In Blog 261 I Talked about my product journey. In this blog, I am going to talk about making the product for your site.
In the last blog it was a way for me to start a new chapter. In blogs 1-260 I talked about my footwear career and the many experiences that have made me into the person I am today. I had so many memories to share lol. Now I am in a place where I am re-inventing myself. For so many years I did things for whatever company I worked for. It was such a great learning experience. I was so dedicated and loyal that sometimes I didn’t do things for myself. I want to focus more on what makes me happy and those around me going forward. I think it is a healthier mindset to be in. One of the things that has always made me happy is to figure out what makes people buy certain items. There are different ways to go about this and is very much debatable on what the best way is. I think doing things you are passionate about is a great start. Before I get into the process of figuring out the product there is a process that is equally interesting, I thought I’d start out with.
As you can see, I changed the format again. I’ve always liked color and the last blog’s color was a little bland for my taste. This goes back to doing what you’re passionate about and color has always been a passion for me. The great thing about this format is I can change up the colors to suit a mood or a season, so we’ll go with this one for a while.
When you are making a t-shirt it’s like a coloring book. At least with a print on Demand shop. You must stay in the lines or the “Safe Zone” or there may be unexpected results. There are a few steps to this. First of all, you have to find a graphic you want to put on a shirt. For the sake of this first step we will use the shoe theme to start. I found this I Love shoes graphic at a royalty free site I use. It’s important to make sure these are copyright free, or you can run into legal issues.
Most Print on Demand sites make it as easy as possible to use so your end product turns out the way you want. You can buy samples to test the end result but that can be expensive so you should test them but not every single thing you make. I tested the all-cotton t-shirt and the blended heather to see what the difference was. The all-cotton image tends to be more vibrant, but the Heather t-shirt is much softer so it’s a tradeoff for what you want.
There are dozens of different printing companies to choose from. They all have scores based on Quality, Production speed and Stock reliability. The score is added up for an overall score. I try to use companies with an 8 or higher. If there is a product that I want to make but the score of the printer is low, I just won’t carry that item. It’s not worth chancing a customer issue. I also try to stay with a certain printer for a category. I have used different printers when I started out, but consistency is a good thing, so I try to use the same T-Shirt printer, the same coffee mug printer and so on. The only time I may use different ones is if there is a branded item, I want to offer like the Champion hoodie. It is a little more because of the brand so I offer another one from a different printer at a lower cost as well.
Back to the process
So, back to the process. You pick you printer and the item you want to make. A graphic pops up with the safe zones lined up and the desired graphic size for the item you are making. I take the graphic I want to use beforehand to the Canva app and plug in that dimension and then save to a file folder for the project I’m working on. It’s always best to use a transparent graphic because of color variations. From there I pop that graphic into the Print on demand App. I try to get it as centered as possible and when finished there is a preview button to see what it will look like. If the mock up looks good you can publish the new product to your Etsy site or whatever site you are using.
But wait there’s more
And you thought that was it, Now the fun begins. On the Etsy site you need to write the content, the tags for SEO purposes, add additional images, shipping policy, return policy, variants, retail and if you will offer personalization. All of these topics could be their own blog, so we’ll keep it at that. It’s a lot of work and it’s best to have a layout of what you want for each type of product. So, for instance, since I know what tags are good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on dog coffee cups I try to use similar tags but different enough to distinguish each breed.
Some items aren’t that easy to do
Some items only offer one color or pattern. If you want to make it easier to shop, you can add variants manually. This is when it takes a bit of time to complete an item. It can get a little complicated too so I try to make it as easy as possible for my customers to shop and that’s the bottom line for me.
In closing this blog, I must say I love it. I love trying to figure out what people are looking for, what colors, products, patterns. I do a lot of research on other sites and on Etsy. I never try to copy someone; I like my own jam. I will put my spin on it though if it’s close. I also try to stay away from controversial topics even if it would sell. I was going to have a t-shirt in blue that said Left and a red one that said Right. But I’ll let someone else steal that idea, I’ll stick to dogs and BBQ, much safer lol.
* I will start having one blog a week going forward but I had to flush out the format in my head first.
SIZES... SIZES... SIZES... SIZES...
…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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