One of the things that's been on my bucket list for a while is to start a t-shirt company. I'm surrounded by people with great artistic talents and keen senses of humor, and it seems a shame to let those ideas languish among such a small group, so what better way to spread them than by sporting them around all day on your upper body? CafePress is one of several services that let's you get started selling printed products without a serious outlay in funds. If you're designs take off, you can always take your designs to your own site. I also also ordered a shirt from Zazzle.com so I could compare and contrast. In case you're thinking about ordering some custom shirts, here's a couple of differences between the two services:
- CafePress is a significantly cheaper. It cost me around $20 for each shirt, and shipping was free. Zazzle cost $25 plus $4 shipping, making it a $29 shirt. I don't remember ever spending that on a t-shirt before.
- Zazzle has bigger printing area by 68 square inches. CafePress is 10x10, Zazzle is 12x14 and you can have it horizontal or vertical.
- Zazzle has a nice tool for seeing your shirt on a variety of models of different shapes and sizes. CafePress just has the shirt, no model.
- The process of designing the CafePress shirt went more smoothly and had a few more options.
I decided to start real simple and created a t-shirt around a misspoken phrase I heard the other day which gave me a nice laugh. It's a little obscure, but the project was designed to get me started with the creative process and test out the quality of printing over at CafePress. I also ordered a shirt to advertise one of my recent ventures at geeky events. I purposefully chose a single color, and did a light-on-dark and a dark-on-light to see the differences. Both came out pretty nice, with crisp edges and bold ink. I put them through a wash, and they didn't shrink or flake. The white ink is raised up like a typically silk screen shirt, and the black is more like a dye without any raising. The neck is a little tight, but the shirt (I ordered large, fitted American Apparel shirts) is soft and long - a feature severely lacking in a lot of men's t-shirts.
Once I get my Zazzle order I'll post a bit more contrasting the quality of the printing and shirts.