Recently, I discovered a new website called Crated.com that was looking for talent in their initial start-up phase. I figured, why not, and submitted my portfolio for review.
Surprisingly, they sent me a response within a few days offering me the chance to showcase my art on their site. Basically, it works like a full-service print shop from order to delivery. How is this different from my current Smugmug account, you may ask? Well, aside from cosmetic differences (Smugmug wins this one easily with the ability to skin your gallery any way you want using custom CSS), the main difference is price. Whereas Smugmug just upped the prices for their Pro accounts to a whopping $300, Crated has no yearly membership fee.
The catch? They take a hefty cut from any sales you make, which digs into your profits. And at an 80/20 split, some would argue that’s a huge cut. So what’s the appeal then? For someone like me who (sadly) has very few sales, the $300 yearly fee over at Smugmug is pretty staggering. I need to make buku bucks just to cover the cost of membership. With Crated, I’m only paying them if I actually sell something (at least for now–who knows when they plan on changing their business model (if ever)).
Sure, Crated limits the user to whoever they choose to use for printing, and the sizes and amount of products offered are severely limited, but that all seems to be part of their approach. Simplicity is key, and it shows in their site design (responsive!) all the way down to their purchasing options. Their back end isn’t nearly as robust as Smugmug’s (I can’t even access even the most rudimentary of tracking), but it promises to add these features sometime in the near future.
I’ll still feature my limited edition art prints through Smugmug, at least for the time being. But it’s going to be hard to keep paying those membership fees after a few more years. For now, I am a Crated artist and a Smugmug artist.
Below are some of the highlights that Crated offers, as well as a link to my gallery at the bottom. I plan on adding much more to the site as time goes on, so check back regularly!