General Discussion

Merchandising, and how to do it...
Hawk at 2:27PM, July 5, 2006
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What do you figure is the best way to sell merchandise for your webcomic?

I'm looking for a place that can reliably print and ship posters at a price that wouldn't be too harsh on the readers. I realized that I can easily print my own prints, but shipping them becomes a bit of a hassle. I eventually might even want to design some shirts or a mug (and those mouse pads are kind of cool). I'm actually not very interested in making money right now, just finding a way for my readers to get stuff inexpensively.

I've explored a few options already:

Cafepress - Seems like I've seen several webcomic artists take this route. From what the site tour tells me, it certainly does allow you a lot of options and prevent some hassle. And setting up a basic shop is free. But it seems like the product prices are a little bit high.

Zazzle - Aside from the website's name being kind of dumb, it looks like this place allows more customization of poster sizes but the products actually cost a bit more than Cafepress. Nothing I read indicated that you can adjust the price to set your own profit margin like at Cafepress.

I've seen a few other options and either they don't do all the products I'd like or they'd actually cost money to set up, and I don't plan on selling enough to pay for an online store.

Does anybody know of any other merchandising options, or would care to offer up opinions on the ones I've already mentioned?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
spambot at 4:30PM, July 5, 2006
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Cafépress is a good one to just sort of have around. Don’t expect to make any money from them, but fans can at least get the merch. The biggest downside is their shirts are ink transfer and not screen-printed, so they aren’t nearly as nice.
The best way to go, of course, is to have the stuff printed professionally, but that’s a lot up front and you have to ship it yourself.
For shirts I went through Brunetto, which turned out amazing.

I'm also doing that other comic "Space Waffles".
We now have a podcast called The Random Pirate Comics Show!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
Hawk at 7:06PM, July 5, 2006
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Thanks for the input, Spambot. Given that Cafepress' shirts may be lower quality, if I did go with them for prints and posters I may want to go with somebody else for shirts when the time comes. I'll look into Brunetto.

Kennedy0
Actually, if you're wanting money, don't bother. It'd pay better to get your own domain and start putting up ads. Then you should focus on merch.

That's the thing… I'm not really doing it for money. Heck, I may even sell the merchandise at cost and not make a penny. I'm really just looking for the best way to get merchandise out there.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
Liriel at 8:47PM, July 5, 2006
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Well if you're not interested in money CafePress is good for that, easy and you can use store credit from any sales margins you make to order yourself items to keep or sell in person, whatever.

I can't stand them though, ugh. I want MONEY damnit… *ahem* yeah, that's my experience.

~Liriel
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:35PM
Liriel at 8:24PM, July 6, 2006
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That's true, even the production price is a deterent to fans… they'd have to REALLY want something to buy it off CafePress (or be independantly wealthy, and those folks should just buy *you* instead and time and save money XD).

One thing I did that's worked out fairly well, was take my inkjet printer, get some professional photo paper, and make my own full color prints that I've sold at Cons. They'll be added to the online store eventually as they are fairly cheap to mail (not requiring tubes, though I do protect them with magazine bags and boards).

~Liriel
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:35PM
Hawk at 1:39PM, July 8, 2006
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I've continued to look over my options and it's funny what a mixed bag some of the options are.

I agree that CafePress is pretty spendy. This is especially true for the prints. You can only buy them framed, starting at $30 or something! However, I've found that CafePress may be the best option for posters. By myself, I can only print as large as 11x17. This same size (what CafePress considers a “small poster”) is only $5.00 (plus about $3-$4 shipping). This is possibly as cheap or cheaper than I can do it, and I wouldn't have to worry about quality control and shipping and stuff. The price does get steeper when you move up in size, but their $18.00 23“x35” poster would probably cost me just as much to print, even when I had my employee discount at the college print lab.

Now shirts, prints, and mugs are a different story. In this case CafePress simply charges too much. I'd probably go somewhere else for these. Liriel, the do-it-yourself approach may very well be the best option for smaller prints. It's something I'm going to explore.

Oh hey, thanks for your continuing input, everybody.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:45PM
lukee at 10:52PM, July 8, 2006
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I have a box at home of wooden polygon tiles, and I usually give a set to whoever donates a reasonable amount. It's more of a “thanks for donating” gift than actual merchandising, but whatever.
–LUKEE Q. FINKLEBERG
Genuine President For Life No Seriously Guys I Mean It For Reals of the Top Drawer
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:49PM
ccs1989 at 7:46AM, July 9, 2006
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http://www.lulu.com can print Calenders. Also a lot of people have Lulu accounts cause a lot of major webcomic artists have published on there.
http://ccs1989.deviantart.com

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:37AM

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