I opened my Wild Blue Dream Etsy shop in July of 2014, and I wasn’t sure at the time where it would take me. Although I would’ve liked to have done my own printing then, I just wasn’t ready to make the investment to purchase the fine art printer I knew I would need to create the high level prints I wanted to offer my customers.
For two years, I outsourced my printing to a small boutique fine art printing company in Wisconsin. I did test runs of many of my prints with them and was thrilled with their work. They offer fine art giclée printing services, suitable for making reproductions of the most expensive, high-end fine art. My customers were always pleased with the quality of the prints and my business grew.
Since then, it’s always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to do my own printing at some point. Fine art printers are not inexpensive, so I knew I could not take the decision to make the purchase lightly. However, after two years of running Wild Blue Dream, it became clear it was time to make the jump. My sales have grown steadily each month, and I have finally grown the business to a point to which I can justify the cost.
Why am I excited about doing my own printing? A lot of reasons!
- My printing costs are now lower, which means more room for me to offer you coupons, sales and promos!
- It means a faster turnaround time…no more waiting 3-5 days for a 3rd party company to print and ship my prints. If a customer needs something fast, there’s a much greater chance I can accommodate their needs now. This makes me so happy!
- I get to choose all my own inks, papers, packaging, and shipping materials. I’m transitioning to using as many recyclable and compostable products as possible – more on this later!
- I can quality check every single print that leaves my studio. Although I’ve loved my 3rd party printer and have always been happy, printing my own work gives me an extra layer of confidence knowing I’ve seen your order and am satisfied with it.
- No more need to charge shipping to local customers who prefer to pick their orders up!
I purchased the printer in August and there has certainly been a learning curve. I tried about 7 different brands and weights of paper, played with lots of different color profiles on my computer, and had to figure out borderless printing. It wasn’t easy, but I’ve (mostly) figured out my process and how to get the best results, and I’m now consistently using it for customer orders!
There will still be occasions when I rely on the printer in Wisconsin. At this time I only have the studio space and budget to accommodate a printer that prints up to 16″x20″ (printers beyond that size are physically much larger and more expensive). The vast majority of my sales are for smaller sizes, so this works just fine. There may also be times in the future when my husband and I travel for extensive periods of time, and I don’t want to completely shut down my business while we’re on the road (he’s a college professor and gets good chunks of time off at the holidays and during the summer).
Thanks to everyone has supported me and purchased my prints along the way! Stay tuned for more posts like this on how I’m taking Wild Blue Dream to the next level and offering you a superior product!