We’re looking for feedback. If you have an internet retail business, let’s talk.
One of the suggestions that has been made many times in the comments was creating a WOLF STREET coffee mug or beer mug. That sounded like a fun idea, but I have neither the time nor the talent to create things like this and deal with the logistics. So I approached our iconic commenter, WOLF FEST name-tag creator and writer-cartoonist-artist Kitten Lopez.
In our preliminary discussions, I said that we should do a coffee mug because it’s simpler and a good place to start. But she instantly put her foot down and said, no way, it has to be a beer mug. The theme on WOLF STREET is a beer mug, she said, including the donation button at the bottom of each article, where you can send “beer money” to support the site. End of discussion. Kitten Lopez is now in charge of the entire project, from design to execution. I just kind of nod and smile in amazement. And this is the design (click on the image to enlarge it):
The design has two colors: white and black. The brown you see in the image represents the beer in the mug so that you can get an idea of what it might look like while the mug is still full. The design will wrap around the mug. To see the whole design, you have to turn the mug, which is part of the fun.
This is the beer mug she picked out, a big (15 oz) sturdy glass stein with a large base for added stability if things get a little iffy:
But the logistics are not fun…
This beer mug weighs quite a bit, and it can break during shipping. Packing is going to be an important issue, and so are all the aspects of taking orders, receipting payments, fulfilling orders, dealing with state sales taxes however tiny they may be, and dealing with the fallout when a mug breaks during shipping, or when a buyer tries to return the 10 mugs after the party.
Here is the problem: I don’t run an internet retail business and I have no infrastructure in place to handle any of these issues.
The main purpose for this project is to have fun – not to make a ton of money. So far, we have come up with two potential solutions to the logistics issues:
Solution 1: Arrange fulfillment with an internet retailer.
This internet retailer would take the orders, receipt the payments, fulfill the orders, deal with returns, and handle sales taxes. We would like for this retailer to be someone other than Amazon. It would be great if we could keep the business in the community.
If you have an internet retail business that can fulfill these types of orders, and you would like to discuss it, please contact me either in the comments below and/or via email at email@example.com
Solution 2: As a token of gratitude for large donations.
In this scenario, the mugs would not be sold at all, but would be treated as a “gift” for people who donate a large amount to the site. By large, I mean, for example, $100. Every donation is immensely appreciated. And most donations are in the range you would expect. But there have been readers who donated $100 and more, which is very generous and wonderful. But there is little I can currently offer as a token of gratitude. The WOLF STREET beer mug would be my token of gratitude.
In this “Solution 2” scenario, I would keep the beer mugs in the garage, and every time such a wonderful donation comes in, I would contact the donor via email to verify the shipping address, then I would pack the mug myself, take it down to the UPS store, and ship it.
Obviously, I don’t have time to do that every day. But donations of $100 or more are not frequent, so I don’t think I will spend a lot of time dealing with the logistics of sending the mugs.
This solution – the mug as a token of gratitude – would avoid some internet-retail issues such as sales taxes (there is no sale) and returns (if you don’t like it, just give it away or dispose of it properly).
I will probably do Solution 2, even if we can get Solution 1 worked out. So in this case, we would have in effect both solutions running in parallel.
However, if we cannot get Solution 1 worked out, the mugs will not be for sale. They will only be available as gifts – because I simply don’t have the time and expertise to start an internet retail business.
What do you think?
Please use the comment section below for ideas and thoughts on this. Nothing — other than the mug itself and the design — has been decided yet. At this point, we’re trying to get our plan together. And we’re hoping to get some feedback.
And if you have an internet retail business and are interested in working with us on this, or if you have specific ideas or advice, please let us know!
Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:
Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.
Like the ideas Wolf. Hope you get someone that can do solution 1. for you, in addition to solution 2.
Good to see Kitty’s usual flamboyance again, too!
Someday an archaeologist will unearth one of these mugs.
Suggest you run a contest here. Give a mug to the best of your reader’s attribution what the archaeologist said when he came up with it.
You’ve got a stellar, top flight intellect for business and economic reporting Beyond that, you have a solid strip of morality running your full length.
I’d say you should start an investment company in which you and your staff/researchers run 100% thereof: sell shares to the folks out here in investor land, pay yourself and your staff a fantastic salary,….and we ALL live happily ever after. You DO have the talent to make this work.
Ha! Who sez I can’t put coffee in that beer mug? I’d sip proudly, except…OMG…why did you put Hillary’s face on it???
The wolf, that’s my face :-]
LOL to both of you
yay! it’s live!
yeah, i’m also hoping that someone entrepreneurial and sitting on extra warehouse space (like Alex in digital detroit, but not Alex) will consider STARTING a local area fulfillment center because having stock to receive, store, and ship out with limited space around here is a nightmare for doing creative stuff AND shipments.
i myself would love such a service available locally where i could drop stuff off as i make different things.
like the mannequin store in oakland that has a photobooth, i wish there were more brick n’ mortar businesses with such services because i think they’d make a killing if it was one-stop-shopping for smaller sellers who’d rather not deal with amazon. that just doesn’t make sense.
i wish for something in between and nimble flexible…local. human.
by the way–i love that you said how you wanted to do business IN THE COMMUNITY, Wolf. that choked me up because i just had a few good creative photo idea telephone calls with my next model up, and she’s inspired by my cunning plans plots and schemes.
Only solution #1 will work for me, and I’ll be sure to kick in.
