When everyone first thought "Hey... LiveJournal should have some shirts!", the obvious name mentioned was Cafepress. The problem is, Cafepress isn't known for making very nice shirts... though they are known for making a very nice profit on shirts.
Since this was LiveJournal users' money we would be playing around with, it made sense to find a better solution. Good shirts at a good price with the least possible work involved for LiveJournal to run it all.
Unfortunately, that meant that we also needed an e-commerce site up with real software running in a really secure manner, where LiveJournal users could actually *gasp* spend money online in a secure manner. Anyone have a LiveJournal e-commerce site lying around somewhere? Bueller?! Bueller??!
Fortunately, we didn't have to design all of that ourselves. One of the groups I contacted regarding the shirts were the good people over at copyleft.net, makers of fine geekware since 1998... which is 55 in web years. (Buy their stuff!)
As much as I would have liked to sell our wares(z?) on copyleft's site, we really didn't fit... and frankly, we really needed a custom portal. They had done this before, however, for really cool sites kinda like us... Check out their t-shirt site for fray.com. Nifty website design, beautiful hand silkscreened shirts at a reasonable price, and a secure e-commerce server to boot! These guys clearly do what they do for all the right reasons.
The problem is, they needed to make a new company specifically to address this marketplace. They have been so busy getting sites done for their customers, however, that they haven't even finished their own quite yet!
They are calling their company punctuate.com, and we are one of their first clients! They just finished a shirt site for dirty.org, a great site for Underworld fans. (Mmm... Underworld I love you.)
Well, today, I have something to show people for the first time... the first sample layout for our online store, focusing on the first pieces of merchandise we will have... T-shirts. This mockup doesn't contain any of our shirt designs yet, mind you... but it is a start.
Have a looksee!
As the guy from Copyleft/Punctuate told me:
"Now all we need to do is finalize shirt designs, online store design, and do a bit of coding. I'll be out until 1pm tomorrow, but I can put this on top of my list after that."
That still sounds like quite a bit of work to me, but it's obvious that they have done some work already, and I have a good deal of trust in them based on what I have heard about them.
So, feeling better out there? In short, the process was a lot more involved than simply cranking out some shirts... what we will have is a complete solution done by people who seem to give a damn about both us and what they are doing.
Questions? Comments? Applause, anyone...?!?
Bueller?! Bueller??! ;->