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well, after much contemplation, i have just opened my CP store! i decided to go ahead and do it because i need capital to do my own shirts and, with print-on-demand, i can get started with little investment. when (i'm being optimistic) the shirts, etc. on CP start selling, then i'll have funds to put toward my other stuff.

i thought of a shop name, and, since i like it, i also bought the domain name. i'm thinking about the future. :)

now i'm faced with a dilemma: start off as a basic shop and THEN move to premium or start off as a premium shop? since i can't downgrade back to basic, i need to make sure a premium shop is a good move right now. i guess i could always do it, but the features with the premium option look really good. and $7/month isn't much. i have a lot of ideas and i think i've found a way to appeal to many different groups of passionate consumers. i hope! :)

so, what do you experienced CPers think? basic to start and then move to premium? or premium to start?

also, when i'm done with CP, since i have the same domain as the shop, can i just easily take everything i want from my store, close it, and move everything to my own website? (i'm assuming that eventually i will want to do that.)

thanks a lot!

veggie
 

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vegbyrd said:
also, when i'm done with CP, since i have the same domain as the shop, can i just easily take everything i want from my store, close it, and move everything to my own website? (i'm assuming that eventually i will want to do that.)
I haven't used CP before, so I may be wrong, but I don't think you can do that. It depends on what you mean by "everything". The pictures of your products are most likely property of CP. When you want to start selling your own products, you will have to built your own website, take your own product pictures, get a shopping cart, merchant account, etc.

What you *can* do to make that transition easier for your customers is to use domain gripping or forwarding to point your domain at your CP shop address. So when people type in www.yourdomain.com, it will automatically go to your CP shop.

If you do this from the beginning, you can promote your domain name URL instead of the one for your CP shop. Then, if you decide to set up your own shop later on, the domain name will be the same so if someone has your site bookmarked, they will be able to find it easily. Also, all the marketing you did for your CP shop will now be applied to your new shop.

Hope that helps. :)
 

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Jasonda said:
I haven't used CP before, so I may be wrong, but I don't think you can do that. It depends on what you mean by "everything". The pictures of your products are most likely property of CP. When you want to start selling your own products, you will have to built your own website, take your own product pictures, get a shopping cart, merchant account, etc.

What you *can* do to make that transition easier for your customers is to use domain gripping or forwarding to point your domain at your CP shop address. So when people type in www.yourdomain.com, it will automatically go to your CP shop.

If you do this from the beginning, you can promote your domain name URL instead of the one for your CP shop. Then, if you decide to set up your own shop later on, the domain name will be the same so if someone has your site bookmarked, they will be able to find it easily. Also, all the marketing you did for your CP shop will now be applied to your new shop.

Hope that helps. :)
thanks a lot, jasonda! i read something in the agreement that states when your store is closed you own all of your own stuff. i HATE legalese, so i may be leaving something out. but it sounds to me as if the relationship is over when you close your shop. i hope this is right.

i'm not sure i understand the stuff in the second paragraph. but it sounds as if i'll have an option to to use my domain name, but have my CP store show up when people click on it for as long as i want. and then folks will already be familiar with my domain name when i close my store and have my own website.

now it sounds as if this only happens with a premium shop, not a basic one. is this correct?

thanks again!

veggie
 

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vegbyrd said:
i'm not sure i understand the stuff in the second paragraph. but it sounds as if i'll have an option to to use my domain name, but have my CP store show up when people click on it for as long as i want. and then folks will already be familiar with my domain name when i close my store and have my own website.
What he means is:

you get your own domain name and then use "domain forwarding" supplied by the company you bought the domain from. in domain forwarding you automatically re-direct the user from your domain to another one. so say you get a domain www.myshop.com. you logon from your domain-provider website, go to domain forwarding and choose to redirect to www.cafepress.com/myshop. It isn't something that's done on CP's side but on the Domain-Provider's side ;)

When the user types in "www.myshop.com", he/she is automatically taken to "www.cafepress.com/myshop".

Finally, if you do decide to create a website, you would remove domain-forwarding and have a website hosted on that domain. ;)
 

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vegbyrd said:
now it sounds as if this only happens with a premium shop, not a basic one. is this correct?
No, you can do domain gripping or forwarding to any shop, free or premium, it doesn't matter.

Like Amante said, it is set up from the domain side, from the company that you purchased your domain from. It has nothing to do with CP, so it doesn't matter if you forward it to CP, spreadshirt, or any other fulfillment site, or any other website on the internet, for that matter. You can also change it at any time.

Domain forwarding should be easy to set up from your domain's control panel. Right now it probably says your domain is set as "domain parking". Once you have your CP shop set up, just log in to your domain control panel and change it from "domain parking" to "domain forwarding" and add in the web address of your cafepress shop. Whenever you or anyone else types in www.yourdomain.com, they will automatically be taken to your CP shop.

One thing I want to point out is that there is a minor difference between domain gripping and domain forwarding. Not all hosting companies offer domain gripping but I just want to explain the difference.

