If you follow me on Instagram you've probably noticed a couple things recently: 1. I really love my dog 2. Something about a T-shirt? Cotton Bureau?
One of my goals for this year was to find ways to get my designs out there and into people's hands without necessarily being the work of my hands. I believe my business guru brother in-law calls this passive income.
Right now every single thing on my website is made by me. I have an idea. I sketch it out. I refine it. Get it in the computer. Finalize it. Then I get it in Silhouette and make sure the cut out looks right. Send it to the Silhouette where it cuts out the design. Then I put it on a screen. Then I take my pre-cut fabric or paper and screen print it. Let it dry. If its a paper print thats it but if its a bag, then I sew it together. After that I photograph it. Edit the photos. And post them on Etsy. When there's an order I pack it up and send it out.
And I love this process. Its so cool to be so close to every single thing I make and sell. But it requires me every step of the way. Enter in the goal of this year. Passive income. There are lots of great sites out there that want to print your stuff for you. I'm checking out Spoonflower, Society6 and have already launched a t-shirt campaign on Cotton Bureau.
With these companies the process goes. I have an idea, or I take something I've already designed. I format it for whatever platform I'm about to use. Work with the contact at the site to make sure everything is exactly right. Then they post it. I promote it, shamelessly. Or at least semi-shamelessly and they take care of the rest.
Working with bigger platforms also make its easier to do things like t-shirts (it would be difficult for me to keep inventory on hand in every size like that), large pieces of fabric, phone cases and other items I currently can't print on.
Right now I have a t-shirt up on Cotton Bureau. Here's how they work. I submit a design, pick out what shirts to have it printed on and they post it up on their site. Here's the interesting bit. For two weeks the design is available to order, and if by the end of those two week, at least 12 shirts have been purchased they print the shirts. If only 11 get ordered, no one gets a shirt. Which would be a bummer, so go buy a shirt! Once we hit 25 shirts sold I start to see some revenue from the process. So far its been a fun experiment to see what its like. Your design really needs to be strong and have mass appeal to gain traction. Not sure if that what I have here but at the time of writing this we've sold 9 shirt and have 12 days left so it seems pretty good.
I will always have stuff I make by hand but it's nice to have someone else helping me out. And I hope you enjoy it too. Because these platforms can make more kinds of products than I could ever do on my own and at a better price than I could ever viably do. So if you see me telling you about another site to go to, do me a favor and check it out. You might find something else to love there.