Day 20: Sustainable Creativity Coffee Mugs

From the 2013 Archives Challenge, Making Products 4 Comments

Swag! Mugs!
Today’s product-of-the-day grew out of a desire to actually ship something else, my old chain letter breaker. I hate chain letters with a passion, and upon seeing one being passed around on Facebook I quickly became enraged. From rage comes opportunity; perhaps I could sell official printed versions that I sign by hand to make them more magical. But then how would I fulfill them? Maybe I could do digital print-on-demand through a place like Digital Lizard, which has a private-label print store but requires $400 or so to setup. And then I’d have to also select the paper, which I can’t do over the telephone. Maybe I should look at CafePress and Zazzle to see what’s up. Oh…mugs!!! So that’s today’s product-of-the-day.

The ubiquitous mug seemed like an ideal place to start with some physical swag. I did some quick research to see if the landscape for print-on-demand had changed. From what I gleaned from a bit of googling, Zazzle is hot when it comes to the mass markets, and boutique suppliers like Society6 and Red Bubble stake out the higher end. Printfection is somewhere in the middle, catering to startup culture and marketing. Zazzle has a glitzier UI and greater product variety, but it’s also more expensive than Printfection. Printfection also has a pre-pay option that allows you to lower costs drastically, so I see that being a more viable long-term partner. I ruled out Cafe Press due to expensive and lack of flexibility in pricing, whereas Society6 and RedBubble seemed just a tad too pricey.

I eventually ended up with two versions of the “explore – learn – build – share” mantra that’s on my 2012 business cards, a vertical format and a horizontal format, and have two stores set-up.

Here’s what the designs look like, according to Zazzle and Printfection’s design previewer. I’ve included the flat artwork so you can see what it says.

Two Designs

  • The Horizontal Design wraps around the entire mug, and is available in various sizes and styles. It’s available from the Dave Seah Zazzle Store.

  • The Vertical Design is printed on front+back of a white mug. Available in two sizes at the Dave Seah Printfection store. UPDATE: I have removed the Printfection store results because my samples are of poor quality.

So this is your change to get your official first-ever Dave Seah mug! I’m making around 2 dollars on each sale. I bought one sample of each, which means that 20 mugs need to sell to break-even.


This article is part of a series in which I am challenging myself to create a new product every day for the month of February. The Challenge Page lists all the products in one place. Check it out!