Illustrate for Merchandise: Transform Your Artwork Into Products | Alicia Souza | Skillshare

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Illustrate for Merchandise: Transform Your Artwork Into Products

teacher avatar Alicia Souza, Illustrator | Chips connoisseur

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Getting Started

    • 3. Finding Inspiration

    • 4. Choosing Your Idea

    • 5. Sketching

    • 6. Adding Color and Texture

    • 7. Manufacturing Your Product

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

If creating for the page is satisfying, imagine turning your art into something you can use, wear or gift. Learn how with celebrated illustrator and entrepreneur Alicia Souza!

Between her own brand, Alicia Souza, and her kids merchandise line, Auntie Alie, Alicia Souza has been in the business of designing and selling fun, colorful products for more than a decade. Join Alicia as she dives deep into her process and shares the tips and tricks she’s learned over the years as she traces her journey from illustrator, to Instagram sensation with 380k+ followers and counting, to entrepreneur. From conceptualizing and illustrating, to manufacturing and packaging, you’ll learn how to create a personalized product from scratch. Take the first steps in turning illustration from a hobby to a side hustle, or do it for the joy of creating something bigger than just the page.

Work alongside Alicia as she teaches you how to:

  • Translate everyday inspiration into illustration
  • Design specifically for your product of choice
  • Create your first sample, and plan your next
  • Build excitement with your followers and friends

Plus, Alicia guides you through the process of pricing, shipping and marketing, pulling in real-world examples ranging from mugs and T-shirts, to bags and stationery. You’ll hear firsthand how she translates her quirky sense of humor into her illustrations, and how you can apply your own signature style at each step of the process.

Whether you’re an illustrator looking to grow your business or a hobbyist who wants to create one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family, Alicia’s process will unlock the world of merchandising. By the end of the class, you’ll have everything you need to create products from your art!


Alicia’s class is perfect for beginner-level illustrators with a basic understanding of Adobe Photoshop, but you’re welcome to participate and enjoy, regardless of your skill level. Even if you work in a different style or medium than Alicia, the same principles of creating and marketing products still apply—just adapt the steps to fit your workflow and jump into the world of merchandising! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Alicia Souza

Illustrator | Chips connoisseur


 My name is Alicia Souza and I am an illustrative designer residing in fair-weathered Bangalore, India with my little family that includes my fuzzy baby and recently a human baby. I was born in the Middle East, then spent a number of years studying and working down under, before moving to India about a decade ago. I freelance for many brands and corporate (my clients include Google, Adobe, Apple, Yahoo, Mondelez, Penguin and many more) and also create illustrated merchandise for my own product lines.

My work has also appeared internationally in children's books, magazines, newspapers and products. I have the most amazing online community on social media who share my joy and giggles about everyday funnies and fuzzies.

