1) Every item we've ever made outside of coins and lanyards has come from CafePress. They manufacture each item by taking a design we upload and then using an automatic process to overlay that design onto an item. Most of the time, it works great- however, we've had a few issues with labels being off, the design software not rendering our designs correctly onto products, and it being extremely hard to deal with CafePress when these issues do occur.
2) Because everything goes through CafePress, they place their own markup on the items. To keep our stuff at a reasonable price, we keep our profit margins on our items exceptionally low. We make only $1-$3 per product we sell.
3) CafePress' website creation process is clunky and hard to use. Our website looks like trash there and trying to fix it just seems to futile. When we do fix things, they break just a few days later. It makes us look like we don't care about merchandise or our appearance when we clearly do.
To remedy all these woes with CafePress, TRIC is switching over to a new way of doing business. Instead of having CafePress individually print each item that is ordered, we will instead adopt a more classical inventory management and distribution system. Here's how we want things to work from now on.
1) We buy our items, in bulk, from trusted manufacturers. If we get items that are defective, we can handle it at our level without you guys getting shipped crappy products. It's easier for us to send you a new product and a lot easier for us to do quality assurance.
2) When you buy an item through our new fancy smancy website that doesn't look like a piece of hot garbage, we (well, more specifically, Andy) will ship you that item personally to your address from our storage area. If you need to cancel an order, change an item, or otherwise just talk to a real human being, you can send us an email at [email redacted] and we'll actually be able to do something about your problem instead of angrily shaking our fists at CafePress with you.
3) Once you've paid for your items, it goes directly into our accounts so we can get back to buying more product for you guys and distributing the profits themselves as necessary. With that said, I've got to be up front here- TRIC will be moving away from a totally non-profit format to a mostly non-profit format. 50% of all profits we make (that is, everything beyond the price of making and shipping the product to you) will be donated directly to charities in which you will get you have a say in choosing. The other 50% will be split between re-investing in TRIC itself. This includes paying off professional graphic designers instead of letting one admin flounder in the depths of photoshop, keeping more cash on hand to expand inventory variety and size, keeping our new website running, and giving some chump change to the idiots who run this place.
So, why do we need YOUR money?
Frankly, starting up an inventory takes cash. For us to get 100 Mugs, 100 Stainless Steel Bottles, and 100 Belt Buckles, it's going to take right about $2500 in overhead. For us to get all of our graphics into a vectorized format, pay for packaging materials, and perhaps register as a proper LLC instead of just being the side-chick of tax laws, it's going to run a bit more than that. Point is, we're 3-6 people running this website on a good day and it's just one guy on a bad one. We don't want to throw $2000 of our own money at this when we don't even know if any of this stuff is going to sell. To keep our risk down and to keep my wife happy, we're instead going to generate most of our initial capital via your pre-orders and donations on this page.
Check out the rewards to see what exact things you'll get. Either way, thanks for reading this long.
Disclaimer: Due to our LLC paperwork still not being processed at this moment (we're working on it), the head of the TRIC page, Spencer, is solely responsible for the withdrawal of funds from the campaign and managing the use of funds. If you need to get in contact with him, please email [email redacted]
- Bryan Lethcoe
- Joseph Sanders
- Nathan Charbonneau
- Jefferson Yu
- Keith Schincke
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