Frequently Asked Questions
Got a question? I’ve got an answer.
Payment & Shipping
How do I know I can trust your shop?
Buying online from smaller stores can seem risky. That's why I've provided 5 reasons you can trust us.
What payment methods do you accept?
I am a Verified Paypal user and can also accept all major credit cards, or you can pay with your Amazon account. Apple Pay & Google Pay are also available when using the Safari or Chrome browsers respectively.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes, I’m happy to ship orders to most countries. Please see the Shipping Information page for more information.
I’m not from the UK. How do I pay in my local currency?
If you use PayPal, it will automatically convert the cost from your local currency in UK£. If you pay by credit card, you will be charged in UK£ and your card company will do the conversion. You can use the currency converter to give you an idea of the cost.
How long does shipping take?
Please see the Shipping Information page for answers to all your postage queries.
Are the free things really free? What's the catch?
Yes they are! My free downloads are a way to promote new characters and share my ideas and you can download them direct. My free zines are things I made for fun that I can't justify paying to get printed. You do have to go through checkout for these, so I can keep track of downloads, and I appreciate it if you sign up to my mailing list, but there's no obligation. If you enjoy them, leave a review or tell a friend!
Something’s broken on your site!
Oops! If there’s something wrong then do let me know so I can get it fixed. Use this link to let me know what browser and operating system you’re using. Also check if turning off your ad blocker fixes the problem. I don't run any ads on the site but some things can be wrongly classed as advertising.
I can’t place an order! HELP!
Oh no! I use Shopify and PayPal to run the shop and payment systems and on rare occasions one or the other might be having problems. Do email me though and I can put your item(s) on hold and arrange alternative payment.
I’m unhappy with my item(s). What are you going to do about it?
I’m sorry to hear that. Please see my returns policy for more information.
Shopping & Products
Is your packaging eco-friendly?
I'm trying really hard to improve this. All product pages include information on the packaging and most have the option for you to choose paper over plastic. Where this is not currently possible, I am working on finding more eco-friendly packaging.
Do you have wholesale/SOR prices?
I do! If you’re interested in becoming a stockist, please visit my wholesale site for available products and information, or contact me for a current price list.
Will you be getting any more of (sold out item)?
It depends. Sometimes I have just temporarily run out of stock or materials. Other times, I'm unable to source the materials I require. And sometimes products just no longer fit in with my aesthetic and are discontinued. I try to update product pages with the details but if in doubt, email and ask me!
Are your zines available as ebooks for Kindle and Nook?
Yes, I'm working on this now. Kindle users can check my Amazon page for available zines and Nook/Kobo/Sony Reader users can check my Lulu shop. I'll be adding more products throughout the year.
Can you make a card with different text, or put a different character on this product?
It's possible I already have! Thanks to on-demand printing and my licensing partners, I can offer my characters and designs in many more options than I can afford to print and sell myself. Have a look at my Licensed Products page, and if you don't see what you need, email me and I'll see if I can add it.
Do you take commissions?
Yes, I do. If you see something you like but you’d prefer a different colour, size or illustration then email me and I’ll see what I can do. I can also take on larger custom orders for wedding favours, thank you cards etc.
Press & Promotion
Can I use your images for my blog or social media?
You can use my product images as long as you link back to the products or my shop. Individual images from my blog may be used as long as I am credited as the photographer and you link back to the original post. If you wish to use multiple blog images or personal photos please check in advance. And send me a link or tag me - I'd love to see!
Do you have hi-res press images?
Yes, please contact me with your requirements.
Can I interview you for my blog/magazine?
Absolutely! I love being interviewed - contact me to arrange it.
Can you answer some questions for my school/college project?
It depends how busy I am. I get a lot of these requests that usually require a lot of detailed answers for no reward - you can try me and see.
Can you send me products to review or for a charity event?
Sorry, I do not have the budget for this at the moment. If you wish to buy products I can give you a discount code or include some freebies - contact me.
Why should I create a customer account? Do I have to?
Customer accounts are entirely optional. Check out as a guest and you will then be given the option to create an account after checkout. Having an account means your name and address are saved for next time and you can check on the status of your order by clicking Login or My Account in the top menu bar. Customers with accounts also get exclusive offers including discounts, free gifts and free shipping. The offer changes every month or so and will appear on the Cart page when logged in.
Will I be added to any mailing list if I create an account?