Assuming you hook up with the right infrastructure, I think selling mugs (as opposed to perks for large donors) is the way to go.
…leveraging Elon’s idea, request pre-orders ($5-10 deposit) so you’d have a realistic idea how many you’d need to make (call it the Wolf-3) & ship. You could require a certain critical mass of orders to make this worthwhile (if the concept failed to launch, most of us would probably roll over the deposit into the beer fund…).
To reduce shipping, the initial roll-out could be at the next Wolf Street gathering.
WHOA THIS IS GENIUS… Javert Chip is soooo right about some pre-orders! that way, Wolf we COULD have a one-time big shipment party, too. assembly line. now i wanna make a card/tag that we put on each mug handle with a string. i wanted to do a tiny chain but that’s silly. i get carried away.
(AND I LOVE ANOTHER WOLF FEST as a time to ROLL OUT this line… maybe late fall… closer to the HOLIDAYS???)
(and i KNEW this place would net the best/relevant/ edgiest ideas regarding the details and big picture too)
I like JC’s idea, it solves the problem of knowing the demand, and it solves the problem of understanding the supply. I would also suggest that the critical mass idea is a excellent, you could indicate (let’s pick an arbitrary number:) 100 mugs the critical mass, and then put up a counter on WS, and it gets people an idea.
The transaction could be handled through paypal. You have a single ledger which tracks people, the only addition is that you should have a definitive end date. Let’s say December 31st, 2019. If you don’t reach the goal, the money is refunded, minus a small surcharge for your work.
I am unlikely to be able to donate $100.00 all at once and would probably never buy a coffee cup or beer mug but would greatly appreciate the decal to put on my pickup or ATV so that other Wolf Streeters might be able to identify a kindred spirit. Thanks for your great insights.
To clarify, you’re not talking about a bumper-sticker type of adhesive foil but a real decal to essentially permanently put the design on your pickup’s door?
told you it turned out to be really pretty as it IS, all long like that. and you all that was completely WOLF’s design. that German design stuff in his DNA trumped my ideas. i was impressed.
and the beer color even on a bumper sticker is funny.
told you we’d end up thinking of other stuff. this is how you get strung out on merch and can’t access your garage ever again. like me.
this is fun.
Yes, the same sticker you would put on a beer mug, without the mug. I would put it on the windscreen on the ATV or the rear window of my pickup. When I started my donations it was for beer money. Don’t expect all that much for $5.00/mo. but love your report.
I’m into the bumper sticker idea (as well as the mugs I’d do either #1 or #2).
Ideally, the bumper sticker would take on “Mystery Spot” (or it’s east coast equivalent “This car climbed Mt. Washington”) status and drive traffic to this site. This would help make the world a less dumb place.
Great idea from Wolverine. I drink beer and coffee from a Bodum Assam double wall glass. Maintains heat or cold best. Heat and cold resistant sticker would work best for me. No room for mug collection. Vast savings on shipping cost Deminimus $ contribution to cover cost + support Wolfstreet. 10 years in specialty packing and shipping. Ceramic is the worst followed by glass.
Wolverine brings up my question, if someone already contributed “beer money ” would that person be able to contribute the difference of the $100 and still get the mug? I am asking for a friend. :-)
I think the idea is awesome. My ointment fly, does it have to be an either or choice? I would buy some coffee mugs, maybe 6?, but I drink my beer out of the can. Lucky Lager, beer for Vancouver Island loggers. Sorry, I know the beer lover drill, but we drink Lucky here and definitely don’t use a glass or mug. They don’t even bring them out in the local restaurant unless you specifically ask. Bottles in the finer eateries.
Oh…wine? We use the right glass for that.
I have a coffee mug I bought over 30 years ago when I worked in the Yukon. I am drinking tea out of it right now after a riverside firepit cookout. I would retire it for a Wolfstreet coffee mug, though.
News to share. Supposedly no grizzly bears on Vancouver Island right?, although we all know (who live here) there are supposedly up to 50 on the north end. Well, last night at 9:30 we had a big one pass through the yard. My neighbour was kayaking and got it on video. Now we are on alert and have stopped our trail walks for awhile. The population is really growing on the BC Coast, and black bears are more numerous than deer these days. Wolves here too :-)
What a disparate group we are on WS. Yet, we manage to communicate, agree sometimes, and even disagree; always learn, and are always civil. We are from everywhere on the globe. You’ve made a little piece of internet success Mr Richter. Well done. I’m sure there would be some sales. Count me in for some to use as Christmas presents.
(i totally agree about this disparate but wonderful group on here / no lie: it’s the only thing on the internet that shows me how we humans might have a chance.)
Noted Wolf, the behind the scenes moderator who sees all & knows all about who and how many say, XY&Z:good, bad & ugly, etc. etc….
is keeping mum about the kind humanity of it all. :)
Another way of saying that, is,
“My guess is Wolf makes us all look good. ”
Grizzlys, HUH? (which I know sounds stupid to Canuks)
Never was told about that after, 35 years of visiting up there, starting in HS in ’63. Saved $1 loonie to prove it. Sure was teased about Orcas, though, so black and white dolphins scared hell out of me when they first started jumping around us when out fishing in 12 or 14 ft alum boat. Once went from Sointula to Fire Island, and “watching the cruise ships go by” wasn’t too cool on that trip either. Don’t know what we were fishing for, mainly a way to show me around, and scare me a bit for a laugh, I guess. We caught, boated, and released a a LOT of little and 2+ ft black and white sharks, which also wasn’t much fun in a small boat. Don’t mind flying (20 hrs solo in 152) or hiking, at all, but boating on open salt chuk has always been scary for me. They say air deserves more respect, but I dunno about that.
