DIY / Design-It-Yourself Fashion / Shopping – Websites to Visit (Previously on Squidoo)
Why I Love DIY (Design-It-Yourself) Fashion / Shopping and Why You Might Also
In recent years I have discovered more and more websites that allow consumers to design their own clothing and accessories, as well as other items. As someone who likes to create things and loves fashion, I get a special kick out of this. I find that as I get older, I desire more and more to be able to use products and wear clothing and accessories that are uniquely me, that no one else has but that many will want. I want to be more of a trendsetter rather than a trend follower.
And really, I think everyone should own a few items of clothing and accessories (and anything else) that they designed themselves. It allows you to design something specific to your liking. In other words, you create your OWN brand of cool, and you’re not just wearing or using what someone else decided is in at the moment. Everyone has different tastes that they should be allowed to explore and enjoy.
The DIY items I’m featuring on this lens aren’t handmade from scratch, which is what most of the DIY category lenses feature here on Squidoo– the Do-It-Yourself items. I have nothing against that type of DIY. In fact, I’m a tad envious of those who can create something cute and fashionable with their very own hands. But the DIY items I’m discussing here are Design-It-Yourself, where the website stores allow you to either use the designs and/or text they have available, or they allow you to upload your own designs and/or text before you buy the product from their store. (Therefore, this lens is– or will be– in the shopping category and not DIY.) In this lens, I’m going to feature what I think are the best DIY websites, starting with what might be the lesser known DIY online stores to Squids, and ending with the familiar ones. I’ll also note now that all these stores have pre-made products you can buy if you really don’t want to design anything. But at the very least, looking through the products might give you an idea and get your creative juices flowing.
So, lets move on…
Neighborhoodies.com initially started out as an online store that only sold hoodies, but allowed the customer to put whatever design wherever they wanted on their hoodies. The store has now expanded to include t-shirts, tanks, sweatpants, shorts, underwear & bras, as well as bags, hats, and so on. The products are available for both men and women, as well as children and infants…and even for your dog! There are several fonts available for creating text, and the graphics available are numerous, including everything from crowns and hearts to animals, skulls, religious symbols, celebs, political figures, musical instruments, famous landmarks & buildings, contenants (as in Australia and Africa, NOT consonants- that’s what the text is for), and more. A LOT to choose from!
On some of their products, they’ve made it so you can see what the product will look like as your designing it. this makes it easier to design your shirt exactly the way you want it, because you can see the adjustments you’re making.
I would use a few pictures from the website to show you some of what is available, but I don’t have permission for that. So you’ll have to go to the website to see their apparel. But I do have the pictures of the hoodie and t-shirt I bought from them. The first pic is the front of the t-shirt I made, and the second picture is the back of it. The same goes for the zip-up hoodie seen here and below.
I happen to love the way this site allows the consumer to make their text or design any size they want, as well as allowing that text or design to be placed not just on the front and back of a hoodie, for example. You can have it on the hood, on the shoulder of the hoodie, or, if there is a particular way you want your design or text laid out, you can simply write them a message explaining in detail EXACTLY how it is you want the design/text to be printed, and they will do it that way (for a little extra money, of course). Plus, if they mess it up, you can send it back (without having to pay more than shipping and handling, IF that) and they will send you the corrected version.
The company’s mission page on Spreadshirt.com is in agreement with my view about DIY fashion, and fashion in general: “Our clothes say a great deal about us. They are not only to protect our body from the elements, but also a sign of our personality and part of our body language. Our clothes help us to make a statement about ourselves.”
Spreadshirt.com backs that statement up in ten-fold. They offer products for men, women, children and pets, with product choices similar to the ones available at Neighborhoodies.com, but thousands more choices in graphics/designs.
For example, the picture above shows another Cherry Bomb t-shirt I made using their version of a viewable designer, which is available for ALL of their products, unlike with Neighborhoodies.com. I had over 400 choices to pick from when I did a design search on the word “bomb”. So when I say they have thousands of choices in graphics/designs, I’m not kidding.
Another great feature they have is that anyone can sign up for their own store and sell products they’ve created if they so choose. (Yep- so now it’s only a matter of time before Squidoo has a Spreadshirt.com module.) You can search the extensive list of the Spreadshirt t-shirt shops available– in English– at their T-shirt Shop Directory page.
Something else that I haven’t seen at any of the other online store I’ve listed on this lens- Spreadshirt.com has a page with a list of 10 major partner shops such as CNN Shirt (you can buy a t-shirt with a headline on it), Chuck Norris Facts (you know those silly Chuck Norris sayings), and SnorgTees (according to their little blurb, they specialize in “pop-culture inspired, random and all around funny t-shirt designs”). But these 10 stores are just part of the more than 400,000 Spreadshirt partner shops worldwide. Needless to say, their business is growing.
UberPrints.com is a lot like Spreadshirt.com in that it sells shirts, but sells a much wider variety of shirts (t-shirts, tank tops, long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, business shirts, maternity shirts, etc.). They also sell organic cotton tees, undies, boxers, shorts, pajama pants, sweatpants, baby onesies & dog tees. Instead of showing a base price for each item of clothing, the products are given a price tier star rating, which is supposed to give customers an idea of how expensive the item will be after customization. Products also have fabric weight rankings (sheer, lightweight, traditional & heavyweight), which describes the weight and thickness of the fabric each particular product is made of.
