Okay! So you are a T-shirt designer and want to start your own design brand but don’t know anything about starting a clothing business or are just plain afraid to do so? Don’t worry, you will find many others like you who are dealing with this dilemma. Starting a t-shirt brand all by your self is no small task. More so, if you decide to go all the way and start right from designing to printing, marketing etc. etc. Not to mention the heavy investment it will need which not everyone can afford.
So, what should you do now? How about starting out small and learning things and then expand your business? How do you start out small? Well, it just depends on your skills. If you are good at marketing then you can sell T-shirts online from other brands, or if you are a designer you can design tees for brands. But wait, let’s say that I am a designer and I want to create my own brand identity and online store without taking the headache of printing, manufacturing, customer service etc. What then?
Well, the answer is, I can definitely do that. So how do you start your own t-shirt store online? There are a growing number of websites that helps you do it. These websites provides you with options to create your own store with your own designs and sell them. The good thing about this is that they handle all the printing, transaction, hosting, customer support etc. work while all you do is designs your stuffs and market them. These kind of stores are a great option for you, the designer to try out how your designs actually sell without investing any money. Let’s take a look at one of such popular stores, CafePress.
CafePress claims to be the world’s largest collection of user-designed products, with over 6.5 million users. At CafePress you can create a design for any of their "print on-demand" products and order it for yourself. What you also can do is to create your own shop there with your own designs and sell them. So, what can you sell at CafePress? Well, just about anything. Anything, from T-shirts to mugs, arts, posters, calendar, stickers and many more.
Setting up a store at CafePress is very easy. There are two types of shops that CafePress offers. The free of cost basic shop and the premium shops which costs money. CafePress basic shop allows you to sell over 80 products in an one page shop while the premium shops allows you to sell unlimited products and have multi-level pages. You can also try out the premium shop for free for 15 days. For a more detailed comparison between CafePress free and premium shops see here.
How it works? You create your own online shop with your designs at CafePress. If a customer orders any of your products, CafePress produces the item using their print-on-demand technology; it also handles all payment transactions, ships the product, manages all returns or exchanges, and provides customer service. So, as you can see that CafePress handles most of the difficult tasks. This leaves you with more time and peace of mind to concentrate on your designing and marketing your products. Marketing your products is important as even though CafePress is hosting the shop doesn’t mean they will be advertising your products. If your designs are exceptionally great or are selling well, it may get featured on the front page or the like, but apart from that it is important that you market your own designs.
How much do I earn? Well, every product at CafePress has something called a ‘Base Price’. You can view this ‘Base Price’ as CafePress’s cost in producing that item. Now how much money you earn in selling an item depends on the retail price that you set on the item. The markup above the base price is your earnings. To make things clear, let’s say the base price of an item is $10 and you have set the retail price of that item at $15. Then the markup ($15-$10) of $5 is what you earn when any of those items is sold. There are other factors involved in the pricing too, and you can read about it in details here.
So, how much can I earn with CafePress? Well, there’s no definite answer to that. It depends on many factors like the quality of your designs, how many products you have in your shop, how you are marketing them etc. The best way to find this out is to create a shop and try it out.