The guys at Yerzies contacted me recently to let me know about the launch of this new POD. I love to see some competition as this can create more opportunities for POD shopkeepers like myself. I currently have stores at both Cafepress and Zazzle, two of the POD big dogs. Because of this, when I look at another POD I automatically compare it to them. How does Yerzies compare? Well, I am about to tell you.
Before you consider trying another POD it must offer something that the others don’t and for Yerzies that is the different options with regard to decorating your shirts. Until Zazzle’s recent introduction of embroidery (and Infinistitch by Cafepress) we basically just had a direct printing facility. I’m not complaining about it and I would like to say that all the shirts I received from both PODs (and one from Printfection) were of very good quality. But more choices are better and Yerzies provides more choices.
According to Scott from Yerzies they have far superior printing quality compared to other PODs which is something I’d like to judge for myself but I did notice something in the description of their printing process that is worth noting:
Your files must have a transparent background. All white areas will print as white ink.
Now this is something that I think a lot of shopkeepers would be interested in. In both Cafepress and Zazzle you can of course print white on dark t-shirts but you can’t on light t-shirts (with the occasional exception) much to the chagrin of many a t-shirt designer. Of course printing white on a white t-shirt is usually pointless but it can be very effective on light colored t-shirts. Kudos to Yerzies on this point.
You can add cool textures to your design like glitters, metallic foils, flock (which has a fuzzy surface), and glow-in-the-dark but at the moment you are restricted to their selection of typefaces and designs available on their site. You can’t upload your own designs as of yet but they say they are working on it. Still, the other PODs don’t have anything like this.
For even more texture you can add sewn-on felt to your shirts. I think this is very cool but again you are limited to what you can do. In this case you can only use the 10 provided typefaces but you can choose the color of the felt and the stitching.
As a test I tried to create three t-shirts with the same designs using the different processes. The first thing I noticed were the differing prices. The following prices include my quite reasonable 20% markup.
- Printed Tee – from $20
- Flock Tee – from $40
- Felt Tee – from $75
While I do like the felt I don’t think it is worth $55 more than the printed version. The flock tee is not so bad. As you can see below, not all the designs look the same. While adding the flock design (left) I wasn’t able to curve the text. I don’t know if this is a glitch or a limitation. The design in the center is the direct print version in which I used their fonts in their designer. The design on the right is the felt version and it looked much better when I made it as you can see below. Scott told me that this is just a bug and they are hoping to get it fixed soon.
Yerzies also has a layer system which I guess is necessary if you want to take advantage of several of these processes on one shirt. I imagine if you do though the cost would add up pretty quickly.
OK, I have pointed out some of the things that make Yerzies stand out from the crowd. There are some things that need work too.
I think that you should be able to personalise your space more to give it your own branding. You seem to have your own space and the ability to create sections but it just looks like a part of the Yerzies site. It is a little confusing too.
Like Zazzle, the commission is percentage based but I think most POD shopkeepers would like to be able to add a fixed commission depending on the shirt. A percentage based system means the more expensive the shirt is the more money you make. The results are usually that you either get too little for selling the cheaper shirts or you turn away customers with the high prices of your more expensive shirts.
Creating the products with the product designer is painfully slow but once it is on one t-shirt it is on all of them. It is similar to Zazzle’s system and there is also an option to allow your customers to customize the shirts.
There is a built in affiliate program too which is pretty cool and they will pay to PayPal. (Cafepress should take a note here.)
Scott tells me they have a bulk uploading tool in the works to be released soon. Also you can expect them to be “supporting many more product categories, and adding some entirely different production processes – including some that you’ve never seen on other POD sites. We’re just get started, but 2009 should prove to be full of announcements from us“.
I’m glad to see another POD on the scene but I think they really need to make changes in order to attract more shopkeepers. The print, press and stitch options are great but shopkeepers want things to be fast, easy and cheap do these options alone won’t attract them. They also want to be able to brand their own store. Most of all though they want to sell their items and to do that we need a stronger marketplace that presents the items in a more attractive way. Time should improve the power of the marketplace but there definitely seems to be a lack of SEO done. Yerzies are working on some promotional tools though.
It’s really to early to say at this point but I think that unless they make some major changes I don’t really expect this site to take off. I wish them luck though.