Thank you for reading and lovel... See full profile

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] Seeing your ideas coming to VH is magical. Every type of illustration has the joy attached to it. [MUSIC] Didn't see you there. I'm Alicia Souza, I'm a dog mom, human mom, and an illustrator. I draw about things that I see around me, conversations I hear, things on the road, things that happen in my house, anything. I didn't think it will become my profession, but it did, and I love it. When I started my merchandise, I had a full-fledged social media account and I had a lot of requests of people asking me for certain illustrations on products. I created a line of merchandise, and we did extremely well. When I started about a decade ago, there wasn't really anything for me to learn from. I really wanted to share all the things that I've learned in my decade-long period. In this class, we're going to be talking about getting started, finding that inspiration, turning that inspiration into illustration, the process of illustrating, and then getting that illustration onto merchandise and little tips and tricks about merchandise as well. Your student project for this class is to create a piece of merchandise. I'm really excited about starting this class and I hope you will take away a few things that will be helpful on your journey. [MUSIC]. 2. Getting Started: When you're just starting out illustrating, you basically need something that marks, so can use paper and a pencil. That's good to go. As you evolve as an illustrator, you of course, adding more tools that you like and try different things out and play with different software and things that work for you. The tools that I generally use is a pencil, an ink brush pen, eraser, paper, notebook, and my iPad, and of course my computer and graphic tablet. I remember when I started out, I pretty much and still kind of use the most student grid products and it's absolutely fine. I remember not even having a graphic tablet I use the most for the longest time. It's all okay. Work within your budget net, add as you go along. One of the questions I get asked all the time is about style. When you're starting out everyone's like, "Do I need to have a style or I don't have a style?" Please don't fret about it. When I started, I started with a various number of styles. In fact, when I look back on my illustrations, I cannot even recognize my own drawings because they are so different and that's straight out of college. Now how they look are completely, completely different. They look like they're done by two different people. That's not only because the different tools that I use and I played around a lot more than, but because I evolved, of course, as an illustrator as well. You really do not have to have an illustration style. You can have multiple types of style. But if you're having, of course, a product line is usually a nice to have a concise type of style so that everything looks cohesive as a brand. But otherwise as an illustrator, you can have multiple types of style and that will also be useful because you'd be able to do a wide variety of projects, which one require you to have a certain type of style. I started having my style, or rather stuck to the style that I used right now when I started working as an illustrator full-time. That's because I had a lot of work on my plate and was the quickest way to get that much work out. I was really comfortable with the style and that's what I stuck to. Just know that it's very hard to feel like you're immediately amazing at something. Any skill, it takes time, so don't beat yourself up. Give yourself that time to enjoy the process and evolve as an illustrator. One of the things that really worked for me was I think really small goals when I was starting out. It can be overwhelming because there are lots of different aspects when you're working with a business, when you're working with merchandise, so these little goals for yourself is easier to attain and lead you to a bigger goal. Small goals can be anything from even monetary goals of being able to read somewhere. If you're freelancing, it's achieving certain number of projects in a month or being able to even set personal small goals of starting something new every month or working with a new tool. Anything which makes you evolve as an illustrator or evolve as a business person, I think is super useful. Social media I cannot deny has been the pivoting factor for my career. When I started social media, it was on Facebook and I started a page. I really do not want to start this page because I didn't know what to do in terms of showcasing my work and how to showcase it. Facebook just seemed like the greatest, easiest way to put things out really quickly without really putting extra finished polished work. I could put it on a small illustration and so I started doing that. I got a really good response after a while and that's how I even started my merchandising line. I got into Instagram a little late, but when I started Instagram, it was my favorite platform. Of course, it's still my favorite platform. I still use it extensively. When I launch a product, I always launch it on Instagram and Facebook. Everything from the start to the end is launched on Instagram. When I'm starting to work on something, I might announce that I'm going to start working on something. I might show the sketches, I might show the inking, the coloring, sneak peeks. Maybe the sample if I want to show or I might just go directly to say, "Hey, there's a launch coming up, or hey, I have a giveaway of these new things that have come out." I have a really nice community on Instagram