The big idea of the day

Have you checked out www.CafePress.com? I am kicking myself for not thinking of this business. The company sets anyone up to make and sell products. Want to make and sell t-shirts with your design? Coffee mugs? Your own book? CafePress sets you up.

Their strategy deserves some serious thought:

1. Instead of providing a custom service, provide a set of tools and utilities to set people up to be self-sufficient.

2. Provide a turn-key solution.

3. Help people make money simply and easily, with minimal risk to anyone.

4. Scale your service to be accessible to millions.

The big ideas these days (including Google, which sets you up to be your own ad firm; JotSpot, which is creating Wiki applications for common folks; Ebay) are following this strategy.

Food for thought…

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  • Scheisskopf

    Come up with an idea, email me, and i will tell you whether it’s good or not..

  • Anonymously

    The big ideas these days (including Google, which sets you up to be your own ad firm; JotSpot, which is creating Wiki applications for common folks; Ebay) are following this strategy.

    The big winners in the Gold Rush of 1849 sold mining supplies, but did not mine for gold. The same thing is going on in the valley today…

    Come up with an idea, email me, and i will tell you whether it’s good or not…

    Scheisskopf, is emailing you my ideas a good idea? ;)

  • http://www.crystalcleardesigns.com ccdesigns

    I got the fortunate chance back in 1999 to discover this company. One of our email servers got hacked and we went into super emergency mode. Our admins and I went internet commando on the situation, but it took about 36 hours to resolve. Consequently, I thought our admins deserved some deification, so I made them company shirts – with the regular logo on the front, but then:

    “sleep with your server administrator.”

    on the back.

    Consequently – cafepress was my choice in vendors and have used them countless times since.

    Great points though Andrew; 1-4 are potential cornerstones in many businesses, let alone if one tried to use all 4 at once!

  • lajkonik86

    Basicly what they are doing is affiliate marketing, with the added twist that you can create your own products. Right?

  • http://www.i-devs.com i-devs

    Actually, there is something even more subtle here. In fact, what is most brilliant about what they are doing, has nothing to do with what they are doing or how they are doing it.

    Reality… what they are doing is not new, it is in fact considerably older than the web. In fact, it is probably older than most or all of us who will be reading this.

    What they are really doing is specialty promotion marketing… you know those companies that print your name on pens to give away, or your logo on a blanket to give to all your employees for the holidays, or your company info on a waterbottle to be given out at an event.

    So what’s really brilliant, is while most of us spend time trying to come up with the next “big thing”, the winning idea that no one has ever thought of, they’ve taken an age old concept and found a new spin, a new way to look at it, and a new way to package it.

    Now that’s brilliant!

  • Anonymous

    interesting strategy

  • http://www.lopsica.com BerislavLopac
  • MarkB

    It’s just a pity their customer service department (taking over a week to reply to enquiry emails) is so wanting.

  • cholmon

    I’ll definitely agree with MarkB’s comment. It has persistently taken at least 6 days to get a response back from them.

    I think #5 in Adnrew’s list should be a psychotic commitment to quality of product & service.

  • http://www.turtlereality.co.uk jont17

    The difference between cafe press and old style printing companies making promotional pens is that Cafe Press do print runs of 1.

  • http://www.crystalcleardesigns.com ccdesigns

    For those of you interested in the custom clothing market – I have given business to another site that has their own cool little twist on custom pieces:

    http://www.neighborhoodies.com

    That site is perhaps better (IMO) than cafepress, because it appeals to a niche market. Not nearly as hard to manage and advertising / marketing can be more targeted.

  • Fenrir2

    The most successful companies (MS for example) just sell things directly to people using it.