I like the beer mug. I don’t really care what it looks like. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
$100 for a real beer mug seems like a bargain, with the added perk of a fantastic newsletter.
Wolf, stay in control of the overall well-being of WolfStreet.
May I suggest beginning with ‘Solution 2: As a token of gratitude for large donations.’— limited edition version until February 2020? Then from March 2020, assess the contribution revenues generated for 2019 tax filing. Kitty can design a subtle change for 2020 version.
Ask yourself at that time, is Solution 2 beneficial for my efforts to house fragile beer mugs in the garage and create UPS online account (UPS picks up and supplies flat boxes, tapes, bubble wrap can be bought at the Dollar Store online & delivered)?
Solution 1 is an expense with hidden costs. Here’s a website of a private SF fulfillment center https://www.shipbob.com/pricing/ for consideration. Again, how will Solution 1 be beneficial for Wolf Richter and WolfStreet, in the long run? (from tax filing to maintaining a 3rd party relationship which compromises generated revenues).
At the end of the day, we are aware and intuitively know that ‘Economic Changes are Ahead’— 2020 and beyond. “Keep Life Simple”.
wow i’ve had to read your email four times… so much good info…
Wolf, I love your long form articles but it kind of goes to show you’re a creature of habit. Nothing about you creating a promotional beer mug should have exceeded a thousand words you could have just said please buy this mug to support the site.
Well, we’re not ready just yet. The mugs are not for sale yet. They don’t exist yet. We’re trying to figure things out.
Once they’re ready and for sale, you will see my promos, and there won’t be any confusions what it is :-]
I am guessing the advertising of Wolfstreet should be a priority for this and in that respect, would have thought a coffee mug in the office/home would be a more visual option to generate interest and the Beer Mug as in Option 2 as a donation thank you…..
Not for me though, as I guess “Heck” is a mainly US term And in EU lalaland does not really mean much.
If the print was the original saying though, I’d buy one :)
could we just size the means of production an look at it from the other side, for just a moment..ha
Wolf, it’s very thoughtful of you to thank the donors with a mug but if they send you money it’s to thank you for sharing your amazing intellect. I doubt any of the donors expect a “You’re welcome” gift. I sure don’t.
I’d say, if you’re having fun with the mugs, or if it fulfills a need of yours, do it by all means. Otherwise, don’t waste your time. Your readership come here to enjoy your pieces. We’re very grateful for that and will continue sending you money, with or without acknowledgment.
The enlightenment I’ve gained from your graphs and your comments on all things financial (always with a distinctive shade of humor) cannot be repaid. If anything, we should be the ones sending you a mug!
I don’t know Wolf,i think there’s more Money to be made in Male Enhancement Pills. Or how about Hats that say MTFPA, “Make the Fed proud again!” just throwing it out there….
You could of course find a producer of glassware and find a suitable design of beer mug to use. Such producers will probably have a packaging design to suit and protect their product in transit.
You then speak kindly to the producer and get them to afix the decal or logo and then ship to on-line purchasers.
From an economic point of view, this is true out-sourcing! The concept is turned in to reality with the minimum of physical involvement.
In the UK there is a company called Dartington Glass. They make “artisan glassware” and sell on-line. There must be the equivalent in the US. It is a matter of scale! and there are lots of companies who produce short run “promotional” wares. The main problem in the US is distance to try and put together any co-operative effort
I think the wolf design or drawing should be more classical and facing straight on instead of from the side like the current drawing. Just my thoughts. The Wolf could have a dog tag or something with R on it for Richter. Also you might have to make a wine glass for us vine drinkers. Thanks
wolf – why not Silver mug in matte black for more style? Fragile problem solved and at same time people will own bit of precious metal.
But you sell these as merchandise.
I understand the point about beer mug for generous donors but I think coffee mug has more appeal. We all drink coffee or tea while reading your articles – unless is after-hours or Friday afternoon when I will normally have a glass of red while reading.
If you grow too far too fast, you will need some of that money to hire some lobbyists for Washington D.C. and Sacramento to keep the regulators from breaking you up.
Wolf, I’m in for a coffee mug. May I send you images of our wolves?
Perhaps you could produce only a limited number of wolfmugs and let them serve as a form of alternative currency with value determined by market demand and ownership recorded by dispersed digital ledgers.
great idea wolf! I’d buy one but the Hillary wolf has to go! lol
Wolf, If this is true…
“….The main purpose for this project is to have fun – not to make a ton of money. “
Then you’re heading into a s***storm of trouble selling/giving these big heavy coffee/beer mugs. Think of the logistics. Returns. Breakages. Etc etc.
And what about loyal readers in Oz, NZ, Africa & elsewhere.. shipping costs? you are an international org.com …right?
You’ll end up spending a lot of time worrying about this instead of doing what you have a talent for i.e de-coding, interpreting & exposing the lies & BS we are fed by tptb.
So, if it’s a money making exercise forget it – you’re on a hiding to nothing. And as for ‘marketing’ how many will see a coffee mug on Joe Blow’s work bench? Duh!
“The WOLF STREET beer mug would be my token of gratitude.”
“In this scenario, the mugs would not be sold at all, but would be treated as a “gift” for people who donate a large amount to the site.”
