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Date: Friday, 02 May 2008 18:26

Hey folks -

A heads-up that we switched our blog software this week, meaning that the RSS feed and URL have changed.

RSS feed: http://blog.cafepress.com/?feed=rss2
Address: http://blog.cafepress.com/

We're also on Facebook, flickr, twitter and MySpace, if you'd like to stop by. 

Cheers!

-The CP Ground Crew.

Author: "CPBlogHoncho" Tags: "The 'Press"
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Date: Tuesday, 29 Apr 2008 00:01

CafePress is all about Community.  The nature of our business brings together a really diverse group of people who all share one common interest: their own self-expression.

Our lively boards are a great place to meet some unique and fascinating folks – and not a bad place to get some tips on how to be successful in our system, either. One thing we’re always pleased to see is how helpful our Community is in supporting each other with feedback, tips and props.

Occasionally, a CP customer goes that extra mile to personally deliver some feedback. While we generally distribute these internally to give everyone that warm fuzzy feeling, we don’t usually share our love letters publicly. However, one letter speaks so clearly about the spirit of community and empowered self-expression that I decided to share it with y’all today. Because who doesn’t want a warm fuzzy feeling on Monday?

Dear Leslie,

I hope you are well. I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere appreciation for what CafePress has done for me and my family.

Before opening my first shop, I was blessed with a new baby. The delivery left me with a beautiful new daughter, some health complications, and a pile of bills. Of course the first addition was a delight, the later two were the problem. I wasn’t able to go back to work even part-time because of the health problem, and so our debt continued to soar. All the while, my intention was to find something I could do at home so I could heal and stay-at-home with my baby. Then my brother introduced me to CafePress.

When I started my first store, I had no idea the value it would bring me. I opened it during the holiday season and was astonished to see my sales volume. My husband and I loved to see the emails roll in “You Made A Sale At CafePress.com!”. It was like hearing holiday music in our ears! After our first few months with CafePress, the stress of finances began to lighten from our shoulders and a sense of relief came to us knowing I could spend more time at home with my daughter.

Being inspired by my baby and the success of my first shop, I opened another shop. I had no idea what was in store for me next. Within a month of opening it, I was handed the infamous $16 million lawsuit for having clothing items designed with my own daughter’s nickname, Sweet Pea, on them. At that moment, my holiday profits didn’t look so bright and my short-lived stress vacation came to an end. But then, through the warm and professional help of Candice and CafePress staff, the defendants rallied together. It was a very empowering battle that pursued over the course of the next few months. I gained knowledge, community support, and the power and resources to fight for a worthy cause beyond my own personal stake in the case. We knew we were setting an example for other kinds of seemingly frivolous acts against other shopkeepers. Needless to say, we were delighted the outcome was mostly in our favor and the case was dismissed.

This experience didn’t taint my relationship with CafePress. In fact, it strengthened it. It showed me the integrity of the people and the company. Even though CafePress couldn’t back us up directly in the case, as you were not officially named, we felt your strong and supporting presence through the process.

Through these experiences, I’ve seen what CafePress is really about. I see you are about much more than just printing designs on merchandise. I see you are about empowering people. You’ve empowered me to be a better mom, by allowing me to stay home with my daughter. You’ve empowered me to lighten the financial load on my family. You’ve empowered me to stand up and fight for what is right and just. You’ve empowered me to be a successful, home-based business owner. You have provided the right tools, the right products, the right staff, the perfect balance of support and independence, and outstanding integrity.

I look forward to growing my shops to the surpass our debt and generate an income greater than even my husband’s full time job. When a stay-at-home mom can do that, she is truly powerful.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making your dreams part of my dreams and creating a mutual success.


Laura_serena

If you're not feeling warm and fuzzy yet, this pic should send you into that warm, fuzzy place...

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Author: "buzzcowboy" Tags: "The 'Press"
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Date: Monday, 28 Apr 2008 20:41

Pam_anderson_2 Pamela Anderson made some waves last week when she showed up in Washington, D.C. at the Department of Health and Human Services to deliver a report on behalf of PETA.

Her chest caught our attention for good reason: it would seem that she’s wearing a shirt from the CafePress PETA shop.

Activism is purposeful and empowered self-expression, so it’s no wonder that we have so many motivated activists out there wearing it loud. In this case we give baby blue trucker hats off to Pam Anderson for making a statement with, arguably, her loudest apparatus.