Setting your website for domain gripping means that when people type in www.yourdomain.com, they are redirected to your CP shop, but the URL in the address bar will still say www.yourdomain.com. When they bookmark it, it will be bookmarked as www.yourdomain.com.

Setting your website for domain forwarding means that when people type in www.yourdomain.com, they are redirected to your CP shop, and the URL in the address bar will now say www.cafepress.com/yourshop instead of www.yourdomain.com. When they bookmark it, it will be bookmarked as www.cafepress.com/yourshop.

Using either one is fine, it is more a personal preference than anything else.

If you have any trouble, just talk to the company you bought the domain from, and they will give you more specific instructions if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks a lot, amante and jasonda! i'm learning, i'm learning. :)

okay, well, i have several domain names, but i haven't done anything with them but purchase them. so i had no idea re: the options. i bought them from godaddy, so i guess they would have domain gripping/forwarding. i think domain gripping would work best for my long-term goals (which are developing as we speak).

i will try to find out more about gripping.

thanks again! i guess i'm leaning toward starting out with a premium shop, but i'm still vacillating since i can switch to premium at any time. hmmm.

veggie
 

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vegbyrd said:
i read something in the agreement that states when your store is closed you own all of your own stuff. i HATE legalese, so i may be leaving something out. but it sounds to me as if the relationship is over when you close your shop. i hope this is right.
Yep, that's right. As jasonda said, you won't be able to take any of the CP stuff with you though. The shirt designs you sold on CP are yours, and you can sell those designs in your own shop if you close your CP shop. But the product photos they generated with your design (for example) are their property, so you can't take those with you - you'll have to make your own.
 

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now i'm faced with a dilemma: start off as a basic shop and THEN move to premium or start off as a premium shop?
I recommend starting out with the basic shop and test the waters because that way you're not out any money. I took the premium store leap about 6 months ago and just now recouped my money.
 

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I have 3 basic shops and one premium. For the 3 basic shops... 0 sales 1 premium shop... 2 sales. Id say dont waste to much time on a basic shop, take your free 15 days for the premium and then go with it from there. It took me 2 months to get my first sale, which was just 2 days ago. I had another sale yestorday. So it is now starting to get rolling. Plus ive earned another 1.95 in referrals in just last 2 days. So dont forget to put that referral code on your site.
 

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If I was starting out with many t-shirt designs ideas, I'd go straight to the Premium Shop.

With a basic shop, it's really only good for selling "one" design since you can only have one of each product type in a basic store. Of course, you could open multiple free basic shops (many people do). One way of making them all work together would be by using a little script like CPShop: http://cgi.marty.net/

What CPShop will do is allow you to show your products on your own website and have the add-to-cart stuff happen on your own domain, and then when the customer checks out, they are taken to cafepress.

CPShop can work with basic shops or premium shops. You just need a domain name, your own webhosting account somewhere (like lunarpages, pair, etc), and a purchase copy of cpshop (runs about $17). Here's an example of cpshop in action: http://shop.webomator.com/ Here's another: http://www.artoffoxvox.com/


With a premium store, you can have as many of each product type as you like (one for each design), and you can also better organize your store into easy to navigate "sections".

The cost of a premium store is almost comparable to the cost of "just" webhosting. So if you have your marketing done right, you can earn back the cost of the premium store in a few months (or less).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
thanks a lot, everyone! rodney, you're good! you must have remembered that i have a lot of slogans. that's one reason i was thinking of going with the premium first. just one shirt in a store won't do me any good.

okay, with marty's set up: can i go ahead and start the CP premium store and then convert to the system you're talking about later? i may not be ready to do my website quite yet.

well, on second thought, that leads me to another question. since i'm not ready to get my website going yet, can i set up the CP premium shop and let that, for the time being, be my website by using marty's set up? if so, that would be sooo worth the $17!! LOL!! i mean, could i avoid having to have someone design the website independently if i used this method?

and if i am able to do it this way, that would prohibit me from doing my own shirts (not through CP) on this same site, right? i'm just curious now because i'm wondering if i should change my CP store name since i'm doing some shirts on my own that were inspired by the store name (i have the domain name, too).

thanks a lot, you guys!

veggie
 

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okay, with marty's set up: can i go ahead and start the CP premium store and then convert to the system you're talking about later? i may not be ready to do my website quite yet.
Yep :)

well, on second thought, that leads me to another question. since i'm not ready to get my website going yet, can i set up the CP premium shop and let that, for the time being, be my website by using marty's set up?
No, to use marty's setup, you would need to be hosted *Separately* from cafepress. You can't install marty's cpshop script on the cafepress servers.

and if i am able to do it this way, that would prohibit me from doing my own shirts (not through CP) on this same site, right?
If you have your own site *separate* from cafepress, you can sell your own t-shirts, cafepress shirts, zazzle shirts, spreadshirt or whatever.
 

