Society6 Artist Review; Is It Worth Using?

Should artists even bother uploading their work to Society6? I’m not so sure.
Date Updated: 
December 30, 2023
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Society6, on the surface, looks like it simplifies the business side of being a professional artist. I upload my art, Society6 handles everything else, and I get a regular monthly payment for all the stuff they sold! Sounds like a great deal. ‍Or is that too good to be true?
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Society6 is one of a small group of completely hands-off print on demand platforms, along with the likes of Redbubble and Zazzle.

Society6 does indeed take care of production and fulfilment for you, but not finding customers. Maybe when the site was newer you might get organic sales on the platform, but in the modern era you’ll have to find customers yourself and send them to your shop if you want sales. Either that, or create a massive collection of well-targeted designs. Society6 will take a huge cut either way.

Finding customers is the hardest part of selling artwork, no doubt about it. Sure, setting up production and fulfilment is a chore, and can cost money, but with modern solutions like Printful + Etsy taking a much smaller cut and not stealing your customer, there are few artists who should seriously consider Society6 and sites like them.

What is Society6? is a print-on-demand store that helps artists sell their work online, on products and merchandise like T-shirts, stickers, device cases and posters.

Society6 handles all of the manufacture, printing and shipping of the products, as well as any customer service. Each artist also gets their own personal store on the platform to display all of their products and link customers to. All the artist has to do is upload their work, choose which products their work will be sold on and their prices, and get a payment from Society6 once a month.

And send potential customers to their store, of course.

What products does Society6 offer?

Society6 offers a pretty big collection of products. Here’s a sample:

  • Art Prints, Framed Prints and Canvas Prints
  • iPhone and Android Cases
  • T-Shirts
  • Throw Pillows, Duvet Covers and Comforters
  • Rugs, Tapestries and Shower Curtains
  • Tote Bags and Yoga Mats
  • Face Masks, and more

You can decide which products your art will be sold on, and which won't, as well as the price.

Why use Society6 As An Artist?

Figuring out all the steps to making money as an artist is a lot of work. It’s a huge amount of effort just to get your art looking good enough that other people express interest in buying it, let alone then working out how to get the art presented online and on a product in a way that someone would actually exchange money for it. And then sorting out printing, shipping and customer service as well? Massive amount of work.

And then a site like Society6 comes along that promises to handle most of that for you. Just make the art, find the customer, they do the rest.

Of course artists go for it. We all just want to get back to making more art.

What Society6 isn't making clear, is that the artist has to take care of the hardest and most valuable parts, making the art and finding the customers, while Society6 does the easy stuff and keeps most of the profits, and the customers.

It's nearly daylight robbery.

What Are The Pros of Using Society6?

There are upsides to using Society6, of course; that’s why thousands of artists use it. I’ve kind of mentioned most already, but just to be explicit:

It’s free to have a store and gallery on Society6 - setting up your own website with a store would generally cost around $20+ a month, depending on the platform you choose. Free is quite the saving, in comparison.

Society6 really is a faster, less work intensive way to setup an online store compared to all the other solutions. You upload one jpg, and within minutes and a couple of tweaks it’s on all of Society6’s products. Manually setting up the same amount of products on your own website takes a lot more work and time.

Society6 is much more passive than other methods. No other method of selling your art on products online will be this fast and easy. But they also know that, and keep a whole lot of your money for the service.

What Are The Cons of Using Society6?

Okay! Here’s where we really get down to it.

Sales you make on Society6 may be passive, but you’ve still got to take care of the two hardest, most time consuming and most valuable steps yourself: making the art, and finding the customers.

On top of that, the profit margins are tiny, even for print-on-demand. To make matters worse, in 2023, they introduced new fees. Artists are now also charged a postage fee on each sale, cutting into each sale, and they’ve introduced a subscription fee if you want to sell more than 10 designs and earn more than a 10% royalty.

Making a meaningful amount of income on Society6 will certainly require 100 designs at minimum, but more than likely will require the $13 a month subscription to upload more than 100 designs.

But the biggest, baddest problem with Society6, that you don’t consider when you’re starting out with selling online, is that when a customer makes a purchase from your Society6 store, you don’t get their contact information.

This is a HUGE deal, as now that person is Society6’s customer, not yours. I’ll explain:

The people most likely to purchase your newest products when you release them are the people who have bought from you before. Without their contact details, you have no reliable way to contact them.

