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Thread: Cafe Press? Anyone have any experience? Making T Shirts?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Cornelius, NC
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    Cafe Press? Anyone have any experience? Making T Shirts?

    I was looking to start making a little cash selling t shirts, mugs, etc. Well, I came across cafe press, and it looks like they would give you 10% of whatever you sell through them. Now I'm no expert, but that doesn't seem like much of a margin. If it were 20%, I'd consider it, but what are the typical margins you see on such products?

    I will say that it is fairly convenient. You basically just slap your design on their stuff, and away you go.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    137
    If I understand how cafepress works, you just point people to their site, and they do all the work for you. 10% with little to no work is pretty nice. If you're buying them yourself, managing shipping to remote locations, holding inventory, etc, thats a decent amount of work you're giving yourself and yes you can probably get 20% profit at that point. Its your call, simplicity and 10% or a bit extra work for higher margins.
    ~Phil

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    Polson, Montana, USA
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    1,092
    I have used CafePress quite a bit in the past. Seemed like a pretty good deal; upload you image, digitally place it on items, set a price above their base price, create a store page on their server, collect a percentage from all the sales.
    OR
    pay a screen printing company to place your image on shirts, pay them, carry an inventory,pay and organize shipping, etc, etc.
    I would suggest you order one each of the items you do on CafePress so you can see the quality yourself.

    Luck and Prost!
    Dave
    Glacier Brewing Company
    406-883-2595
    glacierbrewing@bresnan.net

    "who said what now?"

  4. #4
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    Jun 2010
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    205
    You will be much better off going with your local print shop.
    At least that is my experience.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    Will your local print shop help you setup your own online point of sale? Or take care of all shipping duties when a customer orders it online. Sorry I do not see the comparison.

    Cafepress has a major hub here in Louisville b/c UPS has a major hub here. Shipping is very quick. I went out and visited their facility. They do not use screen printing. They use a proprietary printing process that uses some form of ink jet printing. It works great lasts a long time. With maybe an hour of set up and uploading of images we had a store front online that all we had to do was check the mailbox for our cut of the sales. Literally that easy.
    Joel Halbleib
    CBO "Chief Brewing Officer" / Zymurgist
    Bluegrass Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    www.bluegrassbrewing.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Conroe, Texas, USA
    Posts
    53

    If you're gonna...

    In My opinion, local print shops are great if you are going to sell shirts at your place. e-grandstand is good for glassware and mugs (nothing fancy, but pretty cheap). Our artist did some things through cafe press, and I was dissapointed in the quality - I only saw a few things though, although the I-Pad cover was really jankey. Just my $.02
    Dave Fougeron
    Southern Star Brewing Company
    Conroe, Texas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    205
    Quote Originally Posted by BrewinLou
    Will your local print shop help you setup your own online point of sale? Or take care of all shipping duties when a customer orders it online. Sorry I do not see the comparison.
    Not to be difficult. I thought OP was thinking of opening Nano Brewery.
    There is a slim margin on Cafe Press products. The base T-shirts quality was so-so. As I said this is my experience.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    712
    True, they do not give you an option for nicer quality stuff, but I think they make up for that in variety of items you can have your logo printed on. JMO as well.
    Joel Halbleib
    CBO "Chief Brewing Officer" / Zymurgist
    Bluegrass Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    www.bluegrassbrewing.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Ex-Germany / California
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    601
    Another option: www.zazzle.com

    Same concept, different shirts possible. I do not recommend the "best value" shirt, as they are Hanes and of dismal quality. I have been pleased with shirts from American Apparel. A tad thin but wash & wear very well.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    243

    Depends!

