Interview with Terry Lynch (TAL), founder of Byteland and TopPics.
"Art is life and life is art, so live your life to the fullest and express your creative and intellectual self!"
Master graphic artist and designer, Terry Lynch (TAL), presents digital masterpieces on gifts and apparel that everyone may enjoy great works of art.
How long have you been a CafePress Shopkeeper and how did you “discover” CafePress?
I'm an old timer on CP, having been here since 1999. I heard about CP from the Internet not long after it got its start. My first designs were posted under a basic, free account, using an alias name which I did not keep. Not many of those early designs sold, perhaps because there was just not a big marketplace on CP. Today, with thousands of original quality graphic designs, two premium shops and hundreds of basic shops things have picked up. But still I have not reached my goal.
In 150 words or less, what’s the story behind your shop?
Well, I don't know if you will be able to keep me to 150 words or less; that's like censorship. I like to talk about my shop; I do not like to try to simplify things just because people don't have the time to get to know you. You see, what's behind my shop in LOVE and LIFE, is all my experiences which serve as inspiration. Was that under 150 words or less? If so I guess you can just say, LOVE and LIFE!
How do you find inspiration for your designs?
I believe I just answered that question. Of course there's more to it than that. I am really inspired by everything I see and do. For example, I may begin my day by going on line and reading the news. If any hot topics capture my attention, I will make a note to produce a related design. It may be related to the war in Iraq, to the presidential election, to the latest gossip in Hollywood, an international disaster or other world events. Or I might receive an email from someone making a special request. I invite people to make special requests for their businesses, fund raisers, campaigns or as gifts for family, friends, associates, loved ones or just themselves. So if you like my work and would like to make a special request drop an email to Terry. Please tell me exactly what you want and the design/product number you would like it to emulate. Also let me know exactly what you want the design to say. I'll try to get it posted as soon as possible so you can place an order. I'm primarily interested in doing designs for large groups who are going to order at least twelve dozen or more products; the larger the order, the better. However, I've also done many requests for individuals.
Save The World. Help save the world! Peace & environmental action.
How are you currently using CafePress (e.g. supplement website, raise funds for charity, creative outlet…)?
I use CP to showcase my quality graphic gifts and apparel to people all over the world. This includes both quality graphic designs as well as the photography which I produce. I've been carrying around a camera since I was a child and love taking pictures, especially of flora and fauna, and posting them on gifts and apparel within minutes! I remember when you use to have to take film to get it developed, wait for it to be processed, and then have the images scanned. Now with a digital camera you can take a photograph, upload it to your computer immediately, and post it upon products, all within a very short period of time! Such technology is amazing! I just wish I had time to get more of my work posted as even though I have over 12,000 quality graphic items in my CP shops, that represents only a small portion of my work. I am very prolific!
Tell us what you do to market and promote your shop?
My primary domains are Byteland at byteland.org, TAL Graphic Service & Design (TALGSD) at talgsd.com, and I Love WWW Art at ilovewwwart.com. Each of these sites are listed on major search engines and funnels traffic to my CP shops. I also am active on various social networks as You Tube, BlogTV and MySpace and use these to let other people know about my work. It's "word of mouth advertising" taken high tech! Plus I write articles about nature which are illustrated with my work that I market on CP; and produce topical websites which market products. One of my most popular sites is Firefly FAQs.
Also I blog which is a great way to let everyone know the in depth story behind many of my designs. That's why I started Cyber Sojourn: The romance and adventures of a naturalist through the wilds of the Internet. Cyber Sojourn is the romantic tale of my adventures around the world and in cyberspace. In Cyber Sojourn I give examples of my quality graphics and tell how I have been inspired by many different cultures and the symbolism one finds expressed by those cultures. Often I try to incorporate symbolism into my quality graphic gifts and apparel
that I believe my work is more universal in nature and finds a wider audience than it might if I were not so influenced.
What has been your biggest shop accomplishment since you’ve become a Shopkeeper?
I actually made the most sales of America flag designs which I had posted on CP prior to 9/11. On September 11, 2001, I was watching the television when the Twin Tower fell just as were millions of other Americans. However prior to 9/11, had been producing American flag designs and posting them in my shops as a way to inspire patriotism in the United States of America, motivated by anti-American sentiments and racial hatred. It just happened that on 9/11 I was one of the few people actively promoting the idea that we must Support America and fight against the hatred and terrorism which is seeking to destroy our nation. After the Twin Tower fell, I was the first person to post a series of "Remember 9/11/2001" and "9/11/2001 We Will Never Forget" American flag designs and slogans. These were picked up by major networks and spread around the world overnight because major media listed Support America, a site I produced, where people could get American flags on T-shirts and other gifts and apparel.
A great collection of patriotic gifts and apparel for all Americans.
Since 9/11 I've continued to expand production of patriotic gifts and apparel. I like to think that many others have emulated my success by following suit. Hence I have achieved what I set out to do when I started making American flag designs which is to boost the spirit of patriotism in America which includes many Support Our Troop gifts and apparel.
Do you take part in the CafePress Community Forums and if so, what do you like best about it?
I use to participate in the CP forums more than I do now. This is primarily because I enjoy spending the majority of my time in the actually production process. This may involve going out and searching for photographs which are later developed into quality graphics for marketing upon gifts and apparel, or it may involve producing simple designs and slogans to market on CP. But I occasionally do visit the forums to see what's on people's minds or if there are any new developments. I have also personally helped people outside of the CP forums to develop their shops and written a number of articles in this regard.
What future plans do you have for your shop, or using CafePress?
I would like to open more MEGA stores in the future and eventually have hundreds of thousands of quality graphic gifts and apparel products in my various MEGA stores. In fact, I'd really like to have my own CP type production facilities and company. I would like to have thousands of robots working for me to produce and market my original designs as well as those of other creative people. Then I might have enough to support a major charitable foundation that could do much to help people everywhere. Really the sky is the limit!
Beat Cancer! Live! Love! Win!
Is there another CafePress shop/Shopkeeper that you admire?
I admire many creative individuals who use CP to market their expressions. I'd rather not list any particular shops, however, as I view CP as a competitive marketplace. Why should I refer people to other's shops when I have over 12,000 quality graphic productions in my own shops? I simply tell people the truth, that if they are looking for quality graphic productions on gifts and apparel they should go to Byteland or TopPics. That's where they can find whatever they want and need. And if they can't find it already made, they can drop an email to Terry and I'll make it for them.
Do you have any “tips” to success or word of advice you can give to other CafePress Shopkeepers?
Yes, certainly. As I mentioned earlier, I have written a number of articles related to various aspects of marketing one's creative expressions via the Internet. Read CP101: Cyber Profits: The Great Censorship Wars. Basically I wish to tell everyone to be themselves! Do what makes you happy. Express yourself through your art and photography and use CP to publish your work on demand. Cafepress provides a great service and I hope it continues to grow and offer even greater opportunities for creative people in the future. I highly recommend CP as a way to immediately reach out and touch people all over the globe with your creative expressions! Cafepress is a great company with great people who are doing a great job to make it possible for everyone to share their expressions with others. CP is like a spark of light where once there was only darkness and over time that spark of light is growing as more and more people discover CafePres and come to use it to share their creative expressions with their family, friends, associates and loved ones! Keep up the good work CP'er!
© 2008 by TALGSD. All rights reserved. Contact TALGSD for permission to reprint this interview.