Some of the other ways we have been able to keep busy is by finding other ways to market our product. We have several irons in that fire already, but decided, ehh, what’s a few more? We started a store on Zazzle to see what we could offer, and it’s been a lot of fun to build up and merchandise. But I find it’s also a whole lot of hard work! It’s not just about taking an image and putting it on a product, you also have to figure out what message you want that image to convey. It’s a totally different mindset (for me) than stock photography.
As a stock photographer, we take an object and think, ok, how would a client use this picture? For example: A red apple. This image has a thousand uses! It can be used in nutrition ads, school ads, by doctors or dentists, or just about anyone. So, we take the picture, isolated on a white background so it can be pulled and placed in an advertisement, and hope that our apple image is snappy enough to be seen and purchased among the hundreds of thousands of apple pictures already listed on our agency’s site.
Now, with the store, we now have to figure out HOW to use that image. Hmm… Sure, we could put it on a shirt that says An Apple a Day, or any of the other overused phrases that we hear about apples all the time. But now we’re on the marketing side. And an old worn out phrase isn’t going to attract customers to purchase our product. So now we have to come up with a new and exciting way to present that image, incorporate it into something witty and fun, and hope that it gets seen and goes “hot”, or at least draws enough interest for someone to browse our other products.
And then there is the copyright/trademark issue. We face it with stock, but we always have to remain mindful of it. Putting the phrase “Just Do It” is an infringement against Nike. “It’s the Real Thing” is an infringement against Coke. And fonts have to be watched, you can’t use a font that is used by a company, because that’s misrepresentation against that company. In other words, you can’t use the familiarity of a product to sell a “pirated” product, because they are the ones that did all the advertising work, not you. So now, you have to come up with something completely original, with your own work. You can’t see a picture and take it from the web and use it in your items. It MUST be original. And you should have a model release for any products you use. How would you feel if a photographer took a picture of you smiling, and you ended up on thousands of tee shirts and mousepads, without any sort of compensation or prior agreement??
There is so much to think about, so many different ideas that have to be shelved. Zazzle has over 35 billion items for sale. Which one is going to be the one that people see and want to buy?? So, for now, we’re brought out our Wermz, and are setting them up in Christmas hats around Christmas ornaments and the like, and hoping that people find them funny or cute enough. And we have a lot of our abstract images on different items. We’re trying to remain colorful as well as contemporary. Cross your fingers for us!
To visit our zazzle store, and see some of the ideas we’ve had, visit us at:
As for Robert, he’s doing his best to meet the demands I’m making for new images and illustrations on the ideas that are getting spurred on by the mad merchandising frenzy I’m on! He is also working on a manuscript of his self-help writings. We’re very excited about that project, he’s taking a lot of his essays and we are weaving them together to come up with a book that we hope to release by summer. We will be releasing bits and pieces of his essays over the coming months while he’s working on that, but his focus right now is research and writing. I love his writing. He’s become such a better man since he started writing, and has made us stronger in our relationship. We have been able to get over many crippling obstacles in our lives because we remain focused and balanced. We keep our end goal in mind, and continuously strive toward that. We remain generous in nature, kind in word, gracious to those that offer assistance, and always have time for those that need a moment to talk.
We offer thanks every day to everyone for taking interest in our journey. We offer thanks for those who happen into our lives, as we feel everyone has a reason, everyone has a place, and there is always something to be learned by the various experiences we have. We find a great deal of inspiration in our life around us, and hope that you find that, as well.
Peace to you, my friends.