Wednesday, 16th August is launch day for Ownaindi.com, a new “go to” online marketplace that specialises in Australian comics and local creators. ACJ sat down with the brains behind the concept, Marie Mour, and got the lowdown on what to expect.
ACJ: What exactly IS Ownaindi?
Marie Mour: Ownaindi is an Australian comic marketplace. So similar to Etsy or Ebay where there’s individual, independent sellers in the one place. This makes it easy for the public to browse and discover aussie comics from around the country. Retailers will be able to stock up too. This is a first, and by banding together, Australian comics can increase its presence online.
ACJ: Why did you set this site up?
Marie Mour: I’m a fan myself and noticed that creators online either sell via Facebook or send people to a BigCartel link to handle the ecommerce side. There’s no ‘go to’ site to buy Aussie comics easily and each creator has to advertise heavily as there is no discoverability on BigCartel. I was going to setup a cheap ecommerce site for a creator and realized I could help with that larger issue. I’m a graphic/web designer and I understand what’s involved to set that up and it’s not easy. No one with a business brain would bother, as it’s a time and money heavy endeavor, but it will help creators greatly so I decided to make the leap.
ACJ: What are the benefits for both creator/seller and customer?
Marie Mour: The benefits to the public is the greatest. Being able to browse Aussie comics by genre has never been possible like this. Being able to search comics by location too. There’s little ‘scenes’ all around Australia, so getting a look in at what’s happening elsewhere is great. Some creators just can’t afford to attend a con across the country. So the benefit for them too is the same. Crunching distance and having an artist alley online helps everyone, especially those not in a major city.
ACJ: How is the site structured for local creators? How can they become involved?
Marie Mour: Creators can use the site the same as they would on other ecommerce platforms. They get their own address to point to and we will be featuring new comics and sellers on the homepage. There is a yearly fee only, with no restrictions on how many items listed and no commission is taken by Ownaindi on sales (normal PayPal fees still apply). Fill in the online form to apply or email directly. Zines also welcome.
ACJ: Are there any restrictions on what types of comics a creator can sell on the site?
Marie Mour: Short answer: no. You must have a comic or art/sketchbook to be able to sell on the site. This isn’t a prints heavy website. There is no heavy gore or NSFW items currently and anything that requires some censorship will be marked with a warning. Some creators have come on board before the launch as a group of beta-testers, so to speak.
ACJ: What has the response been so far to the site and the features offered?
Marie Mour: The response has been amazing, to be honest. I had a conservative number in mind to build on from launch and that’s been far and away surpassed. The quality has been incredible too. Creators understand the benefit of coming together just like a con. So this online version has the strength in numbers element plus they keep all the profit and they ship directly to the customer. Creators self-run their ‘store’ so they stay totally independent (Ownaindi doesn’t handle any stock or distribution). Features like being able to create coupons and having a simple interface has been well received. They have been patient as well which is appreciated, as with any new platform there’s always some issues to iron out but none impact the customer.
ACJ: What do you have in mind for the future? Will there be other features and services added to the site down the track?
Marie Mour: We are doing a ‘soft’ launch so creators can use the site to sell asap, other comic related content will appear soon. Signing up to the mailing list is recommend to stay informed.
There is a list of planned features that will roll out in time. We have a links page for all things related to Aussie comics: cons/LCS/review sites like ACJ etc. Bringing resources together and supporting other sites is important both for creators and fans.
The biggest feature coming soon is the ability for retailers to buy wholesale which will save them time. Currently having so many different methods and people to deal with is okay, but time intensive. They will be able to add items from multiple creators and pay in one transaction. This is in the beta stage at the moment so any retailers keen to give it a try, get in touch.
ACJ: When do see the site launching?
Marie Mour: Launch is Wednesday, August 16th at around 2-3pm.
ACJ: Can creators get involved before the launch?
What else can people do to spread the word and support the site?
Marie Mour: Signing up to the mailing list and showing support on social media is a big help. Not only are you supporting creators directly by sharing their links you are helping raise the profile of Australian comics too.
ACJ: How did you come up with the name?
Marie Mour: It’s a mixture of ‘creator-owned’ and ‘independent’, terms familiar to those who enjoy comics. As Australian Comics are always independent I thought that was pretty important too. It’s pronounced “own-a-indie” but being Aussie we mush things together so asking people to “owna-indie” in one roll sums it up!