Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Custom Fashions and Goods

John Marine | 1/10/2012 11:32:00 PM | | | |
(UPDATED: November 29, 2013

Ever imagined if you could design your own merchandise and offer them to others? Some people (as well as businesses) imagine making and selling their own special apparel and goods. It doesn't mean you have to make items completely from scratch, but you can sign up to have various makers create your own goods to others. These custom goods can range from unique designs to certain

This blog post is about making your own custom fashions and other goods. Now bear in mind- while this post is mostly about custom fashions, there are even mentions of custom goods here. This blog post does not concern making your own custom merchandise from scratch. This is not about making your own custom merchandise from a small business perspective. Instead, it is mostly about online services and companies allowing you to custom-make your own goods and fashions.


NOV 29 2013 - added extra resource link

--- Custom Goods at a Glance ---

I may start drawing my own material rather than rely on pictures from the Internet. Anyhow, here is a half-hearted picture to set the tone for this post:

custom merchandise
^ (my own drawing) Making your own custom merchandise is a great way to get yourself noticed. From left to right, top to bottom: a custom T-shirt, a custom feminine tank top, a custom coffee mug, and a custom sports pennant.

Merchandise, or "merch" in today's pop culture, are items you offer that people may like. These are custom-made items created with love for fans who want to express their love of a certain personality. Some people and entities are best known for certain things, such as catchphrases, graphics, songs, and the like. Creating such custom merchandise allows fans to show their love through the means of fashion as well as other goods. Imagine if you wanted to create coffee mugs or T-shirts baring your image or a certain catchphrase. You may create a custom-made shirt that bears an image of you, a catchphrase you've coined, or anything like that. Offering your design to others will help you to establish yourself and let your fans enjoy supporting your work in a most unique way.

Sometimes, even I wonder what it would be like if I could offer merchandise to people not afraid to show their support for my work. You know such items have to be in my usual blue and gold colors. I would have to offer other colors as well. Like for example, I'd have to come along with some white and pink for the females out there who want to show their support for me in a cute way. I may even have to consider some girly rhinestone items in support of me and my work for females.

Find out later in this blog post what I would come up with if I wanted to start my own custom merchandise.

--- Inspirations for This Blog Post ---

This blog post is mostly inspired by certain online services that allow you to make your own merchandise and sell it online. All links provided in this section are for educational (and not promotional) purposes only.


Zazzle is one of the premier custom merchandise sites online. Creative people and businesses can design their own items and offer them for sale. The many different items that can be customized and sold is mind-boggling in the least sense. Claiming to have over 17 billion (that's right!) customizable items, it is almost completely a site where you could take almost ANYTHING and make your own customizable items for sale. Just look around Zazzle for various items on Zazzle that can be specifically designed and customized to be sold.

The following is an example of a Zazzle store. It was provided for educational purposes, but if you see something you like, feel free to shop around on Zazzle:

Embroidery 4 U - Zazzle

If you want to see a funny video about what Zazzle is about, check this out: The Future of Commerce....


A rival to Zazzle is CafePress. While not as popular as Zazzle, it is a worthy alternative to Zazzle. Clothes, shoes, household items, water bottles, iPad cases, bumper stickers, and a lot more are all made by others and sold on CafePress. This is where people set up shops and offer anything creative to the world. Here below is an example of a CafePress store. You may recall this site if you've read my "Tasty Fashion Influences" blog post. Take a look at it Or if you see something you like at this site, feel free to shop around:

"Eat Something Cute!" on CafePress (Custom Merchandise example)

To learn more about CafePress, here is a VERY long (about nine or ten minutes long) YouTube video: CafePress - About Us.

District Lines.

While its range of merchandise types severely lacks compared to Zazzle and CafePress, District Lines still offers a vast array of T-shirts based on popular entities ranging from YouTube channels to bands.

Here is a District Lines store example:
NDTitanLady Merch - Official Online Store on District Lines

If you are familiar with "NDTitanLady" on YouTube, Natalie is a pretty funny YouTube channel of a silly Filipino girl. She was one of the first YouTube channels I liked in my earlier days on YouTube. I still have great respect for her and her work even to this day.

IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED: You can see Natalie's videos at youtube.com/NDTitanLady.

Now that you have an idea about what a store of custom merchandise is about, let's get into some of the regular details of custom merchandise. If you want to visit these sites online, I will provide links to them later in this blog post. Both Zazzle and CafePress are all about some of merchandising of multiple items other than just clothes.

--- Making Your Own Custom Fashions ---

I will begin with thoughts on making your own custom fashions.

The basics of designing your own custom fashions begin with coming up with your own unique designs and styles. You want to create something that defines you and your style when you design a T-shirt or some other garment. If you have a logo or a unique design, it is best to share that with the world on some sort of garment.