This is the key to building sustainable businesses selling art online. Artists that do this successfully have a group of loyal fans that buy their newest products, that they contact (usually by email) every time they launch new products. Otherwise, their business is built on hope that their customers pop by again, or spot a post on social media. Not very sustainable.

Without this reliance on being able to contact old customers and turn them into repeat customers, you need to find new customers each time. With the measly profit margins, you’d need so many customers to make a meaningful profit, and most of us just don't have enough people interested in buying our work. I even remember Loish saying she wasn’t making that much from selling merchandise on these platforms, and she’s the most famous ‘fantasy’ artist I know of!

Can an Artist Do Better Than Society6?

Now, I can recognise that some art is better suited to these pod platforms than other art. If your art has very broad public appeal, you might do well despite the downsides. Popular trends, pattern designs, that sort of thing.

My art is not suited to it at all. I make fantasy and sci-fi art on the darker, grimmer side of the spectrum. It’s a niche taste, and not the sort of thing that’s going to look good on most families’ shower curtains or pillows. Even people who like my art aren’t that interested in having it on a t-shirt or a mug.

My art looks best when it’s printed and hung in a frame, that sort of thing.

There is a very similar website to Society6 called, that concentrates on print sales and pays much higher rates to the artist. It definitely suits a prints’based artist more than Society6 does. Here’s my review of INPRNT if you want to look at it yourself.

But Inprnt still has the huge issue of keeping the customers' contact details. You can’t build a sustainable, meaningful business on it.

So I’ve found that I’m better off trying to provide my smaller, niche audience with a more valuable product that commands a higher price. Perhaps printing it in limited editions, on large high-quality paper and with high-quality ink, and signing it. Then selling it to them in a way that I get their contact information, so I can contact them again when I have another print for sale.

But how can I achieve that?

Printful, Printify and Prodigi are all print-on-demand companies like Society6, but they are what is known as ‘white-label’; instead of hosting your work in a store on their marketplace, you host the merchandise on your own website (or on Etsy for free) and it is shipped with your own branding.

The profit margins start at around double, you have better control over the product quality, the branding is all your own and you get to keep the customer’s contact information, which on its own is well worth the work and expense of having your own site.

This is more work to set up, but it transforms the whole thing from an unsustainable business into a sustainable one.

So, Should Society6 Be Avoided Completely?

There is a particular group of artists that can do well from Society6, and other pod sites.

If your art has broad appeal—the kind of appeal that means it looks like the clever designs you typically see on t-shirts, or the patterns you see on pillows, towels, shower curtains, bed linens, that sort of thing—then you might do well on sites like Society6. That’s what customers that browse Society6 are looking for. They want snappy t-shirts that represent them, or they want home decor that fits the rest of their furniture.

You don’t need to find those particular customers, because they are already browsing Society6.

If you make art that fits those styles, upload your work to Society6 and all of the other pod sites out there, like Redbubble and Zazzle, and see how well your designs do with the established customerbase. You just might be able to have that passive-income business you wanted.

The king of that sort of strategy is Michael Essek, and the queen is CatCoq. They both stress that you do have to make hundreds to thousands of designs if you want to make a living that way, but it can be lucrative and passive if you’re good at creating really broad-appeal designs.

On the other hand, if you are like most artists, you make art for yourself and a niche audience. It wouldn’t work as decor in everybody’s bathroom, living room or bedroom. So you’ll struggle to make meaningful money with these pod sites.

My Current Opinion on Society6

I think you know by now.

If your art is made purposefully for t-shirts, or designs for home decor, you have a chance with Society6 and the other pod sites like it.

For the rest of us, these sites just don’t make meaningful amounts of money. We have to approach selling online differently.

For the rest of us, I would advise trying out making an Etsy shop and setting up a Printful integration. It’s more work, but that way you get better margins and can build those essential repeat customers and actually make meaningful money. Etsy also has its own audience that browses the site, so you might even land a few passive sales too.

Hey, I’m Christopher

I started making digital art in 2009, became a full-time freelance artist in 2016, and now I’m able to work on my own schedule from anywhere in the world.

I created this blog to help other artists make the same journey. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,  an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We also participate in similar affiliate advertising progams for Skillshare, Squarespace and others.