T-Shirt Forums banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a cafepress site that does pretty well but the amount of marketing they do to our customers really concerns me. The packaging has cafepress all over it. They put flyers in the box basically telling the customer that it's easy and free, which kind of underminds what I'm doing. Then they keep the email address and market to that person.

Now that cafepress shows in their reports what sales came from their site and which came from the outside, I can see that I'm bringing most of the business.

Is it worth leaving and buying a heatpress to do the work myself? I know I'll make more money that way but it will be much more work.

The real benefit is I can market to my existing customer base and what have to compete with cafepress after the sale.

Is the amount of business lost due to not being able to market after the fact a big loss?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,970 Posts
Yes. :)

Cafepress is great for hobbists. It is not the basis for a business (Rodney will disagree...don't believe him!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It's great for them to take care of everything but my real complaint is they keep the client info and they market to them.
Is there substantial repeat business from future emailing etc...? and does doing it on your own take tons of time?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,512 Posts
CP is a place to start; if you're running a successful business it shouldn't be a place to end. It sounds like you're getting itchy, which would suggest you're ready to move to the next stage (buying a heat press and doing it yourself as you suggested for example, though there are also other options).

Doing it yourself can take a lot of time, but if you get your business set-up efficiently it doesn't have to take up too much time. If it's starting to eat into your time, hopefully that's because it's generating a lot of money... a good problem to have (and one that can eventually be solved with an employee, then another, and so on).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
400 Posts
monkeylantern said:
Yes. :)

Cafepress is great for hobbists. It is not the basis for a business (Rodney will disagree...don't believe him!)
I totally disagree with that one. It can and has been a hell of a successful way to make a LOT of money for some people. I'm not talking pocket change. Profit is the may goal for business and you can be assured you will achieve that with CafePress.

But the life of your business could well be longer if you had full control of it. Like the marketing aspect - if you owned that information you could probably increase your repeat sales. CafePress increases their repeat sales but it doesn't generally mean just in your shop.

The main advantage for me in printing my own t-shirts is more profit. But tbh when you wager in all what CP actually do it may be tough to actually compete.

CP does have it's uses for the hobbist yes but I use it like a marketer. It's so easy for me to bang up a design, market it and sell it. Not much effort on my part.

That's interesting to hear that their new reports could be loosing them members. Whoops.

Anyway. Why don't you seriously think about starting up your own site. Maybe a sister site. Keep your own CP running and offer exclusive screen printed designs on the side. It would be a good way to start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I do very well running on cafepress but sometimes I think it's like cutting yourself off at the knees. Your customer list is a valuable asset. With cafepress we can't even see it and ontop of that , someone else is using it. I always knew that in the back of my mind and I know that CP markets all over your package but I had to order some for myself the other day and when I read the brochore that they sent it just really pissed me off.
I always told myself that I get enough sales from the marketplace to make up for it but now that it's right infront of me I see that each month a great percentage of sales are coming from my marketing. It was almost 50/50 in my first month but now it's 90% through the shop.
I'm greatfull to cafepress for how they make it so easy to start up at basically no cost but I think I'm hittnig my limit there. If they would make a above premium level where they don't market to the customer and don't put their name all over anything I'd be happy to pay for it but I don't think that will happen.
Sorry my messages go so long. I think sometime after the summer I'll start setting up my own site and run it in parrallel to cafepress for a while.
I actually had a big national magazine that wanted a sample shirt for a story they were doing. I didn't have time to order and then ship it out so I shipped it to them directly from CP. They ended up using other peoples shirts that weren't cp stores. I just think the editor got all that stuff and figured, "oh this isn't what I was expecting"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
By the way, this site is great. You guys are really helpfull. I saw Burntees put a link to a forum here once on the cp site. That's how I really opened my eyes.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
Is it worth leaving and buying a heatpress to do the work myself? I know I'll make more money that way but it will be much more work
Do you have the time and money to invest in the setup. Not only the heat press, but the website design, webhosting, merchant account, transfers. Do you have time to do the printing of all the orders you get? Do you have time to ship them all out in a timely manner and handle customer service calls and emails?

If so, then you may be ready to move on. If you feel like you're hitting a limit and you have the time and resources to move on, it could be worth a shot. I know several people that have done it successfully. Not everyone realizes all it takes to run an online shop though.

If not, then maybe you could use the money from cafepress and start setting up your own side store (start with a good domain name, etc). If you've been using the cafepress newsletter feature, you could use that to announce your off-cafepress store if you ever decided to make the switch.

I personally don't think the marketing materials that are in the package have that much impact. I don't think it takes away from your customers that wanted to buy YOUR designs.

Not all end customers want to make their own t-shirt. Not all of our end customers have the ability to.

I've been using cafepress since they started and I was selling t-shirts on my own *before* they launched. I originally just used them because I wanted to sell coffee mugs.

Along the way, I've used cafepress similar to the way that Adam does. As a marketer. I have lots of t-shirt ideas (as do most of us). Over the years, I've been able to think of a design, create the design on my computer, post it in my cafepress store and make a profit off it in less than 24 hours (sometimes within minutes). There is definitely a useful tool in the right hands.

