UntitledIf you remember the feeling of using a 3D printer for the first time and showing off what you made, you know exactly how contagious the whole process can be. The technology is already fascinating to most—whether they even have an inkling of how it works or not—and once you start pumping out the designs, you’ll either be taking orders or have a lot of company gathered around watching and waiting. And while being introduced to 3D printing and navigating your way through the learning curve of design and fabrication is a wonderful journey, nothing beats getting good enough—or motivated enough—to open your own shop and join a community of like-minded folks.

Now, all those items you’ve been showing off—with admirers coveting and requesting for themselves—can go into your own shop and up for sale. It’s not just easy to create your own online marketplace, it’s fun and rewarding, literally. And Shapeways is glad to have you on board, encouraging and offering helpful tips at any turn.

vandaalIn your shop, you can even add things like your own banner and shop logo. Not just fun touches, Shapeways predicts they will help your sales as you work on promoting your amazing 3D models. And of course, everybody loves reading details about items they are thinking about purchasing, so descriptions are a must—and you might just find writing them to be enjoyable even! The team also recommends, in their latest blog, that you get familiar with Google Analytics—a tool that you might find useful in other life applications as well.

So, if you are looking for an easy way to dip your toes in the water and start your very own business, finding that ‘passion’ everyone is so fond of talking about, Shapeways offers easy tips to do so, beginning with these simple steps:

  1. Log in or create an account.
  2. Open your shop and create a name.
  3. Upload your banner and then your logo (fun!).
  4. Add a shop description and do some marketing—give insight into your brand.
  5. Add links to your social profiles (share!).
  6. Organize your shop by categories (for ex., rings, pendants, necklaces).

You may want to work on Google Analytics later, but don’t underestimate what a great marketing tool this is from your end, for understanding more about your customers, learning what interests them, and how to optimize your sales for the best return. There can be a bit of a learning curve as you really delve into that area, but it’s well worth it—and also makes you sound oh so smart as you explain your knowledge about who is buying your wares, where they are from, and what their interests are product-wise.

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Make sure to add colorful photos, good descriptions, and put yourself into your brand.

Through opening your own shop, you can add pictures of the products you worked so hard on, tell the world about yourself and why you enjoy 3D design, as well as working on establishing a brand—who knows, it could go global! And according to Shapeways, you have the opportunity to start making money right after your first sale. That’s one of the best parts about joining their marketplace and community: there’s no outlay of cash to get started.

“You design, set markup, and share your products,” states the team at Shapeways. “We handle the rest.”

For drawing attention to your shop, it’s very important to take care of basics like uploading models, supplying numerous pictures, and tagging your products for more expanded promotion. Take care with your logo and banner—these are, after all, going to be synonymous with your presence. Take quality photos of your models—and don’t be afraid to use some color in the background.

open-shop-2Shapeways also offers community forums where you can read up, get great advice, and enjoy the community. There, you can ask questions about technical issues, sales, and far more. We also highly recommend checking out the library of tutorials offered by Shapeways, which will both entertain and educate as you find out more about marketing, managing, and optimizing your shop.

Not only are there numerous paths to showing you how to get set up, there are countless avenues for inspiration offered by a team of talented individuals who are just as passionate as you are about design and 3D printing. Be a part of the community of designers and makers who are leading the way towards mass personalization, via community, design and creativity—and Shapeways. Is an online shop something that appeals to you? Let’s talk about it in the Sell 3D Prints at Shapeways forum over at 3DPB.com.

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