Vida and Shopvida: Annals of Deceptive Business Models

Being a Professional Artist Means Business

As a successful professional artist and photographer—and, not entirely coincidentally, a business person—I am aware that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. Sensible investment is after all the cornerstone of business life, and this is no different for a business as an artist than for any other kind of business. Although, as one art dealer I’ve worked with said, “Artists work twice as hard as anyone else, because they have the work of being an artist, and the entirely separate work of making a living as an artist.”

Et chorus sinit ire cum flores (white) © Harold Davis

Et chorus sinit ire cum flores (white) © Harold Davis

In the light of spending money to make money, I am not entirely opposed to upfront pay-for-play business models in the arts, such as paying fees to enter contests, paying to join an exhibit, or paying to be included in a directory of artists or photographers. There’s a slippery slope here, and I do advise casting a skeptical eye on these kinds of opportunities, particularly if they are regarded strictly as business opportunities. Which they are often not, of course: as an artist, one’s work is tightly bound up with one’s sense of self-worth, and any chance to have one’s work displayed or reproduced is an appeal to vanity, often over the common sense of the pocket book. (Pocket book discipline might be more rigorously applied in the context of a non-arts-based business, although a high percentage of new businesses of all sorts do fail, perhaps in part for lack of thrift.)

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

Kiss from a Rose © Harold Davis

However, what I have little patience with is pay-for-play business models masquerading as something completely different, where the real intent is to take advantage of artists. This brings me to the subject of Vida, also called Shopvida, on the web at


If you have almost any kind of presence as an artist or photographer on the Internet, you’ve likely received an initial email from Vida. The first email I received, from Erica who is a self-described “manager of artist relationships” at VIDA, went as follows:
I am writing today regarding your artwork, with the hope that you will consider collaborating with us. I am writing from VIDA, a Google Ventures backed company that brings artists and makers together from around the world to create original, inspiring apparel in a socially conscious way. We are looking for artists with amazing technical skill and truly original work.  We came across your artwork, and we’d love to work with you to translate your art into fashion.

By way of introduction, my name is Erica, and I manage Artist Relations here at VIDA. We specialize in converting 2D art into beautiful, quality apparel and accessories. Also, each of our artists receives a portion of net revenues shared back for each of their designs sold.

As part of our artists recruitment team, I would be thrilled if you would join us as a VIDA artist by submitting your artwork to …. In the meantime, if you have any questions at all, please reply to this email directly. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

We would be deeply honored to have the opportunity to work with you.

Much the same tale is told on the ShopVida website:



We handle production and business, so [our artists] can pursue their passion and make a living.



We provide literacy programs to our makers. They learn to read, write, and do basic math and build a better life for generations to come. [capitalization in the original]

So not only was Vida honored to have me, by joining I could make some money, support mindful global citizenship, and also literacy programs. Who was I to say no to this appeal to my artistic vanity and my desire to do good—with the potential to benefit my pocketbook. Surely, a potent brew of benefits. I hemmed and I hawed, and I decided to give this a shot. After all, no payment was requested upfront.

Putting up a shop on Vida is relatively easy and also quite a bit of fun. You use low resolution Jpeg imagery to design items in a number of clothing categories (also bags and pillows).


Harold Davis store on Vida (see text)

You can see the Vida collection that I designed at, partly shown above. [Author’s note: I’ve requested Vida take down my store and purge my images, but as of publication date this link is still live.] Once the low resolution store front is in place, you need to upload high resolution versions of the image files, but this isn’t anything that anyone reasonably capable with Photoshop can’t handle.

Promoting One’s Vida Store—Part 1

It was clear as soon as my storefront was up on Vida that the next step would be self-promotion. As I was informed at the top of my new online store as soon as it was live, with ten sales I get “Slate” status—which means that ” Harold’s art will be promoted by VIDA.” Presumably, without the ten sales there would be no promotion of Harold’s art by Vida, sigh!

Just to be clear, I have nothing against involving family, friends, and collectors in social media campaigns that benefit me. In fact, Kickstarter is kind of built around this concept, and I have run two successful Kickstarter campaigns (see and It is reasonable to expect family, friends, and social media involvement in the projects that are important to an artist. It becomes a problem if these channels are the sole support of a project, and largely are making money for a third-party who is not the artist.

