We DID have coffee cups. For the big 2010 run, I bought two cases of coffee cups, that we'd had done with a simple B&W design that was kind of a stylized Doc-face I thought was kinda cool.
Even though we had a couple hundred orders during that run, I think less than a dozen of them actually sold. Might have been half that.
I had 'em in the store for years afterward, and never sold a one. I gave half a dozen away locally, and that was it.
The remaining inventory I sent back down to my old Print Guy as he was supposed to add them to whatever scheme he was supposed to be cooking up for another big run this past Christmas season. Which of course didn't happen and is just one more small thing I got screwed out of.
Now, as for places like Spreadshirt, Cafepress and the like, as noted, shops like that trade on convenience more than profit margin. They're handy for what they do, and are perfect for very short run one-offs for a gift, a party, a retirement, that sort of thing, but as noted, they take a hefty bite of the total. That means you either mark it way up and make it expensive for the buyer, or mark it down and accept a few crumbs as profit.
There is the trade-off of not having to handle shipping or inventory and all that, but
on the other hand, there's making the customer go to an entirely separate store to make a second sale.
I could fairly easily have a run of proper cups made myself, just like we did back in '10, and could both offer them at a fair price to you and still make a couple bucks each off of them, but with the disinterest shown in '10, it hasn't been a big priority.
We WERE supposed to have more Howie's beer glasses for this run- supposedly Print Guy had several cases made up, since those were very popular back in '10, but of course when he decided to screw me over- again- that whole program fell by the wayside.
I'm hoping to revive those myself here in the not too distant future, we'll have to see.
And finally, as for T-shirts themselves, long-time Guilders will recall we used to do "preorder" runs of T-shirts on a fairly regular basis, which I had printed locally by a guy who gave me a decent price.
We tried switching to a bulk order by an outside vendor for the 2010 run, but Print Guy had convinced me to go with "more generic" designs that weren't as popular, and to this day, I still have ten boxes of them out in the shop. Had 'em in the store for years, sold maybe three or four.
However, two or three years ago, I did a quick "GoFundMe" here on the Guild and used the proceeds to buy a bunch of T-shirt equipment I'd found locally. I have a four-color press and a single-color station, a crate of inks, squeegees, and other materials, a boxful of brand new screens, and so on.
And I've been trying like heck to squeeze the time in to put that together, and relaunch some of the old, popular designs, plus two or three new ones I've come up with over the years.
Like the books, I'd have the capacity to do them in-house, I'd save a bit over the old costs, and could keep them in stock, I just haven't had the time. (Technically I didn't have the time for this book thing either, but I was seriously pissed off and on a mission. )
What I might do is bring back the "preorder" arrangement, and just set up the machines to do limited runs- the equipment takes up a lot of room when it's set up, and I simply don't have that room right now. If I could set it up temporarily, do however many shirts were ordered, and then put it away 'til next time, that'd be a lot more doable.
I am keeping all of this stuff in mind, it just always comes down to available time and funds- and room.