Win a Free Macaw License

Hello, again. We come bearing gifts.

Do you design things? Are you familiar with Macaw? Look here, Macaw lets you design real, honest-to-goodness websites not pictures of websites. You work visually but you see the code, and, lo, it was good. That’s all we’ve ever asked for.


We are authorized to give away two completely free Macaw licenses (retail price: $179!). If you’ve been paying attention, the way we give away licenses is utterly private, spamless, and doesn’t require you to nag a single one of your friends. Just go here, enter your email, and wait. Since Macaw is crazy awesome and we want everyone to have a chance to sign up, we’ll do the drawing Friday morning. How’s that?

One more thing. The guys who make Macaw are terribly friendly and make money by selling products directly to you, the customer. What a novel idea. If you want to support Macaw, go buy a license when this little contest is over. We have a fantastic discount for you: get Macaw for just $99 when you enter the code “UNITEDPIXELWORKERS”. That’s a steal.

Standard disclaimer: these email addresses will be used exclusively for the purpose of selecting contest winners.

Win a Free Pass to the Evernote Conference

In juuust about a week (Oct. 2–3) our friends at Evernote are putting on a pretty swinging conference in San Francisco starring Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Reid Hoffman, Tim Ferriss, and other people.

If that sounds like your kind of thing—and you promise you can make it—drop your email address in this here bucket. We’ll be randomly selecting two winners at 2:00 PM EDT TODAY, so don’t delay. If you just can’t wait (or aren’t selected) Evernote is offering Pixelworkers a special deal: get 50% off your ticket by entering UP50 at checkout.

Standard disclaimer: these email addresses will be used exclusively for the purpose of selecting contest winners.

Win a Free Copy of Symbolicons from Jory Raphael

Oh, sure, Symbolicons: the versatile, always appropriate icon mega-set from comedian illustrator Jory Raphael. Three copies, yep. Jory has lovingly donated three free Symbolicons MASTER BUNDLES for some lucky Pixelworkers.

As usual, to qualify for the master bundle drawing, we just need an email address to contact you when it’s all said and done. (Standard disclaimer: these email addresses will be used exclusively for the purpose of selecting the three contest winners.) Ready? Enter your email address right here. We’ll pick a winner in a few days so everyone has a chance to sign up.

P.S. If you just can’t wait, Jory also hooked us up with a sweet 20% off discount code (master bundle only). Go to and enter the code “AWESOMESAUCE” at checkout. What do you think he means by “awesomesauce”, probably maple syrup, right?

Win a Free Ticket to the Beyond the Code Conference

Hey, everyone. Our friends at Shopify (affiliate link because Shopify are awesome) are hosting a brand-new conference in just two weeks dedicated to exploring and growing the contributions of women in the world of technology. The conference—Beyond the Code—is scheduled for September 19th at the Ottawa Convention Center. We’ve got one free ticket that we’d love to give away. If you or a friend would like to attend, please drop your email address in our survey box. A winner will be randomly selected tomorrow afternoon. Like last time, these email addresses will be used exclusively for the purpose of selecting the contest winner. Do us a favor and help spread the word on this one, eh?

(Comments on this blog post are not considered to be contest entries. Please use the Google Form. Thanks.)

Win a Free CodePen PRO Account

We’re giving away two free-for-a-year CodePen PRO accounts. CodePen is a fantastic code sharing and discovery tool from Chris Coyier, Alex Vazquez, and Tim Sabat. While CodePen is great out of the box, PRO takes it up a notch with Collab Mode, Professor Mode, asset hosting, private pens, and more.

If you’re a front-end developer/engineer/dabbler, you probably already know and love CodePen. To qualify for the PRO account drawing, we just need an email address to contact you if (when?) you win. (We also want to make sure that the winners truly want/need a CodePen PRO account. That’s why we’re asking you to jump through this one, tiny hoop. Also, it should go without saying, but these email addresses will be used exclusively for the purpose of selecting the two contest winners.)

That’s it. Just enter your email address right here. We’ll pick a winner in about a day to let everyone who wants to participate sign up. Thanks, everyone. (And a special thanks to Chris for donating the memberships.)

Some Numbers

We got to thinking the other day that there’s no reason we can’t share some of our sales figures here. Maybe you think we rake it in, maybe you never gave it a second thought. Either way, this should be interesting.

