Most websites that sell you t-shirts and things are guilty of at least, oh, several types of bullshit, from misleading photos to key bits of information hidden away because they know you wouldn’t like to hear it. Why would people you’re trying to buy things from treat you so poorly? That isn’t right at all.
The short version of my policy on bullshit is that there is no goddamn bullshit.
Well, not very much of it, anyway.
Below is the long version, a list of bullshit things ecommerce sites do, including the bullshit things I’m kinda guilty of. Nobody’s perfect, but at least I’ll own up to it and work to improve.
|Types of Bullshit||Fiendish Imp’s Practices|
I work to make sure this doesn’t happen, but colors can look different depending on lighting. Making things tricky, I can’t afford to take professional photographs of my shirts on dopeass models, so to some extent I’m limited to computer-generated mockup images.
Those mockups show you the very most vibrant, perfectly lit ideal. The closeup thumbnails show slightly different colors, because I can control that, and those shades should be closer to an average and realistic scenario.
In the future I’d like to have all of my designs modeled and photographed professionally, but for now I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. And at least I’m not intentionally fudging anything.
This one’s more important, in my opinion. You’ll find that the vast majority of online stores won’t tell you anything about where their products come from or how they’re made, and that almost always means the answer is pretty ugly.
I don’t have full control over the process behind the shirts that I sell, but I’ve got enough to say with confidence that I’m doing pretty well here.
First, every design you see on the website was custom made by the same artist—namely, me—in Canada.
Second, they’re printed in the USA, at the nearest Printful fulfillment center to wherever you’re ordering from.
Finally—the complicated bit—the shirts I’ve chosen to print those designs on were chosen not only for their quality and viability as a printing canvas, but because they’re made by a company with a good track record on human rights. The company is Bella+Canvas, and the shirts I’m selling (3001 Unisex Jersey short-sleeve) are labeled eco-friendly and sweatshop-free.
However, they’re manufactured in Nicaragua. I can’t go down to that factory in person and check up on things, so I honestly have no idea how great or poor a job the people in charge are doing. I only know that they’ve met some minimum standard to avoid the label of being a sweatshop. Hey, they may have exceeded that standard by quite a lot, but I can’t know that for certain.
In the future, should I have the power, I’ll demand more information or switch to a completely transparent supplier who exceeds my standards.
For now I think I’m doing pretty good here.
|Scummy Marketing Tactics||
This one’s easy. I’ll never bother you about anything.
I could have a modal window pop up and tell you that you’re missing out if you don’t sign up for the newsletter, but I think it’s fine enough to let people who are interested find it on their own. It’s not that hard.
I could price everything $10 more than it’s worth, just so I could have constantly rotating sales and coupon codes, but every shirt here is $25 and will still be $25 tomorrow.
I could, if I really wanted to, send out an email every time my cat farts to tell you that you need to buy something right now, or some arbitrary timer will count down and your license to wear t-shirts will be revoked, but that’s borderline insane and I don’t even have a cat.
I could replace half of the website with lists of keywords, but I’d be too embarrassed to try that.
The list probably goes on, but you get the point. I’m just not interested in doing that sort of stuff—any of it—and if you ever see me delete this section from the bullshit policy you’ll know I’ve been replaced by a bodysnatcher.
Some of this has already been covered, but it’s worth going over.
The number one bullshit thing online stores do with their prices is they price things extremely cheaply. That doesn’t sound so bad at a glance, but invariably the way they got that price down was dubious. They pay graphic artists a couple cents per sale, they use shit fabrics and inks, and their shirts are made by starving children. Cheap is gross.
On the other hand, cheap is great. I’ve got to do what I can to compete, so I settled on the price of $25 for every shirt, regardless of size. At that price I make a profit of around $5 on the largest size and $10 on the smallest sizes. I’m happy with that, but it’s as low as I can go.
We already talked about stores inflating prices just so they can offer you a coupon to get the price back to normal. Bullshit.
The flip side of this is pricing things way too high because, you know, I’m a super serious artist and people should pay extra for the honor of wearing my pieces upon their person. If you’re selling paintings, cool—here are some of mine—but t-shirts are t-shirts, and if you really care about your art you’ll want more people to be able to wear them.
There’s probably a lot more to cover here, and I’ll get to that one night when I’m bored and tired of Internet bullshit. For now, I’m more than happy to answer any of your questions by email, and maybe I’ll throw those answers up on this page in the future. You can reach me by way of the Contact page, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org