The Cafepress idea of gifts and home business.
Birthday coming up? Graduation party? Holiday coming up and no time to go shopping for gifts? Looking for something different and personal? Try Cafepress.com — with its huge selection of highly customizable and unique gift ideas shipped directly from the web store to any address in the world! You have two options when you use cafepress. First, you may select from literally thousands of designs — photos, logos, images, illustration, cartoons, paintings, you name it, created by artists from around the world. When you find the design you like you can browse a number of products the artist has printed the design on — t-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, intimates, baseball cups and many many more… including to house wares, office products, cards, stickers, etc. The list is truly endless and you can use the internal cafepress engine to search the designs using tag words or sentences.
The second option is probably the most interesting and unique opportunity to create something special. Through their create & buy service, Cafepress allows you to upload your own designs, decorate your own products and eventually buy or send them to friends. The process of setting up a “store” is quite simple as long as you follow some very clear and logical instructions in order to upload your digital content, select the products you want to feature, and finally price and buy them. At the end you will be given a web page in the cafepress server where the products you have chosen are listed. Most important this simple process is free! You only pay for the final products you buy and you can even wait a few weeks before you make up your mind. No one will rush or pressure you to make a purchase. Why? Because the products you created do not exist until you buy them. The process is on demand and unless there is a customer there is no printing, no inventory and no product.
But you don’t only have to be a customer. The whole beauty of cafepress is that you have the option to make your store public, in other words make it available for others to see your product creations and buy from you. Public designs are added to the search engine and can be viewed by all the people visiting the Cafepress site and possibly bought. Cafepress even gives you the option to choose what percentage of profit you would like to make on a product and makes arrangements of how and when you would like to get paid. You can go even a step further and sign up for what they call a “premium shop” where you can further customize your shop appearance, introduce sections to your shop and play with the HTML code of your page. Though this costs a few dollars per month is really worth it if you are looking to make a business out of your designs. There are a few rules and restrictions — obviously you can’t sell trademarked or copywriten ideas, but overall there are no limitations to what you can upload and print. Recently cafepress introduced additional products and services. Though the traditional promotional products like t-shirts, apparel, mugs etc. are the main core of the business, the company is now venturing into the publishing business introducing print in demand services where new and unpublished writers can see their books published and musicians and performing artists may have their work offered in CDs and DVDs.
So are you simply looking to buy some unique gifts or are you planning to build your own Name Brand Empire? The key is to be realistic. There have been several “shops” earning a respectable amount of cash though their products other “shops” enjoy limited exposure and very few or no sales at all. You see, this is the Internet and like anything else in order to generate sales you need to get traffic to your site. For example, there are hundreds of designs showcasing the flag of the USA. At the time this article was being written, the tag/keyword “USA flag” brings up 8920 designs a total of 170.000 products. You can see how your product can be lost in the crowd. The internal search engine has its own rules and if you have joined Cafepress recently, tagged your design with wrong tags or made no sales then your USA flag design is probably sitting at the bottom of the list and won’t bee seen. If your design is number 1000th on the list, it’s likely it will never be visited — no one goes that deep. There are several ways to work around that — submit your page in the search engines yourself or even generate your own traffic by exchanging links with other shopkeepers. These solutions normally take time, effort and money to accomplish any significant sales. The best way to overcome these growing pains and generate the desirable traffic to your shop is by visiting the cafepress forums and learning from the experiences of the other “shopkeepers.” See what they are doing and follow their footsteps. Who knows — one day you might be walking in the street and see a complete stranger wearing one of your t-shirts!