Here’s the big picture, August 7–15, 2:00 PM (that’s almost nine days, so more than a typical week):

  • Total sales revenue (does not include shipping & handling): $6,022
  • Total cost of goods sold (COGS): $3,648
  • Net profit: $2,374

That’s… not great. Ideally we’d like to be at 100% markup, just like any other retailer. Because we’re dealing with such small quantities, however, and because we are printing with water-based ink (expensive) on tri-blend tees (really expensive), a $25 tee just isn’t going to hit that ratio without selling in the triple digits. That said, let’s break down our sales for the week.

Units Sold, Pre-Order:

A normal week for us sees only one new product. The six locals are somewhat of an exception. We know they’re not going to go over 50 sales per tee unless we catch a break. In some ways, they’re sort of like a loss leader: we hope they bring people to the site and, more than that, we hope people like ‘em even if we can’t keep them in stock.

By the way, here’s something you should know about t-shirt sales: you need to print at least a few dozen—preferably way, way more—to make it worthwhile. You’ll notice only three of our seven pre-order shirts are in that range… which means we’ll need to order extra tees, cutting into profit until we can move them. It also means that while we love the new designs, next week will almost certainly be our last run. Don’t worry, we’re going out with a bang. (If your city didn’t make it, we sincerely apologize. The long tail of cities is… long.)

Beyond the pre-order, we were able to sell a number of in-stock shirts, hats, t-shirt mockups, stickers, etc. that amounted to a little over a third of our profit during that span. Those items have some additional costs like storage, guest designer cuts, and having capital tied up in the original inventory purchase.

Speaking of costs, we’ve got a whole bunch that didn’t make the above COGS list.

For example, we’re four people (Nate, Jay, Matt, Sara) putting in a total of about 15–20 hours / week coming up with the shirt concepts, creating mockups, adding products to Shopify, building the website and keeping it up-to-date, writing the newsletters, packing and mailing products, answering customer service emails, rounding up tickets and other goodies to give away, corresponding with you all on Twitter, and writing blog posts. (If you‘re wondering where the rest of our time goes, do you know about our sister site, Cotton Bureau?)

Then there’s the software we use like MailChimp, Shopify, Linode, Dropbox, and Slack. We’ve also got rent, parking, accountants, lawyers, shipping supplies, ad nauseum. Some of those costs are shared with Cotton Bureau, but not all of them. How do we quantify the 4+ years of developing a reputation as trustworthy, handsome, and stylish?

As far as promotion, we sent out two newsletters for this run and tweeted directly to the home page or product page at least 20 times, fretting each time we were making a nuisance of ourselves but equally worried that because these weren’t coming back, we’d hear for months from those that missed out.

So that’s a week(ish) in the life and sales of United Pixelworkers. Were these numbers bigger than you expected? Smaller? They fluctuate with our efforts and, of course, with the unpredictable winds of external publicity. Sometimes it seems United Pixelworkers has exceeded our wildest dreams; other times, we wonder if there isn’t another 10x it could grow if we just pushed all the right buttons.

Yeah, it’s all a little “to sell t-shirts you must first invent the universe”, but… it’s true. Retail is hard (like anything else worth doing, right?), but we like it, we’re getting better at it all the time, and we’ve got lots of buttons left to press.

Santa Cruz is here!

Local 831.

We’re so happy to welcome Surf City to the Pixelworkers team. Once a Spanish Mission town, Santa Cruz is now a budding seaside community just south of San Jose. Santa Cruz is one of the best surfing spots in the entire world and home to a design community that loves to take advantage of all that it has to offer. The Surf Museum was the only logical choice to be featured as our pixelated icon for this tee.

Cosmic Studios.

We’ve got to send a big shout out to our Santa Cruz sponsor, Cosmic Studio. Not only did they sponsor this tee for you, they designed it as well. Cosmic was founded by Eric Ressler in 2007 and his team has been producing beautiful (and responsive) sites for clients ever since. Some of their client work has included sites for PlanGrid and The Grateful Dead Archive Online. Thanks for making Santa Cruz happen, Team Cosmic!

Win a pass to Hybrid Conference in Sweden…and we’ll be there!

Conference season continues, and this time we have a free pass to our first conference outside the US: Hybrid Conference in Stockholm, Sweden on August 21–22. BONUS: we’ll be speaking there! If you want the pass, leave a comment below and we’ll pick a winner next Wednesday. As always, you have to provide your own travel and lodging, which is no joke (because once again, this conference is in Sweden). This ain’t no drive to Baltimore. Good luck!