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The Project

This site is an art experiment of sorts. My goal with it is to build a broad understanding of how to build a sophisticated online shop for artists and creatives. The hope is that by building this I can help the community of artists out there looking to earn a living by their work, as well as anyone looking to run their own shop online. Everything on the site will be built on using both free as well as paid plugins/extensions.

Summary of features of the shop (as of 28/06/2020):

  • Art prints and merchandise available for sale with drop-shipping fulfillment and digital download
  • Virtual and in-person workshops available to purchase and schedule
  • Online courses available to purchase and consume from the site
  • Recurring memberships available to purchase for access to digital downloads and courses, purchase discounts, and special offers

Additional features that I’d like to add as well:

  • Email newsletter integration for store marketing and member content
  • The ability for customers to purchase packs (i.e. pack of 5) workshops that they can then schedule when they like

More updates to come on what I’m using, how I’ve set things up and how much it costs. Thanks for visiting!

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New theme and setting up online courses with Sensei

Today I worked on setting up a new theme on my shop ( which is a non-Storefront based WooCommerce-built theme. It ended up having too many little display issues with WooCommerce memberships though so I ended up switching back to just plain Storefront for now.

Additionally, I also dove into creating an online course with Sensei that is free for members:

I have the basics set up and tried using one of my members (Sam!) to access the content and see what the experience is like.

First off, I forgot that I never actually purchased a basic membership for Sam’s account, but I was able to move the order to the correct customer by editing the order so that the membership now shows up under the account.

Next, I had initially set up the access incorrectly (as a subscription not as a membership), so I had to revise the settings per the instructions for selling courses using memberships. Things can get a bit confusing when you are selling Subscription Memberships!

Link explaining how to do it:

Now it’s working like it should!

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Update on order and fulfillment with Printful

I’ve been working a bit on the site over the past week (adding a t-shirt, had a customer signup for a membership) and today I did some more work setting up a Calendly scheduling page (see Schedule a 1:1 call or chat) and wanted to check back in on the order the I placed using a test account with Printful (see here for previous post).

The order was for a print (this one) and was placed on July 8th. It had been over two weeks since the order was placed and I still hadn’t seen an update on the shipping so that got me thinking and wanting to take a closer look.

Here is a comparison of what I paid and what the customer paid for the order:

What I paid (i.e. order details in Printful)

The Road – Watercolor Painting #6 – 21×30 cm
Shipping Flat Rate (2-5 business days after fulfillment)£4.35

What the customer paid (i.e. order details in WooCommerce)

The Road – Watercolor Painting #6 – 21×30 cm
Shipping Flat Rate (2-5 business days after fulfillment)£4.35
Stripe Fee:– £0.42
Stripe Payout to me£15.60

Checking in on the order, my customer didn’t receive the initial email order confirmation and updates due to the fact I had my work email configured as the sender address (which was restricted within our environment at, but once I got that resolved I was able to send my customer an update that their item should be arriving soon using the notes feature on the order:

Notes on order

As of today, the customer still didn’t have the item as I could see from checking the tracking status:

Shipping timeline for Printful order

But loe and behold it arrived on their doorstep today and looks great. Colors match up fairly well and the paper is good quality:

Picture of print and painting

Lesson learned here is to set expectations on the shipping time required for orders through Printful (i.e. flat rate shipping) and do some more investigation as to the options for speeding this up and/or automating some updates to the customer.

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First customer purchase

Today I ordered the first print from a “real” customer on the site. Here is the order confirmation as generated by WooCommerce:

I’m curious to see all of the communications I get and follow the order process through now to completion. I can see the orde in my customers account page now, but not email confirmation received yet.

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Creating custom product pages

A couple of days back I created a couple of custom product pages using WooCommerce blocks.

One of those is the Art page here:

I wanted to setup a featured product at the top and product listings below with filters on the right-hand side in a separate column.

Editing “around” the Products By Category was/is extremely problematic, as the block continually refreshes:

Also, attempting to add a Columns block isn’t working, as I cannot add another block within it—searching for a block does not return anything—so I just went with a simpler layout for now until I had time to figure out what might be going on that is preventing this from working as it should.

I was able to work around the issue above with the Columns block by editing the code and adding a block manually, but this certainly was not ideal.