I Made Some T-Shirts
Yay, Me!


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Tahitee brand Wear a Mask T-Shirt at Amazon
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Tahitee brand Nuff Said T-Shirt at Amazon
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Tahitee brand Better Than Ever T-Shirt at Amazon
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Tahitee brand "Socially Distanced" T-Shirt and Hoodie at Amazon

I finally have some t-shirt designs for sale! I don't think I ever mentioned making t-shirts as a goal of mine. I joined Cafe Press all the way back when the Internet was new-ish to me and Zazzle a few years later. Fast forward a couple decades and I just haven't made a real go of it. I've thought about it so much, as my T-Shirt Obsession Pinterest page can attest to. Those are all other people's designs, though. I only uploaded a couple not so great ones at the beginning to test things out and nothing since. I didn't hone my skills. I didn't spend every day coming up with new ideas. In fact, I pretty much gave up drawing after high school. College and then work and just life got in the way. I haven't even drawn a knife since 2016.

About five years ago, I got sick of the daily grind and decided to start a business selling on Amazon. This was a very, very slow process by myself. Lots of ultimately not great decisions were made, even while doing tons of research. I'm all about digging deep before diving in, looking long before leaping. I first tried selling something I was passionate about: video games. The used games barely sold, because there was too much competition from other sellers and the lots from eBay were hit-and-miss. Distributors' new game prices are lose-money-on-every-sale outrageous unless you're a huge store like Walmart or Amazon themselves. So, that fizzled out after a while and then I transitioned to online arbitrage, which was okay for experience but unsustainable.

Another failure was board games. Same sort of deal with the cost, but also availability. I waited three months for a backorder of a board game that had been selling quickly. When it finally arrived, the publisher had come on the listing, drastically dropped the price, and restricted Amazon sellers from stocking their most popular games. I made $30 instead of $300 for all that waiting, at a time I couldn't afford it. That almost ruined my business when I had really only just begun. then got myself into textbooks.

Some months later, after I'd spent nearly everything on my used book inventory, with plans to go straight to the publishers to become an authorized retailer, Amazon suddenly restricted most of the books in my inventory. I got an email that one of my most profitable books was taken down, then another and another and another. All I could do was watch helplessly as my business collapsed book by book. They were doing it to many (but not all!) used textbook sellers because of counterfeit concerns. Even if I became authorized, the option wasn't available to apply with Amazon to sell those books anymore. I picked myself up, after bawling for a good half hour, and searched everywhere for something else. This is not a quick process.

Image by Deedster from Pixabay

Eventually, I sort of fell into pet products. I love animals, so I can't complain about that. I found one great item to replace everything I'd lost and slowly built from there with a distributor that's been great so far, Lee Mar Pet Supplies. These items are mostly inexpensive and make only a small profit. They're much less risky because of their price, but also because of less competition, less price fluctuation, and far fewer races to the bottom between sellers. But seeing as it's still just me doing all of this—and that I have to individually inspect, bag, wrap, and label over 1,400 items per month to send on their way to Amazon according to all of their exhausting specifications—there is a very near ceiling to my growth. That's been forcing me to look seriously at alternative revenue streams, such as dropshipping, which comes with its own headaches, and low content books, like journals and notebooks.

During this time, my Mom started going to the hospital every other month. She's there again for, I think now, the 15th time in the last four years. I started this business partly for myself, to be my own boss, but mostly so I could help her. So I could get my time back to give to her and one day maybe to help with the big bills. That hasn't really happened yet, with so many of my waking hours spent on the business to merely tread water during this pandemic. At least I quit my job back in June. It was killing me while trying to build a business and keep Mom healthy and at home. Good riddance to that job. While it was enjoyable, they basically tested us multiple times a day and the stress never abated over the six years I was there.

My blogging suffered as well. I didn't get to talk about the last year (or the last four years, really) of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and now that's done. Supernatural has only the series finale to go. The Walking Dead was announced to be ending with season 11 and I'm sure I'll not catch up on the posts by then. Except for Doctor Who, all my favorites are ending again and I've barely made a peep about them here in so very long. Work and my business took that from me. My hope is that t-shirts and other creative things will return them. I've been saying for years that I need to get back to drawing. I'm on my way.

First up are some easy text-based t-shirts so I could get started quickly. There are only a few so far, and I'm not sure if I'm going to create another site just for them or redirect Tahitee.com to a page here or to the Amazon Tahitee page. The odd thing about Amazon is anyone can put any brand name in their listing, so if someone else uses my name then you mnay end up buying someone else's shirts. Anyway, my therapeutic rant is over and I'll leave you to make your choice. Personally, I love "20 Freakin' 20." It really just sums up everything about this year for me.


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