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How To Make Money With CafePress

Updated on June 12, 2009

Anyone who has decided to make money from home should take a look at CafePress, especially if they are at all artistic. CafePress is an innovative web site that allows you to create a free online business for yourself. You can sell more than 80 different products from your online store that CafePress will customize with your own images, again for free. I'm not an affiliate and make no income from recommending them.

CafePress – What’s The Catch?

You are probably thinking, “How can this be true? What kind of a web site will just give me an online store? There must be a catch to this somewhere – or else it's some kind of scam!”  Guess what? It's neither of these. CafePress is a perfectly legitimate business from California USA that has been in operation since August of 1999. As a CafePress store owner, you can make good money with your art or photography.

CafePress For The Non-Artistic

Even if you are not especially arty, you can still sell on CafePress! There are many old prints that are now in the Public Domain, which means the copyright on them has run out. These can be used in your CafePress store just as easily as any designs and artwork you create yourself, and the Library of Congress, which is online, also has tons of art, music, and film that is all public domain.

What Can I Sell?

You can also sell your own books that you have written, which are printed on demand whenever someone orders one or more of them. Plus, the following customized items can also be sold in your CafePress online store.

  • Bumper stickers.
  • Posters.
  • Mugs, hats and bags.
  • Stickers, buttons, and magnets.
  • Banners, yard signs.
  • Audio and data CDs which contain your own music, audio tracks, MP3s, videos, software, and photos.

How Do I Make Money With CafePress?

So, how do you make money with CafePress? Let's say that you have decided that you want your online store to focus on pets – dogs in particular.  You have decided to sell a t-shirt with a great photograph of your Cocker Spaniel, and the words “Cocker Spaniels Make the World a Happier Place”. CafePress has a base price for all of their customized t-shirts of $13.99. That is the amount they will make on every one of these t-shirts that is sold from your online store.

However, you won't be selling them for $13.99! You can charge as much over that base price as you think the t-shirt market will bear. Anything you make above the base price is your profit. For example, if you sell each t-shirt for $19.99, you will make a profit of $6.00 per shirt! You can also choose the selling price for your books and CDs.

Getting Started With CafePress

It's quite easy to set up your own store on the CafePress web site. If you don't have any problem navigating the Web, then you can set up a basic store with no problem at all! You can also choose a Premium Shop for $6.95 per month, $18.45 for 3 months, $34.95 for 6 months, or $59.95 for one year. With a Premium Shop, you have many more options for your online store, and can make more money!

CafePress handles all of the payment details for you, and also will ship your products anywhere in the world. They will also take care of any returns or refunds. CafePress also provides Customer Service for your customers with both email and a toll-free number. Each month, CafePress will send you a check for the amount you have earned on the sales of your items.

With CafePress, you have all of the fun of operating an online store, and very little of the hassle! You'll have no worries about payments or shipping, and can instead focus on your designs and let the artist in you have free reign while you earn money!

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    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 

      6 years ago from Southeast USA

      Great ideas. Thanks for your thoughtful suggestions

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Cafepress used to be great. I used to make several hundred dollars a month from cafepress. People would search cafepress and my tags would come up. Then cafepress did their marketplace and all searches go there. Unless someone actually knows the name of your shop, they can't search and find products on your shop. They can't even search on google. Any searches that print up your products go to cafepress' own marketplace. I now make, on a good month, about $20. Many months maybe $5. I used to be able to generate sales through a database feed of my products on google. But cafepress worked out a deal with google (by buying keywords) and google stopped letting people put database feeds up of their shops.

      Avoid cafepress like the plague.

      Forget about making money on cafepress. Cafepress usurps your products and designs in their marketplace and pays you 10%.

      One person I met at a cafepress meet-up said his income went from $51,000 a year to $3,000. Same amount of sales. Only that extra $48,000 went to cafepress.

    • chuckandus6 profile image

      Nichol marie 

      7 years ago from The Country-Side

      interesting i will ave to check it out

    • profile image

      Kevin Sanford 

      7 years ago

      Suprisingly enough I've been generating quite a great income by means of working online. I had experimented with all of the typical job opportunities (surveys/customer support) without much luck. Following loads of research I discovered The Affiliate's Bible and put the strategy to the test. I am now in a position to work full time at home :). It's at

    • profile image

      Maria Brophy 

      8 years ago

      From what I'm told by artists who no longer use Cafe Press, it's not a good deal for artists. I think the amount that artists make from Cafe Press has changed to the detriment of artists since you wrote this post.

    • profile image

      Linkin Mall 

      9 years ago

      Recently CafePress began competing with the artists for whom it acts as printer and shipper.

      CafePress rents web shops to its artists. The artist creates a website page and manually loads the desired blank products. The artist imports his image onto each product, arranges the products on the page, describes the products, titles the products and tags the images.

      Initially, the artist would set a markup and received the markup for each product sold.

      However, recently CafePress began competing with its artists, using the artists' own images. CafePress created a marketplace where a customer can search a keyword. That search brings up artist products. When the customer buys from the marketplace CafePress pays the artist 10% of the price CafePress set. Both the customer and the artist lose money. If the artist's shop sells a t-shirt for $21, the artist makes $3.01. If the marketplace sells the same shirt for $25, the artist gets $2.50. The customer pays $4 more, and the artist gets $0.51 less.

      CafePress tells artists to "promote your own shop," but CafePress buys Google adwords using the very image tags the artist provided.

      CafePress justifies this bait and switch of service terms by telling artists they can opt out if they don't like the new terms; however, many have spent as much as 7 or 8 years creating as much as 88000 images.

      In spite of their sweat-equity, many shopkeepers (content providers) are building shops at other print-on-demand companies and then closing their CafePress shops due to the broken faith and trust, the financial hardship CafePress has delivered into so many lives, and the huge amount of time and dedicated effort all lost in the momentum of their own businesses. Would you keep your AMOCO station franchise if AMOCO built a company store across the street from you?

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      thanks for share about great tips.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing those tips. I really like this article

    • profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      Wow, I never thought of selling public domain designs on there. That's a great idea!

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Please let meknow how you get on with cafepress books as I'd be really interested

    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 

      9 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      I do alot with Cafepress and I always forget about the public domain stuff.

      I am more interested in the book side of it this year as I have a potential book in the works and I'll probably use Cafepress as a test for my book before I put it on Amazon and other places.

      Great hub!

    • Denny Lyon profile image

      Denny Lyon 

      9 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

      This is news to me, sounds great, thanks for the info! Will look into it for sure.

    • KT pdx profile image

      KT pdx 

      9 years ago from Vancouver, WA, USA

      I do this, and also Zazzle. Both are great options.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub! This is definitely on my list of things to do!


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