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[CAFEPRESS] Cafepress Earnings Experience

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Old May 8th, 2014 May 8, 2014 9:32:40 AM -   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by royster13
For 6.00 and an email to the "Third World", you can get anything copied....
And there are free software now that can scale images to look great at 300 dpi's .
 
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Old May 10th, 2014 May 10, 2014 3:38:37 PM -   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by mav04
And there are free software now that can scale images to look great at 300 dpi's .
If, in Photoshop, you take a 72 dpi image that was something like 4x4, that you copied form a screen shot, then scaled it up to 10x10 before scaling it to 300 dpi, then maintaining the 10x10 dimensions, there's really no way around it looking "horrible". Unless you use what you're left with as a template and rebuild the image from scratch. It may look "ok" if you don't care that it's fuzzy and pixelated, but it certainly won't look "great". It's not about the software, it's about pixels.

I'd tell you though, try it. If it's easy to get 3rd world countries to copy designs and all this free software takes these little, crappy images and blows them up, increases the resolution and makes them look fabulous, what are you waiting for? Steal some ideas, it's a gold mine. You've found yourself a full-time income. Unless this is just a thought experiment, then I'd say try it. Get some third world country to rip off designs and send them to you. Just one or two, try it, see if you're right, see how easy it is. Use some free software, grab a screen shot, blow it up, make it 300dpi, put it on a t-shirt and see how it looks.
 
Old May 10th, 2014 May 10, 2014 6:07:33 PM -   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by WithoutNumber
If, in Photoshop, you take a 72 dpi image that was something like 4x4, that you copied form a screen shot, then scaled it up to 10x10 before scaling it to 300 dpi, then maintaining the 10x10 dimensions, there's really no way around it looking "horrible". Unless you use what you're left with as a template and rebuild the image from scratch. It may look "ok" if you don't care that it's fuzzy and pixelated, but it certainly won't look "great". It's not about the software, it's about pixels.

I'd tell you though, try it. If it's easy to get 3rd world countries to copy designs and all this free software takes these little, crappy images and blows them up, increases the resolution and makes them look fabulous, what are you waiting for? Steal some ideas, it's a gold mine. You've found yourself a full-time income. Unless this is just a thought experiment, then I'd say try it. Get some third world country to rip off designs and send them to you. Just one or two, try it, see if you're right, see how easy it is. Use some free software, grab a screen shot, blow it up, make it 300dpi, put it on a t-shirt and see how it looks.
Answer: That's nice. Also, there are free vector graphics that you can use a bezier tool to trace things with that no matter what the scale is, you loose no quality at all-and yes. It's easy.
 
 
Old May 11th, 2014 May 11, 2014 1:07:54 PM -   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

Well, if now we're talking about ripping images and creating vectors from them, "easy" is a relative term. It's not going to be "easy" for an average CafePress buyer with no graphic design experience. Tracing a low quality image to create a vector is more than possible on the simplest of images: text, silhouettes, but that's it. And despite how "easy" it may be, even an experienced graphic designer that's quick at the process would probably avoid spending the half hour to to steal an image, trace it, convert it to a vector, upload it to CafePress and put it on products... and for what again? To save $2.

At this point, I think you're still making the case that designers are ripped on CafePress because users are inclined to steal images, upload them themselves and avoid buying your design altogether. Which is a pretty silly assertion. But the argument is that... there are third world countries that will steal the designs and recreate them? or... you can blow up an image after you take a screenshot and... it will still look good? or... you could just trace it and convert it to a vector? I think it's about time to give up on the argument and acknowledge that none of that is happening for all the obvious reasons.

Sorry to sound like a jerk. CafePress, and other print on demand services, represent great opportunities for many people. I've never understood the need to bash the services with this nonsense.
 
Old June 23rd, 2014 Jun 23, 2014 4:15:23 AM -   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

it's too bad this topic changed to be about ripping images as it was one of the best threads I read on this forum until that low point!
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Old June 24th, 2014 Jun 24, 2014 8:49:33 AM -   #36 (permalink)
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Angry Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shocked
it's too bad this topic changed to be about ripping images as it was one of the best threads I read on this forum until that low point!
Me, too. So to steer it back into being more helpful, I'll add my two cents.

I understand that more successful shopkeepers don't want to help others become their competition, but I hardly think it hurts anything to divulge how many designs you have uploaded and your ballpark monthly intake from them. Your competition comes from smart shopkeepers who know what sells and how to get it to sell, not from number of designs, although if the number is very high I could see you not wanting to encourage people flooding the Marketplace with crap (too late) in a vain attempt to equate quantity to dollars. Designs simply have to be decent and relevant to sell, no matter how many of them you have. But I would be highly interested to see how many designs people have that are claiming to have a recent (2014) steady income in the thousands.

I have used CP since 2007, mostly for personal purchases of custom stuff. I left one design on there that has been pulling $15-25/mo consistently for about three years so I thought, why not? I wanted to take the opportunity while I'm financially stable to see if I could turn CP into my "back up" income generator, when there's little risk but a lot to gain if can get a few more designs to sell like that, so over the past several weeks I have been pumping in as many varied designs as possible.

I spend a week or two working in one direction and then switch strategies so later on I can see if any one strategy works better than the other based on sales, and I've spent several hours a day working on it despite all the people who've poo poo'd it since 2008-09 saying their sales and commissions dropped sharply, some inferring CP was absorbing sales and not crediting them to the shopkeeper at all, much less paying their due commissions. I thought even with all this, if there were still people claiming to make thousands per month even still in 2014, then surely I could make a few hundred extra to squirrel away for a rainy day, right?

