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One thing I like about your shirt design, and maybe this applies to your web design to a certain extent, is that you don't let what you can do get in the way of what you should do.

What do I mean by that? Well, DTG can print whatever colour you want. You can have millions of colours squeezed into an unreadable lump on your chest... and many people do. But look at print design... full colour printing has been cost effective for decades, but does that mean all the best design is in full colour? No. Most of the best design just uses a few colours. Occasionally you bring out the full palette. Whatever the moment calls for. But just because you can print millions of colours, doesn't mean you should print millions of colours (except when you should of course).

Your shirts show that you get that, and it means when you do choose to go full colour, those designs don't lose their impact.
 

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A couple of things that did stick out to me on the site itself...

When you say "hand sewn Ink Drop label" do you really mean hand sewn, as in with a needle and thread? Because either you should look at using a sewing machine, or you're not hand sewing (there's no such thing as hand sewing by machine).

The wood grain sidebar... to me it's played out. Maybe it works for your target customer, I don't know. To me... too clichéd.

Why is 'blog' pluralised in the top bar? As far as I can tell you just have the one (as makes sense).

I'd be concerned about splitting the customer's focus between 'custom' shirt printing, and your product since that's two wholly different markets, different motivations, etc. Still, it seems to be a new area for you and it's going to be hard to work out how to best capitalise on both markets. I get that. Long term, I think you want to split those to different sites though.

Is your site running on Wordpress? You don't need RSS links on every page, I'd ditch them if possible.

Fix your Facebook link; the one next to the twitter icon and RSS icon is set to the longform of the URL, when you have registered the short form of the URL.

I like your logo. It's bold and simple, as a logo should be.

I like that you've narrowed down your target market. You now know who they are and why they want your product. You know what to design, why you're designing it, and who you're selling to. Very important stuff that very few people get right. You have - well done.

I'd go over your copy and tighten it up a bit, or get someone else to do it if you need an outside perspective. One example: on your 'About' page, don't blame the town for your business failing. Whether it's true or not it looks petty, and whether it's true or not it's your fault for opening a store in an economic downturn in a place with the wrong demographic and failing to market it. Own up to your mistakes or avoid mentioning them, but don't blame them on other people. In this specific case... you certainly don't want to say "we messed up", but find a better way to say you had a store and no longer do than "the world just wasn't ready for us man! we're too radical and/or good". It's a crap cliché.

Your current front page graphic about the sale is boring. It's a huge visual, the main first impression of your website, and it's not doing anything interesting - wasted opportunity. You have better graphics and better photography already -- the fact that it's your area shows -- so you could be better using them to your advantage.

Your presentation is professional, which is important (obviously).

In general, it's good. I'd say you're off to a good start. Just keep fine tuning and learn what works from paying attention to your customers.
 

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Re: My experience with a print on-demand t-shirt business.

Very impressive operation you have setup.

The website is nice and clean. Did you design your own site or have it outsourced?

I like the way you displayed your shirts. it's simple but effective.

I really like the Thr-ivi-ng shirt design. What front did you use for it? I think that I might have order a few shirts from you :)

keep up the good work
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A couple of things that did stick out to me on the site itself...

When you say "hand sewn Ink Drop label" do you really mean hand sewn, as in with a needle and thread? Because either you should look at using a sewing machine, or you're not hand sewing (there's no such thing as hand sewing by machine).

The wood grain sidebar... to me it's played out. Maybe it works for your target customer, I don't know. To me... too clichéd.

Why is 'blog' pluralised in the top bar? As far as I can tell you just have the one (as makes sense).

I'd be concerned about splitting the customer's focus between 'custom' shirt printing, and your product since that's two wholly different markets, different motivations, etc. Still, it seems to be a new area for you and it's going to be hard to work out how to best capitalise on both markets. I get that. Long term, I think you want to split those to different sites though.

Is your site running on Wordpress? You don't need RSS links on every page, I'd ditch them if possible.

Fix your Facebook link; the one next to the twitter icon and RSS icon is set to the longform of the URL, when you have registered the short form of the URL.

I like your logo. It's bold and simple, as a logo should be.

I like that you've narrowed down your target market. You now know who they are and why they want your product. You know what to design, why you're designing it, and who you're selling to. Very important stuff that very few people get right. You have - well done.

I'd go over your copy and tighten it up a bit, or get someone else to do it if you need an outside perspective. One example: on your 'About' page, don't blame the town for your business failing. Whether it's true or not it looks petty, and whether it's true or not it's your fault for opening a store in an economic downturn in a place with the wrong demographic and failing to market it. Own up to your mistakes or avoid mentioning them, but don't blame them on other people. In this specific case... you certainly don't want to say "we messed up", but find a better way to say you had a store and no longer do than "the world just wasn't ready for us man! we're too radical and/or good". It's a crap cliché.

Your current front page graphic about the sale is boring. It's a huge visual, the main first impression of your website, and it's not doing anything interesting - wasted opportunity. You have better graphics and better photography already -- the fact that it's your area shows -- so you could be better using them to your advantage.

Your presentation is professional, which is important (obviously).

In general, it's good. I'd say you're off to a good start. Just keep fine tuning and learn what works from paying attention to your customers.
Thank you SO much for this feedback!! It is not the type of feedback I get when asking friends and family how they like the site. THIS is what was needed!!

