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unisex

CafePress Custom T-Shirt Review

by Amy_F on April 11, 2013

Amy In Custom CafePress

When I was offered another custom t-shirt review to do, it seemed to be the right fit for me considering I’ve already done several others, like Wordans and Zazzle.  This time though it was for CafePress, and I was thoroughly surprised, because I know a lot of people that use CafePress for getting custom promotional items and are always very pleased with the results.  However, just because the promotional items are well done, doesn’t always mean the custom t-shirts are going to come out all that great – so this was my time to investigate!

CafePress has everything (and I mean EVERYTHING), literally from customizable iPhone cases, aprons, mugs, jewelry cases, t-shirts, hoodies, baby onesies, home and office decor, stationary, wall art – should I go on?  I mean, the list is endless, which is quite amazing.  There’s obviously no shortage of customizable ‘stuff’ on CafePress’ website.  My interest was in customizing a t-shirt though, so I went right into the Women’s Custom T-Shirt section and started searching for my style.

cafepress-website

So here’s my first issue, CafePress has such expensive BLANK t-shirts, that even though I was given a gift certificate to complete the review – I was even being money conscious while shopping.  I honestly don’t understand why they’re charging $17.99 and upwards for blanks, and this is way before you even get to customizing it.  A custom dark t-shirt is $32.50, a custom white t-shirt is $17.99 – that’s odd, right?  Like I said though, I was given a gift certificate, so I went for the custom white, because I’m stingy with my ‘non’ money.  Let me note that most of these customizable clothing websites have very poor photos of the blank garments which makes it difficult to choose what style you want because you don’t really know how it looks on a person.  CafePress has simple stock photos of the blank garment on a white background.  It’s hard to tell the shape of the shirt, the length or the fit.

Womens-Customer-Tshirts

Moving on, when you get into the Design Center, as I like to call it, they give you a big cheesy image/drawing of the shirt on the background and a box in the center of the shirt to show you where you can design.  CafePress allows you the option of designing on the front, back or the pocket area of the shirt.  The area they give you allows a decent amount of space to place wording or an image, which I liked.  It wasn’t too small or too high near the collar of the shirt.  They allow you to choose from many different fonts, select an image from their gallery or upload your own, and they give you the option of adding shapes; which is a new one for me, I don’t recall having seen this option before on other websites.

My problem is there’s always so much to choose from and play with that I get overwhelmed.  I’ve tried several different ways of customizing on the other websites, so on CafePress I decided to go with the ‘clip art’ from their design gallery.  They had a great selection of black and white and colorful images to choose from, which left me excited because I like to sometimes overlap 2 clip art images on these customizable tees and make my own brand new image.  After playing with that for quite a while, I decided to go with a simple image (just 1) and put it right in the center of the chest area.

Amy-Custom-Cafepress-Tee

You can obviously rotate the image, flip it, enlarge or even shrink it.  So once you get all that set and decide on how you want it to look, you go over and click “I’m Finished” in the upper right hand corner to move on to the next page.  The following page will now lead you to the beginning of the check-out process which is fairly self-explanatory and simple.  Select your size, confirm the color of the t-shirt you want, click ‘Add to Cart’ and then enter all your personal info to purchase the product.

It's Here

Now that we’ve gone through the process, I will let you know how the final product came out.  I was delighted when it arrived in a custom mailer that ironically read on the front “It’s here!”  The packaging was easy and friendly – a no hassle package is a good package!  Inside was my shirt folded up with a few goodies to Thank Me for shopping with them and my receipt.  The shirt came out great and the print was pure quality.  It was a soft shirt that fit me perfectly – however remember I guessed on the style from the poor image, so I was pleasantly surprised when it fit perfect!

Amy's Custom Tee

The print was not rough or raised, it blended into the shirt and was just as soft as the tee itself.  The shirt still had it’s original American Apparel tag inside – which now explains a little why the price was so expensive.  The other thing I took a look at while shopping on CafePress was I noticed they had bulk options so I went to check out the bulk pricing – which I might add was again quite ridiculous.  Sometimes us clothing companies take for granted these easy-to-use online shops and printers, so I always like to go ahead and research and check them out.  There’s been a few times I was pleased to see the pricing AND quality was much more affordable than going through a regular printing company and working hands-on with them.  Unfortunately, I thought I’d be more pleased with CafePress’ pricing, but I wasn’t.  Their quality however, was definitely superior and the entire customization process was easy and simple.

