Print-on-demand services are one of the best ways to sell your art, and CafePress is one of the oldest and most well-known. CafePress has evolved into a printing powerhouse, with hundreds of bizarre products (thongs, flasks, lunch bags, necklaces etc) for sale in addition to standard clothing options. I’ve never purchased anything from CafePress and never will, so I can’t comment on the quality of their products. This CafePress review is solely from an artist’s standpoint. Is CafePress good for artists? Absolutely not, and I’ll tell you why.
Most Of The Art On CafePress Sucks
You are who you hang out with, and I’ve yet to see a standout design on CafePress. Take a look at this selection of absolute dog shit found on CafePress’ front page:
CafePress is soaked in this type of amateur hour bullshit. Scrolling through another dozen images on the front page yields Bernie Sanders xmas sweaters, Pray For Paris cash-ins and a metric fuckton of garbage clip art. Search for any random term and behold 15 years worth of 7th grade art class dropouts uploading millions of stupid images. But hey, you can find a Hunger Games shirt written in Bleeding Cowboy font, so it can’t be all bad! How will customers find your art with this kind of competition? They won’t, because hopefully you’re smart enough not to waste your time uploading any. Speaking of which:
The Interface Is TerribleWhile CafePress isn’t the most user-unfriendly service (that dubious crown belongs to the brain aneurysm-inducing interface found on Society6), it’s still a huge pain in the ass. Every time I log in I have to hunt for the options I want, resulting in at least half a dozen clicks before I finally find what I’m trying to do. The upload process is a hassle and requires a solid 15-20 minutes to upload one file, tag it and properly set products.
CafePress automatically selects a set of products, seemingly at random. This means you’ll spend a considerable amount of time selecting and deselecting the products you want to sell. The edit function is limited, making art placement and size somewhat difficult to control. Unlike many other print-on-demand services, each color of clothing is a separate product, meaning customers will have to hunt through a huge list to find their desired color.
Art Is Frequently Rejected For No Apparent Reason
I spent one bright Saturday morning creating a CafePress store for my back catalog. I went to the gym, only to return and find an email from CafePress saying nearly every one of my works had been rejected. I’d wasted over three hours uploading, tagging and choosing products, so “raging fucking pissed” was an understatement.
Even simple phrases might get the boot and there’s no consistency at all. For example, I accidentally uploaded my “Where’s Chapo” design twice. One was rejected, one wasn’t. There’s no rhyme or reason behind any of it. Out of my entire catalog, only three designs made it past the censor squad.
CafePress Rips Off ArtistsIf you thought Amazon’s 6% affiliate margin was shitty, you’ll bust a nut when you see CafePress’ whopping 5% commission rate! I’ve sold $52.99 worth of merch this month and earned $2.65. Since CafePress has a $20 payout threshold, I’m guessing I might hit the requirement about halfway through 2018 when aliens blow up the earth and I still don’t get any fucking money.
CafePress does offer some draconian rules on increasing commission rates to a still shitty 10%, but why bother? As an artist, you can get triple the profit for 1/20th the work on other sites like TeePublic.
My CafePress review can be summed up in one simple phrase:
CafePress’ interface sucks and they rip artists off with abysmal commission rates. I’d rather stick my nut sack in a bag full of hedgehogs than sell my art on CafePress. You would have to be an absolute moron to buy from or sell on this site. Avoid at all costs!
Like this review? Check out How To Start A Big Money T-Shirt Business