Monday, December 18, 2006

Opening Up Shop

Pappy T-ShirtI've been thinking recently about putting together some t-shirt designs and opening a little online store. My motive wouldn't be to make money (because I'm pretty sure my only customers would be my wife and myself), but it would be wild to come across a total stranger wearing Pappy merchandise.

There are a number of different web services that allow you to set up an online store without any upfront costs-- they take a certain amount on each sale and you charge your profit over and above that. I see a number of bloggers who make use of Cafe Press for this service, but I've seen a few mixed reviews on the turnaround time, cost, and quality of some of the merchandise. I have absolutely no experience, so I'm ignorant on all counts.

Are any of these companies good? In the spirit of all things on the web, a little research exposes a wealth of contradictary guidance. What sense I can make of it seems to indicate that a lot depends on matching the printing process to the appropriate materials. The direct printing technique used for these print-on-demand companies isn't the same as screen printing used for large t-shirt productions, and sometimes appears washed out on thick cotton sweatshirts, for example. There are a couple of helpful posts with detailed discussions ongoing here and here at the now-deceased The Brooke blog.

6 comments:

Buster the Wired Fox Terror said...

My Mom said you inspired her to design a poop bag with my likeness on it!

Bussie Kissies
Buster

Pippin the flyball dog said...

Hey Pappy,

Your fella is so talented, I bet more people than just him and your gal would wear the stuff he designed.

You've been Christmas tagged--you can see what to do at my blog.

Pippin

Gus said...

I think you grossly underestimate the audience for Pappy Poop shirts. We would buy an xxxs for Teka.

Gussie and muzzer

Pappy's Fella said...

Buster,
Brilliant. You've got a customer if you can keep the per unit price down... Pappy frequently goes through two in a walk.

Pippin,
I'll do my best to come up with another round of gift ideas.

Gus,
Thanks for your support. I appreciate the terrier esprit de corps.

HART (1-800-HART) said...

If you do use Cafepress .. make sure you have as high quality pixels and preferably in .png format for best results. Also, if you are making something like your pet picture, make sure there is enough white space around the edges to allow it to fit to wierd products .. like cups, shorts, Tees, sweats, etc .. Also, a couple (2) designs is enough to start with .. i.m.o. But, keep in mind that's what I know - not what I've learned, because I've only made about $55 commissions lifetime to day using Cafepress (not that good, eh?)

Pappy's Fella said...

Hart,
Thanks for the guidance... you've certainly got more sales than most of us have under our belts. I'd heard the guidance about transparent PNGs, so that the areas that should have no color don't print in white on, say, a black shirt. I read something about Cafe Press only allowing one design on one item (e.g. coasters) unless you upgrade to a premium account. I'm a little more inclined towards trying Printfection, but we'll see. Need to knock a couple of things together first-- one thing promotional, one thing of more general interest.