Dribbble & Creative Market teamed up to launch a new marketplace channel allowing designers like you to find and sell digital goods right on Dribbble! The marketplace channel will also help Dribbble creators with digital assets to sell reach millions of potential customers on Dribbble and Creative Market with one seamless shop owner experience.
Today, the talented font designer and veteran shop owner Mehmet Tuğcu drops by to share his shop story and top tips for designers who want to dip their toes into the digital goods space.
I’m Mehmet Reha Tuğcu, an Istanbul based UI and type designer. I mostly make quirky display fonts.
- 1 Tell us the story behind your shop. What inspired you to start making selling fonts?
- 2 How has your business evolved since its inception?
- 3 How has selling your digital goods impacted your career?
- 4 In your opinion, what’s the key to running a successful shop?
- 5 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a designer or business owner?
- 6 What advice do you have for designers considering selling digital goods?
Tell us the story behind your shop. What inspired you to start making selling fonts?
I studied Economics in university but hated every minute of it, so I decided to take my chances in design with absolutely no education whatsoever. I was always proficient with Photoshop and the barrier of entry for our profession is pretty much only that so I “became” a designer.
I initially started by participating in shoddy design contests. Then, I noticed customers were purchasing pre-made logos from a site called GraphicRiver. Immediately something clicked and I thought, “why deal with customers when I can just make stock graphics”.
I initially made vectors, PowerPoint templates, logo templates and fell in love with the process. Being able to make what I wanted with no time or creative restrictions was so liberating. There’s also something addictive about adding more products to your shop and seeing the payouts increase.
How has your business evolved since its inception?
Back when I started, I didn’t have a niche of my own. I just made whatever was trending. I dabbled in so many types of products over the years that I probably have a product in every category of Creative Market. Eventually, I found my calling in display fonts. I would say I evolved as a designer before my shop could evolve.
My font bundles are probably my best-selling products of late. I also made a Halloween-themed font recently called “Witch” that has exceeded my sale expectations.
How has selling your digital goods impacted your career?
Financially I’m able to live a comfortable life with no worries about my spendings, which is more than I ever imagined when I first decided to follow this path. I’m also free from a lot of the responsibilities of a typical designer. I don’t have to answer to clients or bosses, there are no deadlines to worry about and I’m free to design whatever I want on my own time. It might sound too good to be true but it took a lot of time and effort to get to this point.
There’s also a lot of satisfaction from having thousands of people like your work enough to spend money on it. Nothing gives me more pleasure than randomly stumbling upon my fonts in my daily life.
In your opinion, what’s the key to running a successful shop?
The key is definitely persistence. I see a lot of designers upload a couple of products and complain about not getting enough sales. You improve with every new product you upload. It’s important not to get discouraged and keep at it. It’s also important to not rush the products. You’re competing with thousands of amazing designers, the products you upload need to be on their level.You improve with every new product you upload. It’s important not to get discouraged and keep at it.
When I started selling digital goods, there really wasn’t much competition. It was much easier to find success since the demand far succeeded the supply so I guess I was at the right place at the right time. Over time I established myself through finding my own niche. My fonts aren’t usually on the front page or the top-sellers lists but they make consistent sales.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a designer or business owner?
I can’t really recall anything noteworthy but I will echo the saying, “You have to spend money to make money”. Spend money on mockups, stock graphics, etc. to enhance the presentation of your products.
What advice do you have for designers considering selling digital goods?
- Presentation of your products matters just as much (if not more) as the product itself. I see incredible fonts posted daily with so many features but their preview images are just white text on a black background in a weird aspect ratio.
- Try to avoid riding the trends. Instead, find your own style, improve your craft and become the best at it. Many designers assume they’ll make bank if they replicate whatever is on the front page of Creative Market. A few of them do but the majority just get lost among the sea of similar products. That being said, doing some market research goes a long way. Find out what products are in high demand, research the scope and prices of competing products.
- As previously mentioned, don’t get discouraged and keep uploading. It takes years of building a store to reach a point of sustainability. Once you do it’s totally worth it though. Ask for feedback from other designers, contact successful shopowners and tell them you’re open for some brutal criticism.