Thursday, August 23, 2012

Marian Cates Designs Gift Shop

Your shop name *
Marian Cates Designs Gift Shop
Zazzle to me is a... *
Part time job - with part time pay
What is the best advice you have received from a fellow shopkeeper about your shops or designs you would like to pass on to another shopkeeper? *

Fellow online shopkeepers advised me to create invitations that customers can personalize for their parties. After some research, I saw that, for kids' birthday party invitations, it's essential to specify, or even feature, the age of the child. Kids' birthday party invitations that especially appeal to me are colorful, whimsical and fun. Adult party invitations that I particularly like tend to be elegant, modern and trendy. Following the advice I'd been given, I started creating a variety of customizable invitations. When I sold fifty graduation party invitations, I was thrilled. From then on, I've focused on creating a wide variety of party invitations for my online shops. I'm so grateful for the advice of other shopkeepers who have so generously shared their tips with me.

What PODs do u currently use or have shops on? *
  • Zazzle
  • Imagekind
  • Other
What did you do with your free time before zazzle or other POD's....and what do you do with it now? *

I love to read. I listen to audiobooks while I'm working on the administrative tasks involved in shopkeeping. I love audiobooks and would love to be an audiobook narrator. I bought a digital recorder so that I can make an audition tape for, but I've been too busy with my shops to find the time to do it. I have a background in theater, so narrating appeals to me a lot. I'm finishing up work on a musical for young people that's been produced in various stages of its development. I wrote the music, lyrics and script and am now working on creating the full sheet music and a CD of all the songs in the show. Then I can send it out into the world to be produced by more theater companies. I publish online, under the pen name of Marian Designs, on I've written on a variety of topics, including online shopkeeping. And, last but not least, I'm working on a couple of novels that I hope to finish in t he next year or so.

What programs do you use to make your designs *
  • Photoshop (any version)
  • Photoshop elements
Tell us more about what you like and do not like about each software you use, what makes it special. *

I got Photoshop for working with my photos. Most of my photography has been film photography. When I scan my photos into my computer, lots of little imperfections show up. I wasn't always as careful with my photos as I am today. So I clean up these photos in Photoshop, which is a terrific program for this purpose. I have turned out to be the historian in my family and have a large collection of family photos going back to my great-grandmother's time. I haven't yet worked with them in Photoshop, but I plan to. When I started shopkeeping, I taught myself to create digital paintings and designs for my online shops using Photoshop. I don't consider Photoshop to be the ideal software for this purpose. But since it's a program that I already have and know how to use, I'll probably continue to use it for all my shops' art and design needs.

Will you make custom orders? *
Yes - no prepay required
Elaborate on your answer above regarding custom orders... *
I've gotten requests to put one of my paintings onto a particular product. I did that at no extra charge. A customer asked me to create a design with a different background color, and I customized that for him at no extra charge. I don't presently do custom orders that are involved or very time-consuming, because I'm selling exclusively through online POD shops and galleries and there's no mechanism for being paid a commission up front.
List your shop URL's *

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