Author: "buzzcowboy"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2008 22:36

Well, since Leslie shared her bio I am compelled to do the same.  Most of you in the Shopkeeper Community have, in one way or another, interacted with me – whether it’s on the CafePress Community Forums, Meet & Greet events, weekly chats, reached out to me via email, or have been familiar with my mug on the monthly ShopTalk newsletter.  My role here is to be a Shopkeeper advocate – I’m here for you!  And so follows the title of Community Queen – or at least I like to see myself as one ;) 

 

Iheartfood_5 I’ve been here almost as long as Fred, CafePress founder… Well, maybe not quite but this October will be my 7th anniversary here.  For those of you that have had a chance to meet or chat with me, you know I love CafePress, my job, Shopkeepers… and if you really know me well, I love to eat (and I’m always hungry).    

 

In my years here, I have met so many interesting Shopkeepers, each with an interesting story... and if we had all day, I’d share them all. Since blog entries are supposed to be short, though, I’ll share one Shopkeeper's dillio that's pretty unique.  She’s active in the Community, she likes goats... any guesses?  Yes, it’s Goatlady!  Her “gutmonkey” as Leslie would say, is goats.  She’s very passionate about goats – her shop is all about goats.  She has over a hundred goats and what I find most interesting is the fact that each goat has his/her own name, and Goatlady is able to tell each one from another! If you get a chance to chat with Goatlady on the Community Forums, please do.  She’s an awesome lady with, from what I understand, some awesome goats.

Once I heard the goats on a phone call with her. That's about as close as I've even been to a goat.

Author: "Community Queen"
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Date: Thursday, 24 Apr 2008 18:57

Since we don't have author bios up given that this is the interim blog and our nav isn't as schmancy as it will be and such, I'll give a quick (if belated) one here:

80sbball I'm Leslie, I've been at CafePress for coming on 5 years, and I have far too many T-shirts.

The shirt at left was modified by yours truly with a pair of desk scissors so that I could rock the 1980's P.E. student look at the 2007 CafePress Survivor Olympics: Birthday Battle!  (This was the annual picnic including ridiculous Survivor-like activities like bat races and tug of war.  Teams were broken down by astrological sign: Air, Water, Fire and Earth.  Sadly, my homies on Team Earth were defeated by Water, which as we all know is a force to be reckoned with.)

Anyway, I've been working with the Shopkeepers in some form or another since I started at CP and I started/managed the Top Shopkeeper Program, so I've had the fortune to hear a lot of awesome and inspiring CafePress Shopkeeper stories.

Since I'm not known for being pithy, I'll share my favorite one before signing off...

One gal was unemployed, depressed and sitting on her father's front porch trying to figure out what the heck she was going to do.  On the table was a magazine, and the wind blew it open to an article that mentioned CafePress.

She read the article and thought, "I can do that!"

And as it turned out, she most certainly could.  This gal never had to go back to a day job and now makes a living running her CafePress shop.  Eventually her husband joined the act as well.

Call it divine intervention, serendipity, fate or coincidence.  Or just call it a freak windstorm-cum-windfall.

Pimp3 In any case, that's me.  The one in the weird outfits at company picnics (I did 70's gym teacher in 2006, so I guess this year I'll have to do 90's grunge to be chronological) who's known for wearing boas and fedoras to pimp people's shops (the photo at right was taken at CP Connect during my "Pimp My Shop" session) and has an often-changing haircut.

And yes, I like pink boas.  And sometimes I like pink hair, too.

Author: "buzzcowboy" Tags: "The 'Press"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2008 18:41

The CafePressVoice election is happening right now and the candidates are busy campaigning why they are the right “Shopkeeper” for the job.  Check out the campaigning happening in the CafePressVoice forum.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the CafePressVoice program, it is a panel of Shopkeepers elected by their peers to help us evaluate new features, services, merchandise and programs.  At CafePress, we feel it’s important that the Shopkeeper voice gets heard.  Together, CafePress and the CafePressVoice team will work together to build an even stronger Community.

If you’re a Shopkeeper, make sure your voice is heard and vote by April 25, 2008 at 11:59 pm PST.  When you vote, you'll be picking a representative who will bring your perspective as a Shopkeeper to discussions about important issues that affect your business.

Kickoff_4 Kickoff_6_3




CPV reps: Kristen, Shannon, Heidi, Nicole, Kelly, Shannon

Author: "Community Queen"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2008 23:20

It’s Earth Day today! Happy Earth Day, Earth.  Earth_day_3

In the spirit of Earth Day, we decided to come up with things you can do with CafePress merchandise to make the earth a better place.

  1. Plastic_bag Canvas totes are more eco-friendly than plastic bags, and a lot sturdier as well. Buy a few and re-use them for all your      shopping needs. With almost 3 million to choose from, you should be able to find a groovy tote that speaks to your gutmonkey and makes your Mother proud, all at the same time.

