How I Opened a Shop on Creative Market

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This post was originally an article I wrote on Medium. I decided to move it here to my blog, to consolidate information in one place. It's been updated from the original piece to reflect the time that has passed. I wrote the original post right after I opened my Creative Market shop, and Creative Market still continues to be a great source of side revenue for me. It's not hundreds of dollars a month, but it's a steady little stream.  Like  most things, you get what you put into it. When I promote my shop, I see an uptick in revenue. When I leave it alone, revenue drops. Also, my Creative Market shop still has my old branding. Eventually I'll switch it all over to SparklePriestess, but for now - it stays as Making Something Rad.

How I opened a shop on CM - Blog post graphic .jpg

Late last year I opened my shop on Creative Market!

I love Creative Market and I’ve used it for years for mockups, fonts, and assets. It’s been a long time dream of mine to open a shop on Creative Market.

To be totally honest, I tried to open a shop on Creative Market a while ago. This was probably a year and a half to 2 years back. I got politely declined, however.

I’m really happy I was accepted this time — and I spent a lot more time making sure that my shop application would be accepted.

Today I’m going to walk you through the steps I took to get approved for a shop on Creative Market.

My shop on Creative Market is called Making Something Rad, after my old website/blog.

I opened it on October 19 2017. I started with two products for sale -

Powered by Creative Market

Powered by Creative Market

The first product that I launched was the Wistful Autumn Foliage digital clipart set. And I had it all ready to go to upload as soon as my shop was approved — it was part of my strategy for approval.

Here’s the steps I took to get approved for a shop!

First of all, last year I was dabbling with being Freelance only, but an unexpected and expensive vet bill made me realize that I also want to pursue some residual income.

The most obvious choice was to sell some illustration assets — although they are a lot of work time-wise, they are relatively easy for me to make since I have such a strong illustration and design background. Creative Market was really the obvious choice — because I’ve used it for a long time, I know that it’s well know for it’s on trend and high quality digital offerings. Lots of designers and industry professionals shop there, so it has a built in target market of customers that would want my products.

However, I had already been turned down for a shop before — so I wanted to plan my strategy carefully.

One of the requirements for opening a shop on Creative Market is that you have to be selling products on another online marketplace. I was not doing this.

When I applied before, I had a crummy Etsy shop ( it's getting better) and an online portfolio that I hadn’t spent much time on. I posted work I’d done but it wasn’t current, I didn’t spend a lot of time on organization or presentation. I’m not at all surprised I got turned down — it wasn’t a very professional seeming approach. Even though *I* knew I could do good work, I didn’t have a good online presence to prove it to someone else.

This time around, I still wasn’t selling products online. I still had a crummy Etsy shop selling art prints that I never updated and had only made 2 sales on.

But I planned a lot better this time.

First, I took some time poking around Creative Market and studying all the most popular products in the category and style I wanted to move into — digital clipart sets created with watercolor illustrations. I took note of the elements that they included, how many were in each set for the price, what variety of elements were included in the best sets — as well as the presentations used to show off the sets. I examined the listing copy, the headlines, the tags — everything.

Then I brainstormed a relevant theme for a set I could build. Since it was fall, I chose to create a autumn themed floral watercolor set. It’s generic enough to be useful to many people for a variety of projects, I could easily create the assets quickly and without too much hassle, and It’s seasonal.

I spent an afternoon creating watercolor paintings of the individual assets.

Designing watercolor assets - Wistful Autumn Foliage

Next, I scanned and cleaned up all the files. I took a weekend off (mostly) from my freelance work, and just grinded out all of the individual assets for the set. From my research, I knew that valuable sets should include each asset individually, and then a variety of supporting designs such as wreaths, frames, bouquets, patterns, textures, pre-made designs and other supporting elements. I wanted to make a great first product, so I really went to town and make a lot of different designs.

Another feature of a valuable product is to have high resolution, multiple file types so clients can use the assets for a variety of projects. I saved the assets as PNG, JPEG and SVG where applicable, and I named them logically and put them into folders. These folders were zipped into a main folder, which is what the client gets upon purchase.

The next step was to create stunning presentation graphics, or “screenshots” as they are know on Creative Market.

I really spent a long time studying the screenshots of the most beautiful digital clipart sets. I also read some blog posts from Creative Market and some forum posts as well to determine the best practices.

The really standout presentations had a lot of screenshots showing detailed and beautifully designed examples of each individual asset — as well as how the assets could be used in real life.

These screenshot images are like little branding collections — they really take time and planning to make. I spent several hours making them. Mind you, I hadn’t even submitted a shop request yet. I wanted to be ready to go right out of the gate.

