Create and sell custom products with Cafe Press

I just stumbled across a very interesting site that I thought I should share with my readers. It’s a site called Cafe Press. This site offers a wide variety of print-on-demand products from clothing to housewares and other gifts. You can add your own images to the products to create your very own styles, logos, catch-phrases, etc., which you can sell online in your very own Cafe Press store. The best part about Cafe Press is that you don’t have to spend any money to get started. Because Cafe Press doesn’t produce any products until someone orders them, there are no setup fees or minimum purchases required. Without spending any money, you can create as many custom products as you want, and sell them in your own, personalized online shops.

Each product has a “base price” that covers all of the costs of manufacture and production. To make money, simply set a “markup” price that you will earn as commission on sales of your product(s) (Just a word to the wise…be reasonable: I saw a thong for sale for $200 while I was browsing the site!). That’s all there is to it. It was so easy to get started that I’ve already created my own online shop with a few products that are available for immediate purchase, which I’ve included below as an example of what you can do. Of course, you can also buy your own products directly for the base price, without paying the markup.

Although it is tempting to think that I’ll soon strike it rich by selling my custom products at Cafe Press, the reality is that, like most online money-making opportunities, I’ll be lucky to pull in a few dollars per year, and that only if I can talk my friends and family into purchasing my products. There are probably 10 million unique products currently being sold at Cafe Press, so don’t expect massive sales right off the bat. However, if you have a good enough idea/design, you just might be able to create a popular product line and make decent money from your sales. But whether I make money or not, it’s fun to see what my ideas will look like on customized products. And maybe, just maybe, I will actually be able to pull in a few dollars each year for my efforts. There is one caveat worth mentioning: if you don’t make at least $25 per year, your earnings will be forfeited and returned to Cafe Press (I think I was mistaken here…after re-reading the terms, it looks like your earnings will only be forfeited if you fail to provide a valid mailing address).

And, if you’re just interested in creating a custom coffee mug, shirt, sticker, notebook, or other product for your own personal use, you can easily do that as well – you don’t have to sell them in an online store or in the Cafe Press marketplace.

As I said, I don’t think that Cafe Press is a great way to make a living, but it might be a nice way to help promote your site or your cause. For example, you might consider shelling out some of your own money to purchase your custom-branded products to give away to family and friends, or to offer as incentives to bring people to your site or blog (“Sign up for our e-mail newsletter, and you will automatically be entered to win an exclusive {Your site/brand name} coffee mug!”). In addition, your customized products can be sold as a part of a fund raising campaign to raise money for your cause or your site.

New products to support my new tagline: Write the Web

Feel free to check out my new online store at I’m not pressuring anyone to buy my products, but if you are interested in seeing what an online store at Cafe Press looks like, this might be a good place to start. I’m currently offering two designs on a limited selection of products.

The first products I created were my drinkware collection, containing the “I write the Web” logo variation, along with some self-promoting HTML on the reverse. See my product page for more details and the exact HTML codes in plain text (readable) format.

I write the Web (front)

HTML code (back)
Available in three sizes: coffee mug, large mug, or stein.

Intimate Apparel:
The next design I created was a flirty take-off of my new tagline for my “intimate apparel” line, just for the fun of it. The boxer shorts and thong feature the “Write Ride the Web” design.

Write Ride the Web (boxer)

Write Ride the Web (classic thong)

Whether I sell any of these products or not (I do plan on purchasing a mug for myself, at the very least), I’ve certainly had fun designing the products, and I plan to offer some new designs when I get a chance to come up with a few more image ideas. I won’t bother the readers of this blog with every new design I come up with, but if you are interested in hearing about new products, you can either subscribe to my Lockworld Herald Site News RSS feed or, for a simpler solution, visit my online store and subscribe to my store e-newsletter (That way, you will only receive notices about new products if you don’t want to get all of the selfish news I post about my site!).

That’s all for today…now get out there and write the Web!

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