Hi Everyone! This is the first post on my new Grandpa's Tees website. I want to let you know what the site is all about and my plans for it.
My name is Tom and I am the Grandpa in Grandpa's Tees.
I have been retired for a few years now and have made some attempts at making money online. Up to now, that has been with affiliate marketing. If you are interested in learning more about that, you can click this link to visit my Affiliate Marketing For All website.
Print on Demand
This website is about my new venture - selling t-shirts and other printed products that I design. That has become much easier to do in the last few years because of something called Print on Demand (POD).
Basically, that means someone can search a catalog of designs and order ones they like. The merchant then prints the design on the product and ships it off to the buyer. The only inventory to stock is the unprinted products. Those might be t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, tote bags, pillows, towels, phone cases - the list keeps growing.
Designers like me add their designs to the suppliers website and earn a profit whenever one of them is sold. This helps the manufacturer because they don't have to hire a staff of designers and it helps the designer because they don't have to stock any product. You can read more about POD on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Print_on_demand.
I actually made a try at t-shirt sales years ago but I wasn't very serious about it and never made a sale. The designs I posted weren't very good because I hadn't but much effort into researching what sells and I used canned designs from other people rather than my own.
Merch By Amazon
Just days ago I stumbled across Amazon's version of POD and I know that this can be a game changer. Merch by Amazon has been around since 2015 but, for some reason, I never took notice of it. I really wish I had started with it sooner.
Merch has all the benefits of other POD services but is backed by the power of Amazon.com. With billions of visitors each month, designs on Amazon have a good chance of being seen and purchased.
I just upload my designs and Amazon handles the merchandising, production and order fulfillment.
They don't do it all for me though. I still have to research wich themes are in demand and create designs that people want to buy. That research part is going to be a learning curve for me. I hope to describe just what I am learning and how it is working for me in coming posts to this blog.
Issue To Overcome
I should also mention that, from my point of view, not all is perfect with Merch by Amazon. Early on, I see three main issue to overcome.
First, there is a LOT of competition. A huge marketplace is good for traffic but it also attracts many, many other designers. Some with years of experience and a loyal following. I have to find ways to break into that market and get own my stuff seen. Small focused niches might be the way to go when beginning.
Second, Amazon places limits on the number of designs that can be active on their site at one time. For someone who is just starting out like me, that number is very small. Amazon uses a tiered system that starts at just 10 designs and that is where I am now. To work my way up the ladder I have to make sales. The next level is 25 slots but to get there I have to sell 10 shirts. Then I sell 25 shirts to get to the 100 level which, according to what I read, is where the profits really begin. From there the tiers continue: 500, 1000, 2000, etc. I have seen many suggestions for how to move up the tiers so I will have to do some experimenting.
Third, limited products to sell. Right now, Merch only supports t-shirts, one style of hoodie and a mobil phone device they call a PopSocket. I don't know is other products will be added in the future but i hope so.
These cons are barriers that I will be able to overcome and I will share how I do it with you.
As a short term measure to overcome the limited number of designs I can add on Merch by Amazon, I am also using Teespring POD service. They let me post a lot more designs and also let me put them on products that Amazon doesn't support like mugs, pillows, phone cases and tote bags.
If I have a lot of success with Merch, I may someday stop designing for Teespring altogether. On the other hand, I just might continue to do both. More opportunities to get my designs seen should be a good thing in the long run. I will have to see how this business works out.
I don't know what the future holds but I will be updating you through this blog as I go along.
I am glad you are here with me and I welcome your questions and comments.