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I agree if you are going to jump in the water, might as well leap in. As you stated the premium is only $7 more per month. Do not be discouraged if you do not sell anything within the first month or two, the site is young, you are inexperienced, and developing something from nothing is always hard. So stay motivated, and in time you will sell products, and sell them well. Time and promoting are the two biggest things you have to work at. You have a great product, you know it, all you have to do is she the world your great product. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Rodney said:
If you have your own site *separate* from cafepress, you can sell your own t-shirts, cafepress shirts, zazzle shirts, spreadshirt or whatever.
thanks a lot, rodney! as always, you're a wealth of info! now re: the last question/response: are you saying that i can have my own website and sell my premium line of shirts on the same site that i use for my CP store? huh? how does that work? wouldn't i have to have two different order pages since the shirs would come from different stores? i'm a little confused re: how this could work.

rodney, i checked out lunarpages for hosting and i was wondering if i could avoid paying the $21.95 for a business hosting even though i would essentially be a business? in other words, can i get away with the hosting that is only $7 or $8 per month and do my business? or will i be forced to pay the big bucks because i'm running a business.

tshirtcrib, thanks for the encouragement! i guess i have to learn how to do the marketing. i don't have a clue, but i want to be successful, so i'll have to learn, i guess.

veggie
 

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vegbyrd said:
rodney, i checked out lunarpages for hosting and i was wondering if i could avoid paying the $21.95 for a business hosting even though i would essentially be a business? in other words, can i get away with the hosting that is only $7 or $8 per month and do my business? or will i be forced to pay the big bucks because i'm running a business.
Generally the hosting plans are named after the kind of users they're intended for - the business plans were created with features for businesses in mind. It doesn't mean businesses have to use them. Particularly as hosting has got so much cheaper (and more feature packed) the cheaper hosting option will often be sufficient, and fine to use even if you are running a business.

(when that naming convention began you got a lot less on a business plan than you would now on a value plan)
 

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are you saying that i can have my own website and sell my premium line of shirts on the same site that i use for my CP store? huh? how does that work? wouldn't i have to have two different order pages since the shirs would come from different stores? i'm a little confused re: how this could work.
That's exactly right.

You would have to have two separate shopping carts. If you got to the point where you were selling your own "premium" line, you could make that your focus, and just add a link on your site to your cafepress shop.

Some people do try to ingetrate it all in one. To do that, they just put the cafepress product pictures as another item in their shopping cart (say a license plate frame). Then, if someone ordered your screen printed t-shirt AND a license plate frame, they would checkout just ONCE.

After they checkout, you would then ship the screen printed t-shirt direct to the customer and then login to cafepress and order the license plate frame from your cafepress store at the "base price" and have it shipped directly to the customer as a "Gift" so the pricing doesn't show up on the receipt.

It's a long way around, but it's one way to make it happen.

For me, I would just put links to the cafepress store where they can be seen and try to explain how it works to customers.

rodney, i checked out lunarpages for hosting and i was wondering if i could avoid paying the $21.95 for a business hosting even though i would essentially be a business? in other words, can i get away with the hosting that is only $7 or $8 per month and do my business? or will i be forced to pay the big bucks because i'm running a business.
You can use any hosting plan you like :) As Lewis mentioned above, it's just a "name" to help people select between the different services. I'm sure that some businesses pick that plan because it "says" business and they think that it will be the perfect fit for them because they are running a "business". I think it's just marketing language. Some hosting places call their packages "gold/silver/platinum", some call theirs "lite/grand/super", I think they just used the word "business" to describe one of their levels.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
thanks a lot, lewis and rodney! okay, lewis, i feel okay now about chosing the basic plan. whew! that works for me!

rodney, wow! you're are such a wealth of info! the second option really seems confusing, but the benefit is that everything in on one site. the first one would probably work for me, although it seems i might have my cafe press store up and running before my premium site is up.

now i'm dealing with a dilemma.

- i chose a name for my CP store, but i ended up liking it so much that i bought the domain name. now i'm not sure i want to use that name for my CP store, especially since a t-shirt is being designed for me that relates to the domain name/CP store name, but it will NOT be a CP shirt. so i'm trying to think of a new name for the CP store; however, i know this will cause separate marketing and i will lose some of the good marketing i may have generated from the CP store if my website had the same name. but, two websites = more money. will i be sorry in the long run if i lose the good marketing generated from the CP store?

also, rodney, i know the base price for the CP shirts is kind of high. i know you said folks can usually charge $5-$10 higher than the base for the shirts. is there some guideline you can suggest that will help me decide whether to charge $5, $6, $7, $8, $9, $10 over the base? and what is your experience with mugs? are people okay about paying the base + for mugs?

anyone: how is the quality of the direct-to-garment method? is it superior to heat press, but inferior to silk screening? how durable is it? it sounds like a good thing, but i'm a little concerned about the quality. i never even thought of heat press as an option, but i will consider it if it is superior to DTG.

whew! there are so many things to figure out! LOL!! and i don't even have one shirt yet! LOL!!

thanks again, everyone!

veggie
 

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vegbyrd said:
so i'm trying to think of a new name for the CP store; however, i know this will cause separate marketing and i will lose some of the good marketing i may have generated from the CP store if my website had the same name.
if you want this, why don't you just put a BIG FAT LINK to your CP store on your regular site? The link could be a picture of one or several of your shirts, for instance. You could say "click here to buy these great designs" or something. Just a thought.
 
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