Posted on May 22, 2003 Posted by John Scalzi 10 Comments
My friend Charles Keagle, who is an artist and animator, dropped me a note today about his site, fluffballs.com, devoted to the cute, cottony little creatures he’s been drawing since we were in high school. Charles, full of the gumption that Makes America Great, has started his own line of fluffball clothing, designed to swaddle you and/or a small child you know in fluffball softness, all the better to help him segue into a lucrative Nickelodeon series. Or something like that. To which one has to say: Go Charles! Ride those fluffballs to unfathomable riches. And remember I want a cut.
Charles is able to start his own line of clothing not because he’s filthy stinkin’ rich but because he’s got one of those Café Press shops; the idea here is that Café Press supplies the t-shirts (and fleece sweaters, and baby bibs, and coffee mugs, and so on), and all Charles or anyone has to do is supply some artwork. When someone orders a shirt, or whatever, they screen it on and ship it out, and Charles gets his cut. There’s little or no cost for Charles. And of course, no sooner than Charles mentions his shop, than I note other people I know with their own little Café Press shops: My pal Joe Rybicki is flogging hats and t-shirts with his band on them, for example. And it also occurs to me that the coffee mug I bought last week was also a Café Press product. These guys are everywhere.
I realize I’m coming late to the Café Press party, since every second blogger has his or her own Café Press shop, but now that I have, I’m thinking it’s not a bad idea at all — another example of someone actually using the Web to do something it would have been impractical to do before. Café Press items are a touch more expensive, but I guess popping out stuff in runs of one isn’t as cost-effective as it could be. But I now have a cool inflammatory mug I wouldn’t have had before, and Charles can sell his fluffballs. So there you have it.
Will I start making t-shirts and trinkets? You never know.
That’s not nice of you calling them “t-shits” isn’t it, just because he didn’t promise you a cut right off the bat?
A brilliant marketing scheme! Hats off to Charles.
Why no adult Ts, I wonder?
This could start a whole line of Scalzi products, maybe emblazoned with a caricature and various slogans such as:
“SCALZI: workaholic in a bathrobe.”
“I have a webite, so my opinions are worth more than yours.”
“My god, is the person wearing this shirt sexy or what?”
No offense, but until you start printing novels on the sides of coffee mugs, I’ll stick to buying books from bloggers and cafe press items from artists. :-)
Mouse pads are available online as well by numerous suppliers. I need a new mouse pad. They’ll become collectors items if the year and the number of the edition is stamped on the mousepads. Maybe.
I really like the idea of Cafe Press but unfortunately I have not been at all satisfied with their products. It seems they just use those crappy inkjet printer tshirt transfers and the results are no where near professional enough to justify the prices. Though I do find it somewhat amusing that Pravda uses them (http://www.cafeshops.com/cp/store.aspx?s=pravda).
How about a shirt with the Whatever logo on it? I could see something like that doing well in the “Disenfranchised Youth” market.
Hi all, Charles here. I have to blush at Jon’s kind (and mostly even true) words. A few quick comments. RB, actually there are plenty of items for adults on the site. Regarding Café Press quality, I’m sorry that Josh had a bad experience, but my experience with the company has been nothing but positive. I have ordered many samples to test quality and they are professionally printed.
I’ve been getting ready to start my own Cafe Press store for my own site, so I’m very interested to know if anyone else has had negative reactions to their products.
Perhaps the easiest way to test the quality is to order a shirt and check it out. Admittedly it has been quite a while since I bought anything from them so they might have invested capital in creating an actual shirt printing service instead of using iron ons from an inkjet. I hope that is the case actually, since there are several shirts from Cafe Press that I want.