  1. Mug Mugs are washable and better than disposing of a coffee cup every morning, particularly if that cup is made of Styrofoam. Take your favorite to the office and impress your coworkers with your mad style and enviro-friendly self.



  1. Button Buttons are a re-usable way to express your views. And if you really want to conserve, buy a blank button and use dry-erase or grease pencil to change your daily statement to the world. (Note: we make no claims as to the rub-offable-ness of your writing instrument of choice…)



  1. Greenpeace Organic T-shirts are organic. And that makes Mother happy. It also makes      your skin happy, because these shirts are remarkably soft. And hey, it even makes Greenpeace happy.




  1. Thong Thongs use less fabric than your average pair of panties. So don’t be afraid to bare the back in the name of the environment – in this case, your Mother will be proud.



So there you have it - The CafePress Top 5 ways to celebrate Earth Day Without Eating Alfalfa Sprouts.

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Author: "buzzcowboy" Tags: "Headline Vulture, The 'Press"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2008 20:37

Waite As the rivalry between the Democratic frontrunners increases it seems that the news focuses more and more on the conflict itself. Hey, if it bleeds it leads.

So I wasn’t entirely surprised to see a headline today that read like something out of “The Onion” – that headline is:

“Clinton, Obama complain about complaining”

The article goes on to discuss the candidates complaining about who’s the bigger complainer.

Because our content is a reflection of the public discourse, the CafePress system up to this point has been a good indicator of political trends. The Meter has, as we suspected, been remarkably accurate.

That being the case, I decided to search for “complain” today in our system to see what comes up. Would I find some Hillary or Obama gear at the top of the system?

Nope.

Vote Vote2 But what I did find was interesting – the top result is a “Vote” design, and there are 2 other “Vote” designs on the first page of results. And that’s really the point of all this, isn’t it? No matter how much complaining or campaigning our candidates do, at the end of the day the American people speak a lot more loudly and convincingly. And that’s by speaking with our votes.

So remember: if you want to feel good about complaining about our elected officials, be sure to register to vote.

And after that, don’t forget to make a T-shirt. Because voting is private, but your shirt lets everyone know what you think. And that’s the American way.

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Author: "buzzcowboy" Tags: "Headline Vulture, Politics Unusual"
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Date: Saturday, 19 Apr 2008 00:35

Breadbox I don’t know if y’all know this, but thanks to our industrious group of Shopkeepers CafePress has – as far as we know - the largest online retail catalogue in existence.

Yep, it’s bigger than a breadbox fer sure.

As of today we had around 165,000,000 products for sale in the Marketplace catalogue (meaning there's actually a lot more than that, what with private shops and all). 40,000 new products get added every day, which means that by the time you read this post in its entirety around 150 products will be added to the system.

Dane Thing is, 165,000,000 (and upwards) is a gargantuan, colossal and otherwise ginormously huge number. It’s of the “gozillion” caliber and is pretty hard to conceptualize. So today with the help of a mathlete-type engineer who enjoys these kinds of puzzles, I did some fun math to try to put that huge number into perspective. Here’s what we came up with:

  • If you laid all the products in our catalogue end-to-end, you’d go around the world 2.5 times.

  • If you laid all the t-shirts in our catalogue end-to-end, you’d go around the world twice.

  • Grand_canyon If you stacked all the products in our catalogue into a nice towering pile (that’s T-shirts laid flat and mugs standing up - we’re assuming the mugs don’t break; come on, humor us), you’d be able to bridge the Grand Canyon.  Depending on where you bridged it would determine the width of your Merch Bridge.

  • GgateIf the desert’s not your thing, you could create a Merch Bridge that runs parallel to  the Golden Gate Bridge that, from the water, sits at the height of the cars and is 5 lanes wide. (We might suggest building a dock first so the bridge doesn’t sink.)


  • New_york_2 New York City has 8 million people. We have almost 7 million mugs.  This means that you could give every person in New York a one-of-a-kind cup of coffee - because kids shouldn’t drink coffee. Even New York kids.

  • Prius If you filled all those mugs with gas and then filled up a Prius, that Prius would run for 62 years straight. You could also drive that Prius to Venus (or maybe farther – we didn’t take into account that zero gravity would save enormously on gas), or you could drive the Prius around the earth 1000 times. Alternatively you could have 1000 people race a lap around the earth, if Toyota saw fit to make the Prius an aquatic vehicle (and if the gas mileage stayed around 50MPG as such).