I would love to offer a more detailed response when I have more time. Thanks again!
 

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I really like this website. In contrast to a lot of other sites out there, yours is clean and well-structured. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but you're off to a great start already. As I'm writing this, I'm just going through the site and commenting on things I find:

  • The giant graphic on the front page is a huge wasted opportunity, as it has already been mentioned. Coming to the site, I had to idea what “Thriving” is. Turns out it's a T-shirt you're selling. This may seem obvious to you, but to the users “Thriving” is just a word –*they don't look at your tees all day. A quick fix would be to display the WHOLE shirt on the graphic, and maybe change the heading to “Thriving logo T-shirt” or something similar.
  • The links in the footer could use a hover state. When i mouseover, there is no indicator that I'm hovering over a link. A simple color change to the light blue you're using shouldn't be hard to implement, although I see you're using Cufon for the fonts.
  • The “Thriving Ink” logo in the footer differs from the logo in the header. Choose one and commit to it. Personally, I like the one in the header better. Go with that.
  • The wood in the shop sidebar may be a bit cliché, but it works here. Keep it.
  • I really like the fact that the user immediately sees large, full-color pictures of your shirts. I don't particularly like them being displayed on a steel rod, but I think that's a matter of personal taste. I like human models better.
  • On the shop page, you can click through to single artists. When viewing an artist bio page, the rest of the shop navigation disappears. I get that I'm now on a different section of the site, but it's confusing nonetheless.
  • The whole “Custom Tees” section seems a bit out of place. Not only does it not fit in with the rest of the site content-wise, it is also poorly designed / set up. Looks too much like a plain page without any styling. If I were you, I'd set up a mini-site with just custom T-shirt ordering, and link to that from the Thriving Ink site.
  • Already mentioned, but “Blogs” in the navigation should just be “Blog”.
  • I see the blog is on Wordpress.com. As you already have a Drupal installation running, why not install Wordpress on your own server? When that is done, you should have someone develop a Wordpress theme that fits in with the rest of the site. It wouldn't be hard to make a Wordpress theme that's almost identical to the Drupal pages. Right now there is a visible shift in style when you go from the shop to the blog, and that confuses the users just a little.

Hope you can use my critique. As I already said, you have a great site. You just need to make a few tweaks here and there and you're golden. Keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you thank you thank you!! So much helpful insight here. keep it coming!

I changed the front image to a different more eye-catching image for now, until I create a new image for it.

I also completely changed the about us with a temporary copy I wrote last night.

I totally see what you guys mean with the custom tee page. I've actually been thinking about buying the DecoNetwork software and having the custom tees link to that page. Thoughts on this anyone?

Everything else is a work in progress - but I so much appreciate the feedback. It is invaluable. Thank you again.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Re: My experience with a print on-demand t-shirt business.

Very impressive operation you have setup.

The website is nice and clean. Did you design your own site or have it outsourced?

I like the way you displayed your shirts. it's simple but effective.

I really like the Thr-ivi-ng shirt design. What front did you use for it? I think that I might have order a few shirts from you :)

keep up the good work
Thank you!! I like the display of the tees too. However, I know some people like to see human models, so I might add that as one of the views in the near future.

It was done by a designer friend. He is very talented! We worked hand-in-hand which was awesome.

It is a font called street cred. I wasn't sure what the deal is with using fonts, so I did a tracing of it just to be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I love your site.! what program did you use? or did you have it professionally done? And also I love your idea of your grab bag that way you can get rid of alot of past seasons or excess of one design :)
Thank you!! It was professionally done by a friend. It is on a Drupal platform. Yes the grab bags are awesome and I sell a ton of them. I overprinted my designs early on and so have excess tees to get rid of! I also sell them at flea markets and local markets as well. They sell well there also.

Matt
 

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I think the site is fine except when I click on an external link it takes me from your page to the link rather than opening a new tab or browser.
 

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Matty D.....That's what's up playa! lol. In all seriousness though, you're website looks real good man. I saw you're post in another thread and I like the fact that you do all you're own photography and leg work. The pics of the product look good, hanging them on that rod was a good idea....I might steal it ha! Hope you do really well with your line, but remember...... F*@! the fame! Do it cuz you love it brotha!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Matty D.....That's what's up playa! lol. In all seriousness though, you're website looks real good man. I saw you're post in another thread and I like the fact that you do all you're own photography and leg work. The pics of the product look good, hanging them on that rod was a good idea....I might steal it ha! Hope you do really well with your line, but remember...... F*@! the fame! Do it cuz you love it brotha!
Thanks Erik! Much appreciated! You site is nice as well!! May I ask why you guys aren't selling online anymore?
 

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Re: My experience with a print on-demand t-shirt business.

I like your site and the idea of printing the shirts instead of digital designs.

What kind of shopping cart are you using? oscommerce? I am about to launch my site (main focus is customer orders for college kids).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: My experience with a print on-demand t-shirt business.

I like your site and the idea of printing the shirts instead of digital designs.

What kind of shopping cart are you using? oscommerce? I am about to launch my site (main focus is customer orders for college kids).
Hey! Thanks alot! Yeah the shopping cart is Uber Cart. Best of luck let me know if there is any way we can work together.
 
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