Honestly there was a period of time when I had such trouble getting anything of relevance and quality to stick without being removed that it truly felt like I was being targeted no matter how careful I was to follow the content policy to the letter. I became acutely aware of how easy it is for other shopkeepers to report designs, though very few talk publicly about doing it (someone apparently suddenly swept through my whole store, reporting existing designs and everything I uploaded thereafter for about two weeks, and then abruptly stopped- suggesting it was not an automated filter- and I promise you these were my own hand-designed things on a variety of subjects that I ensured could not be copyright or intellectual property violations- really, über frustrating). There’s also the fact that their content policy does not appear to get universally applied even when an actual overtly policy-offending design is reported. On top of that I’ve had keyword woes that suggest other not so fair practices, and about 2/3 of my sales are coming in at 5% commissions even though my Marketplace rating should have me at 10%. It’s all been enough to have me cursing at my computer monitor on more than one occasion.

Despite my anger I trudged forward and have since gotten several hundred designs online, but sales are next to nonexistent, and are only pulling 5% when they do sell. Still, I keep trudging forward telling myself I must get all I can done now, so it can be indexed well in advance of the holidays... but if Christmas comes and goes this year without any of those pulling at least a few sales I will for sure give up on CP altogether, since many of them are very nice relevant, quality designs that even I’m tempted to buy for myself (and that’s saying a lot). I can't even believe I've put as much effort as I have so far into it without so much as a $15 return as yet.

So yes, after all I’ve been through recently, I’m a bit skeptical of anyone who, in 2014, is still claiming to be making thousands off CP on a predictable routine basis.


EDIT: Incidentally I've had that same design that's been selling at CP for three years on Zazzle for a couple of months. As I wrote this, I got my very first sale there. Although it certainly took long enough (it's my first sale on Zazzle, period) so I've been ignoring them, I can say the commission I just got is roughly 2.5X what I've been earning per shirt on CP.



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Last edited by JRoberts; June 24th, 2014 at 11:24 AM..
 
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Old June 24th, 2014 Jun 24, 2014 8:46:08 PM -   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

I enjoyed reading your post JRoberts and thanks for sharing a true story. I like how you gave some important details so people like me can see what really goes on and can get a realistic idea on what I could expect if I also upload hundreds of designs and things don't go as I expected. If I can offer some ideas that might help even though it's hard to tell without knowing how you work, maybe things like keywords, tags, design description could be improved to get better search results in the search engines. Since you already have done the hard work making the designs then why not put them on other places like Zazzle, spreadshirt and the other fulfillment services listed on this forum but there also seems to be a lot of new players they are not listed in the forum here that you also might want to look into. What I'm getting at is spread your designs around and try a few more places and test the markets more.

I posted in another thread that I'm not sure I can see making designs as a full time income in the future but I had a good think about it last night and I still want to give it a go as I love creating things and I would love to achieve my long term goal of making a popular brand and shop for my artistic adventures. I'm going to make a hundred or more designs soon for my 3 shops and also for all of the fulfillment services I can find to test the market like I suggested and I will post my results in the future here.
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Old September 30th, 2015 Sep 30, 2015 10:09:38 AM -   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

I just went through a faux purchase and my price was C$55.50 for a short sleeve tshirt on CP. I don't see how you can do any meaningful volume at that price. The way it seems to me, CP is looking for you to do all the work so they can make all the money.
 
Old October 27th, 2015 Oct 27, 2015 2:38:51 PM -   #39 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

I've used Cafepress for almost a decade now. I started using the service because I own a forum website and needed some branded apparel to offer the forum members with the site's logo - as well as a some designs that appeal to that niche. It's obviously easier to sell products when you have an audience to sell to, but the prices are pretty high for the premium quality shirt options on CP, especially in black or dark colors, which is what sells better these days. It forces you to keep your margins low.

When you look at your other options now - like Teespring (and their competitors) or the opportunity to open up a Shopify store and plug in an add-on like Printful or PrintAura for printing/fulfillment - Cafepress doesn't seem like the best option anymore with the benefits you get with the alternatives - better pricing, better interfaces, better print quality (from what I can tell), branded products in some cases, better reporting, ability to build email lists, etc.

I've been tossing around the idea of moving all of my old Cafepress designs over to a new service, at least the ones that have good sales history. What's the first thing you would do in that case? Maybe go in and run a report on all time sales for your products to see where all your sales come from, right? See which ones are worth moving over? Anyone ever try that in Cafepress? Their reporting is terrible. And you can't export your past CP customer list - which is a huge missed opportunity these days. You have to be able to market to your past customers.
 
Old January 6th, 2016 Jan 6, 2016 5:36:55 PM -   #40 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cafepress Earnings Experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by WithoutNumber
As well as comparisons between CafePress and Zazzle earnings. I can't find that discussion taking place anywhere else.
I find it depends on where I put the most effort. If I work more on my Zazzle store, it out performs CafePress. If I work on mostly CafePress, sales soon slow down at Zazzle. If I work them equally, I earn nearly equal amounts at both.

In spite of the commission cuts, my earnings are steadily increasing at CafePress.

You probably won't start having consistent sales on a regular basis at any POD until you at least have a MINIMUM of a few dozen designs on 100 products each. To make anything remotely close to a full time salary, you are talking more like 100s of designs each on many products. The biggest thing that keeps sales moving is to post new stuff regularly and often. This helps to bring eyes back to your old stuff, as well.

If you have a design that hasn't sold on ANYTHING in six months, you need to start thinking about deleting so your customers don't have so much crap to look thru to find the good designs. At the very least, delete the products that haven't sold with that design. Most customers are only going to look thru a few pages, so they better hit some good stuff sooner rather than later, or they are gone never to return.

And you can't rely on the POD marketplace to do all your selling for you. You need to spend at least as much time promoting your own stuff as you spend creating it.
 






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