CafePress

November 14, 2006

In these weeks leading up to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, my mind is always filled with thoughts about new ways to maximize my income, like how to rearrange my booth, what new products to introduce, how to move more of the products I have, what is the best balance between original artwork and reproductions, etc. Today I’ve been surfing the website of CafePress.com, trying to decide if it’s something I really want to sink time into right now.

CafePress is a fascinating concept, and I’ve been sending fellow artists over there for years, even though I’ve never tried it myself. Basically, for no upfront charge you upload images to a personal online shop you create and specify which of CafePress’ stock products you want the image to be sold on. They receive orders (no minimum), print, ship, and send you a payment at the end of each month for products sold.

The appeal is obvious: a person can theoretically receive a tidy little royalty paycheck from CafePress each month for very little effort.  But it’s not that simple. One must first determine whether the time spent customizing the images, uploading them, and creating an online shop are justified by the potential sales, not knowing what those potential sales may be. For fine artists the question is even more complicated, since one must ask oneself whether such things as t-shirts, coffee mugs, and wall calendars really fit into the image one wishes to project.

And so, once again, I’m not willing to commit my images to CafePress just yet. I need to mull this over for awhile…

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