The Vida Product

Kiss from a Rose Wrap

Kiss from a Rose Wrap

Before deploying my reputational capital on behalf of my Vida collection, I thought it would be a good idea to order an actual product from my shop as a matter of simple quality control. Under Phyllis’s name I bought a “Kiss from a Rose” cashmere silk scarf for $85.00 (it came to over $100 with tax and shipping). As a side note, this sale to myself was the only sale I made via my Vida store.

When the scarf eventually arrived, the reviews were mixed. Delivery took about five weeks, which seemed like a strangely long time. While the scarf seemed expensive to us for what it was, in fairness it was sized quite large. However, in our opinion the fabric didn’t seem as luxurious as the “silk-cashmere” description would seem to imply.

There was no lining. Hemming (on the short side) was adequate, but not particularly elegant or complicated. The long edges of the scarf were not sewn at all, but were simply the selvages of the fabric.

The process by which this was created clearly involved printing on fabric via an inkjet printer. There were some places where the dye didn’t reach the fabric, leaving white spots.

To be clear, I have nothing against printing on fabric with an inkjet printer, particularly when it is done well. But this isn’t exactly an artisanal process, and it is unlikely to be lifting third-world crafts people out of poverty. I’ve used an inkjet printer to print some of my images on canvas, but that doesn’t make these images “genuine oil paintings” any more than Vida’s inkjet products are legitimate third-world textile art.

Spring Wreath © Harold Davis

Spring Wreath © Harold Davis

Promoting One’s Vida Store—Part 2

As my welcome to Vida email noted, the “important tips that have helped Vida designers achieve success” were:

  1. Email your friends, fans, and customers
  2. Spread the word on social media
  3. Blog about your collection
  4. Purchase for yourself or loved ones
  5. (MOST POPULAR) Purchase Artist Wholesale

While I waited to evaluate the product sample, the upselling email fun began…often at the rate of several emails a day.

Repeating Flower Pattern © Harold Davis

Repeating Flower Pattern © Harold Davis

Emails from Vida

Cameron at Vida wrote me (many times) to say that if I spent $1,000 I could become “a featured designer with a curated collection. We are only offering curated collections to a small group of hand-picked artists. This is a private email.” Having a curated collection would result in having “[a]t least 1 product from your collection featured on the VIDA Shop All Page. Being Featured on the Shop All page will give you significantly more exposure.”

Jennifer wrote me (on several different days) to “personally reach out to send you a final reminder that today is THE VERY LAST DAY to claim your curated collection page on VIDA.”

Lesley suggested I might enjoy the Festival of Art event where “where art lovers and artists can join together in their admiration for the arts,” and where I would receive a 40% discount on purchases of $900 or more.

Alice sent me another invitation to become a featured designer with a curated collection: “We are only offering curated collections to a small group of hand-picked artists for 1 week only. We think your art is beautiful and we would love the opportunity to feature your work. This is a private, invitation-only email.

This inundation of upselling emails from Vida continued for quite a while without letup. As one my of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, might have said, “So it goes.”

Summing Up My Sense of Vida

Let me try to sum my sense of Vida up. The claim [from an initial email from Erica at Vida] that

Vida is backed by Google Ventures, and artists who get discovered on VIDA are featured everywhere from national television to major press mentions like TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal….We’d love to work with you to build your artwork into a fashion brand

seems exaggerated—but certainly something that gets my attention as an artist, with its mention of Google and my artwork as a fashion brand, and no more exagerated than the spiel from many another tech startup. This is, however, also a well-crafted appeal to the vanity and optimism of any artist.

The actual business model seems to be more like a blunderbuss than a discovery mechanism for quality art that would work for textile designs. The goal seems to be to see how much product can be moved by the artists to friends and family of the artist. The only mechanism for discovery of great designs is to qualify by selling Vida product to friends and family, and it is far from clear that the promotion that might follow from said sales at Vida would result in any long-term gains in terms of the branding of an artist.

Dragonfly 4 © Harold Davis

Dragonfly 4 © Harold Davis

At best, this is a pay-for-play business model on Vida’s part. As I’ve noted, I have no problem with the notion of investing in the business of being an artist, provided this investment is made thoughtfully. I also have no issue with using friends and family as part of one’s social media constellation to jumpstart a career. I do have an issue with the lack of upfront clarity on Vida’s part about this being what a store on Vida will entail.

Pay-for-play can be okay, but then you should say right away, “For exposure you must pay!” Essentially, Vida is analagous to a multi-level marketing scheme, where participants only make money by selling the company product to others.

