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Print-on-demand Changes The Branding Horizon

Jan 5, 2008
Before the Information Superhighway, blogs, social marketing, tcp-ip and other cyber-goodies, if a photographer or artist had an idea for a brand, he or she either had to go to a local silk screener and make a few tee shirts and pray a lot, or pray even more and go to the library calling name after name of manufacturers needed to portray the images. Then came the production, advertising, fulfilling, etc.

Now, with print-on-demand services such as Printfection and Cafepress, a few clicks of the mouse solves that problem. These type companies not only stock your inventory, but set up your webstore, allow you to digitally design your product, and it's not just on tee shirts and caps anymore, but collectible clocks, track suits, aprons, buttons, magnets, framed tiles, and hundreds of other gifts and collectibles.

As if that were not enough, they also give you a free secure merchant account and a storefront so that your customers can be confident in checking out. You, the merchant must also comply with their terms of service such as a 30-day money back unconditional guarantee (which a merchant should anyway, whether this service existed or not).

The price of one's storefront varies depending on the type one wants and which firm it is using. It is not expensive and can vary from free to seven dollars per month. Of course if that were all there were to the costs, everyone would have a store. But the truth of the matter is, one must budget in advertising and other costs that go along with promoting any service or product. It is not a lot different than running a brick and mortar store except a lot less costly.

How does one learn to design the products and price them? Each site has a tutorial that can be comprehended rather easily. If one hits a stump, there is a toll free number and a forum for answers. It is not rocket science, but, yes, even I, occasionally run into issues which are rapidly solved.

So if you have been one of those starving-artist types with your head in the sand for a long time, its time to pull it out and show your wares. The Internet has opened phenomenal new markets and the buying public loves them (and by the way, orders are quite brisk) at all seven of my stores.

So just build it and they will click their mouse.

I was one one of those creators who put my head in the sand for many years. I had (and have) a critically acclaimed cartoon Londons Times at londonstimes.us. For seven years I let it sit there and gather dust. Fortunately it gathered a following too (we found out about 9 million or 4000 per hour of which I had no idea at the time). Since discovering print-on-demand services I have opened mirthgirthbirth.com (maternity and infant wear), ricklondonwear.com (cartoon designer clothes) ricklondoncollection.com (cartoon gifts and collectibles), LTSuperstore.com megastore of gifts and collectibles, justfunnyaprons.com, justfunnyhoodies.com, and justfunnycoasters.com. The potential is unlimited. All one must do is research a product or products that are selling well, insert art or photography, and get to work.
About the Author
Rick London started Londons Times Cartoons in an abandoned Ms. warehouse. Now it is one of the most popular humor websites on the Internet with over almost 10 million visitors off-the-wall comics ,and
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