Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Interview with Hilly AKA felidae52

The ProSeller Corner Tell the world a little bit about yourself.

Hilly Hi, I'm Hilly - or more generally known as Felidae or RainbowArt. I'm born and bred in the medival town of Celle in Germany where I met my English husband. We got married in England 42 years ago and lived there for the first third of our marriage. We moved to Germany because the social security and a few other important things are better here, and now live in a small town just outside Hannover (That's where England´s King George II was residing, the Hanoverian horses come from, and the Expo 2000 took place).
The ProSeller Corner When did you start designing at Zazzle and what made you choose them?

Hilly I started selling our art with "the other place" in late 2004, but closed shop there about a year before the big bang because I could see it coming. After trying a few other places a fellow artist told me to try Zazzle - I joined in early 2008 and never looked back. The design interface was easy to use, and for the first time I actually received a cheque more than twice a year. I also loved the diversity of products.

The ProSeller Corner Do you have any other stores at Zazzle?

Hilly Rainbow Art is my first and main shop. This is where our paintings live (my husband draws and paints with airbrush, I draw and paint in oils and watercolors), also all the designs that warrant the adjective "artistic".

I have very different styles and themes of designs, so I opened a store with different themes for ll directions my mind takes:
  • Cats `n´ Dogs is a shop for - no surprise - cat and dog lovers, it also features designs with big cats.
  • Whacky Whimsicals is just that: cute and whimsy designs for all ages.
  • Dragonmyth is a shop full of dragon designs.
  • Family Humor is full of fun designs for moms, dads, grandparents and of course babies and kids.
  • Dark Shirts is filled with dark, gothic and grunge designs.
  • The Hobby Shop contains designs for lots of hobbies and crafts.
  • Initials is the shop which is the home for my decorated initials/monograms.
  • In the Mad Dogs and Englishmen shop I put all the patriotic Brit designs for Englishmen, Welshmen, Scottish and Irish.
  • The Crockery is pretty new and has not all that many products in it, it's exclusively for tableware and the towels and placemats.
  • Rainbow Cards is - you guessed it - the home of lots of paper products, binders and such.
  • Silly Shirts is the home of all my humorous, funny and silly designs.
  • Wedding Styles is also pretty new, the wedding section at Rainbow cards got too big so I am in the progress of moving all those products to their own home, and also I am adding stuff for bachelor and bachelorette as well as engagements.
There is a dormant shoe shop waiting for shoes to reappear, and a couple of reserved domains waiting for me to have the time to fill them when I retire ...

The ProSeller Corner What has been you best selling product?

Hilly There's a lot of products I´d call bestsellers, here's the ones that stick out:

Wedding Styles: The wedding suites do best here, and most of all the Black Lace suite - here's the binder as an example: 

Cat `n´ Dog: Here the winner is probably the drawing of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on different products: 
Whacky Whimsicals: The bestseller here is definitely the "Whale of a Time" keychain!
Dragonmyth: Funnily enough it's a very simple desing showing a tribal dragon ornament that sells loads on all kind of produtcts: 

Family Humor: The "Lawn Ranger" is the winner here - on a range of products: 

Rainbow Art: Sadly enough it's not one of our paintings that takes first place - but the Jewel Butterfly, mostly sold on phone cases and the tile boxes. 

Dark Shirts: This is not one of MY favourite designs - but the customers made it a bestseller: Floral Grunge. 

The Hobby Shop: Although a lot of designs do well, especially in the holiday season, this is the winner; Dancing Penguin.

Initials: All monograms do well, but this is one of the customers favourites - the hummingbird initial on several products.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen: The undisputed winner is the design that I made first for this shop, which gave it the name and logo: 

The Crockery: As the shop is pretty new not many products have sold, but this autumn leaves and pumpkins design has sold best.
Rainbow Cards: There's two designs that sell best, a business card called "Art Noveau Elegance," and the Art Noveau Ornamental Calla Invitation, which is slightly ahead:
Silly Shirts: I have lots of designs with funny graphics - but the bestseller is this simple text design on a mug:
The ProSeller Corner What do you enjoy doing when you're not working on your store?

Hilly I don't have a lot of free time on my hands - I work fulltime, and my husband has been disabled since 1998 so I have a lot of work on my hands at home, too. I usually work on or for the shops weekends, during the week I like to read (I have a room full of fantasy novels), play on the pc, or get a bit of movement by playing golf or other sports games on the xbox with hubby.

The ProSeller Corner How do you balance your time between Zazzle and life?

Hilly I was lucky to have lots of ready made designs before I joined Zazzle, so the shops were pretty full from the off. And as I only have two or three hours during the week for myself I Zazzle weekends, and tend to the rest of my life during the week.

The ProSeller Corner How long had you been with Zazzle before you reached a ProSeller status?

Hilly The programme was introduced just after I joined, it took me about six months by the old requirements (earn $100 for three consecutive months) to reach Bronze - there was no Basic then.
The ProSeller Corner Getting noticed and becoming a ProSeller takes a lot of hard work and time. What advice would you give to those aspiring to become a ProSeller?

Hilly Don't listen to those who tell you you need thousands of products to be successful - put quality over quantity. I know several sellers who earn good moneys with only a dozen or two designs.

Take care to name your product well for SEO purposes, give it a good description that Google will love, and ten really spot on tags are well enough.

Try to stick out of the crowd with your designs - you don't have to follow all trends, just design what you do best and what you like. Someone will love it, too. Nobody needs another million damask designs ...

Always leave your products customizable - that's what makes Zazzle unique, and that's why customers buy there most! Nothing like a cool design with your own name on it.

Don't think for one minute because you wouldn't buy a product with your photo/painting/design no-one else will - customers have the strangest ideas!

Don't put square pictures on t-shirts, it doesn't look professional. Use a graphics programm to soften the edges or make it into a shape that looks better, or use a mask to make an interesting shape.
I could go on forever - but I won't bore you with more useless snippets of information for now. ;-)


Jasmine said...

Wow Hilly! Thanks so much for the awesome interview. :) I love how you set up your shops.. you always have beautiful store fronts.

Hilly @ Rainbow Art said...

Thank you Jasmine for the feature. As for the storefronts - I love designing websites, one more reason I have all those shops ;)I just wish I hade more time - another 5 years until I retire ...

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