RedBubble is Screwing Over Small Creators

In the “fight against AI art,” one company has decided to gouge human artists

Dr. Casey Lawrence
ILLUMINATION

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Image created by the author using Canva

RedBubble is a popular “print on demand” (POD) retailer for art-based merchandise including t-shirts, stickers, mugs, prints, and home décor. Since it opened in 2006, the website has become one of the most popular “side hustles” for digital artists, offering the ability to market artwork and create a passive income stream with minimal hassle and set-up.

Artists use the platform to sell their work directly to buyers without a middleman; the idea is that RedBubble fronts the production costs and takes a cut of the profits after overhead from printing and shipping. The artist earns a modest commission of about 20% of the retail price on the average sale, without any added fees.

Or at least they used to before the company got greedy. Now, you’ll be lucky to see half that.

Before the Changes

The profit margin on RedBubble has always been slim. In 2020, I helped a nonprofit educational organization, Modernist Studies Ireland, set up a RedBubble store. We created a few designs for t-shirts, stickers, and other items in the hopes of earning enough to cover the cost of our website. Here are a few examples of our profits:

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Dr. Casey Lawrence
ILLUMINATION

Canadian author of three LGBT YA novels. PhD from Trinity College Dublin. Check out my lists for stories by genre/type.