The Vida Product—Part 2

One other aspect of Vida’s workflow is troubling, and that is the production of the actual products. In point of fact, I have a natural outlet for products based on my work via my workshops and other events. Had we believed the merchandise was of a quality that worked with the quality of my work, and that we wouldn’t be ashamed to present to my audience, we could easily have taken advantage of one of the many offers I was pitched. For example, we could have bought $1,000 worth of products based my designs at a 40% discount, and sold these at retail at my workshops.

The problem here had to do with the quality of the printing, which we didn’t think was high enough to compare with my other work. In addition, a zebra doesn’t change its stripes to a leopard’s spots. The deceptive marketing to artists is one of a piece with the deceptive sense that Vida gives that its products, created using inkjet printing, are related to textile craft and somehow artisanal. There is quite a bit of markup in my $85 scarf, and I don’t think this money is going to a dye printing machine operator in India.

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion © Harold Davis

Low Geostationary and Decaying Orbits around the Clematis Inversion © Harold Davis

Is Vida a Scam?

Is Vida an out-and-out scam? This depends upon your definition of “scam,” but probably not, in the sense that they do actually make and ship the products they advertise (even if these aren’t of great quality). Nothing illegal is going on as far as I can tell. Like Amway and Herbalife, there are probably folks who have done okay with Vida—but it wouldn’t be for me. 

While not an out-and-out scam, as a customer I would be disappointed in the quality of the work, particularly considering the price, and I would likely be disinclined to order more products from this company. (Would I have expressed my disappointment about the product quality to my sister-in-law-the-artist had I bought a Vida item of hers? Probably not.)

Is this a business model that treats artists ethically and morally? In my opinion, I don’t think so. As always, do research, draw your own conclusions, and caveat emptor.

I submitted a draft of this article to Umaimah Mendhro, the founder and CEO of Vida, and to the press email at Shopvida for comment, but as of publication time have received no response. 

Have you had an experience good or bad with Vida? I will happily approve for publication relevant comments related to this article.

More about the Business of Art and Photography

Other articles by Harold Davis pertaining to contemporary issues in the business of art and photography: Putting Paid to Purloining Picture Snatchers: Working with PixsyWhat do Harold Davis and Georgia O’Keeffe have in common on Pinterest, and how is Pinterest going to make money, anyway?; and Presentation Matters: Why Book Publishers Should Care About Quality.

About Harold Davis: HAROLD DAVIS is a professional photographer and digital artist whose work is widely collected. He is the author of many bestselling photography books, including Achieving Your Potential As a Photographer, Creating HDR Photos, Photographing Flowers, The Photoshop Darkroom, and The Way of the Digital Photographer.

Quince by Moon © Harold Davis

Quince by Moon © Harold Davis

This entry was posted in Business of Art, Photography, Writing.


  1. Patricia December 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    My experience was just as ‘sketchy’. Erica Carter, Head of Artistic Relations, contacted me several times via email, gushing about my artwork she saw online and wanted me to collaborate with VIDA. But she was either unable or unwilling to provide me with the links where she saw my artwork. I found this highly suspicious. Red flag.

    Many of my other questions I submitted to VIDA were either stonwalled or deflected. Another red flag.

    I did upload a few files anyway just to test things out. Then as you say, the email fun began. I started receiving several different emails from several different employees, none of which seemed to know what was going on. In addition to many emails pushing coupons, I got one telling me my collection was live – before anything I uploaded was even approved. I got one telling me to upload my signature when that was already done. I got one telling me they needed hi-res files for a bunch of items I did NOT want my artwork printed on (I thought I chose what artwork got printed on what items – how else can I maintain the ‘exclusivity’ they expected in their Terms?) – with an expectation of a 24hr turnaround! WTH?? I’m not their slave!! More red flags.

    I ended up deleting everything in my account, removing all my uploaded artwork and telling them to shut down my account ASAP. At least they managed to do that right!!

  2. Jeri Mearns October 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    Harold, I wish I had seen this a year ago! It was seeing your red rose wrap or scarf on ? Facebook? or PInterest? that I zoomed over there to take a look. I thought if Harold is doing this, it’s something I want to know about. It sure was fun uploading those first images and seeing the product mockups appear – WOW. Like Patricia, before I knew it, I was being told that these products were live – in fact my sister had already placed orders!

