Amazon Merch – 3 Month Review – Passive Income

As per my Etsy 3 month review, life has been very hectic and I haven’t had any time to do anything with Amazon, so I’ve just left it alone for well over a month.

See my Amazon 2 month review here if you haven’t already. Something I have noticed is that MerchInformer have added a lot of new features which look promising, including a t-shirt designer, which is much needed after MerchDesigner became a paid service. I’m looking forward to checking that and other features out when I have time.  I’ll probably do a review in due course. Again, if you’re interested in MI and if you decide to buy it for yourself, use code PASSIVEOWL to get 20% off.

As far as unconscious progress on Amazon – I got upgraded to tier 500, which means that I’m allowed to upload 500 products in total – 50 each day. Of course, I uploaded nothing because I’ve just been ridiculously busy.

In total, during April I made 59 sales which equates to $277.36 profit (roughly £203.92). This is a reduction compared to last month. I think it’s a reduction partially due to one of my best sellers getting 2x 1 star reviews. One customer wasn’t happy with the sizing (not something I can control since Amazon provide the product), and the other had a suggestion for an improvement of the design – decided to rate it 1 star for no other reason than that. I don’t think they even bought it, which seems ridiculously unfair and I do wonder if it’s one of the competition trying to get rid of me. The shirt has many other positive reviews which makes it average at about 3 stars. I’ve seen the sales drop significantly as a result and the ranking has plummeted. I’ve also experienced a reduction in my number of uploads because some of them have been removed as a result of the 90 day rule after failing to sell.

The good news is that 11 shirts have started selling which previously hadn’t, some of which have sold 5+ times, which seems promising for the future.

Again, I just need to actually work on Amazon and upload things in the coming months. May is pretty much a write off due to how busy I am, but June onwards I will certainly be working harder at getting some uploads on there. Overall though, it’s nice to make almost $300 totally passively from Amazon while I’ve been busy with real life.

More to come. Check out the Passive Owls FB group and YouTube while you wait.

Etsy – 3 Month Review – Passive Income

It’s currently 18th May and I finally have the opportunity to type up some results from April. I’ve had such a busy month and a half due to working abroad, then going straight on holiday to a different country, coming back and going to Uni, then working away again! I’m travelling on a train right now, so have a bit of time to provide an update.

Due to the severe lack of time I’ve had, I’ve pretty much neglected POD because my only spare time has been dedicated to the Passive Owls FB group and YouTube, which takes quite a lot of effort to manage, and has well over 1200 subscribers now, by the way!

Therefore, I’ve literally uploading no new designs to any POD site since well over a month ago. If you remember from my 2 month Etsy update, you’ll know that I decided to stop all adverts and see how it affected sales. My initial Etsy strategy was to utilise their paid adverts to get established as a reputable seller and hopefully getting positive reviews/sales ranking would boost visibility of my shop and I’d get organic sales.

I’m pleased to report that after turning off all adverts, I got 15 orders during April, which equates to $145.09 pure profit (roughly £106.67). I wasn’t expecting so many orders at this point. In fact, I wasn’t even planning on turning off adverts for another couple of months to try and get even more established on Etsy.

Feb: Views: 737 / Visits: 418 / Orders: 13 / Revenue: $294.44 <- $5 per day on ads
Mar: Views: 1280 / Visits: 708 / Orders 28 / Revenue: $520.59 <- $10 per day on ads
Apr: Views: 540 / Visits: 320 / Orders 15 / Revenue: $274.20 <- $0 per day on ads

This is great news because it shows that I’ve made almost as much organically as I did when I first started and had to use ads to get sales. Probably due to having a lot of 5 star reviews now and my products showing organically in the listings because of I’ve got lots of sales, too. I’m very grateful for the 5 star reviews because there have been times  where mistakes happened and could’ve easily resulted in bad review. I just offered amazing customer service to try and resolve things which seems to have paid off. People have generally been understanding but if the event that they’re not, I’m more than happy to fully refund a customer for an issue. As I’ve said before, a bad review just isn’t worth it. I had no other people contact me in relation to the issue I had last month with the dodgy printing so I seem to be out of the woods by now.