At the same time, I've started new t-shirt lines that I knew wouldn't be right for cafepress. So sometimes I've used different fulfillment companies and sometimes I've done it all on my own (mostly screen printing), I haven't tried heat transfers...yet ;)

I actually had a big national magazine that wanted a sample shirt for a story they were doing. I didn't have time to order and then ship it out so I shipped it to them directly from CP. They ended up using other peoples shirts that weren't cp stores. I just think the editor got all that stuff and figured, "oh this isn't what I was expecting"
I wouldn't be too sure of that. I've worked with cafepress on several news stories (one recently for a Men's Health TV segment).

Sometimes journalists (or their editors), go a different direction for the story at the last minute, or someone else picks which products will be mentioned.

The editor that got your product probably got what they expected (as long as they got it in time), but there could be a number of reasons why they didn't use your tee in the article.

The Men's Health TV segment ended up using a couple of cafepress shirts (along with one of my non-cafepress shirts :)) in the piece.

Although, if you have someone in the media that is interested in your cafepress products, you should contact the PR guy at CafePress and he'll definitely work with you to make sure you make a good impression.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
About how much can you make using cafe press?
There's no real answer to that question :)

There's no "limit" to the amount you can make. Some people will make $0 and some will make thousands of dollars each month.

With any business, your success depends on your unique product/service and your ability to effectively advertise that product to the right people.


I'm thinking about using them. If I put in 20+ designs can I make any money?
Sure. It's not going to be as easy as uploading 20+ designs and sitting back.

You can make money with those 20+ designs using spreadshirt or many other printing services (or printing them yourself).

It comes down to advertising and marketing. Cafepress/spreadshirt/zazzle, etc are just tools.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I'm not worried about the website/hosting etc... I'm actually a software developer in real life. Also, I'm not worried about the startup costs. I make enough from cafepress to cover it anyway.
It's not so much the marketing materials being a problem as much as it's a reminder to me when I see it.
It's after-sale email marketing that I think is more valuable. It's like the cottonfactory.com. I've bought from them before a few years ago. They email me with sales and new designs and now and then I'll see one that I like and buy it even though I never go back to the site. They keep themselves fresh in my mind.

I figure I can move off CP but leave the CP site up too. If I'm not into doing it on my own I can just switch back.

To the guy that was asking can you make money with CP. Yes you can but it's like any other business. Some die and some make it. You've got to work at. In the beginning the nice thing is you can just focus on making designs and marketing and forget about everything else.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
I'm not worried about the website/hosting etc... I'm actually a software developer in real life. Also, I'm not worried about the startup costs. I make enough from cafepress to cover it anyway.
It's not so much the marketing materials being a problem as much as it's a reminder to me when I see it.
Sounds like you've got the knowledge and time to give it a go! It might be worth a shot, just for the experience of it all.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
Cafepress is great for hobbists. It is not the basis for a business (Rodney will disagree...don't believe him!)
Star Trek, Tupac's estate, Comics.com, March of Dimes, Dilbert, Wikipedia, Noggin and a few more major coporate accounts and licensors would probably disagree as well ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
A super premium shop has been mentioned and discussed before in the CP forums. A regular premium is 6.95 a month. I'd pay $50 a month if they woudl send blank boxes or print our name on the sticker or something and let us keep the emails. They don't do that because they aren't stupid. Part of their business is when we sell a shirt but part is the continued marketing to customers that we bring in. They know that's the long term that will keep paying off. I don't mean to sound bitter, I actaully really like CP. It's an awesome service and I probably wouldn't have gone this far without it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
They don't do that because they aren't stupid. Part of their business is when we sell a shirt but part is the continued marketing to customers that we bring in. They know that's the long term that will keep paying off.
I'm pretty sure there are more reasons that that why they don't offer such a program, but you're right, it has been mentioned several times before.

Are you going to the cafepress conference in October?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I'm going to Boston this weekend because it's closer. CP is a business and is in business to make profit. I really think the reason they don't let people have a non cp branded store, even if cp could make a lot in fees for such a store, is they make more from pushing cp further, getting more people to sign up, order more stuff and owning the client list. They aren't out of line or being greedy with it either. They run a smart business.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
27,691 Posts
I really think the reason they don't let people have a non cp branded store, even if cp could make a lot in fees for such a store, is they make more from pushing cp further, getting more people to sign up, order more stuff and owning the client list. They aren't out of line or being greedy with it either. They run a smart business.
I'm pretty sure there is more than just that one factor. Like customer privacy, protecting their brand and probably other more complex issues.

I'm sure they make money off of it, but I doubt it's that significant compared to their other marketing outlets. I could be wrong though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,070 Posts
Tshirtguy said:
Is it worth leaving and buying a heatpress to do the work myself? I know I'll make more money that way but it will be much more work.

The real benefit is I can market to my existing customer base and what have to compete with cafepress after the sale.



Thanks.
I thiink you know the answer and just might be scared. If you are in this business to make money, leave them. If you are in it to work hard for someone else, stay with them.

Now if I was you, I'd get the heat press and go make more money. I would feel better working hard for myself then to have put work in and some other company get my clients.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top