    I live about 25 minutes from VIDA in San Francisco and have consistently tried to get them to let me visit to see the products and talk to their people. No go. So I ordered a bunch of stuff in order to check quality, sizing, etc. – most of which still sits in a box in my office. Many of my friends & family also ordered products – mostly scarves – and I think they are all happy with their products. But I became skeptical of the business model myself and even after several lenghthy phone conversations, I’m not happy with what they offer. So – 15 minutes ago – I Google “Shopvida review” and found your post confirming all my thoughts. Thank you for posting this. It’s fitting that my VIDA “career” started & will end with you.

    Such a promising idea, so poorly implemented. At least for the “artists”. Maybe they’re making money at it, but I suspect it’s going to fail like many such adventures.

    Jeri Mearns
    Mill Valley, CA

    (I could say much more, but that’s enough)

  3. OTTO RAPP August 10, 2018 at 2:21 am #

    You confirm my thoughts about this company. I signed up with them, and still have a store on their site (sitting idle now, since I lost interst). Not only do I have hardly any sales (for a while I did flog it on my social networks) but for the ones that did go through, I was never properly paid.
    I fell for their promo of putting my stuff on models if I purchased $ 1000.- worth of my own products. So I did because I thought it might be a nice addition to display at my exhibitions. Some of the products I had priced slightly above the recommended retail – and I had to pay that price! Just to illustrate that point, do the math: on a base price of $ 140.- I had set the item to $ 160.- and this was what I had to pay myself! Not only did I never get the commission on this, but if I did, the commission would have been 10% = $ 16.-. I never got paid commission for this order at all.
    My overall “profits” so far were twice $ 7.50 over a couple of years.
    I am also on Zazzle, Fine Art America and a few other sites, and everywhere I buy my own product, I pay the production price excluding my own set profit.
    Lack of sales: does it have to do with my designs? I don’t think so! I do fairly well on Zazzle, and very well on Fine Art America with my designs.
    I think the only skill VIDA has in selling is not to the public, but to the artists – that’s where their main push is. I get numerous emails, and I filtered them to be trashed so as not to clutter up my inbox anymore.
    My advice is: don’t touch this company with a 10 foot pole!

  4. Jennifer Thomas January 12, 2019 at 4:28 am #


    First of all I really like your Artworks, the colors and the transparency gives me a very nice feeling of serenity and joy.

    Thank you for this great article, that also confirms my doubts before signing up or anything with them. I just received a first email from shopvida. And when I clicked on the link provided in this mail, and oh surprise, the url of this link is follown by a tracking code (used to track the success of an online marketing campaign in google analytics for example)


    As you can see there is written ”campaign join vida Saatchi” which is not very clever from them. My work is already on SaatchiArt, so it means they are probably prospecting all the artist’s from SaatchiArt, their main competitor, and I am not sure this is very legal… I will check with SaatchiArt to be sure don’t provide my data, because i dont see how Shopvida got my email somehow.

    Anyway, thanks again for your article !



  5. Everett Day January 16, 2019 at 1:31 pm #

    I agree with above comments, I consider Shopvida to be a deceptive method to get artists to sell their own designs on apparel to their friends and family through social media, or to get artists to buy their own designs to sell or give away as gifts. That appears to be their primary business model.
    I was approached with fawning, flattering emails from Shopvida representatives for a year or more, which I ignored for a long time. Perhaps they got my email from Saatchi Art, since I am on that site. After finally signing up, I spent considerable time customizing my designs to fit their products and uploading everything. Their software and web presentation are excellent and everything looked fantastic. Immediately I was faced with a barrage of daily upselling emails. One limited time offer was to have one of my designs made up and then photographed in their studio on an actual model. In exchange they said my work would then be promoted on their site, or otherwise receive more exposure. It cost about $90.00, which seemed reasonable enough, so I ordered it. It turned out fairly nicely and I was encouraged. But there was no promotion of my designs as far as I could tell and the flood of upselling emails offering me discounts on my own products, contests, and other myriad hyped-up marketing schemes continued unabated. (“Spin the Wheel for a Chance to Win a Luxurious Modal Silk Scarf!”)
    I’ve had several different designs up on their site using various of their apparel or accessory items now for about two years. I sold one item for which I got paid. A couple of months ago they said I sold another item, but I can find no record of the sale on my account and certainly no money. This whole endeavor was a net financial loss and a total waste of time. My work is still up on their site but I just send all their marketing spam to my junk inbox.
    I wouldn’t recommend this shady site to any artist. Frankly, I’m surprised they’re still operating. Except for the constant marketing emails, I don’t see much harm in leaving my sales pages up, so I have not taken them down yet. Shopvida needs to to curate their collection, eliminate the garbage work and promote the good stuff to the front of the line.
    The people that run Shopvida should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of artists and advertising their product as being produced by crafts people using artisanal methods when it is clearly not.