and it's almost like they're on this journey with me from start to finish. One thing I definitely recommend with social media is trying to be consistent. You don't have to be super frequent, as in every few hours posting. Just a few times a week, I would recommend if it's a bit of a hiccup, remember, schedule it in advance. There are a lot of platforms that even let you do that, even though Instagram doesn't have that on its platform just yet. Schedule it and maybe if you want to go one step further, if you're working with merchandise is plan a launch from start to finish and how you're going to get your audience to engage with this launch of your product. That's always really nice to do as well. 3. Finding Inspiration: [MUSIC] I get inspired by everything around me. That's in my environment, conversations, people. Of course online you have Instagram which has now saving feature, which is amazing, and everybody's favorite, Pinterest. Ideas spark randomly for me. Sometimes I see something funny happening. Usually funny for me is an indicator that I want to draw it. One of the things I love drawing about are comics, and this can be anything like something that I imagined, say my dog talking to me. My dog is, of course, one of my biggest [inaudible]. Anyone who has a dog will say that. But also things like my new baby who also is funnily inspiring and my husband. When we started staying together, that was a whole different experience, and I loved drawing about that. I remember when I just started, I was in Kerala, which is South India, and in South India men wear this wraparound cloth called the mundu. I was on a client trip. I was in the car. I remember seeing this guy wearing a long mundu and he did a little dance and suddenly it become a short mundu, and I'm like, how the hell did that happen? I made a note, of course, and I went home and I remember googling this and I saw this, that you lift your leg and you can make it into a half skirt and then tuck it in. I thought that was amazing, so I drew about it. I remember putting it out on Facebook at that time, and it went super viral. It was my first time I've ever been viral and it meant so much to me because I couldn't fathom so many people seeing my illustration because my sister who was abroad and in another country sent it to me and said, ''Hey, that looks like your work,'' and I said, ''Hey, that is my work,'' and I was really happy [LAUGHTER]. That's a really small incident of how you can see something that everyone sees every day, and put it as an illustration, but suddenly everyone relates to it. I loved that feeling and that's my favorite part of my job, favorite part of just drawing in general. Oh, the old wives' tales series. I remember listening to this old wives' tale that a friend of mine told me. It was something ridiculous like, if you eat two bananas, your head gets long and shiny, something like that. But she really believed it, and I'm like, Oh my God, that's ridiculous. I drew it and I put it out, and a lot of people got back and said, "Oh my God, I've heard that in my childhood as well and super relate," and I was like, I cannot believe so many people have heard of this. I said, "Tell me what you've heard. What is the old wives' tale that you've heard growing up, and I'll draw it." I started drawing this, and so many people related to it, and I ended up drawing an entire series of crowd sourced comments, and it was amazing. It was so fun to draw, and it was so fun to see reactions of people who've said they've heard it when they were young and have not heard it since, or seeing it as a visual. One way to get inspired is of course, going out. For me I love going to bookstores. Just going on the road in India specifically, there's so many things to see. Nothing stays the same. The same road can look different in a week, and I think that was one of the things that inspired me the most. When I came to India, one of my joys was even drawing about India. I came here and ended up doing India themed merchandise. I think that was so fun because it was basically seeing things that are amazingly fun to draw, and getting to draw them, and then seeing them come out in merchandise. That was the start of my career as an illustrator, but also working with merchandise. Mind you a good chunk of products are things that I needed like, Oh my friend's getting married, I need to make a congratulations card, or it's my friend's birthday, and I have to make a 30th birthday card. I always said one day I will have my own kids line or baby line, then I got pregnant and I was like, Oh my God, I have to do it now, and that's what I did. I started another brand called Auntie Alie because I was an aunt first. I made all the baby products and used my child as a Guinea pig for [LAUGHTER] these products because he gets to try everything. I have viewers memory and literally the worst memory, and because of that, I make notes everywhere. Friends' house, weddings, I'm pretty sure I wrote a note at a wedding. During events, a lot of times because I see different things at events. I write in my little notebook, I also have a scheduler which is with me all the time. I call it my second brain. My phone is full of notes. I sometimes try to make little notes depending on what I want to draw. If it's a comic drawing or if it's a single spot drawing. That would be a separate note page. For me writing is more easy for me to visualize as opposed to drawing little sketches, because only when I'm at my desk can I start doodling the sketches for how I want to compose say a comic. For me it's note-taking that helps me take my idea to the drawing phase. For the exercise