Monday, March 7, 2011

Interview: Angela Low, Marketing Program Manager Shops,

A woman artist paints a dollar sign symbolizing the art of earning money.
Artists look to to help them earn from their art. In the following interview Angela Low, Marketing Program Manager for, helps artists learn the business of"

Angela Low
Marketing Program Manager, Shops

Can you give us some background information on yourself…how you came to be Marketing Program Manager at

I started CafePress in 2001 so I have been here for over 9 years! During my tenure I have held many positions – from account manager to community manager to my current position as a program manager – the one common thread has been interaction with Shopkeepers.  When the need came for someone to manage programs for shops, a role that was perfect for my background, I eagerly stepped into that role! 

What is it in your job that brings you the most satisfaction?
When the programs I’m involved with are positively acknowledged and beneficial to the CafePress community.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions that shop owners have?
I think the biggest misconception Shopkeepers have, especially new ones, is to assume making money on CafePress is easy. Some Shopkeepers assume that designing products and opening a shop is enough to make sales. Similar to other businesses it requires a lot hard work and it’s certainly not easy. 

What is the one thing that most shop owners can do to increase their sales?
Know your target audience so you can promote efficiently.  For example, knowing your audience allows you to use the right key words and descriptions for your shop and products when optimizing for search engines.  It’s good to describe your products but knowing your buyers will give you an advantage. 

What is the most common mistake you see shop owners making?
Sometimes Shopkeepers neglect to optimize their shops for search engines, it’s an easy thing to do and is very important.   

How big an impact does the design or layout of a shop have?
Very important, great navigation is the key to conversion. If you have traffic to your shop but you’re not seeing conversion – it’s possible your shop is poorly laid out and buyers are not finding what they want. Generally, we recommend offering customers a simple way to browse products by design or by product type.  Some savvy Shopkeepers also offer additional browse options such as by “price” or “topic.”

Is there any co-relation between how many designs a shop has and how successful it is?
For the most part, there is.  The more designs you have, the more likely customers will find what they are looking for.  However, if you have a lot of designs be sure your shop is well merchandised.

How would you define the success of a shop?
It depends on how you define success. We have Shopkeepers who feel successful that are making $20 a month – and Shopkeepers making thousands.  My definition of a successful shop is one that consistently sells each month, from there it becomes easier to grow.

What is a realistic revenue goal for individuals running shops?
If a Shopkeeper is willing to put hard work into marketing their shop and have great designs, a realistic goal is several hundred dollars a month.  For some Shopkeepers, several thousand is realistic.

Is it important to add social media into the mix…and if so, how can we do that?
Social media is good and cost effective way to market your shop, a good start is sharing your shop and products with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Or, blog about your products – this helps your shop on search engines.  Perhaps create a Facebook page for your shop and ask your friends to be fans.

What products tend to have the most sales?
T-shirts, sweatshirts and mugs

What determines a products placement in the marketplace? Is there anything a shop owner can do to have their images come up sooner?
The best thing to do is accurately Tag your images.  Using random, and at times irrelevant, keywords to describe your image as a way to get more traffic may actually hurt your Marketplace ranking for that image.

Do you have any suggestions on where and how to learn what we need to know to succeed in our businesses?
Every situation is different but I recommend talking to other Shopkeepers to see what they have tried, what’s worked for them, and what didn’t.  The CafePress forums are a great place to meet fellow Shopkeepers.

Can you share a success story or two?
Because of our privacy policies we can’t share specific success stories unless given permission.  However, I can share general groups of Shopkeepers that have seen success in their own way.  For instance there are many Shopkeepers that quit their day job to work on their CafePress shop full time.  Many Shopkeepers use CafePress to successfully raise funds for their non-profit organization or cause. And quite a few use their CafePress shop as means to earn side cash – we had a Shopkeeper that used some of that money to buy her first house!

Do you have any final thoughts you want to leave us with?
If you have talent for great designs and you’re willing to put in the time building and marketing your shop – you’ll do well. I suggest learning about online marketing, talking to other Shopkeepers, trying new and different ideas, and be patient! Don’t give up! 

For those of you interested you can view my coffee mugs, T-shirts, sweatshirts and other imprinted gifts at my Shop.  Presently I am earning a couple of dollars a day.

1 comment:

Dan Padavona, said...

Cafepress is an obvious success story. However their commission sharing program doesn't seem very contributor friendly. I don't currently utilize them, but I know others who have moved their work to Zazzle to gain a better commission share.