  6. Janis Commentz January 27, 2019 at 6:38 pm #

    Thanks for this article. Yes, I got the letter. I guess I have achieved a presence! I was sceptical and have come in contact with a variety of scams. I typed in Vida – scam and this came up—while, to your credit, you say it is not an out and out scam.

    Thanks and best wishes!

  7. Catherine February 10, 2019 at 8:53 am #

    Great article! I’ve been approached by them a number of times over the past couple of years. Received a few emails a week or so and then another today. I had doubts before but was giving it another look today. Had concerns with what the quality might be and soliciting to friends etc. Never felt good about any of that and I’m not sure I want my artwork on products. I don’t think it really fits. That raised a question as to what did they actually think worked about my art on product. I never asked. Just Googled to see if there was any feedback from people with experience and found this so affirming. Thank you!

  8. Susan Chilcote-Wade May 6, 2019 at 2:31 pm #

    Hi, I too sold a few items from my designs, and also purchased from other artists. I assumed I’d get more than “points” for my/our purchases. (My daughter purchased, and a friend, and myself). I thought perhaps it just takes a while to get payments; but that never came, and no announcement about the point system either. If something feels scammy, it’s probably a scam. Maybe not 100% scam, but darn close. So I won’t be adding images to my profile. And, now I’m worried about the legalities of who owns the images. I was just looking for a way to diversify the way I bring in money, and promote the art I’m making, this site just seemed too good to be true.
    Thing is, I do like the scarves and folding totes I bought, but the scarves were nowhere near the quality they claim. The totes were fine, in fact… I get compliments about them. It’s the entire fabric, not just a little square in the middle, I thought that was a great way of diving into a detail of a piece of work; and someone can own a little corner of lush colors or designs, etc.
    The tops we purchased were such a low quality, and sizing so off kilter, we can’t even wear them, our body parts would fall out. It’s laughable. Anyway, unhappy customer here as well as it seems, are many others. I am surely happy I purchased a few different items before going into grand promotion schemes. That turn around-time with getting the product was also ridiculous. Anyway, live and learn.
    Thanks for posting this, wish I’d seen it before I ventured into it. At least I was only out a couple hundred dollars for my learning curve.
    Best to you and your beautiful art, and art business.

  9. Joan geller May 30, 2019 at 10:28 am #

    From what I’m reading no sales are generated nobody gets paid? Not fair to artists can u ut work on zazzle and others while on vida does anyone ever get paid?????

  10. Harold Davis May 30, 2019 at 10:31 am #

    Joan, I can’t really speak to the lack of payment issue because with no sales no payment is due. I think the comments on this story speak for themselves. Best to all artists, Harold

  11. Grace Goodrich June 8, 2019 at 10:30 am #

    Thank you so much for saving me from this negative “pay-for-play” artist trap. A friend introduced me to Vida and I was in the beginning process of “signing-up” when I thought I should check out reviews before getting further involved and uploading any of my photography. I am so glad I found your review. I have some of your books and highly regard you and your work. Thank you again for sharing your experience and providing helpful information that saved me from this scam.

  12. Krista McCurdy June 18, 2019 at 11:54 am #

    Confirmed my suspicions. I JUST got an email from them but I always research a place or website first…for these very reasons. Thank you! I’ll be ignoring that email.

  13. Kristina Sellers June 19, 2019 at 3:54 pm #

    Thanks for this article! You saved me both time and embarrassment. I should have known immediately from the over the top flattery.

  14. Lidia June 27, 2019 at 12:49 am #

    Thank you so much for your detailed review. I’ve just received an email from Vida, from Dyan. I’m not gonna response now. Your experience and sharing it is very important and valuable for other artists. ❤️

  15. Mauricio July 1, 2019 at 1:10 pm #

    Me parece sospechoso que si esta empresa que tenia un punto de prestigio se comportara de esa manera. Llevo 2 años en ella y no he tenido ninguna venta mis diseños son muy buenos pero no he tenido paga. Ademas ellos hacen negocios para subir de nivel, esto me parece vergonzoso ya mismo me retirare de Vida.

  16. Harold Davis July 1, 2019 at 1:35 pm #

    Yes, agreed. Thanks for the comment.

