Thursday, July 17, 2014


      Back in 2008, I opened a little online site at Zazzle called NovelTees.  I didn't really imagine anything big or extraordinary would come out of it.  At the time, it was just-- well, pardon the pun-- a novelty.  This venture actually began with a thought that was repeatedly drummed into me by a friend or two.  We would often toss around different ideas, jokes, and word puns and laugh about them. Sometimes, one of them would say, "That would make a great tee shirt!"  It was just part of our conversation -- nothing else. And then one day one of them remarked, "You should take some of these and make tee shirts out of it -- I bet that they would sell!"  and I didn't really think much about it.  But over a few months, they kept persisting and insisting that this was a good idea. 

    After all of this happened, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee where I lived for a little over a year.  While there, I hatched the idea for NovelTees -- and on any free days I would spend time thinking up ideas for shirts and posting the designs to my store.  It started out small, but over time it grew, and people began to buy the shirts.  I also designed some caps, bumper stickers, and other items.  And so now-- five years later as of this post-- I have over 2,000 items on my NovelTees store.  Shirts-- Hats-- Bumper Stickers-- Posters-- the list goes on.  

  What is probably the coolest thing about my NovelTees store so far is that I have NEVER -- EVER -- spent a dime-- not even a cent-- to open or operate it.  Zazzle provides free space to post items for sale and then pays me a royalty on each sale made.  They take care of-- Marketing & Promotion, Sales & Payments, Production, Packaging & Shipping, and Returns & RefundsAll I do is spend a few minutes to use their Interactive site to design a shirt and post it.  And then-- eventually receive a royalty check! Granted, they make most of the profits.  But all-in-all, it's a pretty good deal.  At least, it was back when I started five years ago.  I'm beginning to think about expanding to open other NovelTees online stores {at CafePress or SnorgTees, etc.} and then to begin to print and sell shirts myself.    I will eventually produce and inventory the shirts & sell them at festivals, fairs, and flea markets.  But for now, this definitely works.

  I did not fully contemplate back then the power or scope of the Internet. Or how my little "novelty" store could grow into something that I could begin to perceive as being a full-time career and income someday. Imagine my surprise when I got a notification one day that someone in another country had purchased one of my shirts!  It literally blew my mindIt was hard to grasp or believe at the time.  But since then, it is no longer a big deal if someone in Sweden or Australia or France orders a shirt from my little store. Once not long ago, I got five or six straight International sales in one week Each and every time that I receive a royalty check, there are foreign funds that are exchanged into US dollars.  In fact, recently I did a Summary of my Sales and found out that 16% of my sales are now International. [from other countries than the U.S.]

   In 2011, Zazzle gave my NovelTees store the ProSeller award, which goes to the top sellers in their company.  I received the Bronze award.  They also have the ProSeller Silver, Gold, Platinum & Diamond level awards.   The Diamond award is for over $500,000 in sales.  I've got a little ways to go to reach that plateau.   But the sky's the limit here !

  Not to say that my little tee shirt enterprise has turned a hefty profit.  It's making me some pocket money.  I get a little check in the mail every couple of months.   But it's slowly growing into something that one day will be a full-time operation. Like I mentioned earlier, I can visualize in the next 3 to 5 years a legitimate business in which I will actually begin to print and stock shirts and other items myself, and sell them at festivals, fairs, and flea markets.  I may even have to rent a warehouse or hire a small staff to help me.  It's definitely going to happen-- eventually !

  So that's my story-- and I'm sticking to it This blog's function will be to serve the readers and my NovelTees customers with Periodic Updates on my store and offer you Special Sales and also a peek at New Items as they become available.  My hope is that you will at the very least, if you are a friend, enjoy keeping up on my store's progress, and perhaps even, at some point, become one of my valued customers.

  Thanks a Lot! ~ NovelTees


  Now-- Go Shop at Our Store !

© 2014 Bob Wingate