Make Your Own Dang Shirt (or get it Forwarded)


We get asked on an almost-daily basis why we don’t ship things overseas. The answer is: We do. We ship our books to our international vendors so they can sell them to customers with a reasonable shipping cost.

But what about T-shirts, bandanas, chore coats and the like? That’s where it gets complicated.

Shipping directly to Europe is a tax nightmare for us (thank you, EU). And on advice of our attorney and accountant, we have decided to sell only through our international vendors so that we don’t end up doing a lot of paperwork.

Shipping to Canada, Australia and other countries is a different kind of problem. It’s insanely expensive. Even with a fully automated, high-tech warehouse with accounts with all the international carriers, we can’t get shipping rates that are even close to reasonable. The cost of shipping a book is usually more than the retail price of the book or bandana or sweatshirt.

We have tried many schemes (too many to list here) to sell shirts and the like outside of the U.S., but they all failed or were too complicated to maintain.

Lost Art Press might look like a big company at times, but are only two guys who run the thing. There are physical limits to what we can do – and publishing books will always be at the top of the list.

I offer a couple solutions for those outside the U.S. who want some of our specialty products:

  1. Use a parcel forwarding service. Many LAP customers have had great success with these services. Here is a list of five recommended by Huffington Post. I wish we could get rates as reasonable as they get. It must be magic.
  2. Print your own shirts and sweatshirts. You can download our logo file here. There are thousands of services all over the world that will let you print your own shirt, jacket or (shudder) thong with the logo.

I wish at times we were a big company that could have a person dedicated to shipping. And that we shipped a million parcels a year so we could qualify for the dirt-cheap rates. And that I had to attend marketing meetings three times a week to get harangued to sell more of the things that suck. And then I had to meet with the executive types above me to explain why we needed a $500 digital camera to continue making books. And that I had to fill out performance reviews and attend classes on how to harass your employees legally. And then I wake up from the bad dream.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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27 Responses to Make Your Own Dang Shirt (or get it Forwarded)

  1. Dave says:

    You bloody legend mate – it’s an aussie term of endearment trust me.
    Print your own shirt is golden, I’ve often eyed the Lost Art Press merchandise and then shuddered at the shipping to Western Australia. Thanks for the logo you guys are awesome.

  2. holtdoa says:

    Have you investigated forming a co-op with other small sellers? It might be possible to get that ‘million parcels a year” rate…

  3. boclocks says:

    Thanks for the link to your logo, but I can’t get it to fit on my thing. Any suggestions?

  4. fitz says:

    Marketing meetings, performance reviews etc…shudder.

  5. Greg M. says:

    Marketing meetings, Orwellian employee policies and drinking corporate KoolAid….Anarchism is much better.

  6. Quercus Robur says:

    In the place where I live there’s a fierce competition between parcel forwarding services, which translates into reasonable rates when you factor in the tracking, insurance and other services.

  7. Anyone with success getting this logo to stick to a copper flask?

  8. Klaus N. Skrudland says:

    I have ordered both merchandise and books from LAP to Norway, including John Brown’s Welsh Stick Chairs, using the mail forwarding service I can definitely recommend them.

  9. MarkYourWaste says:

    Chris: How about putting all the t-shirt design logos (the beehive and the mexican etc) on your shop as downloadable files for sale for, I don’t know, the sort of price your daughter sells her stickers maybe.

    I’d love to print my own stuff, but I’d rather pay you at least SOMETHING for using your IP. I’d also love to have ALL the designs 😀

    • Hey Mark,

      Thanks for the sentiment. I feel bad selling marketing materials such as T-shirts, but the shirts do cost us.

      If I have a few spare hours during the holidays I’ll try to round up as many of the designs as I can for download. Good idea, sir.

  10. Steve C says:

    So I’m waiting on the Hillbilly T-shirt version to come out. No neck….sleeveless……

  11. Richard Motz says:

    Glad Not To Have Your Problems ! U Do A Great Job !

  12. That’s completely reasonable and understandable . Postage across the pacific is as ugly as a dropped pie.

  13. andy says:

    I get, and share your frustration. I live in Canada. In situations where I want to buy something from Rockler, Woodcraft, or Amazon US, I get charged for shipping, duty, and customs brokerage. My rule of thumb is to take the catalogue price of the item and triple it. You are not the problem.

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