    I have a Cafepress and a Zazzle store through their respective sites and prefer zazzles operation more the cafepress. they both do the same thing, and other the it being an almost exclusivey web based enterprise, I think they do a great job of helping themselves to a huge profit margin based on our designs. the only problem I have with either of them is their pricing structure relative to product quality and percantage discounts to store customers (they dont exist until you get to selling thousands of shirts per year).

    just keep in mind what your customer is willing to pay for in terms of tshirts. remember, its JUST a tshirt, and when you have to pay $30+/- for the so so quality items, how many will you sell?
    I am not speaking out of school, so before you flame me for not knowing what I am talking about, I have been buying, printing and selling tshirts for more than 6 years and understand the business completely.
    the average wholesale cost of a good heavyweight tshirt (i.e. Hanes Beefy T) is around $2.00 each for white, and up to $5+ for colored shirts if you buy them wholesale in case (144) quantity, you can have them printed with a singe 4 color print for around $2.00 to $3.00 each. shipping over first class mail is around $3.00 a shirt in the US.
    so lets say you buy a case of Hanes Beefy T's in white, you have a friend artist to create your image in a program like Adobe Illustrator .AI format in 4colors and copies it onto a thumb drive for you. you take it to a local screen print shop and show it to their manager/owner, tell him you know how much the tshirts are wholesale and that you can buy them from him as long as he doesnt add too much to them for buying them himself and even offer to pay for the blank T's up front if he wants, and that what you really need is a price to print them, as long as its not a rush print job and they arent overloaded,(most are struggling right now to keep the lights on), you should get them printed for around $2.00 to $3.00 each. so lets look at it,
    Tshirt- $2.00 each
    Printing- $2.50 each
    shipping- $3.00 each
    Total - $7.50 each for the highest quality tshirt you can buy.

    you take 144 x 2.00 = $288.00 for a case of blank white shirts, print them for 144 x 2.50 =$360.00 and ship them for 144 x 3.00=432.00 for a total of
    $432
    $360
    $288
    ______
    $1,080.00 total cost
    sell the shirts for $18 each including *free shipping* = $15.00 x 144= $2,160, you would have to sell 360 cafepress tshirts for nearly $30 each + shipping and making a 20% margin on those to get that much money. roughly 80 more sales to equal what you need to sell from the do nothing sites. sure, you have to have someone setup a paywall on your website through paypal or one of the others, but you need that anyway to promote your brewery, and you need someone to aggregate the orders one day a week and ship them.
    guys (and potentially ladies), Cafepress and Zazzle do digital garment printing and the sites were created to allow individuals with a "creative" bone to design something and have it printed on items one at a time, they never intended to do what were talking about, but some of us never really looked into doing it ourselves or really cared about it. and honestly they do a good job printing a soso quality product for $30+/- and shipping. their store thing just only really works for people with very little time or inclination to make any money off their merchandise, it is very easy to do, and its free, and thats why I keep those two stores going, but I sell literally 50 times as many tshirts per month of much better quality for way less cost to my customers. lets be honest, were really doing this for publicity and hope it eventually helps us establish a brand, but its not gonna work if we charge too much for a simple tshirt and most people would buy 2 for $30.00 at the brewery, but wont pay $30.00 each off the website.

    ready, set, attack me at will.....lol
    www.chattahoocheebrewingcompany.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ex-Germany / California
    Posts
    601
    Basically I agree with you ChattaV2Comp. I avoided the loss of cash flow and one day running out of L but having 30 S still available and the time & effort involved with the process of shipping and handling. If you have someone who can take care of this task without incurring extra cost, and you sell a good quantity of goods, by all means, it is the right way to go.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    6

    Retails thoughts

    Consider:
    1. What is your goal in selling retail goods?
    2. how much time to you truly have to dedicate to it?
    3. Is 10% margin on anything you sell satisfactory?
    4. Would you better served by hiring a competent part time person to assist you with retail development 9I've been hired for this before with much success).
    5. Will they be as available as a local/regional source close to you?

    Retail items as a general rule should generate a minimum of 30 - 50% margin when done right. And it should reinforce and augment your brand; it shouldn't be just to be. Do it right or put your energies elsewhere.

    Feel free to contact me directly with questions.
    Ginger Johnson, Women Enjoying Beer (.com), 515.450.7757

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