The Global FlyFisher Store
We have tried selling merchandise a couple of times before, but with no great success. Handling chores and costs just grew out of control, and the income... what income? But now we have a new store!
GFF is no business, never has been and most likely never will be. The site has run for close to 20 years as a hobby project, and as it looks right now, that's the way it will continue. We've tried ads, we've tried to sell GFF swag before and we've even had buying offers. None of this has in any way indicated that there's money to be made from running the site, and we (I) have long ago decided to live with the expenses and just have fun.
But I do get requests for caps, T-shirts and other stuff now and then, and I have also had several people ask me for prints of some of the images on the site.
So a year ago or so I started looking for some kind of online shop that could deliver prints of our photos on demand, meaning that I wouldn't have to pay for producing a whole room full of stuff that I had to pay up front, handle, store and ship myself.
A simple concept of having people order prints online on a third party web site, and have someone else do the printing as well as the handling and shipping and maybe even letting me have a piece of the cake in return.
In spite of looking for a long time and asking around in forums and on web sites, I didn't find anything that suited my needs or my taste.
I don't even remember where I bumped into Zazzle, but a little more than a month ago, I started looking into this online store and liked what I saw.
It's built on a well known concept and has what you see many other places: online ordered custom made T-shirts, iPhone covers, posters and a whole row of other items - even water bottles and wall clocks!
The store management tools are good (not like really good, but OK), the product design tools are simple, but work well, and even though the prices aren't the lowest, the merchandise seems to be of a good quality, and producing individual items one at a time on demand simply makes the prices higher than the prices you can find on run-off-the-mill products in your local stores.
The GFF store
So I started fooling around with the Zazzle tools and produced my first designs. Just playing at first, but soon seeing something that I actually liked. As of this time I have made some messenger bags, some iPad sleeves, coffee mugs and posters. I will add more as I get the time and find original images that are suitable. Not all our pictures are good enough for posters or other products.
I have also done a plain T-shirt with our logo and I'm planning on doing caps. We constantly get inquiries about caps, probably because we had caps for sale a couple of times in the past.
I will do embroidered caps rather than printed, and that requires some work with our logo plus a startup fee, so I won't do that until there has been signs of interest in this whole project.
Not a get-rich-scheme
I have set up the shopping system to add 10% overhead to the prices, which will be paid to me when people buy products. Since most of the products are priced in the 12-15-20 USD range that certainly won't make me rich, and not even cover the expenses I have from running the site. It may produce a little income that can go towards the server costs, which are slowly but steadily drawing at about a hundred USD a month from my credit card.
But even though Zazzle does boast that some of its clients make a living from their shop, I'm not quitting my day job right away.
Stroll along into our virtual shopping arcade and see if there's anything you like. If you have ideas for products, let me know, and I will work on it. Many of the images on the site can be worked into various types of merchandise, so drop me a mail with your wishes.
I have added a function to our system that will display the products available for a certain image, so when you click to see it in a large version, you get a hint that it's for sale. Articles having images that are sold on merchandise will also have links to these products in the end.
You can go to the GFF store on Zazzle here. If you're in Europe you can use the UK store, the German store, the Swedish store or even the French or Spanish store. The buying experience is fine and payment is easy using credit cards or PayPal. I have tried it and ordered my first few products - and yes, I also pay. All I get is a discount exactly matching the percentage that would otherwise be paid out to me...