Cafe Press Tutorial

I’m steadily making about $20 per month on Cafe Press.  Sometimes I make around $40.  I have over 400 basic designs on the site and sales trickle in throughout each month.  I’m not advertising. It isn’t worth it for my situation to focus on marketing for this site.  I do like it a lot though. I have not added any designs for more than 6 months.  What I noticed is that people just throw up anything and everything whether it is any good or not.  I began to feel overwhelmed with bad art which, I guess, gets weeded out if they don’t sell. I think the prices being charged are really high and I don’t feel that I get enough money for each sale.  So, I’m happy to keep everything going, but I won’t make much more effort than that unless things benefit me a little more.

9/22/2015 I’m happiest working in Cafe Press more than the other POD sites.  I’ve also made the most money on this site.  I’m averaging about $35 per month give or take.  One month I had about $100 in sales, but most other months were down.  The thing I’ve noticed about Cafe Press is that they don’t seem to play favorites.  It is my guess that they rotate products.  At least, that is how it seems.  I don’t work on the site every day.  I tend to work for two days every other month when I feel crafty.  To date, I have 389 designs uploaded.  I did discover that I was doing the tags incorrectly this entire year.  It is very important to separate each word with a comma.  I was just typing out each word with no commas.  I never bothered with creating a store front.  I chose to sell all of my goods in the marketplace.  I think it has been less hassle and I’m glad I chose that option.

8/5/2014 Ok, so I just got my first cafepress sale after only being on there for about two weeks.  I sold a wall clock and made $3.94 in commission.  I have to wait the month or so time for the payment to clear, I think, but not bad for being on there for less than two weeks.  FYI, for those of you who want details, I did have 55 designs uploaded (which I uploaded in one day).  I do graphics, so I’m really quick and I have designs from the past that I uploaded by their quick create feature.  In other words, I did not make a store and upload to the store.  That process seems to be too much trouble with cafe press.  When you do it the way I did it, you are restricted to making 10% of the sale, as far as I know.  That is ok with me because I have other stores with other vendors.  Uploading with the 10% expectation actually worked out in this case … so far.  We’ll see.  I’ll keep you updated.

Quick Note:  I joined cafe press a few days ago and made some mistakes that I needed technical support for.  The cafepress team was top notch.  Not only did they return my e-mails when they said they would, but they had solved my problem without any nonsense.   Excellent.  Then I had a questions and got on the live chat.  Again, exceptional attention and answers to my questions.

How long does it take before my product designs are shown?  I uploaded 55 designs one day and it took about 12 hours for the designs to go live.   You can view the number of live designs in your dashboard.

8/26/2014 No more sales at this point.  Only four views this month.  I uploaded another 50 or so designs.  I learned that you have more success when you have your profile at 90% to 100%.  So, I filled out my entire profile.  I also learned that for your products to gain exposure that you get pushed up if you add at least one product a month and follow at least one person a month at a minimum.  Interesting.  So, I’ve added a bunch of people.  I followed about 50 others.  The one thing that is a pain is that there is no FILL option when simply uploading.  In order to get any fill function, you have to upload and then wait for it to create products chosen by the computer, then in the upper left side, select FILL.  It will then regenerate your products and select a few.  But still, you have to manually go in an edit each product in order to get your product to fill.  There were a few images that were compressed so much that the images used to sell the product were muddy.  My images were not muddy at all. They came very high quality, high resolution vector images turned into pngs, but the image, once uploaded, looked really bad.  99% of the images look great though.


How much money do you make on cafepress a week, a month, a  year?
Answer:  First, the answers to this question are questionable and may be full of rumors and conversations I’ve seen range from making zero to $150,000 per year.  Realistically, other comments have indicated that they make 10 to 25 sales per month on a good day. One person states he makes $20 if he’s lucky.  Another noted $125 in sales in the first few months.  You have to take into account who these people are marketing to.  If they market to their list of 125,000 cancer survivors and they are selling a “beat cancer now” tee shirt, then they have a lot of contacts and a focused topic.  So, you can’t really compare unless you know the person’s product and who they are marketing to and how much time and money they have spent on marketing.  That is not taking into account the freak successes.

You must take these things into account:
1.  Your designs.  If your designs are not professionally done and look amateurish to the consumer, they won’t buy.  You should have many different designs.  How much variety do you have?  Do you have a certain group of people you will target for sales, a niche market?  Also, how are the designs placed on the product?  Do they look good?  Do they fit properly?
2.  Don’t Pay for Marketing – Many people who make a lot of money market 24×7 and make a tremendous effort to get their products in front of people. (I have worked with POD companies for years and do not recommend spending money on marketing until you have tried out the POD companies for at least two years and have over a minimum of 500 products.)
3.   Selling to Family & Friends – There are only so many t-shirts your mom can buy. Don’t count products purchased by your family and friends.  You need to get the marketing out to the general public.
4.  Win the Lottery – Much is left to luck if you don’t market.  Even when you do get a min of 500 products, note that your products are in a database filled with hundreds of thousands of products.  It’s like hitting the lottery if you get a sale without making any effort.  I just learned that cafepress serves over 50 billion images PER DAY.  That’s how many products you are competing again.  Easier to get struck by lightning.  So, the point is, if you want to make money, you must have a lot of volume.


1.  Click on CREATE from the menu bar.

2.  Select a product from the list at the left.

3.  Upload your graphic