of this lesson, I'd like you to make a note of something that you find funny or interesting around you or inspires you in some way. [MUSIC] 4. Choosing Your Idea: [MUSIC] I personally sometimes refer to my notes and I start drawing from there straight away. Sometimes I immediately think of something I want to draw and then I draw it. Once these drawings are done, they translate really well onto say, a social media post or something that I would love to share. Sometimes it doesn't. The same goes for merchandising as well. Whereas something that takes you, say, half an hour to draw translates beautifully on a piece of merchandise. For example, t-shirts was something that I was really not keen on doing as a product. My business partner who works with me, made samples and we put them out and they sold so well, really did surprise me and I didn't expect it. It was one of those things where I was like, you really don't know, even after being in this life for so long and t-shirts are still something we sell today with as well. Sometimes when you spend so much time drawing something and it doesn't work out for Instagram posts, or it doesn't work out for merchandise, I feel like that's absolutely fine because at the end of the day you enjoyed that process. The joy of illustrating has to always remain, and that's the joy I see all the time, especially when you're experimenting and when you're exploring. There's no losing and there's no bad illustrations. It's just all process. If I ever have a doubt as to what if something works or not, I like to think of whether my customer who's been buying my products or really likes my style of work, whether they would like this drawing on that product and whether it looks nice for the rest of my range. Talking about random inspiration, I think about what product can I do for this class. I remember just studying slightly on my desk, and there was this bug on my mug. I was like, that sounds cute, and it's as cute as a bug in a dog, except this was a bug on a mug. I thought that would be adorable to draw, and also as a tittle for like your bug mug and that's what we are going to be drawing today. Bugs on a mug. The exercise for this lesson, is for you to pick an idea to draw. [MUSIC] 5. Sketching: [MUSIC] Welcome to my workspace. How my process usually works is I draw with the pencil, I ink it with an ink brush pen. The one I use is the Pentel brush pen. Actually fill up the cartridge with regular ink, [LAUGHTER] this is student grade ink. Then I take the sketch once it's inked, I erase it and I scan it and I put it on Photoshop, and that's where I digitally color most of my work. Of course, depending on the project or depending on my mood, I'll shift things up here and there. Sometimes I use the iPad for parts of it. Sometimes I use the iPad entirely. Sometimes use pins. It's very, very dependent, but most of the time, this is how I do it, and I think that's what we're going to do today as well. I'm going to get started with the sketch. With the composition today, I'm going to be doing a bunch of bugs. Usually I have an idea of how I'm going to place things. Initially when you're drawing for a product, you know the size of the canvas and you work with that. But today because I'm drawing individual bugs, I know I can edit it later on Photoshop, so have had an idea of how it's going to look. What I'm going to do is show you a quick way of how I work with compositions and with individual elements like this. Bugs, these are going to be like imaginary bugs, they're not actual. I can pretty much draw anything and that's why I love drawing bugs as well. I'm going to just draw shapes. I'm going to draw like an oval here. Maybe a square, circle. Maybe I'll do a semicircle here. Maybe a triangle. This is almost like kindergarten, I'm just going to draw like a squiggly shape and just maybe shapes around to fill up the spaces, something like that. Does that make sense? It absolutely does not make sense. [LAUGHTER] But now what I'm going to do with the shapes, I know it looks full and I can move it, of course afterwards in Photoshop. But even if I didn't want to, this is generally a way of how I would incorporate random elements or little icons, basically that I'm going to draw. Let's start with maybe the circle here. I'm just going to do a fun little lady bug. Simple fun little bugs today. Nothing intense, easy peasy. Maybe one spider. They're all happy bugs, so they get all smiley faces. Maybe I'll give this one three eyes and maybe a party hat, just because. Also what you can do is reference bugs and insects on like Google or maybe a book. Again, like this is just a very light thing that I thought of and I'm not going to do that right now, but it is what I would do if I was working on a project or something like that. Of course your imagination is amazing, but you can build on things that are existing and I think that makes for wonderful creations. Definitely reference. This is my final sketch. Now I'm going to ink it with my brush pen. This is the time where I actually like chill out and I listen to music when I do this part, sometimes I play something in the background when I do this part, it's like my favorite part. Again, I'm just going to start inking randomly in the middle. This ink brush pen, I usually recommend this as well. Always make your tools work for you. This pen, it didn't come like this I trimmed the edges a bit just because I wanted it to have a certain feel when I was drawing with it and make certain strokes which I couldn't do when it was like with the way it came and always try to adopt your tools to work for you. I think you shouldn't get scared of doing