Absolutely not. I only add people to my mailing list who have ticked the mailing list box during checkout.
Kawaii (pronounced a bit like like Hawaii), is a Japanese word that means 'cute'. Over here, we use it to describe the Japanese style of cute, which pervades the entire Japanese society. Think food with faces, animals pretending to be furniture, furniture pretending to be food etc, etc. For more on kawaii, see the Super Cute Kawaii blog, which I co-run - or buy my first book, The Super Cute Book of Kawaii!.
What's a zine?
Zines (pronounced 'zeens') are independently published magazines. Sometimes they're photocopied, sometimes they're professionally printed and sometimes they're digital PDFs. The content can include writing, illustration, comics and more - if you like magazines or blogs then you'll love zines.
Printing & Making
Where do you get your printing done? What other suppliers do you use?
I used to be happy to share my sources since it brings them new business and I'm a nice person generally, but I get an increasing amount of emails from people who think they are entitled to demand I tell them where I get everything made without even saying hello or thank you. I do a LOT of research when I have a new product idea and sometimes it takes weeks or years until I can find a suitable printer or supplier, get samples made, work out costs etc. For that reason, I'm no longer willing to share my sources.
I will however recommend Moo, Printed.com and Vistaprint for affordable small-run printing and Yeah Laser and Zap Creatives for laser cutting. I buy most of my supplies from eBay and Etsy, though I am very loyal to specific sellers that serve me well.
Do you make everything yourself?
Depends what you mean by 'make'! All items involve my artwork in some way, though some products are hand-printed and some are professionally printed or manufactured to my specification. There are also some licensed items available 'on-demand'. This means I designed the product but another company (Zazzle, Spoonflower) take care of the manufacturing and shipping)
What's your process for creating characters and products?
Usually I start with doodles from my sketchbook, which I scan in and then trace and improve in Adobe Illustrator to create vector characters. Once I have a character I think about which products they would work best on and I have a bunch of templates to try out ideas. I use either Illustrator or Photoshop to try out different backgrounds, sizes, colours etc. Most of my repeat patterns are made in Photoshop too.
What software do you use for formatting your zines?
I use Adobe InDesign, which is a professional print layout program. It's great for margins and columns and page spreads. Before InDesign existed I used PageMaker and before that it was good old cut and paste using basic word-processing programs and even a typewriter back in ye olde pre-computer times. You can read more of my zinemaking tips in the Let's Make Zines zine I have available.
I've always wanted to run my own business/print my own stationery/work from home. Do you have any tips?
I've answered this a bit here and often blog about my process/business stuff on my blog. Please feel free to ask any specific questions via my contact form below.
Have you been to Japan?
Yes, five times! Once on a guided tour, once just to Tokyo, once to Tokyo and Osaka, 3 weeks around Japan and another trip to Tokyo & Osaka. I love visiting Japan and always hope to return again. I've blogged a lot about all my Japan trips, as well as self-publishing books and guides.
Is this your full time job?
Pretty much. I also do freelance work in web design, marketing and Shopify consultancy and have a few other projects that keep me busy. Check the About page for more info.
A web designer eh? Will you design my website/shop?
I’ll certainly give you a quote! You can see my portfolio at www.marcelinesmith.com and contact me if you think I can help.
I really like your shop design - did you build it all yourself?
Thank you! My shop is hosted by Shopify, who are amazing and do all the backend e-commerce stuff. The template is based on Venture, available free from the Shopify Theme Store, though I added a lot of custom features and modifications myself.
Wait, Shopify, Cakeify? Is there a link?
Yes, Cakeify the happy cupcake got his name after Shopify called me out on my wish to bake them a cake for being so awesome. You can read all about that here.
I still have questions!
You can send a message through my contact form and I’ll reply as soon as possible.
Why haven't you replied to my message or email?
Short questions from polite people and order enquiries/issues will always get a prompt answer. Longer emails, especially those looking for advice, may have to wait until I can find time to give you a considered answer or write a blog post. I have also become disillusioned by sending lengthy helpful responses to strangers not to even get a simple thank you in return. However, if it's been more than a couple of days, feel free to email me a reminder.
I need to phone you! What's your number?
I'm sorry but I can only respond to enquiries via email as I have a hearing impairment. I'm usually not far from my email so can respond to urgent questions quickly.
Questions previously answered on Formspring can now be found in my Features & Interviews section.