  17. Adrel Haynes July 19, 2019 at 11:58 pm #

    I appreciate your article; I agree totally with your findings. I’ve spent a lot of money on my items with Vida and now I’m deciding to call it a day. I haven’t made ONE sale for over a year. The only person that purchasing my items are me. My art work is very colorful and fun . . . can’t afford VIDA. I’m tired and now I’m done.

    Thank you again for this article . . . no more $$$ for VIDA.

  18. Steph Coleman July 25, 2019 at 7:24 am #

    Thanks for the article and the comments. I was looking for buyer reviews, of which I have found none, and came across your article. The. VIDA ads are all. Over my Facebook page…your comments are making me very wary, especially of the quality, I do love the designs

  19. Carolyn Edelstein August 6, 2019 at 6:35 am #

    This is the recent email I sent to Vida:
    I’m so frustrated with your site and the answers to my emails that have literally no attention to detail that I’m losing interest rapidly. Also, where it was originally flattering that Kaye found my work on LinkedIn, it turns out all you really want is to generate income FROM me, not help me to earn. You just want me to buy products and offer little assistance in helping me to sell. I’ll bet if I upgraded I would be just as frustrated. I can’t even change my account settings to reflect my real name, not the contrived one you gave me. When I try to save, nothing happens. PLUS, you won’t let me select the radial button for PayPal. It just defaults to a store credit, not that I can save it anyway, as stated above. One product came out all wrong and I can’t delete it and you offer no editing tool. And YES, I DID cover the entire box!! I’m sure you’ll get back to me with an apology completely lacking in sincerity and offer me no real solution. In fact, one more useless reply and I’m gone.

  20. Diana August 15, 2019 at 8:55 am #


    I am very impressed with all these comments. We were thinking on using Shopvida for the business but now I dont know, is there any other websites doing with the same business model as Shop vida that is much better that you guys recommend?

    Thanks a lot!

  21. Martin September 4, 2019 at 4:52 am #

    Now I got an Idea as to why mails I have been putting to Vida are not being answered.
    Thanks buddy for this supportive article.
    And..yes, they definitely are getting email addresses from Saatchi…BTW why Saatchi is doing such violation of sharing data?


  22. DONNA September 8, 2019 at 3:38 pm #

    Not sure what you expect – I found your article to be eh… so so, I’d give you a 5 or 6 out of 10 for your attempt to express your opinion, it didn’t persuade me to stop selling with Vida.
    Your opinion matters. Not coming against that at all.
    I too, was approached by email, as a photographer to join Vida. I did. I liked what they had to offer.
    I have not marketed hard, but have had a few sales.
    I bought some of my product so I can show people what it looks like in person and have people try on the clothing to see how it fits. There clothing is generous to size.
    No, it’s not the BEST quality out there, but not bad for what is offered.

    Bottom line, it costs artists ZERO to open a store within Vida. We have nothing to lose but a bit of time.

    When I have had questions, I had a response within 24 hours, 48 if it’s a weekend.

    I do agree there could be more information shared, maybe photos or videos of the shops where people do the work. It would be great to see new photos there, so we are guaranteed what they say is true, and there are no bad practices going on.

    I’ll be keeping my shop open.

  23. Harold Davis September 8, 2019 at 4:23 pm #

    Of course you are entitled to your opinion, both of my article and of Vida. My goal was never to stop anyone from selling on Vida. If it works for you, that is great. But I have my suspicions about this comment. You’ve said it costs zero, you’ve had a few sales, and bought a few of your own product. What is your net balance, e.g., sales minus purchases of your own product? Can we see a link to your Vida store so we know this is genuine? Thanks for your comment.

  24. SJ Hall September 13, 2019 at 8:35 pm #

    I’ve had products on VIDA for three years now. At first I made complaints and had things reprinted and they did reprint for better quality at their expense. I have purchased large wholesale orders for resale and receive commission on my online sales. They have worked with me and overall it has been a good collaboration. They are no longer my sole source but my customers like my VIDA pieces.

  25. Heather October 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm #

    Hello Harold and all
    First, I am not an artist. I am a consumer and art lover. I found Vida while looking for purse with Artwork on it. I own a purse I bought from an artist website and have never received so many compliments on a purse. (Btw that artist is on Vida which really excited me, until I started browsing).

    So, long story short I was first upset that they do not have an artist directory just to see if I recognized any artist names. Second their search engine, leaves a lot to be desired. Third, once I went to handbags and started with statement bag, I quickly got overwhelmed. There are 912 pages with 46 bags per page, as of this post date. About, 40 pages in and trying to remember artist names of designs I liked, something in me said google this site. Glad I did!!!

