Apr 25 2009

Cafepress Heads for Self Inflicted Ruins

Published by under Cafepress,POD News,T-shirt News

April 22, 2009 started out to be a normal day for many artists who sell their merchandise at Cafepress, Once the leader in Print on Demand companies. Then the Bombshell hit. Shopkeepers being forced to accept 10% over a newly bloated base sticker price for all merchandise sold in the marketplace. Either that or opt out of the marketplace and lose those sales all together. Since most shopkeepers add at least $7 to say a $20 base price shirt, they will be forced to accept a $2 profit instead.
Needless to say Cafepress is digging it’s own grave as many of what is known as the Top Shopkeepers are now taking their designs elsewhere so as not to lose what for many of them is the sole income.

As one blogger puts it:
Lavender Newswire

In short, CafePress.com has screwed the shopkeepers — the artists, the designers, us, me. They’ve pulled massively boneheaded crap (designed to increase their profit margin while decreasing ours)

CafePress will undercut designers who sell on the marketplace and on their own shop. says Irregular Times read the entire article with this powerful headline: CafePress Announces Big Price Hikes for Buyers, Big Commission Cuts for Sellers

In more detail and obvious upset is the blog Wolfstad.com – who touches on not only this latest faxpaux by Cafepress but the earlier stabs in the back shopkeepers have recently been forced to withstand.
The article entitled:
CafePress Virtually Lays Off Thousands of Shopkeepers reads:

What CafePress announced yesterday that is making everyone very mad is that they will fix all prices in their marketplace and give shopkeepers only 10% of the final retail price. 10% is very low, as some shopkeepers have markups of as high as 30% to 40% to make a living. If in the past a t-shirt had a base price of $15 and the shopkeeper decided to have a $5 markup the t-shirt will sell for $20 and the shopkeeper will get $5. In the new scheme CafePress will be able to determine the retail price of all products in their marketplace and give the shopkeeper only 10%. So if they decide to sell the t-shirt for $18, the shopkeeper will get only $1.80. That is a huge cut in earnings.

read more…

Yet another blogger (The Kamranistan Blog) writes:Cafepress Slashes Royalties For Contributors by 75% While Increasing Its Own Profits by 40%.

There is a new uproar at the infamous Print On Demand company known as Cafepress. It was announced yesterday that they will make some changes that will benefit the customers and make their shopping experience better. This includes cleaning up the Cafepress marketplace by sorting and throwing out redundant designs to make browsing easier. This is something that fellow shopkeepers have been asking for for so long, so that’s the great part of the changes to be made in June. But what isn’t cool, is how we shopkeepers will benefit by making a measly 10% from marketplace purchases. As of right now, the agreement is that shopkeepers set their own prices whether the products are sold from the marketplace or directly from our shops. If a t-shirt’s base price is $14.99 and we set our markup to $8 that means that the final selling price to the customer would be $22.99. Now according to the new changes coming soon, shopkeepers will only receive 10% of $14.99 if the item is sold through the marketplace. Why is that bad? Well how would you feel if you were used to having your freedom as agreed in the TOS to sell your products at a reasonable price set by you and only you….only to have the agreement change and told that you will earn a whopping $1.49 for your design. A design that many shopkeepers have spend countless hours on on many days just to make a living.

So what is the answer? What do the shopkeepers do now? In the words of yet another blogger: Zazzle ‘em, Baby! words bolded by blogger Marianne Dow, a member of AVCOSA – Antiques, Vintage & Collectibles Online Sellers Assoc says:

So, what’s a seller to do? Well, you can run over to Zazzle, where they will welcome you with open arms. Zazzle will even give you a FREE SHOP.

Yes, it will be a lot of work – set up a shop, learn a new system, re-upload your images, and edit them to fit the Zazzle merchandise. Not to mention, change all the info and links on your own websites and blogs — and business cards, and… well, it’s a big ole hassle. But that is Cafepress’s fault.

At least Zazzle is there. Along with their larger selection of items to put your images on. And the freedom to sell at the price you set!

