Today we’re catching up with Christine Britten, the marketing-savvy creator behind Zazzle store stineshop and the blog Zizzling Zazzle to talk about her store and how her blog and promotional efforts have helped make her a Zazzle success.
Zazzle: Tell us about you! Where are you from?
Christine: Hi, I’m Christine. I’m 31, and I live near Cologne, Germany with my husband. I just love Zazzle!
Zazzle: What is your background in art and design?
Christine: Actually, most of the photographs I use in my Zazzle store are shot by my husband! I’m not very talented with actually taking the photos, but it’s his favorite hobby. I’m more of the editor and product designer. I enjoy looking at his photos and making edits to them, and then using them to create products on Zazzle.
What I absolutely love is online marketing. So, our two hobbies are a great combination. He takes the photos, and I help us earn money with them! He has been able to buy a new camera, and we even funded a small vacation with our earnings. We make a good team.
Zazzle: How did you get started with your Zazzle store?
Christine: An online friend from the US actually told me about it, and I’m so glad she did. We met online, and she always said that our photos were so beautiful that we should sell them on Zazzle. She tried to convince me for months, until I finally opened an account (I think back in 2011). I designed a few products and totally forgot about Zazzle until about 9 months later when I got an email that said “Hooray! You’ve sold something”. I will never forget it, it was an iPhone case! I thought, “hey, this works!”, and I started to design a lot of products. I have almost 40,000 now. That was some hard work! It started with just one or two sales per month, then gradually grew to a few more sales per month, then several sales per week. It’s grown so much, it’s just wonderful.
Zazzle: What is your favorite Zazzle product to design?
Christine: I love to design postcards. It sounds a little boring, but I love them, and they make up a large part of the products I sell. I also have another hobby that I’m passionate about, which is Postcrossing. It’s a group where you can exchange postcards all around the world. I love to design postcards for Postcrossing. I’ve even ordered a lot of my own postcards, just to mail them around the world to others participating in Postcrossing!
I also really like to design smart phone cases, because smart phones by themselves are pretty boring! If I could, I would love to have a different phone case for every day so I could change it and make my phone more exciting. Unfortunately, that would get just a little bit expensive!
Zazzle: Have you noticed any products in your store that seem to be best sellers?
Christine: Yes! About 4 years ago, we took a typical West Coast vacation in the US, and we have one especially great photo of the Santa Monica pier. I have done so many different photo edits and filters on just this one photo. I have about 100 variations of the Santa Monica pier in all kinds of colors and shapes. I don’t have them all online yet, but it’s definitely the bestselling design, in any color variation: pink sparkles, orange. Sometimes the worst color combinations are the best selling items! It’s amazing, it’s the same photo, but after a little bit of editing I suddenly have a totally different picture.
Zazzle: We love your blog! How did you get started with blogging?
Christine: For over ten years I’ve had some kind of blog, about anything! I’ve also had a German blog for about 15 years now; it’s not very successful but I just love blogging. When I started to realize that I was generating sales on Zazzle, I thought that adding in my blog would be a great marketing opportunity to help generate even more sales. It’s fun, too! You can present your products, you can blog about certain topics, or showcase your ideas – it’s a great way to show your products to the world. I once read that there are over 1 billion products on Zazzle so you have to do something to sell your stuff. A blog definitely helps a lot.
Zazzle: We noticed you like to show off other Zazzler’s products on your blog as well. What has your experience been with being a Zazzle Associate?
Christine: I have a few online friends who are also Zazzlers. We have an active Facebook group about print on demand sites like Zazzle, and we like to help promote each other. I also try to help my friend who introduced me to Zazzle, since she did so much for me! On the other hand, I also try to promote things about a certain topic. For example, I might get a silly idea like “geek wedding invitations”. I searched for “geek wedding” on Zazzle and found some beautiful invitations, and thought “hey, that’s worth a blog post!” The chance to earn a referral is a plus, too.
There are so many pretty designs on Zazzle – if I had the money, I would buy so many different products from Zazzle. If I ever win the lottery, I might end up buying those 365 phone cases!
Zazzle: Speaking of promoting, are you involved with any other marketing strategies like social media?
Christine: Oh yes, I do a lot of that! I have a job during the week, so on the weekends, I work even more on Zazzle. I’m usually busy creating products, writing on my blog, and marketing online. I use Pinterest, I use Twitter, I use Facebook, Google+, Wanelo – everything! It’s so much work, but it’s fun ad I love to do it. It’s a great hobby.
Zazzle: Do you have any advice for designers who are just starting out on Zazzle?
Christine: Promote and use social media. Don’t just use one site to promote, use as many websites as you can handle to spread the word about your products. You need to be persistent, and never give up. My first sale was after about 9 months, and now the sales are only increasing! You don’t have to have as many products as some other stores might have, but you do have to know how to spread the word.