Cafepress

Would I shop with CafePress again?  Yes, I definitely would, but I think they should reconsider their pricing strategy.  There are quality products that aren’t American Apparel that will draw in more customers because they’re more affordable (we’re still in a recession people).  I loved how many options they had on their website because now I know I can go to them for really anything I need, which is always great to know!  The design and checkout process was not at all complicated, it all went totally smooth and the t-shirt literally arrived to me with normal shipping in a matter of 3 days (or less).  They’re quick, easy and produce a great product!

Cafepress

Thank you CafePress for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing your Custom T-Shirt process.  If you want to check more out about CafePress, head over to their website and remember they’re on Facebook and Twitter too!

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Hands-On LiHai T-Shirt Review

by Amy_F on September 10, 2012

Amy wearing her NO EVIL tee

I’ve had an abundance of reviews sent to me recently and this one in particular stuck out in the crowd.  Arriving in a sleek long black tube, I was actually confused as to what I possibly ordered for myself that I forgot about.  Lo and behold I wasn’t losing my mind, I hadn’t ordered anything, but it was in fact some t-shirts coming from brand new clothing company LiHai!  They just launched in August and they’ve kicked things off with a bang!

The black tube mailer was definitely a really different approach to mailing t-shirts.  Very sturdy yet simple with a silver logo sticker placed in the center of the tube.  Part of me feels bad throwing it out and wants to find a use for it so it’s kind of still just sitting here at the moment.  Inside wrapped in tissue paper were two t-shirts and some stickers and small square business cards.

The stickers were cool because they had partial images of the t-shirt designs I received along with a few others of logos and other designs in their collection.  These nifty little square business cards were another creative approach to a basic business card.  LiHai really tries to take a distinct path rather than a normal approach to basic business elements and I really enjoy that about them.  I want to hop right into the designs because these were intricate and just amazing to look at!

This first one is titled “Audio Visual”.  It’s printed on a deep grey unisex t-shirt with colors like black, white and red encompassing the design.  This design is beyond amazing to stare at!  The way they made her hair as the chords and plugs and her feet as the speakers.  Her chest area is made up of the turn tables and the different tuning buttons.  The best part which I didn’t even pick up on until I put the shirt on and my mom looked at me in it; the entire red background of the design is actually lettering that says “Audio Visual” repeated over and over in exquisite text that makes you not realize it’s even wording.

 Close-up of “Audio Visual” T-Shirt

The detail throughout the entire design from top to bottom is incredible.  Every part of this design links itself together somehow, someway.  I love the simple use of color and texture through the use of text and shading and lines.  

Close-up of “Audio Visual” T-Shirt

Though it’s a unisex fit, this shirt fits pretty nicely on me.  I received a size Small in this and it’s soft and not too tight or too big as some unisex fits are.  It’s a little larger then the other t-shirt they sent me which is a girl’s cut but all in all it fits nicely and is comfortable!

My dog wanted to get in on the photo too!

Let’s move on to the second t-shirt titled “No Evil”.  I loved the concept of this shirt immediately, “See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil!”  Vibrant, colorful blues take over this design on a black women’s t-shirt.

Another intricate and creative design by LiHai; “No Evil” takes an edgy approach to the Three Wise Monkey’s that embody the proverbial principle to “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.  Artistically including a spray paint can, headphones and a microphone, these monkey’s definitely give this tee an edge.

Just like the other t-shirt, “No Evil” includes a ton of detail as you can notice in the close up image above.  The background is a series of different intertwining lines creating a repeating pattern.  The fronts of the monkeys include a faint yet detailed logo design for LiHai.  These tiny delicate details in both shirts really make the designs come together and fall into place.  You can tell they’ve really taken the time on their artwork to complete an entire piece and make something that is not only intriguing to the eye but attractive to wear.