All kinds of custom-made fashion items are made. These include everything from T-shirts to shoes, and even thongs. :)

Custom Tops.

A T-shirt is very basic and casual. Since they are so easy and inexpensive, these tops are the easiest in wanting to customize to your liking. They are the most basic way to make a statement. Certain T-shirts custom-made express ideas and expressions better than what most commercially-available shirts offer.

There are software programs allow you to design your own T-shirts. They may either be programs or certain websites that have online programs where you can make your own T-shirts. These programs can be great for making custom fashions. If you are more creative, however, you could make more radically-styled shirts. Most T-shirts usually have a big graphic or some text around the chest or on the upper right. More creative types would create a T-shirt design featuring multiple graphics across the top, around the bottom, on the sides, and perhaps even on the back that are totally unique. Unfortunately, some programs will not allow you to create any seriously creative T-shirts. So you may want to avoid this step if you're planning on making any TRULY unique T-shirts.

What if you're a girl who likes wearing tank tops or camisoles with custom messages, or what if you were making custom camisoles or tank tops for a girl? A cute custom-made top can go very nicely with your favorite outfits. I personally think raglan T-shirts or cap sleeve T-shirts can be cute for females, especially two-tone raglan tees. Ringer T-shirts are also stylishly fun. You also have to account for cropped tops and camisoles as far as custom feminine fashion is concerned. As far as designs are concerned, they can range from solid-colored text and graphics to (especially for females) rhinestone and sequin graphics.

Custom Bottoms.

Some services allow you to create your own bottoms. They can range from specially-designed shorts to custom-made sweatpants. Most custom bottoms are primarily for the athletic set and those wanting athletic bottoms.

Custom Underwear and Loungewear.

The custom feel can come close to home- literally. Some companies allow you to create your own custom loungewear. These can range from sleeping shirts to a variety of underwear options. And for you flirty and daring types, custom thongs can even be made.

Sending a Message.

Some people make custom clothes to send messages. Why not let your clothes do the talking with vibrantly-displayed messages on them? You could buy a regular T-shirt or something from a retail store or a certain designer. However, imagine making a custom clothes offering a certain message. Exposure of certain causes, lifestyles, and the like are usually offered as clothing to wear. For example, someone into raising breast cancer awareness or someone who is proud of a certain lifestyle or way of life usually have some creative clothes and merchandise to offer for those who also enjoy the same concept(s).

When I checked various websites for items you can custom-make, the majority of clothing items for males and females are mostly clothes from American Apparel. My best guess is that companies that allow you to make certain custom clothes mostly buy from real designers and pass along the opportunity for people to design their own clothes using products from other designers. Other designers and companies, though, offer some of their own products to be customized freely from certain customizing sites and companies. Other examples include T-shirts and other items from Hanes and Fruit of the Loom among many others.

--- Custom Goods ---

Your own coffee mugs. Your own iPod/iPhone/iPad cases and skins. Your own bumper stickers. If you feel that your popularity and your charm should be applied to goods rather than just with fashion, then certain services will allow you to create your own merchandise using almost anything made available to you. The reason why you'd want to have or customize goods is because you want something uniquely designed in support of someone/something, or you just want some basic goods with a unique charm to them. Think of personalized gifts that can be great to have around your house as well as items that can be used for almost anything.

--- Starting Your Own Merchandise Online ---

So, do you want to make your own custom items? Have a look at these websites. This is basically for those who want to make their own merchandise from available items rather than start from scratch. Just want to make this easy. Click on the headings to these sections to learn more about each service (each one is my own commentary. I am not being paid to describe any of these in any sort of way). This post mostly concerns American companies or companies that ship across America, but some of these sites may even ship internationally. Check each one to see what sort of international shipping they may offer, if available.


Start with some basic items... finish with your own designs! Zazzle is the leading custom merchandise company online. Sometimes even coming up with ideas for my blog posts, I sometimes come across certain graphics and T-shirts made by Zazzle members. Some of the many items you can create are all fueled by your own creativity. Fashion and accessories can all be customized for you to make your own unique merchandise to sell.


The array of custom items you can design with CafePress is about as vast as Zazzle. CafePress, as mentioned earlier, is not as popular as Zazzle is. Still, it is a wonderful service to consider if planning on making your own custom merchandise. Make your designs and send your creativity to CafePress to make lovely items to sell to the world.

District Lines.

While you can't make a vast array of merchandise like you can with Zazzle or CafePress, you can make some great T-shirts using District Lines. It is pretty popular with support from lots of famous YouTube channels (JohnMarineTube, my channel, is sadly not one of them). I will say that this is a service where you can make some truly unique shirts to wear and sell.

Ethix Merch.