that. Also, another thing is, instead of always moving my hand in odd positions, sometimes I just move my book a bit so that it's just easier to make certain strokes that helps a lot. It's something that you don't realize that you're doing. But when you get used to doing it, you end up doing it a lot. This is the finished piece. I finished erasing the pencil lines. Here I smudged it a bit because I was a bit impatient. Next time I should wait, but I can move on Photoshop, so I'm not too worried about that. I made these marks here because I will possibly use these dots in maybe this lady bird, these lines in maybe like the butterfly wings, and these concentric circles in like moths wings. I'm not sure. I just make a bunch of these patterns that I end up using in the illustration itself. I can do this on Photoshop as well, but sometimes I really like the way the pen marks look like the inconsistencies just makes it look a little more hand-drawn. I love it. Now I'm going to scan this and we get on Photoshop. Your exercise is to draw your idea for your product. [MUSIC]. 6. Adding Color and Texture: [MUSIC] I just scanned my illustration. I scan it usually at 400 DPI, so that's a high enough resolution for me to print for something like a mug. Always scan at a higher resolution because you never know what you want to use it for later as well. If I want to use the same illustration on say, something a little bit bigger, I'd want something that's high resolution so that I wouldn't get, of course, any pixelation when I print. I'm opening it on Photoshop, that's how it looks. Here is a bunch of stamps that my nephew stamped on my [LAUGHTER] book. Here are the line marks that I made or as I mentioned. Now what I'm going to do is, I'm going to clean it up. I'm just cropping the edges out and I'm going to increase exposure just to clean out the back parts. I use a lot of shortcuts. I'm not going to even get into what shortcuts I used because I edit some of them, so I'm not sure which ones I edited. You can go into preferences and you can change your shortcuts and I always, always recommend it because it makes your work flow so much more faster. I recommend making a shortcut that works with your hands and always work for them. Here I'm going to take out the line art. You can probably hear all the making little noises in the background, please excuse. Here on the [LAUGHTER] top are stamps that my nephews stamped on my book. I'm just going to delete that out. I'm going to take out these marks and I'm going to keep them on separately and just make them disappear. I'm going to bring this down. I'm going to color on this artwork, but because these are separate icons, I'm going to move them according to the canvas of the mug, in this case. Ideally, you can even start a canvas that is perfectly to size and move it there. I'm just going to walk a little backwards in this case. I'm going to color on a layer below the lined artwork. I'm just going to use random colors that I don't really have a pattern, I'm just going use a palette that's up here. I've been using Kyle Webster's brushes for ages, but now it comes with Photoshop and Adobe CC. That's free for you if you have that subscription. This is a brush that I like and I'm just going to use this one. This is the way you can have fun and you can color and how you like with whatever brushes that you like. There's no real hard and fast rules this far. When I started, I used to use literally every color in the palette. Now I just use a limited color palette. Again, no hard and fast rules, you can use what you like or what works for the artwork or for the brief. But I realized that a lot of illustrators end up having a color palette that is for me to them and what they seem to aesthetically. Mine seems to be a little more brighter on the brighter side. I love bright colors, so it's just what I use and I feel it goes with my surroundings. Now I'm just picking up pretty much colors at random. As I go from bug to bug, I will clean up bits of it and I'm trying to do one bug at a time just to show you how it looks, but I'm going to color everything also. How I work is, I tend to color everything, then I add in the details a bit later and then lighten the shadows and then texture and stuff like that. I play with opacity as well. For certain places, it's just easier to work with it. You can always make your own texture. I recommend it because then you get something that's super unique to your own artwork and to what you do. Probably going to add those concentric circles and add them to his wings. That's more of a pattern than a texture, but I think even say you make marks with a pen that's running out of ink and you use that. I think that looks so beautiful. Then you can keep these textures and keep them in a separate folder and use them for other illustrations as well. Pull this out. I'm going to take two of these and I'm going to color them white. I'm going to move them here. Now they look like little patterns on his wings. I'll go with the other side as well. I think I did four of them, so it's perfect. Also good rule of thumb is naming your layers, which I never do, it's quite terrible, but always [LAUGHTER] recommend it to name your layers. I do it when I send it for print of course, but before that I sometimes don't. I know how I work with my file, so I don't, but if it's a bigger file, of course I do. I think this guy is done and I'm just going to do the rest of them. [MUSIC] Also, one thing you have to keep in mind when you're working with merchandise is firstly, of course, your resolution. Secondly, is the color formats, so it's usually CMYK for print and color