    I will continue searching for my unique handbags elsewhere. It sounds very predatory what they are doing. Like to MLM company, which is borderline scam to me.

    Good luck to you all, may you be successful in your sales!!

  26. Maureen Haldeman October 30, 2019 at 2:02 pm #

    Thank you for this article. I just came across it as I was doing a bit of research on Vida. I had opened a shop on Vida a couple of years ago … and my experience has been the same as yours. After purchasing some scarves myself as Christmas gifts. Sales dropped drastically! lol
    The only promotion I did was on my personal facebook page, and that generated a couple of sales from supportive friends, In addition to that …. nothing!
    Recently (I had forgotten all about Vida) I was notified of a sale, but needed to upload a higher resolution image. The site is not user friendly and too time consuming for what its worth; I let it slide.
    True, it costs nothing to join Vida, except if you value your artwork, that Vida gets to use for free!
    What was I thinking?

  27. Natalie November 3, 2019 at 2:12 pm #

    This was an interesting article from the artist’s perspective. I am one of the consumers. I saw an ad for a beautiful scarf come across some website and I purchased it. I was so completely disappointed when the scarf finally did arrive, not looking anything like the photo in the advertisement. It was supposed to have several likenesses of women on the scarf- maybe 10-12 and when it arrived all I could barely see were 4. So I thought, this must be a mistake! This is not the same as the photo that I ordered from. What a nightmare trying to get it returned. Since it was “specially printed for me,” they did not want to take it back. I ended up having to eat the cost of that terribly disappointing transaction and will never ever order from them again.

  28. Jacinta Payne November 19, 2019 at 12:20 pm #

    Thanks for the article, I received an email from them this morning. I guess they are pretty much the same as Redbubble and Society 6right? It did appeal to me the way they said they produce items in an ethical and sustainable way. However I’m always wary and glad I found your article. The other thing that appealed to me was that one of their advisors is the founder and ceo of everlane. I wonder what he actually thinks of them. Good to know the quality of the clothing is not the best before wasting my time setting up a shop. Thanks again, Jacinta

  29. Niina Niskanen January 15, 2020 at 10:58 am #

    I just received an email from this company and it sounded quite spammy so went to google and came across your article. I sell a lot in POD sites like Redbubble and Society6, each of those companies have a massive following and they promote their artists (of course I promote myself as well, it´s part of my job as an illustrator). I had never heard from this company so it´s going to be a pass. I have ordered products from RB, S6 and Printful. The quality overall is good and I want that for my customers as well.

  30. Gina Datti January 20, 2020 at 10:32 pm #

    Sigh…Consumer here. Was searching for an artist-inspired scarf, and one on Vida popped up. It looked lovely. But my skeptical side was tipped off by the oh-so-vague claims about social good and education and no-content buzzwords: “VIDA’S STORY IS THAT OF THE RICH, INTERCONNECTED WORLD WE LIVE IN — THE STORY OF CONTEMPORARY LIFE AND MINDFUL, GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP.
    Absurdly vague. That this is the first line in their “Story” was a giveaway. Even the tiniest philanthropic program can describe something concrete– how many kids are in the school, how they ensure worker safety and income, how they minimize environmental impact. But not a single detail, just fluffy vague claims.
    It’s a shame, because there are some lovely designs on this site, and I was really tempted to buy. I would have purchased from a purely commercial website. But when a company wraps itself in spurious claims of doing good (without documenting them) and tries to tell me I am doing good by purchasing from them I suspect their whole operation, including the quality of their goods. Instead I will try to seek other artist-direct channels for some of these artists.

  31. Harold Davis January 21, 2020 at 8:56 am #

    Insightful comment. I tried to be fair in my original story, and I’ve always been surprised that they never wanted to tell their side in these comments or via a post. HD

  32. Alicia Jones November 4, 2020 at 10:36 am #

    I believe I still have a store there. I didn’t know if they were still in business. No sales here.

  33. Christie December 1, 2020 at 5:19 pm #

    Apparently Vida has now gotten into the mask business and complaints to the BBB are legion.

