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  1. #1

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    Selling my own products etc... what is the simplest way to go about it?

    I'm starting to sell stationery products featuring my photography.

    I'm really not sure of the legal implications, and can't really find any relevant information online... I realise I'm probably googling the wrong words, but after several hours of unproductive research I decided to give FSU a try

    Many of the people I know who are involved in this kind of activity do it without declaring anything, but I'd like to do things by the book (as much as is possible with French bureaucracy )

    Basically, whatever country you live in, I'm interested to know how things work because I'm living in several different countries as it is and have no clue where I'm going to end up.

    I want to sell things such as greeting cards, writing paper, posters etc... in souvenir shops (I already have some interested), and online. I realise the online activity will be rather slow at first.

    Do any of you have experience with this kind of thing?

    As a side note, have any of you got experience with a cheap but good quality printer in Europe, that you have ordered bulk quantities from?
    I seems that ordering from Poland or Romania would make the most sense, but once again, I can't find enough relevant info online.

    I'm currently in contact with a local printer, but in the long run it will be cheaper to import I think...
    I do have contacts with a printer in Ukraine, but since that's outside of the EU I'm likely to have problems with tax I think.

    I'm aware this is a big jumble of questions but any thoughts are welcome.

  2. #2

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    I can't help very much, since this isn't my area, but here is a link to a series of article about a company called Pen Again, and how they went from an idea for a new product to, eventually (after lots of struggles to get their product sold anywhere), getting the product into the big US stores, like Walmart. I found the whole series pretty interesting.

    http://www.penagain.com/penagainstory.html#
    Creating drama!

  3. #3

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    Do you know http://www.etsy.com? It's a big site here in the U.S. where people sell things they make. I don't know if there's a European equivalent, though.
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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the ideas!

  5. #5
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    cafepress.com will allow you to sell greeting cards, postcards, posters, framed prints, among other things.

    zazzle.com (they have several international versions of their site as well) is similar but with slight variations in the products they offer.

    imagekind.com is similar as well but with more of a fine art focus.

    Cafepress is probably more well known, but Zazzle has more potential for profit. I've never used imagekind but cafepress owns it. With any of these services, the competition is fierce. You've got to have a good, quality work and a unique niche to sell it in to have large scale success. But small scale success is quite ordinary, usually directly in proportion to how much work you put into it.

    I've done it for 3 or 4 years now and continually make small profits. Not enough to pay the bills, but enough to have a bit of unbudgeted "fun money" now and again.

    I am not familiar with business and tax laws for anywhere but Canada. Here, I am able to declare my revenues on my personal tax return. As long as my "business" doesn't gross over a certain annual income, it does not have to be an official registered business. You'll really have to look into your local regulations, though.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Erica! Those are good tips.

  7. #7

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    Etsy lets you sell to anyone, anywhere. You just have to know your postage costs ahead of time. Probably more of a market there than Ebay - I'd test a couple of auctions to see if either of those markets would work for you. Good luck - for all of Ebay's detracters it is what works for me
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatemommy View Post
    Etsy lets you sell to anyone, anywhere. You just have to know your postage costs ahead of time. Probably more of a market there than Ebay - I'd test a couple of auctions to see if either of those markets would work for you. Good luck - for all of Ebay's detracters it is what works for me
    I could be wrong but I believe etsy requires its sellers to deal in American dollars. Which, if the exchange rate is not in your favour, could mean that your item has to be priced a lot higher to cover your costs than a similar item within the US. Postage costs can also be a killer if you're outside the US.

    I know a couple of Canadian sellers who loved the structure and community of etsy, but had to withdraw from it because the combination of postage rates and exchange rates made their goods too expensive to be competitive.
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    I do have two suggestions for you, though you may already know this. You mentioned that you want to sell stationary with photos that you have taken.

    1. Make sure that you copywrite your photos, before you send them out to any printer. I've had artwork stolen. In theory, simply signing art is a copywrite. But do it formally, since these photos will be out in the world. And make it clear to your printer that your art is for your use only.

    2. Make sure that you get releases from any people in your photos. You can be sued for using a photo you take to make money without the person's permission. And, if you are taking photos of private property, get permission from the owners. Especially if there is any identifying element as to where the property is.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by cruisin View Post
    I do have two suggestions for you, though you may already know this. You mentioned that you want to sell stationary with photos that you have taken.

    1. Make sure that you copywrite your photos, before you send them out to any printer. I've had artwork stolen. In theory, simply signing art is a copywrite. But do it formally, since these photos will be out in the world. And make it clear to your printer that your art is for your use only.

    2. Make sure that you get releases from any people in your photos. You can be sued for using a photo you take to make money without the person's permission. And, if you are taking photos of private property, get permission from the owners. Especially if there is any identifying element as to where the property is.

    Thanks. Those are important points. I must get started on the copyright, I've had photos stollen as well. I once did a wedding for someone and got the pictures developped at a local shop. The couple was surprised to find pictures of their flower girls entertained in a local photography competition under the name of the shop studio
    I am not going to sell photos with people in them, precisely to avoid the whole release palaver...

  11. #11
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    I think it's about $30 or so to copyright. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the fee is for multiple images not each one. Not sure if it's limitless?

    Sounds exciting, good luck!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by millyskate View Post
    I am not going to sell photos with people in them, precisely to avoid the whole release palaver...
    Yeah, it is a pain. However, also be careful with locations. If you take a shot where an address is visible (and there is just no other angle), photoshop it out. If it is private property, I would let the owner know and ask if it's okay. As long as you are not doing disturbing the location you shouldn't have to pay them.

    My daughter's photo showed up in a catalog once. Without permission. Having been an AD, I knew the rules. I called and found out where they got it. It wound up being pretty polite and they felt bad about not knowing who to contact. So, I just let them go with it. Other times , though, I've had illustrations used without my permission - not good. Had to send a cease and desist to one printer.

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