Wistful Autumn Foliage digital clipart set

After I had gotten all my files, assets and screenshots made, it was time for the next phase of my plan.

I went to my crummy Etsy shop and made every print a digital download asset. This gave the illusion that I had been selling digital assets for longer than I had. >:) I had carefully crafted my clipart set so that it could be broken into multiple smaller sets — a collection of card designs, a collection of wreaths, etc.

I uploaded the smaller asset packs as digital clipart files to my Etsy shop. This made it so I could have multiple, themed listings that looked really good together on my shop. I used the presentation assets I already made for the listing images.

Then I promoted my Etsy shop a little and added a prominent link to the shop here on the blog, as well as a gallery on the front page. Now I looked like a legit Etsy seller.

To take it a step further, I made a  short YouTube video showing how to use one of my graphic collections with Canva to make social media graphics.

But I didn’t want to leave it at that. I wanted to show the Creative Market team that I had created a beautiful, well made product to sell.

So as a last step, I took all of the presentation assets and combined them into a PDF in Canva. I downloaded this PDF, and then I uploaded it into Slideshare. Uploading a PDF into Slideshare creates a beautiful, infinite scroll presentation document.

Now I was ready. I submitted a request to open as shop, and sent the link to my Etsy shop, my blog, my online portfolio, and the Slideshare presentation.

My shop was approved that day.

Putting in all of that research, planning and hard work was the key to getting a fast shop approval.

I uploaded my assets and created a really detailed, inspirational product description. I included what colors were in the set, why I made it, what all was included, infomration like the DPI and image file types, as well as links to the fonts and mockups I used for the presentations. I also made sure I used a lot of relevant tags — I got these from doing research on other popular products.

But I didn’t stop there. After my shop was approved and my product uploaded, I made sure to post it on my Facebook page and profile, in several Facebook groups, on my LinkedIn, on my Pinterest, and on the Creative Market new shop forum. I also dove into the Creative Market forums and started to get to know people. I like doing community building, so it was fun. I commented and liked products I enjoyed, joined some group Pinterest boards, pinned and shared products I loved, and made some collections. I followed people. I answered questions with informational answers.

This resulted in 4 sales and a bunch of new followers. It also resulted in my product being Handpicked, added to multiple collections, and sent out in the Creative Market new goods email.

According to the Creative Market team as well as the blog posts of other sellers, it’s best to create new products regularly to gain traction and a following.

So I got started painting the assets for another product immediately.

I chose to do a crystals, gems and geodes set — it’s a trendy topic that’s been done a lot, but again — it’s popular, and I can create the assets easily. I painted a little every day in between other work.

Painting watercolor crystals, gemstones and geodes

When I had all the assets done, I blocked out one day to create the next product. It’s a lot of work, and I don’t have a lot of time. I spent about 15 hours creating the next product.

I scanned and uploaded my paintings. I created an individual asset for each crystal, gem, and geode, and also made an alternate version of each asset with gold foil accents. I also created 24 seamless patterns — 8 crystal patterns, 8 gem patterns, and 8 geode patterns.

Then I spent some time and created beautiful screenshot images to go with it. I uploaded everything at 12:30 AM.

Crystals, gemstones and geode digital assets
Crystals, gemstones and geodes mockup

It was also chosen for Handpicked right away.

I’m feeling quite successful, and I know that if I keep up a steady pace I will be able to make a good side income from Creative Market. Also, it’s fun!

Here are my takeaways for getting approved for a shop on Creative Market and having your products noticed -

  1. Do your research and planning. Look at what’s popular in your category and plan your offering carefully. Don’t just throw up some leftover assets you have. Make something great.
  2. Go above and beyond. Take the extra time to make your offering really valuable and worth your customer’s money.
  3. Make really beautiful presentation assets. Don’t just throw up some basic mockups or images! Make a lot of assets that state what you product is, what’s included, and ways you can use it.
  4. Write great descriptions. Sell your product! Write a little story that makes your potential client interested. Clearly state what’s included. Use a lot of descriptive tags.
  5. Share the heck out of your products!
  6. Participate in the community. Give feedback. Like other people’s things. Answer questions in the forum and help people out.

And there you have it, folks! That’s how I opened my Creative Market shop — I hope it’s useful for you! Let me know if you have any additional questions I can answer — I’ll be happy to help!

As an update, I've only made two other sets for my Creative Market shop since writing this. Turns out freelancing exclusively is extremely hard, and time consuming! However, I recently accepted a full time job as a textile designer, which gives me weekends and evenings back - so I'm working on a new floral set now. I'm sharing my process for creating digital assets from my watercolor paintings - you can check out the first post here.