  34. zilpa van der Gragt December 16, 2020 at 12:59 pm #

    I have only been with Vida a couple of months, but I have found the complete opposite to what I am reading here. I am also joined up with Redbubble, Society6, FAA and Zazzle. In two months I have sold 25 masks in Vida. I bought myself a Statement Bag and absolutely love the quality. I have made more sales in Vida in the two months than I have made with the others in 5 years. These sales did not go to my friends and family but were totally random. Ok the products do take longer than others, but the tell you that when you order, so if you are in a hurry, it’s simple, don’t order with’ them. My bag was made in Turky and I am in Australia and it took roughly 5 weeks. The only beef I have is that there is no way of knowing how much each sale commission is at the time of sale as with the other sites, but I did get paid. I am going to do an experiment with by each time I get a sale writing down the current price of each item to check on the amount I should get and see if it compares.

  35. jinnjinn February 9, 2021 at 10:25 am #

    Watchdogs well advised when placing artwork on this site.

  36. jennifer February 14, 2021 at 10:57 am #

    So it’s not possible to delete my account on my own? Does anyone know how to delete artwork from the design gallery?

  37. Harold Davis February 14, 2021 at 11:23 am #

    I’d suggest writing them.

  38. Matthew January 13, 2022 at 2:49 pm #

    Vida also appear to have a separate “musician management agency” ( which sends out similar solicitations to classical musicians via their website contact forms, offering a virtual assistant service to send out 20 generic emails to concert venues for €100/month. It does not seem normal for legitimate musician management agencies to spam musicians’ contact forms with solicitations.

    Note that legitimate musician management agencies (in either pop or classical) normally work on a percentage, say around 15-20% of the concert fee for any concerts they successfully arrange for the musician. Meaning the musician would normally pay NOTHING to their manager unless a concert is actually arranged and the musician is actually paid. (Among other things, this gives the manager a huge incentive to successfully arrange concerts, and negotiate a fair fee, since that’s they only way they will get paid.) Also, in classical music it can take YEARS to set up concerts with concert venues; they are normally scheduled very far in advance, particularly if it’s a performance with an orchestra or as part of an established concert series. During which time the musician would be paying this monthly fee to Vida whether or not they ever managed to arrange any concerts or how far in advance they were. Orchestras and promoters of established recital/chamber music concert series receive probably hundreds, maybe even thousands, of such interest emails from artists or their managers every month, yet can only feature a handful of artists in actual concerts each month, so they ignore most of them. (Sending out 20 emails a month is also not something that is too difficult for a musician to do themself… for free.)

    I’m going to assume (possibly wrongly) that Vida might not be outright cheating people by taking the money and not even sending out the emails. (THEY SEEM VERY GOOD AT SENDING OUT EMAILS, and sending emails is very cheap, so it’s a low bar to cross to avoid fraud or breach of contract charges.) But it’s probably not even remotely worth the money for most musicians, even if those emails aren’t routinely ending up in spam folders.

    The UK Musicians’ Union has warned its members to contact them before signing up with Vida or any similar service.

    Similarly, Vide may or may not legitimately pay visual artists when their art sells through Vida’s store, but rather than passing the money along to the artist minus a small fee (maybe 10-15%, 30% at the most) as would be normal for such a storefront, they take nearly all the money (90%) and pay the artist only a paltry 10% fee (if they pay at all). Which seems like them getting nearly all the money for doing very little, especially when their site is not a known destination people tend to go to when they’re looking to buy art. Posting your art there is just legitimizing the business and lining Vida’s pockets.

    I also noticed that despite the website claiming this agency is based in Switzerland, the website contact form was actually submitted from a computer in Kursk, Russia. And furthermore, Vida seems to be aggressive with trying to have negative comments or reviews removed. (Do they also post fake positive reviews? Impossible to say, but seems possible given the other ways in which they seem to operate.)

    I would stay away. They seem spammy at the least, almost certainly not worth the money, and possibly fraudulent in some way.

  39. Harold Davis January 13, 2022 at 5:30 pm #

    Not sure that the two Vidas are the same, but your points seem valid and duly noted. Thanks.

  40. Helen Gene NIchols July 3, 2022 at 9:05 am #

    I worked with them a lot for about 2-3 years. Their quality was excellent and NOT. They were ‘good’ about ‘re-do’ for free.. but the time involved waiting AGAIN for items that should be right the first time started my search for other venues… I had museum stores waiting far too long.

    I liked that I have/had a ‘shop’ in VIDA, as I would rather it be handled by a computer somewhere. NOT my strength..

    But I found a happy place having a ‘shop’ Spoonflower (bed linens are a happy place for me)… but I have yet been able to find one place that will print the scarves that VIDA will..

    I googled ‘quality at VIDA’ hoping to see things have gotten better…. and got here.


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