I have, however, had a few issues with Printful which I’m not happy with. I’ve contacted their customer service now a few times, which was generally good historically, but there were 2 very annoying issues:

Firstly, Printful put a hold on one of my orders, but didn’t tell me this had happened. I only found out when a customer emailed me weeks after ordering asking where his item was. I contacted Printful to find out what had happened because they usually email. They were absolutely adamant that an email would have been sent to me and it must be a problem with my provider or I deleted it. I’ve received a number of these hold emails so I knew I definitely didn’t get one this time as they’ve always come through before. I had to persuade them to look into it further and the results were that their system failed and didn’t send an email. To their credit, Printful agreed to refund me for the shirt as an apology for getting it wrong, but what annoyed me was their refusal even consider they could’ve made a mistake when I first contacted them and it was only because of me pushing it that they looked into it further. I was very fortunate that the customer was totally cool with the delay and even refused a partial refund that I offered for the inconvenience.

Secondly, a customer ordered 2x mens shirts, but somehow the Printful system sent out 2x female shirts. The listings was mens/unisex and I actually have a completely separate listing for female shirts, so they couldn’t possibly get mixed up. Printful syncs to Etsy on their end so it’s all done automatically and I haven’t touched it since. When I contacted support about it, they were again adamant that it was my mistake rather than theirs and that I must’ve changed things. I definitely haven’t changed it and have no reason to, but they wouldn’t entertain that it could’ve been something wrong on their end. I asked them to look into it, as surely if I’d changed something there would be evidence on their end. Of course, they couldn’t provide any evidence that I’d done it and instead refused to take any responsibility, saying it wasn’t possible for their system to make such an error. Sort of like how their system couldn’t possibly make an error with emails before, but did? It wasn’t worth my time arguing with them further, but I had a lot of work to do with the customer to make up for it, and Printful refusing to accept any responsibility without investigating was beyond frustrating. I had to give a partial refund and do a lot of customer service to sort it out.

I’m going to leave adverts off during May and to be honest, it’s still a hectic month so I don’t think I’ll be developing Etsy much at this point. My future goal (June onwards) will be to add a hell of a lot more products because I currently only have roughly 35 uploads! Imagine if I had 10x that – my profit would be way healthier, it’s just having time to get on with it. I think this is a valuable lesson though that sometimes life does get in the way and you can’t get as much done as you’d like, but it doesn’t mean you should give up – just do what you can, when you can.

Does size matter on Redbubble?

Size certainly does matter and you’ll need to ensure you’re using a suitably sized canvas when designing for a variety of products on Redbubble.


Full list of RB sizes can be found in the video description.

Copyright, trademark, and fair use on Redbubble

Will I get banned for using X in my design? How come there are lots of designs on Redbubble that seem to infringe copyright. Are they allowed under fair use?

Amazon Merch – 2 Month Review – Passive Income

It’s 1st April, which means it’s time to write a report about March – my second month on Merch by Amazon 🙂 you can read about my first month here, in case you missed.

I got tiered up to T100 literally hours after I posted my February end of month report – so T25 to T100 in the same day – awesome! This gave me the ability to upload 5 per day, which I did daily for a week or so, but it just wasn’t sustainable for me due to other commitments.

I also upgraded to the ‘Basic’ version of MerchInformer as I felt having access to Merch Hunter would allow me to make great progress this month, which it did. I made a quick video about how I use the website here, if you’re interested, and if you decide to buy it for yourself, use code PASSIVEOWL to get 20% off.

2 month Merch by Amazon progress report:

  • 65/100 possible designs uploaded
  • 69 sales which equates to $306.60 profit (£218.75)

As was the case last month, most of my sales came from one design. I do wish it was more diverse, but oh well. I’m very happy with the sales this month and profit achieved. Only 3 designs sold last month, but this month I managed 9 different designs, so I’m pleased about that. This brings my total sales to 94, which means I’m only 6 sales away from being tiered up to T500. I’m sure this will happen within the next couple of days.