separation. If you're working with something like screen printing, so if you're doing a t-shirt or something that is going to get screen printed, there'll be a limit on number of colors and if they need the color separated in different layers or different files, that's just something to keep in mind before you start working. Now I know I'm going to be working on digitally printed mug, so there's going to be no color restrictions, but I will have to keep in mind how the colors going to turn out, then it finally gets printed on the mug. I will see that in the sample, certain things look dull when they're printed, certain things look as on screen, it's usually paper. But yeah, just something to keep in mind. Your exercise for this class is to finish up your artwork for your product. [MUSIC] 7. Manufacturing Your Product : [MUSIC] There are two ways I initiate for products. One is that I've done an illustration and I get requests to see on a product. Say I did this drawing of a butterfly and everyone is like, I like that butterfly. Can I have it on a t-shirt? Many people are like, yes, me too. I will see whether I can actually manufacture that on a t-shirt. Second way is I have the capabilities of printing on a certain product. Say I have the capabilities of printing on a pencil. I will draw certain drawings that will work for a pencils. So work with that canvas and draw for it. Sometimes you can also have existing drawings that will fit on it and that also works too. Here are some drawings that I did for my son when he was born. They are really bold, black and white drawings that I placed on top of his changing table. He loved them so much and he reacted to them so well that it ends up being a product. I loved seeing all the other kids look at these cards and I have patterns behind them, and they're basically super bold. So I remember when I drew this, it was just a sketch on the Internet and showed it online. It's for mama and baby elephant, and everyone really liked it and ask for a product and that's when a greeting card came out of it. Something like this is what I draw when I know exactly what I want created. This was last year's Christmas postcard. It's so shiny. I actually had the privilege of people asking me for products before I even manufactured products. There was this free market call [inaudible] I decided to go for it. My friend helped me out making some of my drawings into merchandise. I remember going there and we did so well. It was so heartwarming for that to happen. But overall, it's such a great lesson to see what people gravitate to, what people don't smile at, what people smile at, what makes people giggle, colors people like, and things that you expect and don't expect. I loved it. When I look back on my career in merchandising, I realize there are few tips and tricks that I would definitely love to share with you. The first one is definitely starting small. So work with products that you can actually manufacture in small numbers. Print on demand is something that was really useful to me when I started out. Why I work with a mug today is because one of the first products that I worked with as well, you can make them in very small quantities and singular quantities, and you can manufacture them really easily nowadays. I love working locally. No need you get to visit some of the manufacturers, but you can also go and have a conversation and build our relationships with them, which in the long-term really usually helps. I started at the print shop that was down my road. I went to them and I printed the stuff that I could afford and that was easy to manufacture, and take. Now, after that, as I started growing my online store and my range, I actually asked the print shop if they had any recommends to say, what was the next thing I manufactured? I can't recall, but I think it was screen printing t-shirts. So I asked them, do you know a screen printer? They usually do have connections and tell you to go to certain places. The next best thing is your best friend, Google. Google is something that helps me till this day. One of the things also that we'll have to consider is packaging. Packaging will be different for different products of course, but it also can be the place where you add in so much more personality. I think something like a thank you note or maybe your product story, is super nice because everyone loves reading these little add-on things and loves reading this little personality sneak peeks into your brand. There are also ways you can post nicer products without making it an exorbitant cost. Things like maybe adding a little [inaudible], hand and note, makes all the difference in the world. So now we're going to talk about pricing. The first thing is budget. Working with something like say ceramic bowls will be a lot more expensive than single individual print on demand mugs that you can get at the print store. MOQ is something that I have to bring up with this, because MOQ stands for minimum order quantity. Now, certain products have a minimum order quantity, which means that there's a minimum order that you can order. So your manufacturer will tell you, you can only buy a minimum of 100 bowls. Now, this means that your price per bowl will be lower than something like say, a mug that you print individually, but it also means that you have so much stock. That's a decision that you will have to make in terms of, will you be able to sell those 100 bowls? Or would you like to spend a little bit more per mug and be able to sell that, say, 20 numbers? So the thing with having a lot of stock is that you have to know how do you stock them, so having space to stock