Last Updated on May 26, 2021 by Kelly L. This post may contain affiliate links. Regardless, I only recommend sites I've researched and/or used and trust.
Sell Your Own T-shirts – A CafePress Review
These days, more and more people are doing their shopping online. It is quick, easy and convenient. And because you can order from anywhere in the world, you have limitless options no matter what it is you are looking for. So what if you could open your own online shop and make money? This is what CafePress is all about.
What is CafePress?
CafePress is an online retailer, founded in 1999, that sells gifts like t-shirts, mugs, calendars, bags, wall clocks—anything that can be customized. Customers (and shop owners) can upload images, logos or text that they want on the product and CafePress will have it put on for you. They also have print on demand services for stationery and wall art.
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So where do you fit in? Well, CafePress has virtual shops that you can own and run complete with a storefront, customer service, payment processing and order management. Think of it as online franchising. As of March of last year, CafePress had more than thirteen million members and over three hundred and twenty-five million product offerings.
How Do You Set Up Shop?
The good news is that it will cost you nothing to open a shop. But you are going to have to tap into your creativity to design something that you want to put on the products to sell. For example, if you love to bake, you may want a cute saying like “Cupcake Queen” or “Cookie Monster Has Nothing on Me.” You can add a design or image to it as well.
Sometimes things that are not so mainstream generate the most interest. Use current events, strange occurrences or upcoming holidays (be sure to have these ready two to three months ahead of time) as your design. You want something catchy so it will sell better. It can be a logo or a combination of things. There is no limit to your creativity.
Once you have your design, you are ready to put them your products and start selling them.
How Much Money Can You Make?
Obviously, when it comes to sales, the more you sell, the more you make. Every product has a base price according to CafePress‘s guidelines. From there, you can mark up the price as much as you want (although restrictions do exist) and you make the markup after the sale. So if a t-shirt has a base price of fifteen dollars and you mark it up to twenty dollars, you will make five dollars off of that sale.
There are some sticking points with regards to how much you mark up and extra costs for products that need printing on two sides, but this is the general idea of how you make money with CafePress.
In addition to sales, you can also make money through their Shop Performance Bonus. You will receive a shop performance bonus when someone buys a product that they put in their cart. This is calculated in tiers that are based on the total amount of base price sales of products added to a cart each month while a customer is in your shop. The higher tier you are in, the more money you will make.
There is also the CafePress Marketplace Service where you can earn a commission. Through their own “store”, you can sell your products there and receive a ten percent royalty on every sale. Your product can also qualify for the affiliate marketing sales.
And, of course, CafePress has an affiliate program where you can make even more money. The base commission rate for this is fifteen percent. The program is run through Commission Junction.
How Do You Get Paid?
Payments are made either by check or PayPal. Your commissions are paid within forty-five days of the month they were earned. They do this to allow for customer returns and/or exchanges. However, if you earn less then the payment threshold listed in your account, you will not get your payment but the money stays in your account until you do reach the threshold.
CafePress is a company where you can earn a decent amount of money, but it does have its flaws, including:
1. If you do not promote your shop or if your products are mediocre, you are not going to sell much. Let’s face it, like any shop owner, you are in stiff competition with many others who are selling similar products as you. If your markup is more than other shop owners or if people do not seem to like your products, it will be difficult making to make sales.
2. Start-up is free, but not everything is free. CafePress offers a few types of stores: Basic Shops, Premium Shops and CafePress Shops. Basic and CafePress Shops are free, but Premium shops are not since they allow you to sell more products. If you open a Premium shop, the monthly fee is automatically billed a month after the date you opened the shop. When you open up a Premium shop and put your credit card on file, you will be billed $6.95 per month (there are other payment options). However, if you sign up in three-month, six-month or one-year increments, the rate drops so a one year fee is $59.95—only five dollars per month. Still, people may view this as a clever method that CafePress uses to make more money off of you and by making you spend money in order to have a more successful shop.
3. Those mark-ups come with restrictions. This can be a problem since the only money you will make is off of that markup so you will want to be able to get a decent commission. But if there are restrictions, you may not be able to make as much as you want.
4. CafePress Marketplace Services sounds like a good idea at first, but many have complained that the commission is too low and that they are pushing for people to sell their products through there promising them a better opportunity to get their products recognized so that customers will go to their shop. But this does not seem to be working out this way.
5. Recently, CafePress filed for an IPO and many believe that since then, the quality and service of the company has dropped considerably. They also seem to care less about shop owners and helping them become more successful and make more money.
Is CafePress a Legitimate Work-at-Home Opportunity?
CafePress does offer you an opportunity to play shop—for real. However, your earning potential is dependent on how many customers decide to purchase from your store as opposed to the hundreds of others out there. You need to understand that unlike other at-home jobs, this one has more of a competitive edge to it. So you are going to have to find ways to promote your store and keep it vibrant so people not only visit, but become customers as well. But if you have the time and patience to put into it, you could be looking at a great money making opportunity.