As with all businesses there is several attempts or 'goes' to see if maybe there is a eureka moment or an explosion of interest to warrant the time being spent. I've been dabbling with online design sales type websites for well over a decade. Its always been something i get drawn to and then have to leave due to work or life commitments, then the motivation appears again and i would repeat the process but not really getting much further.
The main drive for me was learning and developing my skills. Starting off with basic Photoshop skills for modifying cars then trying out Illustrator when vector drawing was starting to get more limelight I quickly learned how to get something printable and possibly even sell able. I loved cars and loved drawing them so mostly drew these as it was in my comfort zone.
Spreadshirt was my first go to when trying out my designs for a public audience. I had basic knowledge then but i still have that account active and oddly still get a dozen sales per year. The lure of making some passive income was strong so i invested quite some time here. There was always design limitations with their print processes so naturally i started looking for other options.
Below is my very first attempt at a vectorised car drawing listed on Spreadshirt Marketplace. A lot has changed from here but i am still happy with how it looks today.
As my designs got better i stumbled across Redbubble and their awesome digital print on demand service. This made any colourful design possible so i got quite excited about this prospect. Over the years i have changed my name from Oily Rags to Machina Attire to Nut and Bolt Apparel but most recently Nut and Bolt Design. I will talk more about my name choice in the next blog.
Below is my first attempt at a full colour vectorised graphic of Colin McRaes jumping Subaru Impreza. This has been my best selling graphic to date with over 400 sales and 25k views. Not a great conversion rate but good for me still trying this out.
Redbubble and other print on demand companies has always been a stop gap in my head and with dreams of having properly branded t-shirts with screen-printed graphics and labels etc i would always be curious to try out my own store and have more control. Not as simple as it seems but this is what i am pursuing.
My next blog will talk about the steps i've went through to bring the hobby sideline projects into something more towards generating a following and more income (to feed my cycling habit).