This page gets a lot of visits from people who have no interest in llamas necessarily but ARE interested in creating their own custom t-shirts. If you are one of those people, do read on, as this page is about creating any kind of t-shirt, sweatshirt, mug, etc.
When we had a llama hikes business, we ordered a bunch of silk-screen tee shirts to sell. We sold out of some sizes, but ended up with extras that eventually went to a thrift store.
Total profit? Ha. Never again, we vowed…
But now…There’s a business on the internet called CafePress. They have come up with what we think is a brilliant business idea. You can go there and for free create what they call a store, which you name whatever you want. You upload your graphics files, and then decide what t-shirts, mugs, sweats, caps, aprons, etc., you want each particular image to be available in.
I think this is a terrific way for you to publicize your llamas or alpacas, just by creating and wearing t-shirts, caps, sweats, etc., with a photo and the name of your place. You can sell them too. Or throw in a free t-shirt or cap promoting your llama or alpaca farm, to purchasers of your animals.
I generally put the images on the fronts and the backs of shirts, for maximum exposure, but not everyone does.
There are also other companies doing this now: Zazzle.com is probably the best known. I have never tried it.
How you can sell tees, etc, for no upfront cash or inventory hassles
You can create as many different stores as you wish, each one with a different image. You can also have one “premium” store with many different images in it, for a modest monthly fee. There are discussion boards and other information, to help you sell your designs.
CafePress offers a 30-day guarantee, and any returns go to them. They fill orders within just a few days. They handle all the credit card details and so on, and mail you checks for your share after the return time has passed. That guarantee impressed us, since many special-order places will offer NO guarantee.
They have moved beyond just tee shirts and mugs — they now offer a wide variety of clothing, tote bags, posters, and more. They are also offering Publishing on Demand for books, audio and data CDs, and more.
CafePress sets the base price of the items, at an amount that they can make a profit within. When you, the storeowner, buy your own stuff, that’s what you pay. (So if you want some inventory on hand, this is how you get it — and if you buy in quantity, there is a price break.)
You set your prices above theirs, and they have a suggested range for each item. The nice thing is that once it’s set up, you don’t have to do anything. I use up my profits in ordering more things for myself and my family!
Not only is this fun for people like us, who want to make their art, photography, or music available in this way, but it can be a terrific fundraiser for non-profits, church groups, etc.
How is the quality?
We have purchased t-shirts, tote bags, and mugs in a number of designs. The t-shirts and totes are much nicer than any iron-ons. The printing technique, called sublimation, is said to produce an image that doesn’t fade or crack with time — we found that by the time Kelly had completely worn the shirt out, the picture had faded a little. The colors on mugs came out more muted than on the shirt, but still very attractive.
Who isn’t this for?
If you have something like a sports team, where you know what sizes you need and will be getting quite a few at once, you will most likely get better prices (and no shipping) by using a local company. Even then, you could simply post your design to CafePress so people could get their own shirts.
Some specific information
Once you set up a store, you can get to the pages where the size and file specifications for the different items are.
If you have ever done iron-on transfers, you know that you have to flip your graphics file before printing out the file. NOT so here; what you see is what you get.
If you want to link from your own website to theirs, you can simply do it as we did above, copying pictures of our designs on the products from their website to use on ours, and then using a standard link to the store.
I have t-shirts on a variety of topics, and for a long time, I just created individual stores for each item. But CafePress offers an option of paying a small monthly fee and having one large shop, and recently I did that. I like it better… for example, now when you click the text, you go right to the page with all my llama tshirts and more…
…or if you click on this next link, you go to the homepage of my entire Hartworks T-shirts line.
We’re using Photoshop Elements to create our designs. That program is far easier to learn than Photoshop and cost a lot less, but any graphics program should do it.
It’s fun! That url again: www.cafepress.com