Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wanna buy a t-shirt?

I've been wrestling with this idea for about a month now (just about every day) and the idea is to open an online t-shirt/apparel store. In the beginning I would just sell t-shirts, but eventually I'd set it up so that anyone could purchase a number of different items with my designs on them. But let's start small and just stick with t's for now.

Would you buy my designs?

There are several things that need to be considered. First, what kinds of designs would I have? Second, how much would it all cost? Let's talk about the second question first. I love free things and technologically that means open source, freeware, etc. Being an open scientist fits right in with that theme, and has actually made me want to provide more to the online "community." With that said, I would want to charge as little as possible depending on where I set up shop. If I could possibly make no money, I would even consider that. I think in the beginning phases this would be a viable option.

Why do I want to make as little money as possible? It's because of a couple of reasons. One reason is I enjoy designing so much and I appreciate my own art so much that I would gladly give it away for free just to see it spread around. The other reason is that it sucks to pay a lot for a freaking t-shirt. I think $20 is pretty much a ceiling (shipping included) for these things. In my searches for online t-shirt stores, I've been trying to gauge all these various costs (shipping, base price, my price) but none of them reveal too much prior to start-up.

The other consideration for customers is what kinds of designs I would sell. The answer is a simple: ANYTHING! I'd start with a couple various designs I already have. I've been meaning to make images of some of my favorite childhood influences (transformers, voltron, ninja turtles, etc) and this would give me an excellent reason to start. I've also been interested in just making more art, which would be t-shirt-ized. Those Science Commons logos which didn't win, they would be made into t's as well.

That brings me to my next topic: KochLab t-shirts. I have various logos already and a plethora of science images from which to choose. I'm sure I could even think of some interesting concepts (protocols on a t-shirt?) to innovate. The reason I bring this up, is because for these I would charge and maybe try to make a decent percentage. The money wouldn't go to me though. All profits would be donated to KochLab for use in research, and this would give customers a double return: buy a t-shirt, donate to a worthy cause. If I could somehow get access to the shipping information or get in contact with the buyers I could send them a note explaining what the money will go towards. Would anyone be interested in this?

Now I just need to pick the place to set up shop. There's Zazzle, Spreadshirt, Cafepress, and Online Shirt Stores. I can't tell what the base prices from Spreadshirt are, but their setup looks nice and easy. Zazzle is a bit on the expensive side (base is around $15 with mandatory 10% for me), but it looks like they could be the most customizable. Online Shirt Stores is a bit lame, but they are cheap (base price $8). However, I can't tell if it'll cost me anything to get started. Cafepress is similar to spreadshirt and Zazzle in a lot of regards, but they will only allow each design to be in it's own store which means I'd have to have a different store for each design. That doesn't make sense to me. Also it seems that some of the sites allow you to attach your custom domain which will work nicely for me down the road.

I still have some research to do, but the verdict seems that I'll just have to take the plunge and sign up for one of them. When I do you'll be the first to know and hopefully someone reading this blog can be the first customer. Wanna buy a t-shirt?

3 comments:

Rock and Roll T Shirts said...

Nice collection you have... Your stuff really rock....

An Interested Customer. said...

I would buy your designs.... I heard about your designs and I want to buy whatever tee shirts you make....

An Interested Customer. said...

I would buy your designs.... I heard about your designs and I want to buy whatever tee shirts you make....

Related Posts with Thumbnails