Research: ideas for a Pepper&Carrot e-shop

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I start a quest to find the best online printing service for making a good official Pepper&Carrot mug. In the long term? Not only a mug but setting a good eshop with coaster, magnet, mousepad, tee-shirt...etc... Yes, this is the start of the quest for the official Pepper&Carrot eshop!
This tests cost me money as I have to purchase the printed tests objects myself, and also take me time. It's a long term goal, and the eshop will not happen anytime soon: I need to wait for delivery, and test the product within a minimum time period (I'm trying to scratch print, boiling print, putting inside hot program of the cleaning washing machine ). But this effort is the price to pay to do things right and get good quality goodies. Something I want for Pepper&Carrot. My requirements are simple, all I need is :

  • Good products ( eg. the mug itself )
  • Good quality, resolution and robust print, conform to the picture
  • Easy and user friendly printing service webpage
  • A way to setup for the creator the product and earn a little bit on sharing the design
  • Interesting final price for the customer
  • Low and fast delivery price worldwide

First test: Vistaprint

Period: October/November 2015.
Object: A mug
Why: the service 'Vistaprint' was legit to test in first in my point-of-view: it's a cheap online printing service. Pros:

  • The shipping packaging is resistant to any shock and the delivery was fast.
  • The ink/varnish is stong to resisted to all my test so far.
  • Color are good, and conform to the design and no color lost for the moment.
  • The mug itself is pleasant with a basic rounded shape and feel robust.
  • The price was cheap ( less than 10€ in Europe ). Cons:
  • The print is also too blury and too grainy, no sharp details. ( The file sent was a lossless PNG 600dpi, 3400x3400 , enough big to print on a truck ) It feels like if it was made with a home printer Inkjet from the 90's
  • Vistaprint spam marketing after a purchase
  • Vistaprint website is really a marketing gate to hell ( fake promo period, trying to propose always ten product unwanted, add hidden cost on the way so the price tag looks nice at first but it cost a lot at end )
  • The design is not protected, and Vistaprint feels like they own it after a usage (mine are CC-By, it's fine, they 'own' it as everyone)
  • Not possible to setup a 'eshop' with my design and earn a little bit on it.

I wouldn't recommends Vistaprint's service. I also purchased 100 postcards the same day, and the postcards are not thick enough and haven't got any guidelines printed on the back ( for the stamp, adress, etc ). It feels really cheap quality. I wouldn't say it's totally money wasted, but just really low quality compare to the price tag. I also was disappointed by the website and aggressive email marketing. It wasn't a nice experience to make a purchase on their platform. I'll not use this service to setup a Pepper&Carrot eshop!

Next test :

I setup a mug on deviantArt eshop here , the price is a bit higher and with the shipping oversea it's not a good deal for europeans and I guess africans and asians. I'll purchase one to see the result and I'll update this page as soon as I'll be done with all my test. If you also want to do it or have a recommendation ; let me know in the comment !

License: "Research: ideas for a Pepper&Carrot e-shop" by David Revoy − CC-BY 4.0
Tags:  #eshop  #lab   | Download: Markdown


link Michael Schaller  

Please also test the cups/mugs with black tea as it leaves heavy stains.

link David Revoy Author,

@Michael Schaller : Ha true! thanks for the suggestion.

link Frédéric Mommeja  

Hello David,

have you tried the two providers Boulet is using :

Don't know if their prices check with your needs however… :)

link libre fan  

@David I couldn't agree more with you report on Vistaprint.

You wrote : «The design is not protected, and Vistaprint feels like they own it after a usage (mine are CC-By, it's fine, they 'own' it as everyone»
The problem is Vistaprint will own it so nobody else has a right on it. So they would violate the licence.

Perhaps you could have a look at ask
This e-shop was set up by Framasoft and others (Ubuntu, April, LibreOffice…) quite a few years ago. You could ask them about their experience (see «contact» on the website)
The mugs are made in France and are good quality (véritable porcelaine). You could push your merchandise to this platform, which would be an advantage to all parties.

You could also ask FSF-Europe (based in Germany):
They had excellent T-Shirts for Document Freedom Day which they sent for free in 2006 and I still have mine, and a great flag. Yet the image on the T-Shirt was simple enough. They now sell great quality T-shirts:
You could ask them for advice.

Good luck!

link David Revoy Author,

@libre fan : Thank you librefan and Frédéric ; good ideas to test them! is unfortunately only FR ; I didn't saw english button on it, or price in dollar. For , they look to print with local service and manage the shop and send the product themself . I can't here sell goods; or I'll have to leave my artist's status in france, and switch to a commercial entreprise. That's why I'm looking for external services. The quest continue! :)

link Irina  

I only tried out the vistaprint website, filling in my email address *without submitting*, and they still scraped it and are sending me spam. Fortunately for the krita merchandise the volume is low enough (and when high volume like the kickstarter rewards, it's all in one burst) that I can use a very good local business that really thinks along with us.

link David Revoy Author,

@Irina : Thanks for the feedback! I also remember Krita had a contributor one summer who studied all e-shop / merchandising . I'll look in my email archive to see the result of her studies.

link libre fan  

@David, these people (framasoft and FSF-E) might give you some tips, of course I didn't suggest that FSF-E could offer you a platform, and Framasoft may be willing to upgrade their platform and make it bilingual. (BTW, I'm no Framasoft fan but lately they've been doing a good job for many people).

link Foques  

Vista print is horrible for anything except for printed materials (business cards, greetings cards etc).
Everything else sucks something fierce

link Nils  

I could warmly recommend spreadshirt.

link Konstantin Dmitriev  

I am considering CowCow ( They have terrific assortment of possible things. Not sure about quality. They do have a feature for personal e-shop. Initially it is awful, but after heavy css tweaking it might turn into good. Needs investigation. ^__^

link Kara  

If you lived in the US I could do your printing for you, I would love a 600dpi image to work with, I usually have to GiMP in the details so it looks good on my jobs. 300dpi just doesn't do most art justice, and having studied the Masters, I can usually ape another artist's style enough to fill in the blanks, and then I have them check my work before I go to print.

link David Revoy Author,

@Kara : Thanks for the proposal! yep, I live in the south of France : not bad, good weather :)
Some of the artworks in 'sources' page can be almost 600dpi if you print them in small size :-)

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