I was coming here to post the same thing!
This is absurd!!!!! So many shopkeepers ar PO’d and leaving.
I am leaving also! My work is worth a LOT more than 10%

says a post from a member of T-shirt Forums
Not to mention the huge fallout caused by Cafepress for all but removing the incentive volume bonus structure as reported in this blog: T-shirt Chat

I saw this coming a long time ago when marketplace sales were showing in my sales when I knew for a fact they were not marketplace as I see in my statcounter that they went directly to my shop because of my ads- and I worried about something fishy going on then- Oh well.. beef up your other PODs guys..

Over at Cafe Press Shopkeepers Unite the point is made quite clear:

Imagine if you have a store in a mall with two doors into your store… one from the mall and a private one for the store that only your customers know about. The stuff in your store costs one price for people that come in the private door and a different price for the people coming in from the mall – set by the mall owners. Same store, different prices. And then the mall claims that they are “not affecting” your store’s bottom line. Sure.

As I write this, the 6 million plus CP shopkeepers are mobilizing on the very CP community chat forums used to announce the policy changes, and in addition on facebook, yahoo and other blogs and boards on the web. We are alerting the national media and producing our own “counter” press releases because, quite simply, we outnumber them.

Apparently unbeknown to most shopkeepers this has been in the plans for quite sometime as I find in an old post from Direct Aug 2007:

Basically, CafePress member merchants upload their designs to CafePress. The company gives them an online store to sell from, produces the item on demand, handles payments, ships the order, and sends off a check to the merchant.

All of which brings us back to tagging. When the merchants send their designs to CafePress, they tag them with keywords that describe the categories to which they’re relevant, much the way users uploading photos or bookmarks to community sites tag their output to describe and organize it properly.

Gradually it dawned on the CafePress operators that they could use those tags to build more relevance into the product ads that the company ran on its network of Web site affiliates. Most of these are blogs, which tend to match the merchandise offered by CafePress in the strength and contrariety of their opinions.

“The tagging infrastructure is the foundation of how we allow people to search our marketplace,” says Maheesh Jain, CafePress co-founder and vice president of business development. “With the rise of contextual advertising and of blogging in general, tagging is becoming a big element in how people are identifying the content of their posts. So it just made sense for us to connect blogs and Web publishers to the content on our site through tagging.”

I will end with my very favorite blog on the topic – TSHIRT ENTREPRENEUR ONLINE

What Is Next For Cafepress?
Posted by: jjackson72

I’ve been chatting with some fellow disgruntled Cafepress shopkeepers about what the next shoe to drop over at that site will be.We’ve already had premium shops limited in size, price increases on basic items (strange because other companies are not following suit), and now the retooling of the volume bonus among other things that hurt shopkeepers while bolstering their bottom line.

Again, I don’t disparage Cafepress for wanting to make more money. What I disparage them for is doing it on the backs of those of us that make them successful and giving no significant notice of these changes for the most part. Call us “employees”, call us “business partners”, call us “independent contractors”, I don’t care which. The fact is that whatever you call us, we are Cafepress.

Make sure you go to the blog and read the entire article it is very well written and quite satirical albeit possibly more truism than not.
Read the article here:What’s Next for Cafepress
Well done jjackson72 !

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Aug 05 2008

Keds Studio – New Custom Shoe Program Launched by Keds Shoes and Zazzle POD

Published by under POD News,Zazzle

Just when you think you can have it all- a new opportunity comes along- Custom sneakers By Keds and created in Zazzle’s own Keds Studio! Customers and gallery owners can create custom Keds sneakers in women’s adult and children’s sizes – both lace up shoes and slip on Keds. Gallery owners are buzzing and customers delighted.

Choose Bright Rainbow Custom Keds Shoes

Choose Bright Rainbow Custom Keds Shoes

According to Business Wire:

The Keds Studio program, built and powered by Zazzle, offers consumers the unique ability to create original Keds designs by uploading their own artwork, graphics and text, onto the shoes instantly — a first for the footwear industry. In addition consumers are able to choose from a wide selection of colors and even unique, pre-made designs, many of which are designed by such artists as Sarah Singh and Gen Art artists, among others. The customized shoes are produced within 24 to 48 hours, and will be received by consumers within one to two weeks, depending upon the shipping method selected.

