DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue HalfDork
10/2/22 8:33 p.m.

Okay, here's the situation.  I have a pretty good idea for a design that I think will sell, and I have worked up a complete CAD file of that design.  What I want to so is put the design on T-shirts, stickers, etc., and raise funds for things like (and including) Hungary Bill's Ukrainian refugee aid efforts.

I do have an old MR2 contact who runs a business printing T-shirts on the spot at local events.  He would almost certainly be willing to help, but since charity work is not how he earns his living, it might be more trouble than it's worth for him, and I don't want to get him bogged down in favors.

Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to handle order processing, packing, or shipping.  More than that, I also don't want to tie up the family finances or expose us to tax liability or other risks.  It would also be nice to have some sort of confidence that this design isn't going to get picked up by every scumbag profiteer in the world, thereby reducing the effectiveness of our efforts.

So here's the question: How can we turn this idea into promotional items and, as directly as possible, into cash so that people like Bill can spend it where it helps people the most?

Any and all suggestions are, as always, most appreciated.  And no charge for the ear worm, by the way.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/3/22 5:10 p.m.

I have successfully used Zazzle for custom hats and T-shirts. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
10/3/22 8:19 p.m.

For the last Assetto Corsa series I had a custom shirt made for the series winner. It went very smoothly.  You can set it up so they print and ship for you.  They were not the cheeped but I elected to go with a quality name brand shirt. The printing was excellent.   
 

I am on vacation at the moment. When I get back I will post up a link to them. 

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) SuperDork
10/3/22 8:22 p.m.

Vistaprint made my last hotsauce stickers. Not the best but easy.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) SuperDork
10/3/22 8:27 p.m.

@mary_inred is a Ukranian the I follow on IG. She has been awesome pulling for Ukraine. Hot, drives a TT and has contacts.

I dont know...

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue HalfDork
10/4/22 3:04 a.m.

Thanks for the ideas.  I will check them out when my eyelids aren't trying so hard to weld themselves together.  It's way past my bedtime.

This could be a good fit for the Blipshift model, though I'm not aware of them doing any charity/fundraising sales.  Maybe someone there has a suggestion.  Something to look into later.

trigun7469
trigun7469 UltraDork
10/4/22 9:07 a.m.

On my political campaign, I had a really strict budget for buttons, stickers, magnets, signs, and T-Shirts. I started with vistaprint on estimating the cost. Then went to two local stores and I ended up paying less and the turn around time was really quick. I had to use one local place for T-shirts and another for printing, the local place had a minimum for everything.  I would recommend a place that could do most of the work in house.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
10/4/22 9:11 a.m.

There are many businesses that specialize in slapping your design on their physical product (sticker, shirt, etc) and they will handle the purchasing, shipping, etc.  A lot of them partner with etsy so it may be easiest to just create a super specialized etsy store for this.  That said, the price they charge for this is substantial and eats into your donation amount big-time.

What kind of quantities are we talking about?

 

Stickers are great because

A) die cut stickers are cheeeeeaaaaapppppp

B) you can size them to fit in a standard envelope, meaning shipping is infinitely less painful

C) they are cheeeeaaapppppp

 

Also, if they are simple vinyl cuts, I wonder if you can outsource it to greater GRMers w/ vinyl cutters to share the load.

QuasiMofo (John Brown)
QuasiMofo (John Brown) MegaDork
10/4/22 9:33 a.m.

I have recently found that Printful has very good prices. 

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue HalfDork
10/7/22 3:17 a.m.

Little update here.  I shot Blipshift a note on Tuesday and they got back to me today.  It's a 'no', but in the nicest, most encouraging way possible.  They liked the design and the idea behind it for their own sake, but weren't confident that it was a great fit for their platform.  I'm okay with that.  It's fair, and probably true.  They did suggest several other firms that could do the work.  Wouldn't get the email-blast attention that Blipshift provides, but it is what it is.  And on that note... 

ProDarwin said:

There are many businesses that specialize in slapping your design on their physical product (sticker, shirt, etc) and they will handle the purchasing, shipping, etc.  A lot of them partner with etsy so it may be easiest to just create a super specialized etsy store for this.  That said, the price they charge for this is substantial and eats into your donation amount big-time.

What kind of quantities are we talking about?

 

Stickers are great because

A) die cut stickers are cheeeeeaaaaapppppp

B) you can size them to fit in a standard envelope, meaning shipping is infinitely less painful

C) they are cheeeeaaapppppp

 

Also, if they are simple vinyl cuts, I wonder if you can outsource it to greater GRMers w/ vinyl cutters to share the load.

When you say "they" cut into profits, do you mean the producers, or Etsy?  I've never set up an Etsy store.  Never even browsed there, having assumed it was for cutesy ladies' craft items, etc.  Maybe it is the right platform to sell this stuff. 

Regarding quantities - I have no idea.  This might sell nine shirts or it might go bananas and sell hundreds.  That's where the Redbubbles and the Teesprings and the Printifys of the world really have the advantage of printing and shipping on demand.  It looks like they will all require me to create an account before I can actually mock anything up or try to learn much about the process, which is incredibly irritating, but no surprise, I guess.

The design would not work well for vinyl cut decals, unfortunately.  It would probably be great for multi-color stickers.

Marketing will be a challenge because I do not have a social media presence to speak of.  We'll see how this goes.  Maybe we can get some eyes on it here once we procure some ducks and put them in a row.

 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
10/7/22 9:12 a.m.
DarkMonohue said:

When you say "they" cut into profits, do you mean the producers, or Etsy?  I've never set up an Etsy store.  Never even browsed there, having assumed it was for cutesy ladies' craft items, etc.  Maybe it is the right platform to sell this stuff. 

Both actually.  But I would say the producers moreso than etsy.  Not sure what etsy charges, but many of the producers are your standard run of the mill $5 T-shirt printed and sold for $25 and you can tell.  You can set it all up for free to figure out costs.  I don't think they are inherently different than Redbubble/Teespring/Printify, they are just integrated into Etsy.

If your design works great for multi-color stickers, could you just have them cut and ship them yourself?  Did I mention they are cheap?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/7/22 10:54 a.m.

I operate an Etsy store for my zines and, yes, they do take a cut–looks like it's 6.5% but check my math. There's a listing fee, too.

But I opened a store there because that's where the zine customers seemed to be. (It has slowed down a bit, and Etsy will now accept just about anything.)

Etsy provides the storefront and handles the transactions but I still have to inventory/pack/ship all the zines. For promotion, I have accounts on Facebook and Instagram

I admit that I spend minimal time with it but it's still takes effort. I also table at local zine fests. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
10/7/22 10:58 a.m.

If I wanted to sell a print-on-demand item and didn't want to deal with inventory and shipping, I'd look at Zazzle, Printful or similar. 

I just searched for "race car shirt" on Zazzle and founds lots of people selling shirts that feature race cars. Let Zazzle deal with all the possible sizes, colors, etc. They take a bigger cut, but they also handle a lot of the headaches.

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue HalfDork
10/7/22 11:11 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

If I wanted to sell a print-on-demand item and didn't want to deal with inventory and shipping, I'd look at Zazzle, Printful or similar. 

I just searched for "race car shirt" on Zazzle and founds lots of people selling shirts that feature race cars. Let Zazzle deal with all the possible sizes, colors, etc. They take a bigger cut, but they also handle a lot of the headaches.

That is exactly the approach I am looking at.  I don't have an interest in setting up a business. I just want to turn an idea into some humanitarian aid.

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