6 min 51 sec

Retired Couple Sells Digital Art Prints Online

A retired husband-and-wife team make a shift from handmade art to digital art prints. They now sell more than 100 prints each month.
Amazon Arts & Crafts Creative Product

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What It's About

Art prints that keep retirement from being a bore.

Business Model
Arts & Crafts
Skills Required
Design & Creativity
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Imagine that tomorrow you didn’t have to go to work. But you also felt rested and ready for a new challenge. What would it be? Would you embark on a new career or adventure? Imagine, in this scenario, that you have to choose something.

There may come a time when that fantasy is more than just a daydream! And of course, there’s no need to wait until then to get started.

Fun Fact

So where do they get the backdrops for the designs they put together? Well, Stephen and Lyn have an extensive collection of retro service station maps from the 1940s-50s that they sourced from a series of estate sales and on eBay!

Notes from Chris

Episode 560

Stephen Sasser and Lyn Nance-Sasser are a husband-and-wife duo creating art. They first met in art school and had a studio in Portland, Oregon where they would make physical silk-screen prints full-time in the 80s. To raise their family and send their children to private school, they both decided to take positions with a regular paycheck. Stephen took a job as a creative art director while Lyn worked as an illustrator.

After their kids finished with college, Stephen and Lyn started thinking about what they would do as their retirement was approaching. They knew that their hearts were in printmaking. It’s how they best express themselves, so they restarted their studio art practice.

But instead of handmade art prints, Stephen and Lyn made a shift to using digital techniques. Back in the dark ages, they’d spend an entire day making only a couple of prints—before anyone wants to buy them. They used to have full storage of arts that didn’t sell. By embracing new technology, they get to design the images and store them on their computer. And only print the art piece on demand using a third-party printing facility. According to Stephen, digital printmaking is 10 times easier than doing it physically while the quality is as good as handmade prints.

In 2012, Stephen and Lyn received a $7,500 grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Councils in Portland to produce ten prints with Portland icons. They spent a portion of this grant to get their own printing equipment. Then, they came up with the idea and began making images of urban icons, superimposed on retro service station tourist-maps. The icons are located over the background maps with a “YOU ARE HERE” logo that shows the spot on locations.

Because they began in Portland, their original theme was "You Are Here — Portland." They held their first exhibition at Powell’s City of Books. Many of their prints were sold out at that show, and it gave them the courage to proceed with their retirement in 2013. They then had a few other exhibitions at coffee shops, microbrew pubs, bookshops, and art galleries.

Based on the positive response they received from You Are Here — Portland, they went back to their studio and initiated a Kickstarter campaign called “You Are Here — Coast-to-Coast.” The goal was to expand their horizon and bring the You Are Here Art Prints to other cities across the country.

Right now, Stephen and Lyn sell upwards of 100 prints a month at an average price of $35/each, with 1/3rd of them coming from local sales and the other 2/3rds coming from Amazon Handmade. They enjoy shipping their prints all over the USA, and they have even shipped to Japan, Australia, and Great Britain. Sometimes, they enter the receiving address into Google Maps and have a look at where the prints will be sent. It reinforces their original reason for embracing printmaking and fuels their passion for growing the business further.

For Stephen and Lyn, the best part of the side hustle is that it allows them to do what they love. They can’t imagine themselves not doing anything after their retirement. And their side hustle keeps them from being bored while generating good income at the side.

  • You Are Here Art: Feeling homesick and want something to remember your hometown with? Check out Lyn and Stephen's full line of prints, or ask for a customized print of your own!
  • Kickstarter | You Are Here - Coast-to-Coast: The Kickstarter campaign that the duo used
  • Amazon Handmade: The Artisan-only store within Amazon.com where makers sell their unique, handcrafted goods to millions of customers

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"We can’t imagine ourselves doing nothing during our retirement. One of our friends saw what we’re doing and said: ‘I want to do that too! I'm bored and can't stand it anymore.’ This side hustle is not just about making money, it’s about keeping us occupied with what we love."
—Stephen Sasser & Lyn Nance-Sasser #SideHustleSchool

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