Developing a Home Business Utilizing CafePress - Part 1
As I mentioned in the previous post, Developing a Home Business Utilizing Cafe Press - Introduction, a number of people are looking for web sites where they can set a business rather than developing a web site on their own.
MEA: Would you describe your businesses and tell us what you do and the general type of products.
MARK: Defy Gravity Apparel and The Spanked Monkey are primarily online stores selling t-shirts printed with designs that I have come up with. Between the two stores you will find different styles of printed t-shirts and sweatshirts, including children’s sizes, hats, mugs, buttons, magnets, tote bags, and more. In addition to the items in my stores, CafePress has many other items available, such as books and magazines, audio and data CDs, stickers, note cards, mouse-pads, and the list goes on.
MEA: Why did you decide to set up an online home business?
MARK: The great thing about an online business is that the world is your market. To date I have had sales in 38 states, England, Ireland, Wales, and Australia. An online business can be run from the comfort of your home and schedule.
MEA: Why did you choose CafePress?
MARK: About four years ago, I had the idea of a series of shirts with “Defy Gravity” as the tagline. At that time I didn’t see how I could follow through coming up with designs, the expense of having a minimum order printed, then finding a way to sell or distribute them. If I opened an online store on my own I would need to handle all the production, orders and shipping.
Then in July of last year, I found an article in a magazine that mentioned CafePress. I had an “AHA!” moment and realized I had found the way to follow through with my idea.
A basic store at CafePress can be opened for free. A Premium Store that is fully customizable is only $6.95 per month if paid monthly or only $5.00 per month if the year is paid up front. The risk is essentially zero. With CafePress I only need to come up with the designs, upload the designs, choose what items to put the designs on, and set the mark-up.
CafePress will make my designs searchable on their site, process orders including credit cards, produce the items as they are ordered (no inventory), and handle all shipping. If there are returns, which are possible since CafePress has a 30-day, 100% money back guarantee, they will take care of that also.
After you have a minimum of $25 profit from your sales, CafePress will send a check. There are a few other companies trying to do the same thing, but CafePress, I feel, is by far the best one for me after all factors are considered.
MEA: I know you have a computer background so do much of your own designing. Does one have to do this, or will CafePress provide designs or designers?
MARK: Although I do not consider myself an artist or graphic designer in any way, I do all my own designing. For some of my items I start with a public domain image and work from that. I figure if you put enough designs, good or bad, in front of enough people, you will get sales.
CafePress does not provide designs or designers. You need to do it yourself or hire someone else to create designs for you.
MEA: Do you see yourself developing in other directions with your business?
MARK: At this time I only see myself going where CafePress does. They have the market knowledge and do the research to know what to offer next.
(I’ll continue a Part 2 of my interview with Mark. There we’ll discuss the possibilities for others in developing an online home business.)Tags: Cafe+Press, Defy+Gravity+Apparel, home+biz, Home+biz+notes, Home+business, online+home+business, The+Spanked+Monkey