Once again they slipped in some crazy text in the background that says “No Evil” over and over again.  These shirts are like a fun game of I Spy!!  Blue is my favorite color and the contrast between the shades they chose is very appealing for this design.  The detail in their labels doesn’t disappoint either as seen below:

Unlike most independent companies who usually screen-print the label on the inside neckline or do a hem tag, LiHai went ahead and got their own private labels custom made and stitched inside.  Check out the back of the label:

I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why does she think this label is so cool?”, right?  Well as I said, it’s rare to see an independent brand go all out with labels like this and not only did they make sure it was tailored to their brand but they made sure to include their brand name and/or logo on the front and back of the tag.  It’s those small details that matter sometimes!

I really enjoyed being able to review LiHai.  Their artwork was spectacular to examine and their overall packaging and branding is really spot on for having only launched in August.  I can’t wait to see what they come out with in the future and how they begin to grow and expand.  Thanks again LiHai and Daryl C. for the incredible shirts – they’ve become some of my favorites to wear!!

Check out LiHai clothing here

 

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Zazzle Custom T-Shirt Review

by Amy_F on August 20, 2012

Amy in her Custom Zazzle Tee

I had the pleasure of being offered to do my very own custom t-shirt on Zazzle.com a few weeks ago and I was delighted to oblige.  For those of you unaware, Zazzle offers a variety of products from cards, postage, buttons, key-chains, mugs, pillows, napkins, pet tags (etc. etc. etc.).  I am honestly unsure how new the Custom T-shirt feature is on Zazzle but they offer screen printing and custom embroidery, no minimums, no set-up fees, 24 hour or less turnaround and t-shirts starting at $14.95.

I’m going to get right down to it.  I played around with the custom t-shirt feature for a while on their website.  You have the option of uploading your own artwork or photography OR creating your own custom text.  You get the choice of a variety of shirts, but not enough variety in my opinion.  The styles of blank shirts to choose from are scarce and a bit out-dated.  Zazzle has chosen some really basic blanks to work with, which I guess is fine for this additional custom t-shirt option on their website, but t-shirts are tricky.  It’s not like selecting a blank mug or key-chain, this is something I’m putting on my body and I’m assuming you’d want me to WANT to wear.  That aside, the pricing on the blanks themselves is quite ridiculous.  Being a clothing business owner myself and working with screen printing companies and wholesale companies; having years of work experience in the fashion industry, I can say that the pricing on Zazzle’s website for a blank alone starting at $14.95 is way too high.  That’s the price on a very basic unisex style t-shirt.  Move on over to a bit more trendy woman’s style and it’s already up to $19.95 (without my design even on it yet).

So let’s go to the “Customize It” area of the website after I’ve selected my style and color blank.  They’ve made their design area in an easy format so even the least computer savvy can figure it out, which is really nice and user friendly (see above photograph).  They give you several views of the shirt on a model and the color options for your shirt style are available at the bottom in case you want to check out how your design looks in a different shade.  They even give you the ability to switch styles of t-shirts while designing if perhaps your design just isn’t fitting properly on the one you chose.  This is all very nice.

My first attempt at customizing was I wanted to place a small photograph on the front of the shirt and do one word of text on the back.  Before I even checked the pricing (Zazzle had given me a $25.00 gift certificate to test this out) I played around with my image and text and couldn’t seem to get my photo to fit or crop right.  It appears the sizing area they give you to print on the front is very limited and thus left me with the only option of switching my entire concept because it was stretching and cropping my image weirdly.  After that idea failed, I decided maybe I should look at the pricing to make sure before I finish my design that I’m still within the $25.00 mark.  Well, color me stupid, adding the additional 1 word of text on the back added $5.00 more to the price.  Maybe I forgot to mention I had chosen a simple women’s bella white t-shirt (the only decent option for a girl) and it was $19.95 blank.  Let’s do the math people, this brought me to $24.95!  Ok, so I’m under $25, right?  What about shipping, I thought?  Maybe Zazzle comped that for me?  Nope.

After a much needed break from frustration I went back and started fresh.  Chose a Bella Ladies Fitted Tank in White which was $18.95. Let me interject that Zazzle should really redo their model shots.  The photos of the shirts on the models are not accurate at all.  The tank I received is extra long, the tank in the photo on the website is very short and boxy looking (nothing like what I received).  The product I received is actually very nice quality – but the photo does not show or demonstrate that which is why I was turned off to selecting it in the first place (see image below compared to photo of me wearing it).