When it comes to designs, UberPrints.com allows customers to customize their products with provided designs, as well as allowing customers to upload their own designs as well, which allows for a lot more variety & personalization. Just like Spreadshirt.com, UberPrints.com has a visual design studio that allows customers to see what the edited designs will look like on their product before they buy it. Pre-made/pre-designed shirts are also available (see UberPrint’s “Site Map” for details).
I designed and bought a t-shirt (seen here) from UberPrints after looking around the website. Not to knock the other webstores on this lens that sell clothing, but UberPrint definitely has quality clothing made from quality fabrics, and definitely has more choices when it comes to shirts.
Currently, it does seem that they only ship within the U.S. and nowhere else. And there’s no indication that this will change in the near future.
Converse, as you may or may not know, is brand known mostly for selling sneakers. Converse.com provides 496 different kinds of ready-made sneakers for men, women and kids, in addition to some clothing, sunglasses, miscellaneous accessories & gift cards (all available under the “Buy” tab at the top of their webpage). But now it also allows customers to design their own sneakers as well.
Customers simply click on the “Make” tab at the top of the page, then click on “Start An Original”. Customizable shoes are available in kids’, women’s and men’s sizes. There are 32 different types of shoes– Chuck Taylor All Stars (pictured), Jack Purcell, Skate, Converse (PRODUCT) RED, Running and Court– all available in four different styles– Lo-Top, Hi-Top, X-Hi, and Slip-On– and all available in either suede, canvas, or leather. The customer can choose from several different colors or prints for 10 different parts of the shoe– the outside body, the inside body, heel stripe, tongue, lining, rubber sidewall, racing stripe, stitch, lace, and a personalization id (it can be your name for the shoe, your name, anything really).
In addition to all of the above, there is another tab at the top of the webpage titled “Play”, which includes four sections. The first section is titled “Talk”, which is where writers blog about various topics and life in general. The “Show” section includes written interviews about some female artist who’ve helped work on Converse designs (part of a special ongoing series), as well as short videos about music, art, and a few weird topics. “Tune” features a few playlists that span several different subgenres within the rock music genre. Finally, the “Nice” section is full of links to several sports, art and music sites, as well as links to Converse websites around the globe.
Their range of apparel and accessories are not much different from Neighborhoodies and Spreadshirt. However, they do offer some items that none of the other stores listed here have (at least not yet), which include throw pillows, clocks, flip video cameras/camcorders, keepsake boxes, tile coasters, framed picture tiles, framed prints, journals, teddy bears, and ornaments. Add all that to the greeting cards, postcards (like the one seen here), stickers, mugs, mousepads and posters they have available (among a few other things not mentioned here), and you have a lot of choices when it comes to designing.
Again, here you also have the option not just to buy what you design, but to sell it in your own store. They do have a Product Templates Page with templates available to download for each and every product. But here you are not given text or graphics to work with. They expect you to have a design/image ready to upload from your computer. If you have problems uploading an image or simply want to know how to do it to begin with, you can read their Image Upload FAQ, as well as visit their Image Workshop.
I’ve heard from various CafePress sellers on the SquidU forum that CafePress has made some pricing changes in addition to selling members/sellers products in the main CafePress marketplace at a marked down price. These changes have made it that much harder for members/sellers to sell products and see profit. I’m not on the site very much and not that familiar with it because I don’t sell anything on this site, and I’ve only bought a few things here. So if you are a seller who has had issues with CafePress, leave a comment in the Guestbook and let everyone know what those issues are. You can also read some of the comments left on the Cazacreations blog by current and former CafePress members about the policy & sales changes.
Finally, we have Zazzle.com. For those of you not familiar with Zazzle, they sell the following: postage stamps, postcards, greeting cards, mugs, aprons, t-shirts, necklaces, bags, bumper stickers, stickers, button, hats, key chains, coasters, magnets, mousepads, bookmarks/business cards (they can be made into one or the other), posters, calendars and even skateboards. Because therr are literally billions of products to sift through, not only does each product have a series of categories, but those categories have subcategories with their own subcategories. (I could explain it, but it would take a while- best to just search the site to see for yourself.) Customers are provided with various font and color options for text, but customers must upload their designs, as Zazzle does not provide the designs (aside from pre-made products with designs already placed on them). They also allow customers to view every single product as they are designing it, as well as the option to sell their products in an online store.
There’s several differences here. First, a user can have more than one store/account (and link them together if they wish). Second, there are several incentive programs to give sellers incentive to sell more products and reward them for their efforts.
There’s the Zazzle Volume Bonus Program, which allows for sellers to receive bonuses based on their monthly sales.
There’s also Zazzle Associate Referral Program, where Zazzle pays the seller a percent referral fee for each sale that they refer to Zazzle from their site, blog, email, or any offline marketing. Sellers can refer a sale to their own products or others. The percentage referral fee increases based on monthly sales.
Then there is the Name Your Royalty Program. When selling products on Zazzle, the initial percentage a seller makes is 10 percent. But with the Name Your Royalty Program (which every seller automatically has access to), the seller can set their royalty higher than 10 percent in order to increase their profits. The downside to this is that they will increase the product price to pay you the royalty you want. So sellers have to be careful about where they set their royalty, as they may price themselves right out of the market for their products.
Sellers are given promotion tools and tips to further their sales, and can also ask questions or give suggestions on the Zazzle Forum.