I stumbled across this post by @kaylinart about making money selling t-shirts.
The last time something like that crossed my mind was back around 2007.
I was in a band called Magnum Opus. We were just about finished recording an album and were starting to bring our attention to the promotion side of things.
At first (before we bought the shirts), I had found a website that sells mp3 download cards that can be loaded with any number of songs you want. To me, these would have been perfect for a promotion item we could sell at shows and wouldn’t break the bank to order the initial batch. Not everyone will fork over $15-$30 for the regular band merchandise like t-shirts, hat’s, and other more costly apparel. But, there is a better chance that someone would give $1-$5 for an mp3 or two.
The problem was, the rest of the band was stuck on the idea of getting t-shirts first. This was a much more costly investment, and it really didn’t yield that much bigger a profit, if it was successful.
From what I can remember, the cards cost about $0.30 each for the minimum order. Plus, the more you bought the cheaper they got.
So, if you sold a card for $1, that’s a profit of over 200%. I think the t-shirts they wanted cost about $12. If we sold them for $15 dollars, that’s only a 25% profit. Even for $20, that’s 58% profit but the higher the price gets, the fewer people will be willing to buy.
I think the math is right, but you can see it’s not even close to the same profit margin, and the risk is much higher for shirts with a high upfront cost. You could also load the cards with more than one song. So, we could have had a few single song cards for $1, and a few cards to sell with 3 songs for $5 or something, and a full album for $12. The card still cost $0.30. You’d make $4.70 from a $5 card. That’s over 1500% profit.
They could also be carried around and sold when the opportunity arose. The chances of actually having an extra t-shirt to sell anywhere besides at a show were pretty low. But we could have each carried around a few cards to sell at a moments notice.
No matter how much I tried to get them to see, they were stuck on the t-shirts.
So we bought t-shirts.
This was the shirt design.
It was brought to the print shop and they started working on getting them printed. But, there was a problem. Somewhere along the line, the ink color we chose didn’t go well with a black t-shirt and the picture didn’t show up properly. Something about the shading blending too much or something. We could have fixed it but the company called the drummer and asked him if it would be alright to print it on a white shirt. I don’t know what he was thinking, but he agreed without consulting anybody else.
Have you ever seen a white band shirt?
Well, it turns out there is a reason you don’t really see them in white. It’s because nobody wants one. Especially among the rock / metal crowd.
They want black!
Long story short, we didn’t end up selling a single one except to close friends. And, the band went downhill shortly after; due to the high cost of the shirts and a few other factors.
Anyway, that really isn’t the point of this post.
@kaylinart got me thinking that I have a few steemit logo’s I drew up for some of my other posts. They would make some good t-shirts. So I checked out cafepress.ca and started playing around with the shirt designs.
It took a little fooling around but I managed to open a store last night and get things set up a little. There are four steemit designs right now with a full list of shirts, both male, and female.
Not only did I get t-shirts, hoodies, long-sleeve shirts, tank tops, and more added, but I also added some drinkware and other misc items too.
On top of the steemit merch, I also added a few of my photographs as prints.
You can visit the store here.
I’ll be adding more designs as I draw them for my steemit posts so check back every now and then. And now that it’s started, I’ll be thinking about the t-shirt before I make the logo design. Not adding the design to the shirt and seeing how it fits.
That website got me thinking about looking for other websites to sell my photography on. Cafepress seems okay but it is a bit tedious and a little expensive.
A big plus though, is they only take a percentage of your profits (I think 10% to a maximum of $10 for their fees each month. If you don’t make any money, they don’t take any and it’s free to join. I really like that idea.
I found another site called pixels.com. This site seems really ideal for photographers, drawers, and painters. You can only upload 25 photos on a free account but it’s only $30 a year for premium features (unlimited photos and some other neat looking things). This site also lets you sell licensed photos too. Either royalty free for bloggers or a managed royalty license to sell to TV companies. Their picture frame selection is really nice as well. Allowing you to customize your frame and matting how you’d like it before buying.
You can see my photo’s from that site here.
This site also adds all their merchandise for each photo you upload. I’m not sure if I like this feature because not all photos look good as a pillow or a blanket. But I suppose people just won’t buy them if they look bad. And, I guess if you offer them, there is always a chance.
If anyone is thinking about buying a photo, I would do it from pixels.com over cafepress.ca. The prices seem more reasonable and the type of picture selection is really good looking. And you can just buy the print if you already have a frame. This is something cafepress doesn’t offer.
Cafepress.com is the only place for the four steemit designs right now unless I can get amazon to let me sell those shirts on their merch site for $11. It’s still a work in progress because like @kaylinart said,
You have to submit an application for approval.
So, to all the photographers and artists out there who happen to see this post, I hope you check out those sites.