My goals for March were to tier up to T100 (✓), max out my submission allowance by uploading 25 designs (✓), and diversify sales by experimenting and creating more popular designs (✓).

Honestly, this month has been a bit frustrating because I haven’t been able to max out my uploads and I got a bit disheartened with scrolling through MerchInformer and looking at all the designs on there. The sort of content making a lot of money on Merch is what I consider to be total shit – i.e. “This girl is AWESOME because she was born in FEBRUARY” or “Psychologist, because Awesome Multi Tasking Ninja wasn’t a job title“. I just can’t stand it and it’s getting on my nerves having to scroll through it all while I research.

The positive news is that I’ve uploaded 55 more designs this month compared to last months 10,  and more than doubled my sales/profit. It can be very frustrating on Merch – and any POD I suppose, because it feels like you’re doing a lot of work for nothing. I try not to upload bullshit, I meticulously research niches, make good quality designs, and spend time researching keywords, writing titles, descriptions, etc, however, 56 of my uploads have (thus far) failed to sell, so it feels like a lot of wasted time. Not to say that they wont ever sell, but it can get you down. I see Merch as having the potential to overtake my Redbubble income though, so I’m going to keep going with it as much as I can.

April will be a difficult month because I’m working away and wont have as much time to dedicate to Merch, but I’ll just do what I can. I’d like to get at least 100 uploads on there and if I can increase my sales/profit, then that would be great.

Will report back at the end of April and let you know how it goes! In the meantime consider joining the Passive Owls FB group as there will certainly be more Merch discussion going on in there.

Full Disclosure: MerchInformer is an affiliate link, so if you’ve found my FB group, YouTube, or this blog helpful and want to support me, then I would appreciate it if you signed up via the link.

Etsy – 2 Month Review – Passive Income

Welcome to my 2 month Etsy report!

As mentioned in my 1 month update, I’m using Etsy in conjunction with Printful to automatically fulfill any orders I receive.

I got my first positive (5 star) review almost immediately after I posted my February update, and the good reviews kept on coming, which was a great relief because I didn’t really know what the quality would be like from Printful. I have at least five 5 star reviews at time of writing, which is great social proof. I also got a PM telling me that the quality is amazing and shipping was super fast.

As promised in my previous post, I upped my advertising budget from $5 to $10 per day just to see what happened. I got more than double the amount of orders when compared to last month:

Feb: Views: 737 / Visits: 418 / Orders: 13 / Revenue: $294.44
Mar: Views: 1280 / Visits: 708 / Orders 28 / Revenue: $520.59

Interestingly, a significant number of orders didn’t come from ads – more on that later. I’m still pricing at rock bottom, which is a problem that has become apparent this month and I’ll elaborate why in a moment. I was initially going to wait until I have ten 5 star reviews to increase the price, but I’m going to disregard that and do it sooner rather than later.

Printful has been slightly annoying this month in that their report function only shows 28 days of history. You can’t specify a date range, so it’s impossible to quickly check your profit without manually adding up figures, which to me seems insane. They have a ‘report’ page, but it only shows you revenue rather than profit and there’s no way to change this. I contacted customer service about it and found that it’s just not a feature they offer.

It’s difficult to make informed decisions without a lot of manual calculations to figure out how much profit you’re currently making. I think the service generally from Printful is amazing, but that oversight is absolutely ridiculous. I didn’t have a problem in Feb since I’d just started and the month happened to be 28 days long so it fit in perfectly with their 28 day history, but this month it has caused problems.

I’ve also had an issue with the printing of one of my designs, which has only become apparent within the last few days since a customer complained and sent me a picture. I contacted Printful who said it was because of the transparency of some of the design aspects. They offer a quality checking service which I thought should’ve picked this up as they have done with some of my other designs prior to printing, but they stressed that this is a courtesy service and can’t be relied upon.

