Buying my own swag – experiences with Threadless and Redbubble

Tote bag from Threadless

Over the last few weeks I have ordered some of my own swag from Threadless an from Redbubble to have a look at the quality of the products and to see what the experience of being a customer to either platform is. As far as the quality of the products goes, I was happy with the things I received from both organisations. The tote bag in the picture at the top of this post was from Threadless, it feels really solid and strong, the colours of the digital printing are really good.


Tote bag from Redbubble

The blue tote bag above is from Redbubble. I would say the quality is similar, the digital printing again is really nice and the cloth is a little softer which I prefer I think. 

I think the main difference has come in the form of my experience of getting the products shipped to me in the UK. Redbubble appear (from one experience so definitely not a systematic exploration) to have world wide shipping sorted out. I ordered things last week and they are all already in my sweaty excited hands.

Threadless unfortunately do not seem to have this cracked. I think I made a mistake in the early stages of ordering – you can opt to pre-pay surcharges and I didn’t do this as I didn’t quite realise I needed to do this (if you live outside of the US do this). Two of my items are now floating around the uk postal system somewhere. I contacted Threadless’ customer service team for help with my undelivered items and let’s just say I had a very frustrating interaction with someone who didn’t seem to understand my problem, or didn’t care that the did give me a second tracking number, which I had not seen before, so I could work out the problem for myself. I am not trying to work with the courier, having had to find contact details for them via google, to find out what I need to do next – I think I need to pay a customs charge, but not really sure as neither Threadless nor the courier have actually contacted me directly to tell me what to do next. So basically I’m having to do far more detective work than I have time for to get my hands on my own products. I am hoping this is a one off shipping problem, and not their general approach to customer services as it is pretty disappointing so far.

Another thing – I submitted a design to a Threadless competition this week- it’s the first time I’ve ever done something like this – if you had a spare moment I would really appreciate your votes, which you can submit here.

11 thoughts on “Buying my own swag – experiences with Threadless and Redbubble

  1. This is an interesting article. It’s good to read of other people’s experiences with these online craft selling sites. I had an Etsy store where I sold my jewellery for a while last year but I took it down because Etsy is now so huge it’s hard to get noticed. I’ve been wondering what Redbubble is like. It’s good to know you had such a good customer experience. I’ll follow the link to your design now.


    • Hi Susanne I think on the whole I prefer Redbubble to Threadless as you have better control over what your design looks like on the actual products, but I do like the Threadless rolling submission thing, it feels like an easier way of getting your designs seen a bit while its not so obvious how to do that on Redbubble (I’m still working lots of things out about both sites!)


  2. Interesting, I just started with Redbubble and ordered 2 of my products (both mugs). I was amazed how nice these mugs looked, as I was concerned if the finish would be glossy or matte. Now I know the customer will receive a quality product. Great post!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think many of the Redbubble products are really nice quality. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with a couple of note books my boyfriend ordered – they were a mat finish and the images felt quite flat to me. Anything with a glossy finish seems good for that. I’ve found it a bit difficult to build a following on Redbubble, but I think that’s probably because my work is a bit unusual and I don’t have much time to do the self promo stuff. Your stuff looks lovely (I just had a quick dip in your blog) – I am sure (and hope!) you will do well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much. I just ordered 2 of my designed note books (haven’t arrived yet), and frankly was expecting them to be a glossy finish so that may be a disappointment. As for the Redbubble following, I know what you mean, and was surprised when I actually sold one item within a month!! I don’t know if that was beginners luck, but despite my efforts on Twitter and Instagram nothing else is happening. There are millions of designs on there and I believe you need some kind of a following or previous customer base. Chin up, and keep in touch! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’d be interested to hear what you think about the notebooks – let me know! This is my first foray into selling my art online so I’m not surprised by the slow start and expected to need to build up slowly. I also have an almost full time job and other arty projects so I don’t dedicate enough time to it. I am sure you’ll do well!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks! I have a few products on Cafe Press and Society6, but today I’ve decided to stick with Redbubble as it gets to be too much. It’s just my opinion, but some of the products on Cafe Press are a bit tacky and it takes a very long time to sell anything on there. I was curious about Zazzle, but read that they have great products but horrible customer service.


      • Oh I have a society 6 account and Threadless, but no luck at all on those. I think I’m going to get rid of the Threadless all together, but I really like the rucksacks on society 6 – if Redbubble add in rucksacks I would be very tempted to drop Society6 too! Threadless have a mixed bag of customer services people. I’ve not looked at Zazzle – I think ideally I would just have one store – I find it’s too much too. Keep up the good work!

        Liked by 1 person

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