In addition, Zazzles platform will enable Keds Studio consumers now turned designers, as well as professional and amateur designers to sell their unique designs in the Zazzle marketplace. Zazzles Name Your Royalty system enables these consumers to set the price of their shoe designs above the original price and earn the entire mark-up in profit.

Or a Custom Keds Tomato Shoe

Or a Custom Keds Tomato Shoe

At launch, Keds Studio will offer five styles of Keds Champions for women and kids that are fully customizable. Styles include lace-ups, slip-ons and mini slip-ons ranging from $50 to $60.

Or Create your Own Keds Shoe Masterpiece.

Read the Business Wire story including the story on how Sneakers got their name.

Many Galleries will allow their customers to make changes of background colors for literally every part of the shoe right down to the laces, grommets and stitching!

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Jul 30 2008

Zazzle Announces New Customizable Shoes for Galleries to Offer Customers!

Published by under POD News,Zazzle

New Zazzle Custom Created Shoes

New Zazzle Custom Created Shoes

Now is this COOL or WHAT?

Zazzle custom shoes are retail quality Keds shoes constructed and printed with the greatest care and precision. We hand-craft each shoe with industry best standards and feature a unique printing technology to ensure you get a shoe with unparalleled printing brilliance that will withstand the wear and tear of everyday life.

Zazzle, the world’s best website for print-on-demand products, is the first and only to offer a new technology that allows you to create shoes from your own artwork and photos instantly. Start designing a Zazzle custom shoe today to see the true power of self-expression!

While they may be a bit pricey- coming in at a $50.00 to $60.00 base price tag, they are Keds and extremely cool. A choice of Womens’ Slip on, Women’s Mini Slip on and Women’s Lace up Keds, and Children’s Slip On and Children;s Lace up Keds, these are very cool and VERY NOW!

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Jul 09 2008

CafePress wins bid war for Imagekind

Published by under Cafepress,Imagekind,POD News

ImageKind Store Front

Quite possibly the biggest move of the year for Cafepress- According to sources; Imagekind, an online art and poster site that also offers customized framing services, has agreed to be sold to CafePress for $15 million to $20 million in cash and stock. Zazzle, a CafePress competitor backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, also was aggressively bidding for Imagekind. According to sources, Imagekind decided to sell because both CafePress and Zazzle were moving into the online framing business.

In an interview Tuesday, Imagekind Chief Executive Kevin Saliba said the company decided to sell now because CafePress is the leader in print-on-demand services, best known for its customized T-shirts. Imagekind employs 26 people in Seattle and Portland, with plans to add a few new employees in the coming months. Saliba declined to say whether the company was profitable, but he said the business has grown in revenue, traffic and artists every month since it was founded in 2006. He declined to offer revenue or traffic figures.

This brings up many questions ..

Will Cafepress continue to run Imagekind as a sperate entity or will it be absorbed into the Cafepress maze of product activity?

What about the current Imagekind gallery owners? Will they now need to purchase a Cafepress shop and what happens to their branding of someone at Cafepress already has their shopname ?

The MOST prominent question among the Imagekind gallery owners is What happens to the IK Share a Sale affiliates? Will they be forced to use Cafepress Commission Junction affiliate network? This poses a huge problem for many IK Gallery owners and is one of the main reasons some of the most successful left Cafepress over a year ago when Cafepress changed their affiliate program to CJ.
One concerned Cafepress shopkeeper states:

“… I think mixing the two product lines together in one website – t-shirts and “real” fine art prints (vs what they sell as fine art prints
right now) – would be a huge mistake. The shopper base is looking for very
different things on each website. IK and CP were not “competitors” … CP’s
current framed fine art prints do not compare in any way shape or form with
what is offered at IK and the difference between the greeting cards …
well … I have one each of the IK greeting cards and the paper is very
suitable for framing as fine art … exquisite quality …. they are not
standard printed greeting cards.”

Expect more surprises.

