Spotlight on: Department Store, a curated marketplace by People of Print

As you'll probably already be aware, People of Print is a fantastic print community and resource created by Marcroy Smith that includes a magazine and directory celebrating everything to do with print.

It also includes the Department Store, a curated marketplace featuring artists, illustrators and designers and selling prints, publications, and stationery. It's actually just enjoyed a fresh lick of paint. We spoke to Marcroy about this and much more.

Tell us about Department Store. What is it? How did it come about?

I set up Department Store initially as a shop front for our own People of Print products, such as our Print Isn’t Dead™ magazine and our monthly Posterzine™ publication. However, as the name suggests, it always had the scope to include other people’s products.

We began selling other items from people all over the world which are curated by our team. We charge an affordable listing fee and we only take a small commission compared to the standard retail model. As a struggling illustrator, I always found it difficult to find a platform that promoted products fairly, didn’t cost a fortune to set up, wasn’t oversaturated with other sellers and didn’t take a huge cut of my sale price. I suppose Department Store was my solution to this problem. I really think it is a fair model and we genuinely want it to benefit the sellers.

It's just enjoyed a redesign. Can you tell us about the process behind it?

A lot of our initial efforts went into making sure the back-end was functional for our sellers. They can log in, upload their own products, check sales, fulfill items and get added to a payment queue. We are going to be developing this further.

We created a new identity using our shortened web URL. We found that Department Store had bad Google search results for us, so focusing on our shortened URL means we are instantly at the top of Google search.

Then the front end had an overhaul making it easier to navigate by searching through categories and vendors. The redesign has seen a higher amount of page visits and a higher sales conversion rate, so we must have done something right. We still have some further developments that we will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

What are your bestsellers?

You can actually see our bestsellers by toggling the search. We sell a lot of Posterzine issues because of our subscription model, issue 09 by Colophon Foundry is a hot product. Then we have a number of vendors who are doing very well indeed, the likes of Cat Sims, Risotto, Matt Reid, Egle Zvirblyte, Risolve and Paul Wolterink.

Name three items currently for sale that you love and explain why you love each one

I personally love issue 2 of Double Dagger, it’s letterpressed throughout! Then there’s this nine-layer screen print with gold leaf by Kat LibBretto. And beautiful linocut work by Jade They.

How do people get featured? Do you choose, or do they come to you?

It’s a toss up between submissions and our team scouting out new sellers. We have seen a big increase in submissions, however we are being selective over allowing people to sell on the marketplace because we don’t want it to become oversaturated like some other websites.

Can you tell us about anyone new you've added recently?

We are currently adding around 20 new sellers per month, recently we’ve had RA print fellow, Josie Molloy and some fabulous work by screen printer Emma Fisher.

Any plans in future?

We have some exciting things in the pipeline. Collaborating with the sellers to create new bespoke products, offering our printing service to all sellers at a discount rate and also doing Department Store Live events, selling items and running workshops.