Why I’m Not Using Cotton Bureau Anymore
I recently launched a small online shop with some shirts and stickers in it. It has a name, but it’s not a brand—right now it’s just a shirt that I want to print and sell.
There’s some options available for people who want to have shirts created. One of the best is a site called Cotton Bureau. They provide an avenue for people, often designers, to upload their work. Other folks can preorder the shirts, and if the very low minimum quantity is met, the shirt is printed.
The quality of the shirts and the printing is great, and there’s no work on the part of the uploader—Cotton Bureau handles payments, setup, printing, proofing, packing, and shipping. They do all the work, and they receive the bulk of the proceeds. They should. They’re making the shirts.
I’ve printed a shirt through Cotton Bureau twice, and the last time I sold 30 shirts. They sold for $22, plus shipping (about ~$26 total). I made $3 per shirt, or $90, and got a free shirt. I also didn’t have to do anything.
Printing and selling my own shirts definitely includes a lot more work for me. I need to keep track of orders, package shirts, print labels, and actually ship shirts. But I think I would gain some things from doing it myself.
I gain inventory, and potentially some money.
If I had pre-sold those 30 shirts myself, for $25 dollars a pop, I would have take in $750. Between printing, packing, labeling and shipping, I’d probably have ~$50 left over… with 20 extra shirts I could continue to sell.
I’d gain a connection to the people buying this stuff—I’d know who they were, and be able to thank them.
This is the biggest issue I have about continuing on with Cotton Bureau.
Because right now, Cotton Bureau gets the better end of our deal. Not the money—they deserve that. They get names and emails addresses and contact information of the people who buy my work. I never see that. And I am working for them—I send people to their site to purchase things from them. Each shirt they ship has their name printed on it, not mine. And they rely on me to drum up all the sales for these shirts. I drive people there.
I don’t think Cotton Bureau is bad. I know people who have printed their own shirts who now use Cotton Bureau instead, which makes me think maybe they know something I don’t. But that trade-off, ease of use vs access to people, isn’t something I want to sacrifice anymore.
Panthers Football Preorder: http://store.seyez.biz/product/panthers-football