I understand that they’ve tried to make the whole custom t-shirt feature area as simple as possible, but as I mentioned the styles aren’t flattering (or at least the photos of the styles aren’t making them look flattering), the color choices are definitely not appealing and you are very limited on where you can place your images or text.  If you were looking to have a lot of text, it’s not going to happen unless you want it real small.  The area that they allow text to go to, is not any lower then the middle of the shirt.  I have to give them props though for having a pretty wide variety of text styles which I had a ball playing around with.

With choosing the tank I placed 1 word of text on the front, now that I knew what I was working with (I still wasn’t happy I had to change my entire order) and then I went to checkout.  Lo and behold, another problem.  Apparently you cannot use a gift certificate without having an account and logging in (not so user friendly).  I did not know this until I contacted Zazzle, asked why it wouldn’t accept my gift certificate and they told me I needed to register for free to create an account (which personally, and I’m sure most of you can agree, I don’t like having to do if I feel it’s going to be a 1 time order).  So for a basic white tank with 1 simple word of text on the front plus shipping the cost got me to a couple cents under $25.00.  Very costly I’d say, and probably not something I’d be willing to do again unless they lower their pricing.

The truth is the truth though and the product came out superb!!  It arrived and it was a quality garment (Bella is top quality for women) and it was the perfect style tank.  Again, you wouldn’t know this by looking at the images which isn’t helpful because that is why the images of the models in the tees are there, for you to see how it fits and looks.  Well, here’s what mine looks like:

Chief is a nickname my grandfather was given and ironically people I work with started calling me it without having known that.  Couldn’t help but make a tee with my “title”!!

Note: The tank is pretty long that the bottom is cut out of the photo.  The image of me wearing it, I actually have it scrunched up a little because the tank is a bit see-through.

Zazzle, you definitely had some good qualities about your Custom T-Shirt Feature and some mishaps that I think are easily fixable.  Regardless, if you make the customizing and ordering process a little more delightful and easier, your product is already outstanding in the end! Best of luck to you & thank you much for allowing me to take the time to review your website & shirts!!

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Lil’ LoveDriven’s “One Love” Tee

by Amy_F on June 23, 2012

one love t-shirt



Lil’ LoveDriven has released it’s new Summer Collection and I’m pretty fond of some of these new tees.  Having several Lil’ LoveDriven tees already in my closet I can say that it’s a fun brand to wear.  Spreading the message of loving what you do through different cartoonish designs and typography tees is kind of their signature style.  This new One Love tee out of the new summer collection is a favorite of mine.  Using what I like to call ‘Mickey Mouse Hands’ to develop the beginning of the phrase “One Love” make this design not only inspirational but playful.  Looks like it’s a unisex fit for Men & Women on a Navy Blue 100% ringspun fine knit jersey tee.

Cost – $18.00    Buy it at Lil’ LoveDriven

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winkyboo bang for your buck

Between this heatwave going on in the states and everyone looking for a good deal these days, I decided that it was the perfect time to give our customers some huge savings.  Since summer began I’ve been rotating Summer Clearance items in store online weekly!  To keep up with which items are on sale during which week, LIKE the Winky Boo Facebook Page.  I’ve extended last week’s sale items because of Father’s Day, so we currently have 4 Clearance Items with savings as much as 50% off!  Pictured above is Stalker which is currently on sale for $12.00  (Saving You $10 from it’s Original Price).  Stalker is a unisex fit for Men & Women printed on 100% combed ringspun cotton – super-soft- lightweight tee.

Buy it at Winky Boo

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White Houndstooth Hoodie by Entrust Clothing

by Andy on September 1, 2009

white houndstooth hoodie by entrust clothing

Here’s another clothing company or website that doesn’t feel the need to show you a nice big image of a hoodie, even if it looks pretty sweet from the small image that they provide on the site. Anyone willing to drop fifty bones on a hoodie that you can’t really see?

Costiness=$50 Available from Indiemerchstore

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