Old Dog nailed it… “…Wolf, it’s very thoughtful of you to thank the donors with a mug but if they send you money it’s to thank you for sharing your amazing intellect. I doubt any of the donors expect a “You’re welcome” gift. I sure don’t….”
Many may think similarly. How about personalising it with a print out, really cheaply…
”Old Dog you just gave another $1.50 to the cause and I want to tell you I really appreciate it. But you can do better”. Or:
“Old Dog, that $5,000 gift was great. I’ll be writing the next few Wolf Street Reports from the Bahamas. I’ll send you a post card”
OK that might be a bit out there (though it worked for me; retired @ 38) but a most people would prefer something personalised I think..
What about small, discreet, exclusive bumper stickers ….
I’m a Wolf Street Gift Giver. And this is all I f*** I got. Wolf Street .com
Economics Before It Happens. Wolf Street.com
Truth Behind The Lies. Wolf Street.com
There’s The Wall Street Journal, There’s The New York Times. But for The Real Deal Go To Wolf Street.com
Of course, no one will take much notice.until The Wolf Man becomes a World-wide phenomenon. At which time they’ll steal your car just for the bumper bar.
Anyway, just a thought. Roll call now so have to go.
Love the tag line suggestions. :)
This is nice, but we are living in precarious times and need all the good analysis we can get. So I mention again the vison of all of the top names writing/podcasting/videoing fantastic freemium content which advertisers will looove.
I’m just someone with my head buzzing with ideas. Maybe someone who’s tired of Agora or Money morning can make it happen? Again, just a thought…
Looking forward to the actual embodiment. I’ll get one, however offered …
Can’t you just have a page on cafe press or similar and just get a sales commission from that?
Coffee mug (tea)…
Keep it simple.
Am in agreement with sierra7, but also believe that the beer mug is probably most enticing to the majority of WolfStreet readers. Anyway, I will continue morning coffee from ancient Sportsman’s Warehouse mug for as long as it lasts.
I hope to see you continue to do well, Wolf, and make real money from your efforts.
I am disappointed to no longer see the links to other websites that used to appear at lower-left margin, whence I used to link to AdvisorPerspectives (now I go there via Google and Safari). Pop-up ads have something to do with their disappearance ??? I can’t tell.
There are still a few websites left which have no advertising and no subscription requirement for entry- don’t know how they do it.
I would guess that they do not work full-time, and still considerer their efforts as a type of altruism.
You have been doing a great thing, Wolf, and I hope the beer mug does well and you prosper from this effort. In general wrt websites, I don’t pay. I don’t pay for Google/Youtube for example (ergo they plague me with stupid ads). @ CNBC, this morning, Jim Cramer’s remarks re that Google should be making $$$$ off YouTube seem to misunderstand what YouTube has been to, and by, the common man.) and for now I plan to continue to send a yearly check to you in appreciation for what you have been doing @WolfStreet. Thx again !
The artwork on the mug is pleasing, and I’m considering obtaining one regardless of the fact that I no longer drink (enough trouble keeping my mind clear for Commenting wo/alcohol). HaHaHa Nice work, Kitten.
The links to other sites that you’re looking for are still in the lower left side on the home page. They’ve been there for a long time. But if you recently signed up for my email updates and you use them to go to the articles, you no longer land on the home page, but go directly to the article page, and so you don’t see the links. So when you’re on an article page, click on the logo at the top, which takes you to the home page. Then scroll down to the links.
I short Zuk, long on Zucc.
I drink a Zucc soup from a mug soup, with chopped sweet
potatoes, organic carrots, tomatoes and garlic.
Cheers with a x6 pack of health, to fight the junk I get.
Why “heck”? Why not “hell”? Seems hell is more to point.
I try to save hell for the occasions that justify it’s perceived coarseness and if the wheels are coming off your well laid plans I’d say “heck” was a soft-peddle.
Like they say,”I don’t know much about art but I know what I like”. I like it.
To me, with the camo (and earth tone) color, Wolf’s now trademark military font, playful yet angry and defiant art, (nothing peaceful about a wolf with it’s mouth full of teeth open in real life) contrasted with a phrase of hope, (hope at least for those who have internet and don’t have too many years left on the planet, or figure they have enough money or skills or land to last longer than most. That assumes nothing at all changes and pretty radically, too).
So much for my ability to critique’ art, and reading kitten a lot, usually several times to “get it” all (which because of the off and on James Joyce style is impossible, as I am not her) is like cheating on a class assignment, except for this one more notion to Steve: I think “Hell” would take away from the history and simple quiet hopefulness of the phrase, adding extra anger and maybe unbalancing it all.
So much for that effort. Anyway I have never been a “joiner” since cub and Boy Scouts, but if being a long time reader of an insider who chose to spill the beans and collect thinking people as a business makes me that, I am. So put me in with the P/U window sticker bunch, maybe will lead to some good conversation, and I’ll still cough up the $100, consuming luddite that I am. That said, I’m off to the last owner owned coffee shop in the area, where I’ll pay a lot for just house blend black coffee and tip heavy.
PS: never bought anything online, (last thing I need is another damn menu and password to learn) so will need an address or P/O box for check.
“PS: never bought anything online, (last thing I need is another damn menu and password to learn) so will need an address or P/O box for check.”
For future reference:
Wolf Street Corp
1288 Columbus Ave. #196
San Francisco, CA 94133
Got it. Will pay in full in advance and take cup if that is what shakes out. Or you can skip it if I can take a screen shot and put it in window. Writing check now. Coffee cancelled due to lack of showups. Reg weekday schedule best.