If you want to make custom merchandise but want your merchandise to be as guilt-free as possible, Ethix Merch can help you make your own merchandise without feeling like they were all made from sweatshop labor. Clothing and other goods can be made and sold guilt-free, sweatshop-free, and loved by all from Ethix Merch.


Make your own awesome T-shirts and hoodies with Spreadshirt. You can make and sell your own designs online. Items are available and can me made for babies all the way up to adults. This site mostly operates with the United States, Canada, and most of Europe.


From basic men's and women's tops to business-type tops, UberPrints.com allows you to create your own designs. Make your own custom design(s) and match them up with a variety of tops, hoodies, loungewear, and more. Even garments for pets can be created. A part of UberPrints.com is in the online design studio, which allows you to play around with various options in helping you envision your dream custom merchandise.

Customized Girl.

Custom apparel can be made through Customized Girl in much the same way most other services allow you to make your own custom fashions and goods. I am pretty certain my male audience probably would feel squeamish at the thought of making custom fashions from a service mostly catered to females. Even though "Girl" is in the title of this company's name, you can even make custom fashions and goods for males here. All sorts of girly designs and styles are offered. Accessories and pet fashions are also customizable through Customized Girl.


(ADDED: November 29, 2013)
I'd like to thank a loyal reader for mentioning this site. Quote from the loyal reader:

"AbsoluteScreenPrinting offers custom screen printing services for personalizing t shirts, polos, sweatshirts, caps and totes. Company offers free shipping and customized t-shirt printing and other services at wholesale price."

A QUICK NOTE: If you suggest something, I may accidentally pass it off as a spam comment. I am just completely alert in making sure any and all comments directed to my blog(s) or posts. Posts that make me even remotely suspicious as to how it got there or who sent it may result in it getting deleted immediately. Please bear this in mind on certain comments or E-Mails I may receive.


BlueCotton allows you to design all sorts of apparel as well as totes and other accessories. This is mostly good for companies, groups, families, and the like.


Based in British Columbia, Canada; KRAFTMEDIA allows you to make your own custom shirts and hoodies by simply submitting your design online.

La Pomme (Brazil).

La Pomme

If I find any more online resources, I will share them in future edits. Or feel free to Contact Me via E-Mail with any more resources I should suggest. Remember- people worldwide visit my blog. Therefore, I want my international audience to have some more material to check out in case they are interested in my posts. So do me and my readers a favor and help make my material better for all. Please?

--- Would I Start My Own Merchandise Line? ---

Honestly, I don't think I am anything marketable. I'm just an average fellow who has a blog, a YouTube channel, so-so support from loyal fans... so I don't think I'd matter much even if I started my own merchandise line. And I don't think I have risen to any level of popularity that would warrant me to be any sort of star.

I do envision what I'd have if I started some sort of merchandise line, though. You know what I'd probably sell would likely be in the customary blue and gold colors that you see either here on John's Blog Space or on my YouTube channel. I could certainly flex my creative muscle and come up with some stuff that I think everyone ranging from babies to adults can like. You wouldn't mind rocking some blue and gold merchandise from me, would you? ;) In addition to blue and gold, you may know of my other alternate colors. Some of my other official colors are red and gold as well as purple/violet and silver. Some other merchandise would probably be in those colors if I were to consider a merchandise line. Female fans would even be helped to some clothing with rhinestones or sequins if I were to market some unique girly clothing.

But really, I wouldn't start one unless I feel my popularity actually warrants making custom items in my honor.

So what do you make of having custom merchandise of your own to sell? What do you make of custom merchandise? Feel free to share your thoughts here. Speaking of sharing, make sure you're subscribed to this blog if you love my work. Make sure you "Like" my Facebook fan page if you have Facebook and love my work. Just show me you care! Thank you for reading!

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John B. Marine said...

Very interesting post! I've always dreamed of starting my own clothing line. Maybe this is the way to start. Sorry I've been absent so long, but nice in-depth and informative post!

John B. Marine said...

Hey, Johnny!
I think customizing is an excellent idea! I myself have my diary and notepad customized by LaPomme (http://lojalapomme.com.br), a virtual store from Brazil, which designs and prints (almost) everything you want. I like their drawings because their designer is Isabella, a cute girl (just like me hahahahaha) who designs cute stuff...
I really liked your tips... I hadn't heard about Zazzle before... I have to check if they ship to Brazil...
A big kiss from Brazil!

John B. Marine said...

Customizable fashion and things are such fun.  I want to go play on some of those websites you mentioned now, lol! I hadn't heard of most of them before.  Nice post, John.  I like your drawing too, very cute! :) Sorry I've been missing for a while, haven't been paying attention to blogging for the past month.

  ♥ Principessa Gabriella 

John Marine said...

Drawing own material is a good idea instead of searching images online. This way one can have unique designs on their t-shirts.

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