I used to have an Etsy store. Well, still have, actually. It was only active for a year plus and I sold digital reprints (giclees) of vintage woodblock art from Japan (shin-hanga). These reproductions were for the purpose of displaying on walls, which you can’t really do with the originals as they are too fragile to be exposed to sunlight.
Although I did virtually zero marketing it the store almost 4k visits and made a revenue of USD 890. Obviously the net profit was even lower, but it was a lot of fun because I have a deep affection for these prints (and most things Japanese..!).
*In total I sold 84 prints through 59 orders and got eight 5-star reviews. Most of the buyers were from Oregon, US and the rest were mainly from other parts of the US, EU, Australia and of course, Malaysia.
However once the boys were born the time required to do the printing, packing and shipping became to burdensome and I just put it in cold storage. Towards the end the store transitioned from selling physical prints to digital ones. It still receives the odd sale now and again which covers the cost of operating it, and requires zero maintenance.
I’ve decided now the time is ripe for a relaunch and there will be a 50% discount for the next 60 days (although there are only a few items for sale right now) The store is located here and I will try to upload new products on a weekly basis.
10% of the gross profits will go to Sri Eden and United Voice, two great organisations that teach and empower children with learning disabilities. They are not affiliated with me or my blog in any way.
I’ll also try my hand at marketing via Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and see how things go.
If you have no idea what shin-hanga or woodblock printing is, then check out this workshop by modern woodblock artist Paul Binnie.
And so I leave you with a few famous prints by Kawase Hasui and Hiroshi Yoshida. Enjoy!
Most of these were from the early 1900s and show Japanese landscapes in a romanticized way to make them more appealing to foreigners. It is a niche industry that still thrives to this day. There are even American artisan businesses like Tanuki who have studied the traditional methods and brought them back to the US to produce amazing print landscapes of the Appalachian Trail. Not cheap though.
*Note: As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years.