Thank you!!! But wait… I cannot guarantee you that there will even be a beer mug. As you can see from the discussion here, it’s complicated…
I know. No problemo. I just took illegal screen shot of art as posted for P/U window, will last better on inside anyway, and I won’t be sued until your media empire grows so big you can afford people to chase truck down, and good luck with that. ;)
As kitten says,”I never wanted to be in the big house”, my 1yr experience as a production manger (hired as tech to project engr) at a start-up (Lasercraft) ended with a FY to my boss brothers, “make me swing shift supervisor so I can take 1 more day class, I’m going back to school”. Specifically OSU College of Pharmacy, which only lasted 2 3/4 quarters, ending with a Fthis whole BS biz. I have problems “fitting in”, and like me that way.
PS: Used to have heavy duty DC insider relative plus his powerful friends, (most all dead except cousins) but they were NOT bean spillers, no way. Info and contacts were better than swapping a bar of gold bullion. Said yes sir, no sir, thank you, etc, till I blew up at 2am drinking scotch and relative had to go walk golf course at 2am or he would “bust my chops”. Didn’t know about okie loggers favorite sport.
i looove your writing!
but yeah… heck vs. hell…. that was interesting what you wrote. i get Steve as usually i’d be all for it. but i preferred heck even though i swear like a sailor stepping on a nail. something about it seemed… funny and softly kind …and in this world it seemed innocent and sweet. so i liked it.
Thanks. But his project is all you and Wolf’s show, rest is input ideas.
Just for clarification, I am the original “Steve “… The motorcycle guy.
I’ll become Steve L now…. Until another Steve L shows up. :-)
OK! I’ve owned a ton of bikes, but $900 Suzuki GS 750 was only one I’d even consider trying cross country on….still too heavy for me but had really cool double power band…2nd at 8500, but better be on long curve, have good road rider finesse, or yer goin’ down.
You use Harley, Gold Wing, or BMW? Whatever, GOOD SHOW!
Last post, promise.
I’ll donate and be happy to pick up in person…somewhere close to Civic Center…to save on shipping.
The simplest thing is to use someone like Cafe Press (https://www.cafepress.com/+beer+drinking-glasses) you upload the design, and they handle everything else. Then, fans could get the design on everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs.
we artists have known about cafe press from jump but is extremely cheap and cheesy quality with lots of problems in shipping out the proper things to people.
the ink scrapes off on glass because it’s not baked on and you cannot put it in the dishwasher.
Wolf and i both agreed on wanting only the highest quality. something that lasts, holds up, inspires with respect and elegance in as many facets as we can control.
May I suggest sandblasting or chem etching the glass with the cartoon patern and all?
They also take most of the proceeds because they are doing all of the work. You basically get a royalty payment for creating the design. Quality is lacking on these one-off custom items because they do not use the same decoration process as a larger bulk order. I’m in the promo product industry, and I would never recommend CafePress, Zazzle, VistaPrint, etc, if you’re looking for quality.
Coffee mug sounds better, more material choices.
How about a fridge magnet?
The design options are anything to 3D. You can also put it on a filing cabinet.
Nice collectors item, momento, will last forever, easy to move.
Love the fridge magnet idea. I have some on my fridge right now which are real art work. Have seen some impressive 3-D ones from Istanbul (yes, art) but then you have to worry about shipping damage. OK, I know that it has to be a beer mug for now, but down the road let’s think fridge magnets, bumper stickers, T-shirts…..hmmm, that’s just the short list for now.
Must say, sorry Wolf, you don’t need more “suggestions, LOL”, for now, but had to do it……enjoyed the commentary, as usual………are you taking payment in derivatives from Ambrose Bierce? And, hey, I have an old Portland Brewing certificate for 100 shares which I did not turn in to them when they went private and I did not sign off on it and return my share certificate. Partial payment for a beer mug?
OK, sorry again, this has been a lot of fun and I have no helpful practical advice.
I’d be happy just to have a decal that I could put on the inside rear window of my truck. Simple and easy to ship. Would be thrilled and (and amazed) if anyone out here in N.E. Texas came up to me and said they knew of the site. If nothing else someone might jot down the website and give a look (free advertising!).
free advertising yeah, but what would be more likely is a GOOD CONVERSATION.
it’s like how motorcyclists wave to each other and when i’m on a motorcycle waving or being waved at, it is the most thrilling feeling that i’m one of ’em.
i did art and design for an over-priced hippie clothing company right out of art school and before they went public and died, when they were small funky unusual ..totally UNIQUE, there were all these stories of people recognizing each other in the clothes and having good conversations because they were similar spirits.