them. Secondly, some things expire over time in terms of how they look and feel. Paper products tend to look old after a while. Smaller numbers, always recommended when you're starting out unless you have a really big game plan to have that sales outdoor. When you're considering price point for your product, another thing to consider is also, what is the price points for that product in the market? Now, of course, it's going to be a wide range of costs. If you are considering something like tour bags, you'll get really economical tour bags where everyone can afford them, or you'll get really high-end tour bags at these fancy-schmancy shops. If you want your tour bag to be in that kind of shop, you have to see also what are the add-on features that your tour bag has. Something like say, a little embroideries or patches, or the fabric that your tour bag uses is your leaf high-end, or has additional zippers and stuff like that. So retailers, be it online or offline, have a cut that they take per product for stocking your products. Offline, they takes anywhere between 30 percent all the way to 50 percent. Sometimes more. I've never seen less. Online, it's a lot less because of course, not a physical store. Online and offline, they also do something called consignment where they keep your stock, but they only pay you once they sell your product. Don't usually recommend this because you have stock left in say, a boutique or store, and until it's sold, you're not going to get the money. So it's in-between and it's not as great as selling outright. I usually sell outright and even if it means that you're giving a bigger chunk of your cut to that retailer. There are other costs that come up as well. So if you have an online store, you will have things like hosting your website. A subscription cost if you're using an online store hosting for as we use Shopify, and that's a subscription. Additional costs which you don't recognize and don't think about firstly, utility costs of electricity, storage costs. As an artist, you will have little cost like your software and your materials. Now, another thing to realize is that certain things will cost a little more in terms of costing for your shipping. Not only because it's heavy, but because some things are more fragile and need that bulking up. Definitely, consider that. Also, things that are fragile, you have to consider breakages, which is inevitable. Some things might break, versus something like a t-shirt which won't. One thing I have to bring up, of course, is valuing your art. Now, if you charge really minuscuely for your product, you basically devalue your art and all the time that it took you to make that art, and also all the time that you spent learning your craft. Never undervalue your art, your time, your effort. It doesn't speak well to your brand and in the long run, it just doesn't work out. Additional tips and tricks. The first one is, plan way in advance. If you're planning for the busy end of your season, I would say plan about half a year or one year's great in advance, which sounds like a lot but it's not if you consider all the time that it takes to not only create, but artwork it, getting up to the manufacturer, wait for samples and get back on the sampling game if it didn't come out right. Another thing is probably understanding how you're going to market it. Everything from social media to maybe a giveaway for your launch, all these things are things to consider when you're working on the product that you are going to launch. As your business grows, I would definitely say try to consider hiring, especially for jobs like say packaging. But you really don't need to invest your time as much. You want to go back to why you started this business in the first place, and that's usually to create. I like to think of myself first and foremost as an illustrator and I always want my time to be mostly spent on illustrating. So if I was packaging for 80 percent of my time, I know that there's something wrong in my process. Always think why you started and try to keep your whole schedule as such. Lastly and very importantly, remember to take care of yourself, but not as very usual. When you're starting out, you can get overwhelmed and realize you take time out for yourself. I know sometimes you can't get all them even though it's something you absolutely love. So remember, you are the most important part of your business, so take care of you. Here it is, the printed sample of the mug [MUSIC]. Bugs on a mug. So this is just the first sample. I realized that the colors are a lot more saturated than I would have imagined. So that's something I would tweak and say my next sample. I really like how it's sitting. Nothing got cut off. I like the edge. It does not have a lot of bleed. It's to my liking. I like that the logo sets towards me and it's not outside. Overall, I like it and it's going to be my coffee mug for next long time. [LAUGHTER]. The exercise for you is to research manufacturers, create your piece of merchandise and consider the packaging for it as well. [MUSIC] 8. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations on finishing this class, you've done so well. I hope you had fun, and I hope you learned some small thing that will help you on your journey to manufacturing and creating merchandise. I hope to see some of your work as well. I cannot wait, and I hope you enjoyed my process of creating as well. Share your project in the project gallery, and I'd love to take a look. You can see some of my work on my website, that's, or you can catch me on Instagram at the handle, aliciasouza. Thank you so much for joining me. Have a nice day. [MUSIC]