Read more on this controversial issue of the Imagekind take over by Cafepress:

Seattlepi.com ;Venturebeat.com ;TechCrunch.com ;SeattleTimes ;POD for You ;WebproNews ;Imagekind Blog ;Cafepress News ;Cafepress Press Release ;T-shirt Talk

Man and Goat PaintingImagekind is a fine print, fine artwork gallery opportunity whereas Cafepress is driven by specific current events and topic designs:
Example of fine artwork by an Imagekind artist: Man and a Goat by Sylvia Kula

Artwork is presented using frame and mat and can be purchased by customer with a large variety of mats and frames, making a painting either a very expensive wall presentation or an inexpensive fine print artwork display with the decision made by the buying customer.

Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirt Cafepress offers shopkeepers a medium for sending specific messages concerning hot topics such as Breast Cancer Awareness or Political Views on affordable merchandise:

Another statement by a seasoned concerned Shopkeeper, Affiliate, Gallery Owner:

Quote:”I never considered IK direct competition to CP. As I wrote in the CP
forums this morning, the only thing they *really* have in common is
that they’re both classified as Print on Demand. CP’s posters were
never a serious competitor to IK’s $500+ framed fine art prints. It
was the difference between buying framed art at an upscale gallery and
buying framed art at Walmart or Target. The prints and frames at
Walmart are nice, but they’re not gallery-material. CP could make a
run at keeping the brand and keeping the product lines and everything,
and that would be great… but my purely speculative opinion right now
is that they’re unlikely to do it.”

This is certainly a Very Hot topic and it will be interesting to say the least on how it all evolves, Expect the Unexpected.

Time to check out the new Loxly Gallery Deborah Carney’s Loxly Gallery for fine prints and gallery submissions by artists with quality artwork. Read more about Loxly Gallery at ABestWeb Forum

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Jun 28 2008

Cafepress Announces Product Price Increase- First in 9 Years, Almost

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

Cafepress announced to shopkeepers that prices on  select items will be raised on July28,2008. Most impact will be on stickers, buttons and magnets-One must wonder… is this because of the Election year making these particular products so popular in shops that are now using this medium for selling popular Political Designs?

Only two  t-shirts are hit with this price increase, the most popular selling tees- The white t-shirt and women’s t-shirt prices increased by 7%.

Shopkeepers need to do nothing if they choose to keep their mark up the same, the base prices changes  within the system.

Here is a rundown of the  percentage for the price increases:

White T-Shirt -  (+7%)
Women’s T-Shirt -  (+7%)

Dog T-Shirt -  (+21%)

• Mini Button -  (+50%)
• 2.25? Button -  (+99%)
• 3.5? Button -  (+50%)
Black Cap – (+7%)
Cap -  (+15%)
Rectangle Magnets:
• Single Rectangle Magnet -  (+40%)
• 10 pack -  (+81%)
• 100 pack -  (+64%)
2.25? Magnet -  (+70%)

• Bumper Sticker -  (+16%)
• Oval Sticker -  (+20%)
• Rectangle Sticker -  (+20%)
Journal -  (+26%)
Single Greeting Card – (+20%)

According to the Official Cafepress Announcement;


Why are the base prices increasing for these products?

There are several reasons why a product made the list.

  1. Margin: With the exception of a few products last year, we have not had a price increase on merchandise in over 9 years; we have however seen the cost of goods and labor increase. Raising our prices in these instances is a necessary cost for us to do business.
  2. Consistent Pricing: Pricing for some products are not align with others. Eg. 10-pack Rectangle Magnet is currently $10.99 while the 10-pack 3.5” Button is $19.99 (while both single packs are the same price).
  3. Upgrade: Some products will be upgraded with higher quality. Eg. Journals will have additional paper options (lined, etc.)

Will there be any more price increase for 2008?

Possibly, there are several additional product upgrades that we’re planning to launch this year. Because they are still in progress we do not have specific dates. We will be sure to provide advance notice so that Shopkeepers are prepared.

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May 16 2008

Cafepress New InfiniStich™ Embroidery Apparel Controversy

Published by under Uncategorized

With the very recent launch of Cafepress InfiniStich™ Embroidery apparel, comes many opposing views on this newest technology (which by the way is patent pending) so as much as Cafepress may want to further explain to the shopkeepers oviously their hands are somewhat tied.