THAT’s what i hope for.
and in Wolf’s defense, he wanted a coffee mug but his wife and i are both digging the consistency of the BEER and what it symbolizes…the best of life hanging out after work and having a beer and shooting the shxt just like the last Wolf Fest.
it was the kind of thing you felt like it shouldn’t be one big blow out extravaganza, but the consistency of hanging out over a BEER.
coffee mugs… i’ll do what i’m told since i’m in for a pound or a pence, but i like what the BEER MUG INSISTS on…. asks for. and maybe do both i guess and if we do one binge shipment it wouldn’t bury him in more stock.
time to have a BEER. TOGETHER…. it’s offline in the real world and about one of the pleasures and arts of human beings…
plus it’s so much more unusual and elegant than a fxcking coffee mug. that’s just more work and overtime.
so if this is about more than just promo look at me, i vote for the beer mug. and metal steins are creepy to me because i can’t see the bottom and maybe there’s a body down there or some gum or crap no one washed out?
glass tastes better (and smokes better).
that said, while i’m here: i’m digging the thinking here that is about forcing people to buy things at a certain TIME and this is teaching me something as an artist who is trying to build an unusual online business unlike anything i’ve seen. but something where i may offer things at certain times of the YEAR so that i may binge MAKE and do other things.
that’s why i like this site. an amazingly high share of alpha dogs and alpha thinking.
i think people read this site then go write stories in the main media like the nytimes. just saw it again with the story at the top of the digital edition about the Chinese money leaving.
maybe they’ll start to do the same thing with some good ideas for a change instead of beating the same shrill drums.
thanks you all for being so forthcoming, open, inspiring. i’m over here plotting and scheming and you all will be the first ones i share my odd business idea with. but think Basquiat and Warhol… together in Vegas. that’s where i’m going. but with free time and a life. so i’ve gotta use all my arts of seductions and business talents and artistic vibe in a new way i’ve not seen before….
and RD Blakeslee if i ever met you, i’d bear hug you. you are SUCH a love. i KNOW you.
You’re right, I would absolutely welcome some good conversation that a decal or some other like item would evoke from a fellow traveler who recognized what it stood for. Believe me, nowadays it seems like its getting harder to find.
yeah, i didn’t see this response, but i went into detail on that below. / x
This site’s beer customized beer mugs look much like Kitten’s:
i saw them before and dismissed them early on because i thought they were cheap digital printers, but it IS the same mug i love and i just asked them if their printing is dishwasher safe and they said YES…BUT they can’t do the wrap around design. it’d be small, facing one side.
as an artist i always end up going to the best printers and do the tedious work of dealing with “stuff” myself because as James says about bicycles: you can’t get “cheap, strong, AND light” …you can only pick two.
(Wolf please suspend comment posting rules on an idea forum)
They don’t do fulfillment or even make the mugs themselves. They are just a middleman, and they make a tidy profit.
since you know the companies who’ve gamed SEO, please share who’s actually a GOOD glass printer on the pacific side of the coast. someone with low minimums and screen set up costs, in this region for more local shipping costs.
i was also into the idea of doing special EDITIONS of mugs, often by different ARTISTS to be collectible enough to do multiple runs with the SAME glassware company. in that case it’s best to have an ongoing RELATIONSHIP.
so if you know of a small, nimble flexible, solid more local (west coast) company who does old fashioned good work, please do share.
Have you thought of Pint Glasses instead. 1. They are easier to pack and 2. It would fit better in my over crowded cupboard ;)
Kick up the font, I know thats’ the website font but a bit larger and a bit more baroque. (Its a beer mug okay) You could stretch it the entire width of the logo. (Lets see the brand!) The art is precious. Can I pay for this in derivatives?
i was pitching the same idea but you actually can’t see a huge logo without turning the entire glass so Wolf somehow figured that out before i did and i’m supposed to be the wacky art chick. i was impressed when i did exactly what he requested after my sketches, because it was clear but interesting, different and forced you to interact and touch the glass to turn it around and see it all. but you READ “Wolfstreet.com” instantly.
it’s actually a smart design in the round as well as FLAT.
and i’m not even sucking up to him because i didn’t even WANT the job in the first place. but the challenge of making this site emanate what it means to ME even though it’s SEEMINGLY a “just-the-facts, ma’am” Money Site has inspired me since before he even asked.
Re. the logo – I’m guessing you went with that one because “When the load gets tough, the tough get loaded” was already taken? :)
Re. packing/shipping – you can save yourself trips to the PO by buying postage at usps.com and printing labels yourself – the boxed mugs should fit in the flap-door of a standard USPS blue drop box. I ship a fair number of packages this way, all the way up to the USPS medium flat-rat boxes, the largest which will fit through the drop-box flap.
And re. packaging, since you are dealing in non-tiny volume, it might be worth checking into a custom cardboard-origami box for your mugs, the kind with a popup interior cardboard baffle that centers the fragile item just so and provides internal stiffening. Much simpler and more recyclable than plastic bubble-wrap. Best of luck with the swag project!
i’m hip to using USPS’ priority boxes in all different sizes. but there is NO way you could get even an UNBOXED mug through a regular mailbox unless i’m missing something.
and don’t you still have to drop off anything over 1 pound INSIDE the post office building in front of the cameras, even if just leaving behind a pile of outgoing mail on their side counter?
I think #2 is probably your best bet but be sure to set up a corporate Acct (free) with UPS. Will cut your shipping cost quite a bit.
Kitty, Just make the decals and let us paste them on anything we want!
Coffee mugs, glass tankards, pickup truck windows, etc.
Shipping problems negligible.
Just put a BIG markup over cost – we know it’s for a good cause.
Excuse me, KITTEN.
you can call me whatever you want.
Or maybe option 3, if your heart is set on the tankards?
The brand is out there already. I would not recognise the sticker but I would recognise the already existing black writing with light shining from above on to it with the red words under with their dark shadows at the bottom. Subliminally, it sends the right message of light and dark, in the black and in the red. It is a powerful simple logo.
I can picture the existing logo as seen at the top of this page 90 degrees rotated right reading from rim to bottom on a beer mug. Or a sticker with the original logo. I think the design by kitten is good but doesn’t carry the original brand design so would not have the same level of recognition to strike up conversations with fellow wolfstreeters.
