For those of you that have tried to dive into the online t-shirt business, you probably already know about Zazzle and Threadless, and you also likely know about Etsy and CafePress. However, chances are that you are looking for a couple of more options by now.
Thankfully, entrepreneurship is not dead (yet), so today, we’re going to provide you with two more places to sell your t-shirts. Fortunately, unlike other sites you may have dealt with in the past, these sites have a pretty solid foundation.
Spreadshirt has the basics down-pat for making your own t-shirt store. Referring to them as “shops”, the program is based on uploading your own designs, displaying them on your very own customizable website, and then self-promoting your products – just like a legitimate business.
Although Spreadshirt offers a snazzy premium service, its free option still gets the job done. With a free account, you can set up a shop, customize the HTML header and CSS, and even redirect the URL to the domain of your choosing. Even if you don’t know how to pull off code, everything is still customizable including colors and fonts. Another one of the nice features it offers is its discount system, so you can occasionally send out codes to your best shoppers who might want to cut a little off their next purchase.
Furthermore, Spreadshirt offers an iFrame code which allows you to just embed your shop within whatever website you are using. Personally, I think this would work well with blogs or simple web pages. However, you could always just insert images of your products on your website and link them to their unique buy pages on your Spreadshirt store.
In addition to Spreadshirt’s ability to sell t-shirts on your own site with whatever mark-up that you desire, the website allows you to sell designs that other stores (and Spreadshirt itself) can use for their own items. Basically, when a shirt is sold with the design that you have placed in the public marketplace, you will be paid on commission. Beyond that, if you include Spreadshirt’s t-shirt customizer on your own shop, you will earn a percentage of each shirt sold.
As I mentioned before, Spreadshirt allows users to become a premium member through a monthly subscription (topping out at $100 a year). Besides its many other features, the upgrade allows you to have three shops under one account, removes all Spreadshirt-themed advertising from your site, and places your own custom logo on all invoices.
RedBubble is mainly for the artistic types, and its products are a little more expensive than the Five Dollar Deal shirt you picked up at that one flea market while visiting your family down in Alabama. The quality is posh, but if you think you can keep up with the big dogs on this site, then go for it.
RedBubble places you in a vast community of masterful artists who love sharing their work, so you will never be short of inspiration if you want to make an artsy tee. With that in mind, this might not be the best place to sell your “World’s #1 Mee-Maw” t-shirt concept.
A minor downside for some users might be the fact that RedBubble does not offer you a way to set up a shop like Spreadshirt, for it presents itself in a style that could be best described as being an upper-scale DeviantArt. However, much like how you could sell prints on DA, you can sell shirts on RedBubble (in addition to various other wares).
Shirt design in RedBubble is a little different than Spreadshirt. Right off the bat, you are asked to download a template so that you can use the proper pixel dimensions. The template offers you a wide range of space to work in, so don’t worry about it limiting your creativity. Speaking of creativity, RedBubble respects your own, so it allows you to place either watermarks or even transparent overlays on your images so that other users cannot steal your work.
Marketing your work on this site is going to be a little like going to a craft fair. People who show up are likely selling their own creations in the same place, but the community-nature of the site is sure to find you some supporters. However, if you feel like selling off-site, I would suggest using the same method that I offered with Spreadshirt by linking images to the buy page.
There are several sub-communities throughout RedBubble, and it is really easy to connect with others even if you aren’t wanting to sell. You can share ideas, personal pieces, and input using each community’s section of the site, and you can also interact with individuals via BubbleMail.
Arguably, Spreadshirt and RedBubble have two of the best shirt-selling methods in the online world. By all appearances, the user-base seems a little small compared to Zazzle and CafePress, but they seem to be exactly what next-level shirt sellers could want. Test them out if you haven’t before, and see if you can get a feel for them.
What other uncommon shirt-selling websites do you use? Have you had any luck in the t-shirt selling business? What kind of designs have you made?
Image Credit: alvimann
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