Do you have 3D printed products or designs that you want to sell but don’t know how to? If you do, this is just the episode for you. Tom and Tracy Hazzard once printed a tie and were asked multiple times if and where they’re for sale. Encountering issues in trying to sell them via Amazon, they turned to Etsy and was able to partner with The Umbrella Syndicate in selling the ties. If you want to sell your 3D printed products, let Tom and Tracy share their knowledge of the process.
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3D Designs For Sale
This is our Ask Us Anything Segment. We’ve had a lot of people ask us, “Can we buy your tie?” “Where’s it for sale, your 3D printed tie?”
It’s finally for sale.
We gave a lot of thought about where to sell it. At one point, Amazon had a 3D printed product store and we were all excited about that. We got accepted into that and then they disbanded it promptly before we were able to get our product up there.
They made it such a headache that I gave up on them. We said, “Forget this. This doesn’t make sense.”
It became hard to create a listing on Amazon within the category because they said, “I don’t care if it’s a 3D printed product. Now, all 3D printed products have to go in the category for whatever it is.” One of ours is the necktie. That goes into men’s clothing accessories and there are all sorts of sub things. I liked the idea that you’re not necessarily, as a consumer, looking to buy a 3D printed tie. You’re not going to search on that you want a tie. Maybe be a unique tie, a tech gift, a geek gift or whatever. Let it be in that category but selling on Amazon is a complex thing. What we found was an easier path making it available for people to buy and it’s lower maintenance for us as a merchant is on Etsy.
Shapeways pushed me into saying, “Why aren’t we doing this on Etsy?” Another consideration was to load it up on a Shapeways, i.materialise, or someplace like that. The reality is we don’t want to let the control of our print happen by somebody else. We don’t want it printed by somebody else because our print is difficult. We tried to have other people print it and it’s failed miserably. It doesn’t look like the quality we want to approve and want to send out.
We know there are lots of others of you out there or people like that who are having things printed at some of these service bureaus. It’s well for them and it works great, but you’re right. For us, we wanted to keep control of that and print it ourselves.
It didn’t make sense for us though. It pushed us over. When I saw the 2015 recap of the stuff that they were printing, I was like, “It’s not the right audience. No one cares to find us on there.” Father’s Day gifts, geek gifts and all of those things that are a big category on Etsy. They have a specific category for that and they make it easy to load up an item. It wouldn’t take all of an hour.
It was easy, which is nice.
Amazon took us 1.5 weeks to figure out how to load it up and then we still didn’t even get it up because you still have to go through some convoluted approval process. We ended up canning it. Etsy was too easy to pass up.
Etsy was a lot friendlier. It’s still somewhat of an experiment, but we have had people. We showed Socal MakerCon and a lot of people came over and said, “Where can I buy it?” Now, what we’re doing is an interesting social media marketing experiment. We have a partner for that who’s helping us, The Umbrella Syndicate with Ken Rochon. That is an awesome group. They’re helping us to market this product to mainstream consumers via Facebook and all we needed is a call to action. When somebody wants to buy it, where can they do it? They’re going to go to that Facebook, like the page and they’re going to end up and fed into Etsy. Whether you’re an Etsy person or not, if you want to buy the tie, consumers will find that to be a reputable, safe place to enter your credit card number to buy something.
You can enter your credit card there or you can use PayPal. If you’re comfortable with it, it’s not like, “We have your credit card,” or anything like that. It’s easy and we’ll ship it out from here and we can control how available it is. If it’s out back-ordered or ran out of a color, we get to control all of that. It makes it simple and easy for us to do. That’s the way we decided, plus there’s the future feature on Etsy that should we decide at some point to release the design file, we have the ability to do downloadable files by Etsy.
That’s exciting coming up.
We’re not doing that now because the tie is so hard to print for many printers that I expect it to not work and to fail for so many people.
Different types of products would make more sense and isn’t as challenging to print. For all of you out there once you understand this is not intended to be a commercial product. I don’t care if you buy our tie or not. I’m not out to sell thousands of these ties.
I don’t want to be printing thousands of them. It’s not it yet.
It’s an experiment. This is not meant to be shameless self-promotion. This is meant to help share our experience with you. If you are someone that is creating some 3D printed products like Eduardo Martini has done in Brazil, Kelechi Ojinnaka in Nigeria or any of you out there who are entrepreneurial and looking at using 3D printing as a way to sell products, we want to help share our experience with you. That way, you can learn from it and be more informed as you consider how to monetize some of your 3D printed products.
One of the best ways for us to help you if you decide to put your products on Etsy is for you to like our tie, which will get me visibility of your shop. When I see your shop, I will like your products back. I have a 3D printed product. They call it a curated list. It’s a catalog of sorts and I keep putting things in there that are 3D printed that I find interesting on Etsy. Whenever I find them, I like them. You heart them, or however, you want to term it. If you like us, we’ll like you back, that way we can keep that collection going.
We can share through our social media too.
We don’t care. We’re not competitive people like, “We’re not only going to talk about our products,” not at all. We’re cooperative and we want to help promote this whole industry and everybody involved. If you’ve got some stuff, we’ll be happy to spread that through social media.
We’ll like you back. If you want to reach out to us, tell us about your product or do anything like that, you can reach us anywhere on social media at @HazzDesign.
Thanks for reading.
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