Call me old fashioned, I like a brand to stay a brand. Like it or not, you have people talking Wolf.
to Brand Logo and RIPP et al..
this is more of a riff on advertising approach and REASONS for advertising:
yes, i agree regarding bumper stickers and logos looking like what’s on the site if that’s what you want–just recognizability of an image.
but it was OTHERS who said they’d want that one as ART they like, to put on their cars. which is a whole other REASON.
and if you are a commenter/reader, now you’re super-in on the joke because you know why it looks the way it does.
you want to attract the thinkers the ones who pay attention and are complicated; most folks here don’t need the sameness of ads as they’re already immune to the ones flickering all over Wolf’s site as it is.
my new thinking regarding advertising (SEDUCTION) is to bludgeon people into your world with a come-hither look that’s got something to talk about behind it.
this is “van guardy” stuff and i’m not van guardy.
i remember a guy years ago in advertising talking about NOT using the spelling form of your phone in order to FORCE people to write it down because they THINK they will remember it, thus don’t write it down, and then it’s completely forgotten.
that’s a BILLBOARD.
you cannot just advertise based on yesterday’s assumptions because you have to run fast to twist necks for attention, the mind is always getting more and more immune to what was said before and our jobs is to get attention and keep it and i say drag the prey to the secondary location where they’re helpless. that means bring ’em into YOUR world…
and thus i dig Wolf’s mug design because you CAN read WOLFSTREET.com on ONE side easily at a glance.
but there’s this cartoon BUBBLE and people wanna read what it says and will pick it up because now it’s a CARTOON. so now you’ve gotta pick UP the mug and turn it.
this is advertising of the best kind but not evil: you’re having a BEER, you’re close by… you pick it up… you’ve got SOMETHING to talk about.
these designs were not made for drive-by mcdonald’s attention spans.
like pretty young women who dare to glance around aimlessly in a room of men, you have to think of the people you WANT TO ATTRACT.
do you want to blast everyone or attract the ones with attention spans and able to handle complicated thought?
Wolf’s doing just fine getting that blasted promo by all the references to his work and people noticing he scoops the biggies.
so you have to think what the work is for, what are you attracting?
i find it incredibly classy and anti-cheesy that he truly wants this to be a gift that’s COOL (this mug thing). i’ve been the cheesy one with my hackneyed advices and he wants it to be about good times. he didn’t SAY that. he doesn’t talk that way; i do. but it’s OBVIOUS.
truth is most folks throw away normal advertisey stuff because it’s BORING.
you put pencils in coffee cups you get at conventions but you cherish the cool things that someone put a little time and thought to. more about the coolness than the “how many people will SEE this?”
how many people will keep and REMEMBER this? and all the cool energy that went around it?…
and if you see a BEER-COLORED bumper sticker from afar you’re now in on a second, third-tier inside joke. it’s not for the ones not in the know.
come on. you know the first rules of criticism: if you tear down or take away, you’ve gotta come up with another IDEA.
i know people protect their good old world printers, the poor shmucks who still know how to actually DO something the printers who’re in Piscataway, NJ printing for some tech company who figured the SEO thing out as 50 other shell businesses the printer works for, and is the broker taking most the cost.
if you’re just showing off RIPP, i’ll find my own guy on page 1,000 of a search engine or some yellow pages…
but i’d really appreciate you helpin’ a sister out.
Kitten: An astonishingly wise person with a great heart.
Sorry for the delay, I was out in the real world all of yesterday. The promo product industry is opaque, and the average person cannot order from most of the actual “makers” because that’s not how the system is set up.
You won’t find them with any internet search because they don’t want to be found. There is a specialized network with it’s own search engine that connects those wholesalers with middlemen who buy often and in bulk.
That being said, I would be happy to use my access to said search engine to find a list of suppliers. FYI, I’m in Phoenix, and while we do offer products such as beer mugs (as a middle man), we don’t usually offer fulfillment services.
i don’t like doing art FOR people anymore because i’m so self absorbed, and i’m supposed to know what the client wants. but i AM very much liking working for Wolf on this because i feel i DO know what he wants:
THIS PROJECT IS NOT TO COURT NEW PEOPLE. THIS PROJECT IS TO THANK EVERYONE WHO IS HERE AND HELPED MAKE THIS PLACE WHAT IT HAS BECOME.
i mean… isn’t this OBVIOUS? he’s like forget new folks. this is for those who dare to have a beer with me. literally or figuratively. this is a thank you.
this is how Wolf THINKS.
that’s why he’s fun to work for; it inspires ME on the new kind of business i wanna build in my own world i want to create.
I am in a similar boat- i don’t run an internet retail business .
I think the mug is super cute. My husband likes to collect mugs, but as cute as this one is, and as much as I appreciate this website, he’d kill me if I sent a $100 donation to get it. But it’s a nice gesture, and good to know Mr Richter would make that trek to the UPS store to send the mug as a gesture of gratitude.
I would suggest- let those smaller donations, that at least cover cost and cost of shipping + a few more $, accumulate, then send several mugs in a single trip to reduce the amount of trips to the UPS store. Also, write a small enforceable contract to cover the issues you think might come up, like returns. If the unlikely happens and one gets broken in shipping, just send a new one with the next month’s shipments. No big deal.
Why should small givers be left out of?
