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Old 06-12-2003, 03:10 PM   #1
Czar

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Question CafePress stores - viable?

Hey guys-n-gals,

I've just taken the first tentative steps towards opening a CafePress store and propagating it with products, but before spending too much time on new designs I'd like to know how well those of you already using them have fared thus far.

I'm aware of the complaints concerning print/transfer quality that were circulating several months back. Has this improved, or do prints still peel, crack or fade when the shirts are washed?

Have you found the high prices debilitating, or can a selection of quotes and graphics witty enough stimulate interest within like-minded communities?

Have you received any complaints from customers concerning delays in delivery, poor packaging, inadequate customer service, etc?

Sincere thanks in advance,
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Old 06-14-2003, 07:25 PM   #2
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Hey Czar,

I made a half dozen or so designs for Cafe Press promotion and so far, nada. Nyet. Zippo.

I have a neat little hook, too, or so I thought, but no sales. I suspect that Google's present delirium is contributing to the lack of sales. The pages haven't been indexed yet as far as I can tell.

Wish I had more cheerful news, but YMMV.
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Old 06-14-2003, 09:28 PM   #3
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Well, driven by curiosity more than anything else I slapped together 17 item designs over the weekend. Hopefully this won't have been a complete waste of time.

I'll probably give the store a bit of pay-per-click exposure and see what eventuates.

Thanks for the feedback, Rhea.
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Old 06-14-2003, 10:37 PM   #4
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Good luck with it Czar

Rhea? What is YMMV
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Old 06-15-2003, 07:49 AM   #5
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Hey Jan!

YMMV = your mileage may vary.
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Old 06-15-2003, 12:50 PM   #6
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Good luck to all

I tried this on these Forums a few years ago

The quality of the T is great
Shipping was great and fast
The image faded a lot. We had another thread on this which sugested turning the T inside out before you wash it
I think they still use a "dye sublimation" printing process which is never as good as real "silk screening"

I had a bunch of folks sign up under me who never made sales

I think I earned like $10 or less in one year. Not worth my time.

I think you need a ton of traffic as one dollar or so per T is not a lot of money.

I recently got an email about my dormant account which had about one dollar in it and they will deplete it to zero ala cj or I could use the money as a credit on a purchase

HTH
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Old 06-15-2003, 10:06 PM   #7
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Heh yea I got that same email recently Steve. I had a total of 6 sales of my stuff back when I was promoting it ... one of those sales was me, and two were my dad.

The quality of the first shirt I bought was not great ... that was back when Cafepress first started, and I don't know what kind of printing they were doing, but it was pretty poor. The more recent one I got (about a year ago) was better ... it's faded, but not much, a bit worse than a normal printed tee you'd buy in a store.

But I concurr with Steve, you'll need a lot of traffic ... I had a poll on my site dosgames.com ... asking if people would be interested in buying a shirt for $x.xx ... 1,000's voted "Yes". Just goes to show how accurate web polls can be sometimes, I sold a total of 3 heh
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Old 06-17-2003, 12:49 AM   #8
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For a webpoll to be accurate you have to have questions with fill in the blank types of answers. If you ask someone what they are interested in buying and they write it in for you, odds are they are interested and that niche is not being filled. Give them choices and people are just going to select something even if not truly interested.
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Old 06-17-2003, 07:31 AM   #9
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I havent used Cafe Press but for those who feel energetic, you may want to consider making your own TShirts.

You can buy iron on transfer paper for your printer from most business supply places or at Amazon. There are different types of paper for different makes of printers. You just print out an image onto the special paper (via your printer) and start ironing.

From my own experience it worked ok, but we found we did have to wash the Tshirts inside out to make the colour last longer.

FYI the quality of the iron on depends on the quality of the ink. When I was doing this with an HP, the ink from the refill cartridges faded much faster than the original HP ink.
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Old 06-17-2003, 09:34 AM   #10
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Another option is doing it yourself silk screen. (Well, having it done!)

Although an investment up front, if you have a niche on the web and your art is unique to the niche, have a go at it. Start with one or two products...

My website's store is successful from t-shirts to mugs...and lots more...all built around the niche. And I have it all done myself (and yes, the "store" is sitting on shelves in my office. I have packaging and mailing help now where I used to be able to do it all myself.)
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Old 06-17-2003, 09:49 AM   #11
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Great ideas!

The only problem with that approach being that the majority of my audience is US-based and though CafePress' prices are hardly competitive, factoring in merchant and shipping fees, plus the delays that will result from posting items from Australia might reduce the attractiveness of a direct approach.

That said, once I know which designs produce the most interest, I might consider removing the middle-man from the process and setting up some shipping networks. That approach certainly sounds terribly creative.

Until I manage to attract some interest, though, it's safer to outsource the tricky stuff to a third party.

Great to hear that you're doing so well, Kathy. Your store seems to be bucking the trend quite nicely.
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Old 06-23-2003, 01:55 AM   #12
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I forgot what they are but there were a few cafepress competitors that charge a chunk less and leave more room for profit margins. Anyone know who these competitors are?
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Old 07-19-2003, 03:18 AM   #13
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I think CafePress works a great idea. I find their prices competitive (I've been doing related gift items thorugh various companies since 1987) and the just in time manufacturing and delivery is brilliant.

I started my shop just before Christmas 2002 but not in time for that holiday. Had a few sales. I would like to integrate it with my affiliate program (I use Kowabunga software and hosting) but CafePress doesn't do that yet. I'm surprised that they don't offer their own affiliate program software.

I would LOVE to know if there is any other company that does what CafePres does too. Come to think of it, I did see another company used on sites in the DMOZ, Shopping.

The greeting card quality is great. But they need to offer mixed sets of cards adn they need to offer affiliate program integration to make it possible to promote effectively.

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Old 07-26-2003, 05:45 PM   #14
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Well kids, I made two bucks from the sale of one of my Cafe Press designs! Yay me!!!

So tell me, how do you all suggest I spend this windfall? Should I treat myself to two loads of washing at the local Suds-n-Fluff? How about a down payment on a dancing hamster doll? Or maybe I should open an IRA. That would be the mature thing to do.
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Old 07-26-2003, 09:16 PM   #15
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Hamster doll! Hamster doll!

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