Interesting political numbers:

  • Washington The number of anti-Bush stickers in the catalogue would cover the entire Washington Monument, with enough left over to wallpaper the Oval Office and the rest of the West Wing.

  • Worried about redecorating in November? No problem:
    • The Obama stickers in the catalogue can cover the Washington Monument, the Oval Office and still get a room or two in the West Wing. (And we still have some time to go until the election, so we may be able to add the rest of the West Wing eventually.)
    • The Hillary stickers almost cover the entire Monument – we’re a little short, but who can read anything at the top of that thing anyway?
    • The McCain stickers only get a third of the Monument, but there’s always posters

Now, even those numbers are pretty huge and hard to wrap one’s head around, so we came up with a couple easy daily figures:

  • Eiffel_tower The products added in a day would stack as high as the Eiffel Tower.

  • The products added in a day, laid out end-to-end, stretch 15 miles. So you could go from the Eiffel Tower to Versailles, and still have enough stuff left over to lay a path through the gardens.

So we learned a few interesting things in this exercise, and the most obvious is this:

You can’t compete with Mother Nature.

Niagra Sure, we can bridge the Grand Canyon with a pile of merchandise (er - I suppose that makes it a dam, on second thought) - but we’re nowhere near to filling it in. And just when we felt impressive about draining Raging Waters, we realized that pouring out all the water in those 7 million mugs account for a single second of water going over the crest of Niagra Falls.

But hey, keep checking back. As motivated as our Shopkeepers are, we won't be at all surprised if - laying out our product collection - they lead us to beat China to the moon.

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P.S. - If you want to come up with your own fancy math and interesting measurements, please do!  Comment here or send to blog@cafepress.com.  We're especially interested as to whether anyone can figure out how large the catalogue in pile form - think dumping-out-the-duffel-bag pile - would be. 
Author: "buzzcowboy" Tags: "The 'Press"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2008 22:50

Tibet

Early last week some protestors climbed the Golden Gate Bridge to unfurl a couple banners to draw attention to Chinese action in Tibet. Talk about gutmonkey – these climbers risked life, limb and arrest to get their point across. SFGate.com got some great photos and video, letting the world know that this was a precursor of a much larger protest to be had when the Olympic Torch was to be run through San Francisco on Wednesday.

Of course, it didn’t escape our notice that the climbers were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with big block “TEAM TIBET” lettering. Right on.

This kind of free expression is at the heart of CafePress, and knowing that Wednesday was to be a day where thousands would wear, voice and show their opinions, a fearless coworker and myself decided to go into the city and talk to some protestors about their fashion statements and why they choose to express themselves via the almighty T-shirt.

We hit the Embarcadero, which was the heart of the protest scene and supposedly the site of the torch relay.  You will notice that the video we took contains folks all wearing pro-Tibet T-shirts  or Save Darfur shirts – also a remarkably common sight that day. This is not to say that we didn’t see any pro-China T-shirts; we did, though they were in the vast minority. However, we weren’t able to get on-camera commentary from anyone wearing a pro-China T-shirt, so if anyone reading this has thoughts on the matter we certainly welcome them via the comment field.

Anyway, here's the video we did:

 

What we didn’t see: the Olympic Torch. Apparently Mayor Newsom decided to avoid the fray and they secretly ran the torch across town.  Oh well. What we did see: thousands of people, news cameras, a lot of chanting and shouting and marching and singing, a band, police in riot gear, police on bicycles, police in general, and thousands of signs, flags (both Chinese and Tibetan), T-shirts, stickers and buttons speaking out for the bearers. We even saw a dog wearing a “Free Tibet” T-shirt – and, as you saw, he was kind enough to grant us an interview.

For more good pix of the protest, check out Google images.

Interesting things heard throughout the day:

“What’s Tibet?” (pronounced “Tibbet”)

- a teenage girl wearing a “Save Darfur” T-shirt

“Does anyone else find it ironic that people are out here holding Chinese flags in America to support a government that doesn’t allow the Tibetan people to fly their own flag in their own country?”

- random observer

“If San Francisco is about free expression, man, why is the Mayor hiding the protest from the world?”

- annoyed observer once the crowd found out the torch had been secretly run in another part of the city

“This is crazier than Pride!”

- passerby marching with the crowd

“I just gave my kids the day off school and they didn’t even get to see the torch.”

- local teacher

Hmm. Perhaps we should make some “I took the day off work to see the Olympic Torch and all I saw was some lousy T-Shirts” T-shirts…

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Author: "buzzcowboy" Tags: "Headline Vulture, Politics Unusual, The ..."
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