Lat night’s CP chat was all about this new product line and the CP staff did their best to try and explain it all- An excerpt from the chat:

[2008.05.15 18:14:36] RyanCP: It does as some of you pointed out have it’s limitations, the main one being that you can’t embroider in any shape you want. Each product has a predetermined print area, for most products this is a circle, for the hat we sent out it is a rectangle. We maintained the same aspect ratio of buttons and lapel stickers for all of the circles, as InfiniStitch products are full bleed.
[2008.05.15 18:14:40] RyanCP: For the Military Cap we used the rectangular sticker aspect ratio. The concept was to allow everyone to cut over images that comply with the best practices outlined in the tutorial.
[2008.05.15 18:15:00] RyanCP: The hats are embroidered with traditional embroidery thread and dyed like traditional embroidery thread, so you can count on great durability when washing
[2008.05.15 18:15:00] jean / rotemgear: does Ryan’s marketing hat have embroidery on it?
[2008.05.15 18:15:17] RyanCP: Like the name alludes to InfiniStitch allows for infinite colors, so you are not limited by the number of thread bobbins in a machine. Having infinite colors allows for complex designs, images not usually available for embroidery, so we are also really excited about this portion of the technology. Again, the threads are dyed just like traditional embroidery threads.
[2008.05.15 18:15:20] RyanCP: The threads are also stitched to the cap just like any embroidered item you will find at a store.
[2008.05.15 18:24:15] RyanCP: It’s a matter of personal preference, but we obviously don’t think so — we did launch this technology and spend a good deal of time working on it. In our focus groups 9 out of 10 people thought it was “embroidery”, and the 10th person was confused as to exactly what it was, but still liked it.

You can read the entire chat at CafeChatter

What is it they say? You can please All of the people Some of the time,  and Some of the people All of the time  But you cannot please All of the people all of the time.

Read more at The T-shirt Review

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May 15 2008

Cafepress New InfiniStitch™ Templates

Published by under Cafepress,POD News

New Instructions for the New InfiniStitch™ Products are now available at Cafepress.

Colors: Mid-tones make it happen
Images with a variety of mid-tone colors reproduce the best.

Try to avoid large areas of solid black and white, or of any single color, as they can muddy the effect of the final product.

Beautiful Backgrounds
The main element of your design might normally sit well against a solid background, but as a part of an InfiniStitich™ Embroidery item, a more varied background will create visual interest and prevent large solid blocks of color.

Great Gradients
Gradients are ok to include in your image, and reproduce well with InfiniStitch™ Embroidery. It is in the nature of this printing process that gradients can appear banded.

Say it with Bold
Bold text will stand out better than thin and tiny text, which may become lost and unreadable.

Full Bleed for Full Effect
For the best results keep your images full bleed. If your design is against a white background, consider adding a background color all the way to the edge of the allowed image area.

View FULL instructions

On a Darker note: There is some conversation going on among the Shopkeepers- that some of the templates for these new products revolve around the number of the Beast 666

The New Ceramic Pet Bowls are 6.66″ x 2″ and the new InfiniStitch Embroidery templates are 3.33″ which is 666pixels. One Sk’er stated:

I worked at a Walmart for 4 years …
I had some VERY interesting responses to a sales total of $6.66…
They varied between… “uh… just add a pack of chewing gum…” to
“Cancel the sale, this is a sign.. I’m going home and going to bed for
the day!” to “Walmart IS evil!!! ACK! YOU’RE the ANTI-CHRIST!!!”
And those were from simple random chance totals…
CP actually CHOSE 666 for their template size. :)

Fishing Cap using InfinistitchMilitary Cap using Infinistich

Actual examples of Infinistitch™ Embroidery Caps:

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May 15 2008

InfiniStitch Embroidery Look Products at Cafepress OFFICIAL

Published by under POD News

Create Designs Now

Are there any other products that match the aspect ratio of the new InfiniStitch products?
Yes! Many of your images will directly transfer over to the new InfiniStitch™ products, please see the chart below for details. The full bleed aspect ratios match exactly, making it easy for you to create new InfiniStitch™ products. Don’t forget to check the tutorial for Infinistitch™ to ensure you are using the best images for this technology.
Stonewashed Cap 2.25″ circle 3″ x 3″ 2.25″, 3.5″ buttons &
magnets, lapel stickers
Men’s Polo Shirt 2.5″ circle 3.33″ x 3.33″ 2.25″, 3.5″ buttons &
magnets, lapel stickers
Women’s Polo Shirt 2.5″ circle 3.33″ x 3.33″ 2.25″, 3.5″ buttons &
magnets, lapel stickers
Denim Shirt 2.5″ circle 3.33″ x 3.33″ 2.25″, 3.5″ buttons &
magnets, lapel stickers
Men’s Performance Jacket 2.75″ circle 3.66″ x 3.66″ 2.25″, 3.5″ buttons &
magnets, lapel stickers
Women’s Performance Jacket 2.75″ circle 3.66″ x 3.66″ 2.25″, 3.5″ buttons &
magnets, lapel stickers
Military Cap 2.5″ x 1.5″ 2.75″ x 1.75″ Rectangular Sticker
Will this product be automatically added to my store?
No; InfiniStitch™ products will not be automatically added to your store. While InfiniStitch™ products share the same aspect ratios as existing products, there are image guidelines that are different from your existing image catalogue. We have put together a guide for getting you started here.

Will these products be eligible for bulk adds?
No; InfiniStitch™ products are not eligible for use with the bulk add tool. While InfiniStitch™ products share the same aspect ratios as existing products, there are image guidelines that are different from your existing image catalogue. We have put together a tutorial for getting you started here.

How does InfiniStitch Embroidery compare to traditional embroidery?
InfiniStitch™ Embroidery is similar to traditional embroidery, as it uses dyed thread, is sewn directly onto the product, and is durable and safe for washing machines. InfiniStitch™ Embroidery is superior to traditional embroidery in the following ways:

  • Infinite colors: Ability to have an infinite amount of color
  • Endless Possibilities: Most existing artwork can be applied to InfiniStitch™ Embroidered products, even photographs!
  • Simplicity

  • Short Process: No digitization necessary.
  • Accessible: No special design talent or skills necessary
  • Quick: All InfiniStitch™ Embroidery products are produced with same shipping times as existing products
  • Value

  • Affordable: Revolutionary prices for one-of-a-kind merchandise
  • Revoluntionary Pricing Model: Flat pricing, not traditional per-stitch pricing
  • Are InfiniStitch™ Products backed by CafePress’ 100% satisfaction guarantee?
    Yes, like all CafePress products InfiniStitch™ Embroidery products are 100% satisfaction guaranteed.

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    May 14 2008

    Zazzle Top Dogs recruit Cafepress Top Dogs!

    Published by under POD News

    Word has it that the Zazzle Top Dogs (Top shopkeepers are those who make over 1k/mo on a consistent basis) are busy recruiting the Cafepress Top Dogs in the latest quest to fill the Zgalleries with money making shopkeepers. The competition between two of the most popular online POD t-shirt companies turns it’s ugly head when reportedly in January of 2008 Zazzle was Bedazzling some of the top shopkeepers from Cafepress in efforts to get them to Zazzle exclusively.

    The last year at Cafepress has brought many changes that have seriously effected shopkeepers and in response to the changes, many of them have opened doors to other PODs for selling their designs. Not to say all of these changes have been bad, but they have been something of serious rethinking for some shopkeepers on the strategy of the company. The latest being section ceilings for premium shops and the largest of shops being the most seriously hit hardest.

    My guess is that since Zazzle is seeing much of the overflow of serious shopkeepers who make PODing their business, opening free galleries at Zazzle – no wonder the thought may have occurred to the Zfolks to swoon these top dogs over to their side.

    Each POD has it’s benefits and serious money making shopkeepers/gallery owners are not going to stay in one locale anyway, but this may have gone over the edge for most folks.
    The Blog, T-shirt Chat Says:

    I can’t help but shake my head at anybody who signed. Why would a Top Shopkeeper close down their CafePress Shop, cut all earnings and then attempt to ramp up Zazzle to the same level. I can’t see it happening myself. And what was stopping you diversifying before hand and running the two in parallel? Nothing – rhetorical question, don’t answer.

    As One Blogger writes: One thing CafePress should be watching out for, forget about Zazzle, is Spreadshirt. They are doing things right without the evil aggressive tactics, and are putting together a premium package that will attract people like myself.

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