CafePress Acquires ImageKind: What it Means for the Entrepreneur

Posted on July 8th, 2008 by thetshirtnexus.
Categories: CafePress, Print on Demand, POD News.

The news is abuzz this morning about CafePress purchasing Imagekind, a high end custom framing marketplace for original and reprinted artwork. Price is said to be between $15 and $20 million according to VentureBeat.

What does this mean to entrepreneurs who use either company? For CafePress shopkeepers this is potentially a huge bonus. Currently CafePress only offers a limited range of products that showcase art or photography for traditional display. They have framed prints but they are in set sizes with set colored frames and matting. ImageKind allows upload of artwork in a variety of aspect ratios and is designed to build the frame to fit the picture. The customer also gets to choose paper/canvas, protective covering, and frame choices and each image is automatically offered in as wide a variety of sizes as is possible with the file uploaded.
ImageKind folks will also gain more likely product possibilities. CafePress offers ceramic tile products such as coaster tiles and keepsake boxes which are very high end looking in my opinion. Journals and larger format calendars will also be new items for ImageKind sellers. And of course CafePress has a whole stable of apparel and other items such as totebags.

Nothing has been said about how the two companies will move forward; however, as an entrepreneur who currently uses both I’m excited about the acquisition. I love how ImageKind can take a file and size frames to fit my artwork and I know the power of the CafePress marketplace. I’d rather save time and marketing efforts by having my art in one storefront.

News Tip from TshirtChat.


Base Price Increases - 1st Printfection now CafePress

Posted on June 25th, 2008 by thetshirtnexus.
Categories: CafePress, Print on Demand.

Well first POD newcomer, Printfection, announced a price raise. Now CafePress has followed.
Printfection’s increase is the first they’ve had (though of course they haven’t been around that long yet, less than 5 years). CafePress’s increase is the first in 9 years. Printfection says they are increasing prices around 10% across the board while CafePress has varied increases on select items, including the popular White T-shirt. Printfection has also increased its second side printing fee from $2 to $3.
Can we say gas price increases? Neither company specifically says that’s the reason, though CafePress mentions “Margins” which would include that. Printfection makes a point to say that they are absorbing shipping costs for shipping out to customers but they don’t mention an increased cost in wholesalers shipping items out to them which I imagine has happened.
The “Good” news: As a shopkeeper on either system you don’t have to do anything on your end, retail costs will just jump up accordingly. If you want to shave off some of your mark up then you will need to adjust prices on your own.

On CafePress’s end, a small comment caught my eye, some of the price increases will be due to product upgrades. They specifically mentioned journals will get a lined paper choice. I like that idea.

So yeah, I’m stretching to see the “Good” in price increases but these days what can you do?


eBay and your PoD shop - Making Auctions Do Double Duty

Posted on December 9th, 2007 by thetshirtnexus.
Categories: Marketing, Print on Demand.

I was an eBay seller before I was a CafePress shopkeeper, not a serious seller, just a casual person selling things I owned.

Once I had a few CafePress shops I tried selling some of my CafePress items and didn’t do that well (broke even or didn’t sell the item). I didn’t have an eBay store set up though, I just did normal listings with non html descriptions so the auction presentation admittedly could’ve been a lot better. So in the end it was not really worth it in terms of sheer profit on an item when I still had to pay the base price for the item plus eBay fees.

However, I still occasionally list things on eBay because I think of my auctions more as an advertising expense than a pure profit generator. Here are my reasons why I think of them this way:

1. I mention my store in my About Me page

It is not OK with eBay to put your store link in the auction listing itself but you can add it to your About Me page. By the way, it is also not OK to say in your auction listing “Go to my About Me page for a link to my store”.

2. When I ship out an item I include a link to my store on the packing slip

I use PayPal to generate packing slips for me and I put my thanks and my store url in the area they provide for a note.

3. When I ship out an item I include a flier / catalog type page that promotes related items in my shop.

I’ve created a few versions of a single sheet flier that showcases different items in my shop. I include a coupon code when one is available.

What I haven’t done yet is include information about signing up for my shop’s newsletter. I should add that to the flier I think.

Note that the above methods work even if you are not auctioning off items you actually sell in your shop. I am auctioning off collectible figurines related to my store theme. Chances are if they like an X figurine they may like a t-shirt or sticker or hat, etc about X as well.

At any rate, I tend to use eBay when I can sell things in a batch (less post office trips) and/or when they have a special going on. For example right now they have a free Gallery option until December 12th.


T-shirt PODs - 10 Points about Bountee

Posted on April 13th, 2007 by thetshirtnexus.
Categories: Print on Demand.

It seems like there’s another new Custom / Print on Demand t-shirt service opening up every other month now. Newcomer, Bountee joins the list of shops looking to profit off of DTG (Direct to Garment) Printing.

It’s a little tricky to get to their details without making an account or watching their movie but for those who want the quick version here’s the nitty gritty I gleaned from various pages on their site, blog and video:

1. You can set your own prices by typing in a percent markup when you design your shirt.
2. Bountee seems to be aiming at having a brick and mortar presence some day… they say that they will strive to give the designer a commission mark up in that situation that is the same for what they have set for online purchases.
3. They only accept SVG files.
4. Payment to designers is currently via PayPal only.
5. You can *not* submit a design you have already submitted elsewhere or is already available elsewhere.* SEE UPDATE NOTE BELOW
6. Their product designer is pretty nice, shirt print area is large and designs can be placed very close to the bottom hem (though not on the shoulders or sleeves).
7. Upload of images is done one at a time and there are no bulk tools at all.
9. You can use their own tool to make text only designs.
10. They are in Beta.

Note on item number 2: this is both good and bad. It’s good because a designer may find another venue that their shirts can be sold in, with possibly no extra work on their part. It’s bad because on other sites you can use your online store as a testing ground for designs and if something “catches” you can make your own deals with brick and mortar stores and make a bigger commission on each shirt than you would by using your POD service of choice. With some negotiation you can easily make more per shirt than you would by having your shirt sold online.

Note on 5: This was written in their with language specifically mentioning voting sites (Treadless is an example of a voting site) and their desire to not “steal” designs away from those sites. However, I believe it also means that you can not submit a design you have up on CafePress. And once you submit a design to Bountee you can not then sell it using any other service, not even your own. I noticed; however, that you had the option to make your shirts “Limited Editions” at Bountee by specifying how many to sell. UPDATE: I re-read the Terms and I now think that you CAN have a design up on CafePress AND this site… however you can NOT have it up on Threadless or other sites which prohibit you having it elsewhere available.

All in all, I think Bountee is a good entry into the POD market but it will have to prove itself as a good starting point for t-shirt entrepreneurs who are looking to build their own brand.

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