Fedora Store SIG Update (a.k.a. the State of the SIG Address)

It is time for a Fedora Store SIG update! To bring people up to speed, the Fedora Store SIG was founded by Max Spevack as a means to solve two major issues – provide an easy way for Fedora users and contributors to obtain Fedora merchandise and help direct Fedora Ambassadors to vendors that are near them who can help fill bulk orders for events they attend. More details can be found on the Fedora SIG page.

We have made progress, though it has been slow going. With the past two meetings being canceled due to lack of attendance I felt it was time to provide a summary of where we are at today and what last things we need to wrap up in order to move forward.

Let’s start with some of the things we have accomplished so far. We now have an AmbassadorVendors page in the wiki to help Fedora ambassadors locate a vendor in their area to place bulk orders for T-shirts and such from. Ambassadors are welcome to continue adding to this page as they work with vendors in their area and have a good experience.

We have also created a potential vendors list page for a distributor/online store to center discussion on who to use for providing merchandise to Fedora users and contributors in smaller quantities. This page includes pros and cons the group has come up with for each potential vendor.

And finally, we have created a rather long list of potential items people would like to see. Obviously we cannot use all of them out of the gate, but we certainly have a wide array of items that people have express interest in with the Fedora logo emblazoned on.

So, what’s left? We need to decide on a vendor. The front runners at this point seem to be www.cafepress.com and www.spreadshirt.com. We really need more input on this aspect though. The pros and cons are listed on our potential vendors page.

Initially I was leaning towards spreadshirt.com, but as time has gone on I am leaning more towards cafepress.com. The basis for this is from a recent discussion regarding posters on the Marketing and Ambassadors list. Mairin Duffy worked up some great Fedora posters and discussion quickly turned to making them available for purchase. If the store was hosted on spreadshirt.com, the option really isn’t there. With cafepress.com we could easily upload the graphics and have the posters ready for sale. This is a major selling point to cafepress.com to me. But we need more opinions.

The other item the Store SIG could use some help with is a mockup of a potential store.fedoraproject.org page. We have outlined some general requirements on the wiki. I have also submitted requests to the Art Team’s mailing list and to the Websites team Page Request page. A mockup would really help pull things together for the concept we have in mind.

That’s where we stand. If you have comments on cafepress.com versus spreadshirt.com, please post them to the mailing list, add comments to my blog or update the wiki page. If you can help with a mockup of a store.fp.o page, please volunteer and let me know.

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8 Responses to Fedora Store SIG Update (a.k.a. the State of the SIG Address)

  1. dead1nside says:

    I hope the outcome is a store with reasonable international delivery prices. Can’t wait to get some great Fedora art on a t-shirt.

  2. jtadlock says:

    International shipping has been an issue we have been keeping mind as well. Here spreadshirt.com has the advantage in that we could run a North American based store and a European based store through them to handle some of the shipping. Even that leaves out many locations though…

  3. Nicu says:

    Due to the low quality, cafepress is not good enough as an option. They are easy to work with, have a large range of products but the technology used for printing (direct printing/inkjet) just can’t get the quality.
    As an opposite, spreadshirt uses a better technology (plot printing) but I am not sure they can do other things than shirts.

  4. I’ve printed a few items from Cafe Press and their shirt quality is pretty poor — not just the printing but the shirts themselves. I think most people who have ordered from them will back this up.

    I’d rather pay an extra $5 for a well made shirt (American Apparel, anyone?)

    The other problem with Cafe Press is it’s pretty hard to do colored/black shirts that look ok.

  5. jtadlock says:

    I appreciate all of the feedback! Please keep it coming as we really need the help of folks in the Fedora Community to find a solution that works.

    For those that are saying cafepress.com lacks quality – how recent were these orders? I have done some searching and there are certainly many complaints, but there is also several people saying the quality has improved. If anyone has compared a spreadshirt.com product to a cafrepress.com product I would be interested to hear about the comparison.

    There are a couple of varieties of T-shirt (a.k.a. fabric) quality from cafepress.com. They do offer American Apparel as an option [1].

    When it comes down to it, there are very few printing processes that rival a true printing job done by an actual screen printer. We were looking for a print-on-demand to keep the Fedora Project from needing to maintain inventory, this does limit our vendor selection somewhat.

    You are right Nicu, spreadshirt has a limited number of items they produce, though I have heard good things about their T-shirts. The bind the limited selection puts us in is made more evident with the recent poster design on the marketing list. If we are using spreadshirt, we don’t have an easy way to get a poster out to people. With cafepress we could have one available to the public already.

    Keep the feedback coming!

    [1] http://www.cafepress.com/cp/customize/product.aspx?clear=true&no=111

  6. You could maybe ask the Mozilla folks where they get their merchandise printed. They seem to have finally found a decent enough solution both North American and International stores, reasonable prices as well as a good variety of quality looking t-shirts.

  7. jtadlock says:

    @jon
    I checked out the Mozilla store today. It looks like they are using a company called GatewayCDI to manage their store. Interestingly enough, Google appears to also trust GatewaCDI to handle their store as well.

    I will contact them out of curiosity of how their arrangement works. I am guessing they are less print-on-demand and more of an inventory based setup.

  8. Gee says:

    Please delete the previous post I made. I had typos and added more.

    CAFEPRESS

    Pros
    They offer more products.

    Cons
    I ordered a shit I made on Cafepress, and the quality was horrible. The ink looked faded (the black in the image printed out as a dark green) and it looked less professional that a screen printed shirt.

    SPREADSHIRT:

    Pros

    – THEY USE SCREEN PRINT!

    – The quality in their ink is very high.

    – You can set your own commission. For example: If I want to get $10 for every shirt sold, I can.

    -When I used CMYK color, I had a lot of different shades of blue (4+) and the colors matched when they printed it out.

    -You can make the image as big as you want on most products.

    -You can place the image anywhere you want on the front of the t-shirt.

    Cons
    If your image has a transparent background and you’re not printing on white, beware. I placed my image (with a transparent background) on a light blue shirt. When they screen print, the background doesn’t print out transparent; they have to manually cut the image out of the background themselves. The t-shirt would have been great if they weren’t so messy at cutting it out. (If they get a machine that could print images with transparent backgrounds out, there is no doubt in my mind that this company would be even greater.) For example: some of the background wasn’t cut out– there was a thin white border tracing all around my image, left from the background that was once there. Also, there were tiny little chucks cut out from the face of my illustration. However, one could only see that if they examined the shirt up close.

    However, I choose to stick with them, because the quality of their ink is the type of quality that one would see on screened tees in brand named stores; not the kind that you would see in a raggedy flea market. It was so good, that I choose to go ahead and take the gamble with them and just hope and pray that they don’t cut my images out sloppy this time. If they get their cutting on point, it will be ok.

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