn more about selling their work. It is a great place to get information that will help you in your goal of selling your art. Even if it may just be in getting inspired by reading about fellow artists on Society6.
I like when websites have a blog as it creates a more community-like feel.
Check out the blog here: https://blog.society6.com
CAN I WORK FOR SOCIETY6?
Yes, you actually can if you have the right credentials and experience! At the very bottom of the webpage, you will see under the “About” section a tab that says “Careers”. Click on that and then follow it through to see the available positions. You can see where the positions are located and then click on them separately for more information!
You can follow this link to see the current postings: https://www.leafgroup.com/job-openings/
HAVE I SOLD ANYTHING ON SOCIETY6?
Yes, I have sold some products on Society6. Have I sold a lot? No. I usually sell a handful of small items each year. However, I want to be clear that I put no effort into promoting my Society6 page. I have simply uploaded my art and left it. Print-on-demand websites are just a way of exposure for me as I sell more originals than printed products.
This is simply to say that yes, Society6 is legit and does pay you when you sell something.
WHAT DO I THINK OF SOCIETY6?
Society6 is a quality print-on-demand type website from my experience. I will be honest, I don’t think it is the best, but it is definitely higher ranked in my mind than some others.
The website itself is pretty straightforward and easy to use. I don’t really feel like anything is hard to find or complicated to handle. Some simple things, like adding new artwork, should have a button in the main profile drop-down in my opinion but that is being a little picky.
Uploading and editing designs is pretty smooth but I think could be improved if you could edit design layouts on the same page instead of being directed to another webpage. Having to go back and forth isn’t complicated but tedious at best.
One thing I don’t like is that once you are in your “Artist Studio” the top menus and drop-down menus change. In my opinion, it should be kept the same because for some options you have to go out of the artist studio to be able to access them. One example is the referrals option.
I like that you can adjust your profit margin on some of the products but I am very disappointed that for over 90% of the products you can’t. A 10% profit margin on all other products is very small in my opinion and should be increased. It hardly seems worth it to sell products if I’m only making 10%. I have only started into graphic design, but if I put many hours, days, and weeks into my work, I would want more than a 10% commission on a sale. Since I am mainly a traditional 2D artist, and my products are geared towards the wall art ones that you can set your own profit margins for, I find it worth it to stay on Society6. Any other smaller products I sell are just bonuses. If I was strictly a graphic designer that made designs to be put onto products, I would be more likely to use a website that allows me to adjust my profit margin on all of my products.
I have always been paid on time from Society6. However, I don’t like that you can only be paid through PayPal. This isn’t a problem for me as I use PayPal very often. However, I do know many people who don’t like to use PayPal or are unable to in their country. This limits the number of people who would use this website. I’m sure it isn’t easy to set up other payment methods, but I know many people who have contacted me about other websites prefer payments through other terms.
One other area that is lacking on Society6 is the inability to use small images on all products. I think this is very unfortunate that you are unable to grid/tile or use a background colour to fill in the empty space like on Redbubble. I know it may not look as good, but for some products, it might look great. Some people aren’t able to get large resolution images of their work which extremely hinders their abilities on Society6.
The last thing I will talk about is the statistics. Society6 really only has statistics on if you make a sale. There isn’t really a statistics page showing your views, etc. on your products. Information like that is helpful when trying to sell products as it helps you know which products are getting more traffic and if you should create more similar products to that. It also might give you an idea if your tags are good or if they need to be adjusted.
VERDICT: CONSIDER OTHER WEBSITES FIRST
Overall, it is fairly easy to use, but your profits may not be as high as you would like. It is free to make an account and upload your work so you might just want to give it a try. If you don’t like it, it was free and you didn’t lose anything. If you end up liking it, you will be glad you tried it.
If you are wanting to just choose one print-on-demand website and focus on it, I would go with Redbubble over Society6. There may be a better one than Redbubble as well but I just did a review on that recently so it is fresh in my mind. There are also other ones to consider like Zazzle, Threadless, etc.
My opinions are based solely on my personal experience. If you have anything you would like to share about your experience, please write a comment below!
Make sure to check out my two videos where I briefly talk about 24 websites where you can sell your art