April 11, 2008

Cool Tools: CafePress

You already create – so why not put your work out where people can see it? CafePress allows you to set up an online shop and produce everything from coffee mugs to t-shirts imprinted with your images.

Established in 1999, the company allows users to set up an online shop selling a wide variety of customized merchandise. The network includes over 6.5 million members who have created over 150 million products.

There are two kinds of shops you can open: basic and premium. Basic is free and gives you a minimal number of features. The premium membership costs as low as $4.99 a month and puts your listings ahead of other shops, gives you access to more items to sell, and lets you customize the layout of your shop. products are created as they are ordered, so there is no backlog of unused goods or inventory to worry about.

You can create a variety of products to sell at your shop. The most popular products are t-shirts, hats, and coffee mugs but there are also less obvious products like messenger bags, baby bibs, mousepads, pillows, bbq aprons, calendars, greeting cards, bumper stickers, and teddy bears.

The quality of the products varies depending on what is ordered. The most popular item, the t-shirt, has two options for printing methods: direct press or heat press. The t-shirt direct press method has received more favorable reviews than the heat press method with the quality supposedly being a great deal better. The main gripe with other products sold on the site is that logos that arrive more faded and less vibrant than expected.

If you’re looking for something to do with your designs and the thought of starting an online shop sounds appealing to you, take a look at