Rather than risk a bad review, I just refunded the customer entirely, which unfortunately was a significant loss, but it would’ve been much more detrimental to receive a negative review. Customer was very happy with my handling of the situation and even said they’d leave positive feedback (unprompted).

I am concerned about this printing issue because there have been about 5-6 sales of this particular design before I was alerted to the issue, so I could end up giving many refunds out. Learn from my mistake – make sure you don’t use transparency on Printful!

Another issue is that female specific shirts are expensive. I’m getting $10-11 profit for a male shirt, yet $2-3 for a female shirt, which means that I’m actually losing a significant amount of money when I take into consideration advertising costs to get the sales. For that reason, I’ve decided to phase out female specific products and just offer Unisex.

This is my Etsy advert performance for March 18:

It shows good value in that I spent $188 to achieve $301 revenue, but we’ve got to take into consideration that revenue isn’t profit and that I’m pricing very low, so although it definitely seems worthwhile to run ads, you must make sure that your profit margin covers the cost of doing so.

An interesting point to note is that only 16 out of the 28 orders were from adverts, meaning that 12 were found organically. This is very positive indeed and preliminary searches have revealed to me that my products are actually showing up on the front page for some search terms organically now.

My Etsy balance looked healthy. This is all from March. My advertising/listing costs came to $262.43 overall, which works out at around $8.50 per day.

My goals from last month were to get positive reviews (✓), increase my advertising budget (✓),  and add more products. I did add more products, but only about half of what I intended to. That’s because I got seriously distracted by Merch by Amazon and basically left Etsy on autopilot.

A mixture of focusing on Merch, leaving expensive adverts running without evaluating them, making a loss on female shirts, having to refund dodgy prints, and being unable to see my profit in real time on Printful has resulted in a loss this month. Despite selling more than double the amount of products, I’ve made a significant loss of £94.09, which is approximately $130. This is way worse than I expected. I knew I wasn’t making profit, but I didn’t really care too much since it’s more about establishing a brand at this point, but a combination of the above factors has really screwed me over this month. Oops.

Oh well, lesson learnt! I’m going to do an experiment in April and turn all adverts off just to see if I make any sales organically, and hopefully recoup some of the loss I’ve made this month on Etsy.

Hope you appreciate my honesty. I might be a Redbubble expert but when it comes to Etsy, I’m pretty clueless so I’m just experimenting and learning as I go. Hopefully you found the information in this post helpful!

Will report back at the end of April and let you know how it goes! In the meantime consider joining the Passive Owls FB group as there will certainly be more Etsy discussion going on in there.

Full Disclosure: Printful is an affiliate link, so if you’ve found my FB group, YouTube, or this blog helpful and want to support me, then I would appreciate it if you signed up via the link.

How to discourage art theft on Redbubble

Many artists aren’t aware of this simple way to discourage people from stealing their work on Redbubble. Will take you approximately 5 seconds to sort out!

PS: As of today, March 31st, I’m at almost 600 subs on YouTube, which is amazing to me considering I only had 200 at the start of the month!

Duvet covers and other profitable items – 600% more profit on Redbubble

Make 600% more profit on Redbubble with duvet covers and other profitable items. This video compares various high profit margin items on Redbubble and lists some things you should take into consideration to increase your passive income with Print On Demand.

600% = £2.41 (t-shirt profit) vs. £17.71 (duvet cover profit)

Simple Redbubble ‘trick’ that most people miss

Really simple thing you can do on every upload to ensure you have (1) the opportunity to make almost double profit when compared to a regular shirt sale and (2) have more quality products showing up in your portfolio.

I always see artists that have failed to do this and will be missing out on sales as a result.

$6,000 on 1 shirt using MerchInformer

Quick vid about Merch by Amazon and how I use MerchInformer to make good decisions. You can get 20% off the product with code PASSIVEOWL.

Okay, slight clickbait in that the $6k shirt wasn’t mine, but in this vid I demonstrate how I use MerchInformer to find profitable niches. Looking forward to posting my 2 month review of Merch at the start of April.