“Why should small givers be left out of?”
as long as i’m involved i will never forget the little guy. ever. and i think if i went out in a pink mist today, Wolf wouldn’t either. we are talking plotting and scheming on the side now that we have more information….
wow i like the mystery spot bumper sticker possiblity (challenge).
i was gonna pitch next for the pint glass idea (always my favorite) but now i’m scared of glass whoever above said they were in shipping 10 years and they’re the worst to ship then ceramics next.
but pint glasses always came to me okay. even regular drink thinness, not the heavy duty professional thickness ones i would think/hope would ship okay 1 or a set. no handles and stay in a square/-ish shape.
yeah, Wolf. this is hella complicated…
I’d buy a mug. :) Keepin in Simple
Perhaps talk to a local brewery/beer festival of who supplies and brands their glasses. You might find a retailer who will carry your decal.
Our UK based festival orders about 2500 in one go per year and a local company supplies.
Would you ship the mugs to Europe?
Probably not. Probably only in the US.
That’s a shame. Now cue my $100 donation and how bad you gonna feel :)
Dealing with customs is a bitch ;-]
We don’t have the resources for that.
Some type of ceramics are sturdier than regular mug glass. How about a coffee mug instead? Would people some people prefer that? Besides, is easier to justify and looks better.
Alternatily there is these things you put under mugs. Mug rugs I think they are called?
Think on the money saved in packaging peanuts!
My dad used to collect mug rugs, unfortunately I lost them on the last house fire – –
Solution 1.5 Make it a donation, but maybe $50.
That will let the rest of us in on it.
Brew a beer called Shiller Index so I can get a case of it.
the bumper sticker
Nothing goes to
K in a straight line
K in a straight line
Oops, the Comment formatter removed spaces from the text so the up-down graph I tried to make with the text has gone to HECK also. Forty years of working with Text Editors, you think I might have known it would not display as I intended. Anyway, lots of good comments, I like the simple and fun goal proposed.
Wolf, what follows is unfiltered as having been there and done that.
1. Fulfillment, either way, is only possible with #1….Trust me, you will wish you never started trying any other route.
2. Look, I read you everyday. Underwhelming phrase, its a Zero Hedge like rant that is, in the end a bore. More to follow…
3. Place the artwork in a specific time period, as in TODAY’S extraordinary events. This phrase doesn’t capture “our current period” because……its all been STRAIGHT UP for a long time. Think Wiley off the cliff….not zig zagedness. Down? not for a decade.
4. Having done many mugs, steins, etc. MULTICOLOR or bust. Black on clear is a BORE and UNREADABLE on the shelf. Full Stop. Anybody that has done this before knows this.
5. Who will buy this? Folks that want to see this everyday and that is not everybody. The approach has to be “You are going to pay a good sum of $$$ because it ISNT about the stein, its about supporting the site.
6. The application of the artwork will only be strong enough to last is you completely avoid fine lines set on glass. It has to be a full colored, full field panel. End Stop.
Great idea, fair phrase, artwork hasn’t even begun.
A sinking ship has plenty of seats at the bar
If Kitten is behind this, I am definitely buying! Count me in for a $100 donation once you confirm #2 (although I would do it anyway given the value I get from reading this blog every day!). I will bring mine to the next meet up!
Been on vacation, catching up this morning,
Just a thought. Why not a beer cozy? (those little insulated things that slip over a bottle or can) I realize it’s not as impressive as a mug, but it would eliminate a lot of the shipping problems and costs for packing etc, reduce the chances of breakage to zero, and allow for more $ to be spent on making a better product.
And I don’t know if it’s my browser, but the background color is brown and the lettering/detail tends to blend in (Kitten, this is not about the design,I like it! Just the visibility of the detail at mug size.) a little contrast or a band of color top and bottom would make the lettering pop.
The beer mug design is too psychologically complex. The human eye/mind does not like that degree of complexity. Colour combination not optimal for the job
BELATED GRACIAS to ALL ESPECIALLY MR. RIPP:
hey, i had to take a break as i was down for the count after reading all the comments that scrambled my brain and made me wanna forget it all. but now that the PTSD has subsided, i wanted to come back and thank people for their thoughts and time—especially RIPP—who came in on the side and is bad ass and interesting and daring enough to be willing to experiment with his own system and try and help us out with this project regarding printing and fulfillment.
and Wolf’s given me some new notes, inspired by the comments on here who wanted something more recognizable regarding logos.
thank you each very much and i’m going to stay away from comments for awhile til my blood levels get back up to normal.
Any or all three will work for me, beer mug, coffee cup (min 12oz.) and window sticker.
Here is another reason for a beer mug, the future for our kids!
My son is 21, a junior in college, and for the last 10 years I have been trying to get him interested in national and world economics, the expansion/ recession cycle, what the heck the Fed is doing (all the Feds for the matter of fact) and how it all relates and affects each country and each person. I have been showing him documentaries about the 08 recession.
Even though he is on a tight college budget and somewhat insulated from the real world, for now, he needs to watch the expansion/recession cycle to get a feel for it, before he starts buying homes, investing, saving.
So, with that said, I showed him your beer mug artwork, he loved it, but said it should be “hell” not “heck”, he said he would buy it anyway if it said heck. (Your not alone he told me about a band call “King of Heck”).
Anyway he and his friends are into beer, and just recently have been reading your newsletter, getting interested in saving money, investing, and the economy. Having a Wolfstreet beer mug or two at one of there investing discussion I think would jump start interest from a few more of his friends!