Experience with Selling art on glowforge

I currently do not sell my art, yet, I just don’t have time really. I am not an Etsy seller and don’t plan to be. But glowforge is interesting model, so I am wondering:

  • I do imagine to really get any return that I would probably need to establish a following, build a store front etc and have a large selection of original content.
  • I am not trying to augment my income or anything (yet).
  • what is the return of selling just one or two on glowforge platform?
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This doesn’t answer your exact questions, but I bet you’ll find it interesting: check out number 14 on this list

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@rbtdanforth may have some advice, he sells a bunch of designs in the catalog.

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I have only two designs in the Glowforge catalog and I earn coffee money each month ($5-$10). Folks who have 50+ earn quite a bit.

Obviously if you make your own storefront, etc. you gain 100% of the proceeds…but marketing is a full time job.

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It costs you nothing but a little time to take nice photographs and write assembly instructions (provided you have the premium subscription, required to submit catalog designs). Return depends on the complexity and popularity/sales of the item. More sales more $$, more complex designs have higher prices (set by GF).

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I only have a few designs in the catalog (three the first year, four the next year, none added this year). The designs always make more the newer they are and seem to make less over time. But I also have some that are fairly consistent. One I have is seasonal, and I don’t expect much from it unless that season is near.

I feel like it was definitely worth my time to put them in the catalog. I do enjoy the extra income they produce, but it is more of a hobby for me, not a business.

One of my oldest designs has been averaging $20 a month for the lifetime of it being in the catalog (with ups and downs of course). I track all of them in a spreadsheet each month.

One of my most complicated ones has been averaging $45 a month, but it is newer and I expect it to decrease over time.

I think one thing that makes a BIG difference is your photos of your completed designs. People need to want to make it because the photos are great!

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I was looking carefully yesterday trying to see if that was true. In short, I see little evidence of it. Easter stuff of course jumps around Easter etc. and some have single-month jumps as if someone shows their friends and the friends make their own. But in general, a star is a star over time and a flop is a flop over time as well.
The huge increase in Aura machines has helped things an Aura can do while big lamps for example did not make the jump. Understanding what makes a star and what makes a flop is much harder to figure.

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I was not making this up when I said they “seem to make less over time”. I am looking at the actual data (evidence). My designs in the first year averaged $17-33 a month, the following year (the same designs) averaged $4-12 a month. And those design this year (granted with only a quarter of data) are averaging $1-9 a month.

So, I see quite a bit of data (evidence) for that statement. That being said, I am not looking at occasional spikes/dips that sometimes happen, I am looking at the data over large periods of time.

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Designs definitely make less over time, but I think it has been more because there are more designs accepted into the catalog all of the time, which means less $ for royalties when spread out. When there were less than 100 designs, my hummingbird earrings made over $1000 in 1 month in 2021, in the top 30% of made designs. Last month’s payment for that design that is several years old at this point? $22.30, for being in the top 10 of made catalog designs.

I submit designs that I think would sell well for people that do craft shows and farmers markets, and also some that I made for myself and figured someone else might like them. If I were to sell designs in my own store, I’d have to do all the marketing to get people there. Yes, I could make more that way, but I don’t have any interest in it. I already have my own niche of hand-painted wooden puzzles, and don’t need another business.

It takes my anywhere from 2-20 hours to complete a design for the catalog, including product photography, description, and occasionally instructions. Since I have no interest in selling my designs myself, Glowforge owns the full rights to them. My lowest producing design has made all of $35 over a year and a half. That is $35 I didn’t have to do much work for, since it took about 2 hours to make/photo/submit. And I made it of cardboard, so it didn’t even cost materials :sweat_smile:

I don’t think there are people that follow the designers on the catalog – there really isn’t a way to do that, unless you bookmarked the designers page, like this: Designer Search – Janell Amely, then remembered to check it every so often.

So it wouldn’t matter if you only had 1 or 2 designs. It helps if your designs are fast to cut out and would be something used often or a lot of. I have 17 designs, submitting a few every year since 2021, and my royalties payment for March was $172. You can always submit to be a designer, and once accepted, add 1 or 2 designs every month or so. Know that to get paid, you do have to have a Premium membership. Good luck if you choose to pursue it!

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I agree 100%

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I was not putting down someone else’s experience. It’s just that I went looking for it and, aside from the first month that can be a spike, there is not much serious drift when I looked at the detail. I am only looking at the past 18 months.

Hummingbirds are real winners and $1000 certainly beats my individual max of $111 but that was a third of the entire month of June. It dropped below the 75% mark the next October at $5 but back up to the 75%-90% and $10 last month. The dancing angels coaster that I had high expectations for has run near the bottom the entire time making 26 cents last month.

The most complex and wood-hungry “Better Letter Getter” got up over $10 in January after spending most of the last 18 mo. under a dollar and often at zero. As for the various lamps, even when they were at the top of the heap the heap was closer to a dust pile. All the extra work in design and instructions did not fare as well as when the pattern was a coaster.

That is why I have so many coasters. It is hard to see through the fog but it appears that a sale of something high-priced does not generate more income than a sale of a coaster or earring at this end. Again YMMV

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I don’t mean to put down your experiences either, I was just looking at my data. (I like crunching numbers.)

My smallest design also holds my record for the lowest month of all time ($0.46).

My most complicated design holds my record for the highest (non-seasonal) month ($128.17).

My seasonal ornament hit my all time highest month ($195.66) during its season, but it drops drastically outside of its season (averaging around $3).

I really should submit more designs to the catalog, but I do not always feel that creative, and many designs I am just not comfortable selling and just end up in the Free section…

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In your instructions and photography do you mock up words and font’s of how you did it or
“your anniversary here”
“your coaster here”

or do you leave that to the consumers to figure out as I can see that excess stuff in there can complication stuff, but leaving it blank might lose a sale if it’s bland looking or adds more complication because it’s not readily editable

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As I’m making a copy while taking pictures I do engrave it. I then post pictures both with and without said engraving (usually photo editing the engraved part off if I wasn’t able to take a picture before the engrave).

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If I have editable text (and so far all text in my stuff is editable) It is very editable in font size and text. Only the limits are inside the design. If the name you want is Rumplestiltskin then It probably won’t fit.

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