Zazzle was created to appeal to artists and designers and to offer quality items through partnerships with great manufacturers. I first learned of Zazzle on Wetcanvas, a large artist online site, though I have not participated there in years and years. Originally, I offered greeting cards featuring repros of some of my small sold acrylic and oil paintings. I did a few US postage stamps featuring wedding themed images I had taken, and a couple of my cat paintings. I sort of lost interest in the venue as I focused more on selling small original artwork pieces via eBay and also taking on many portrait commissions and pet portraits through a personal website.
Every once in a blue moon I'd see a little sale email from Zazzle. "Oh yeah, Zazzle, crap, I forgot about them!"
In 2012, a couple of years after going to work full time, dropping my portrait business of over 14 years, and being on my own, I began to toss around the idea of using my many photographic images to design for Zazzle again. I have 10,000+ since first owning a digital SLR that I bought in 2007. Wow, upon looking at the site again, I saw they had throw cushions! Canvas prints, all kinds of items that appealed to the artist/designer in me!!!! Not wanting to just randomly throw crap up on any product, be a mass producing junk shop, many of these products forced me to really delve into learning Photoshop CS5 better, making textured backgrounds, playing with blending layers, transparencies, creating graphic shapes from elements of my photos like I did with my barred owl and flying barn swallows we shot at the Leslie Spit in Toronto. You name it I wanted to Learn it!!!!!!
I am primarily a physical painter and drafts person so for years I poo-pooed digital graphic design programs. I used the now defunct Microsoft Picture It 2 to crop and fix my shot images for my website pages, and for eBay auctions. Well, was I in the dark! Photoshop is Fun! No more working out tons of rough drafts on paper (more environmentally friendly :-) and I can just use Layers!!!!! and redo right on my screen!
In a nut shell, Zazzle inspires me to create, it gives me a platform that I like, an interface I can say pretty much works for me and what I want to be able to do, a selection of products I can feel proud to create for, and a venue where an individual can find something wonderful, can buy 1 single item, to customize even if they like and give as a gift or purchase for themselves! Zazzle gives me an opportunity to use the natural themed images I enjoy shooting on our hikes and walks and it gives me the inspiration to spend some of my spare time to design and be creative!