Print on Demand

Joined
Mar 27, 2015
Messages
241
Likes
108
Degree
1
Anyone got any experience with POD? Initial research suggests to me that some of the shipping costs (esp for international customers) makes the idea of selling mugs etc prohibitive.

However, I do know that people are killing it and it is a pretty hot topic at the minute....
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
17
Likes
27
Degree
0
Anyone got any experience with POD? Initial research suggests to me that some of the shipping costs (esp for international customers) makes the idea of selling mugs etc prohibitive.
Most platforms whom offer POD (Zazzle, RedBubble, TeeSpring, Teezily, TeePublic, TeeChip etc..) have a fixed base price of $8 for a T-shirt & Print. They suggest you a price of $22 excl. shipping ($5). The customer pays $27. However, the price they suggest is NOT mandatory. You can choose pricing minus 5 dollars and the customer ends up paying $22, cutting in your earnings.

International customers indeed pay more for shipping, UNLESS you choose a GEO based POD. For example, TeeSpring has two locations, the US and the UK. If you target Europe, better choose the UK because the shipping cost is doable. Teezily is based in France and being a European company, they offer domestic payment methods unknown to their US counterparts. Zazzle has a worldwide network of POD locations, BUT you need to offer your T-shirt in the shop for that country. For example, US would be Zazzle.com and Brazil would be Zazzle.com.br

Summary, you can choose to cut in your own earnings or choose a GEO based POD.

However, I do know that people are killing it and it is a pretty hot topic at the minute....
I like to hear how they kill it. If you like to share insights, please do.

My experience is a whole different one. Yes, the profit margins are staggering. Yes, in theory, you can kill it. BUT the level of Entry is so low, anyone can start in minutes! Furthermore, you have absolutely no Control over your assets, except for the design. I, for example, sold a few T-shirts but I don't have the client emails to upsell. Furthermore, notice I said "earnings" and not profits. To sell 1 T-shirt, you need to invest $5 in ads, per T-shirt. There goes your "kill" factor.

A third factor you need to take into consideration is Need. Is there really a need for your T-shirt? Or mine? 4th factor is Time. Basically, to find the winning T-shirt you need to produce or buy 4/5 designs per day. Upload it, advertise it and hope for the best.

I'm definitely not trying to discourage you, but everybody takes this shortcut. And because of that, the market is mindboggling saturated.

You need something to stand out from the noise. Which would be to take a more serious approach and do everything yourself in terms of shop/marketing/advertising. You can still backorder the T-shirt and let the POD handle it (Printfy) But the front should be yours, in your control. The shortcut route might work as a SIDE to it's the main business, a TV show that sells merch, an Influencer who sells mugs or something. But as the main activity, you're just another teeth in the cogwheel of the POD industry.

Hope this helps. If you like to share how they kill it, I would love to know how!
 

Boy

Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
66
Likes
118
Degree
0
I wouldn't go in expecting to crush it, but every few months I'll knock out a few dozen "designs" and I pull around $350 a month from various POD sites.

Designs are in quotes because they're not so much graphic masterpieces as they are popular phrasing & typography.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
17
Likes
27
Degree
0
I wouldn't go in expecting to crush it, but every few months I'll knock out a few dozen "designs" and I pull around $350 a month from various POD sites.

Designs are in quotes because they're not so much graphic masterpieces as they are popular phrasing & typography.
Would you share some insight in how you pull this off? I don't mind a little extra on the side ;-)
 

Boy

Joined
Feb 21, 2018
Messages
66
Likes
118
Degree
0
A lot of people do seasonal stuff which makes them money for a week or two then it's dead for a year. Think holidays and stuff. I don't do that. I would rather have a design making me $5 a month all year round than $60-100 in a week then dead. It might make more overall, but if you stop for two months its over. Preference.

I just make stuff I'm interested in. No matter what you enjoy or follow or whatever, there will be something you can put on a t-shirt. My most consistent selling item over the past 2 years makes between $25 and $50 a month and is a damn Runescape meme. Took longer to find an appropriate font than to render the image. The second is a quote from a Vine or viral IG video.

But for every piece that hits, 15 will be duds. However, unlike Merch by Amazon, not all PoD services remove your designs if they don't sell. So someday they might hit.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
17
Likes
27
Degree
0
@Boy Thank you for the insight :-) You confirm what I was thinking, although I did it wrong, without any proper research. The only success I had was indeed seasonal, which will be dead until next year.
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
96
Likes
59
Degree
0
As mentioned, seasonal stuff sells well but is not easy to find the 1 design that will sell nor is it a recurring revenue stream that will give you money throughout the year.

The best way to make recurring sales is breaking down your efforts and designing and catering to local areas. It may be helpful to start with your own local area (if populated enough) and then move out from there.

Focusing on local has a couple advantages:

1) In most cases, people are proud of where they come from (or live). People buy things that they're proud of so capitalize on your town's local interest and loyalty.

2) It's easier to come up with designs because you know what the trends of that particular area is. You'll have to be the judge to see if what you're designing and selling is morally acceptable. For example, right now there is a 20 year college student who went missing in Iowa. If you look at this article and read the third paragraph, it says they've "sold a thousand shirts". They're a local shop in the area and I'm sure they're doing it to get the word out but are still most likely profiting.

Another instance where some (not all) people made money off a tragedy was after a gunman shot up a concert in Las Vegas. There were literally thousands of shirts being sold with #VegasStrong. It really helped because the news outlets were really pushing the hashtag VegasStrong so a lot of people capitalized on it. How do I know this? We did the printing for a lot of them.

3) Advertising is easier and more streamlined because you target locally.

I'm not saying you have to limit yourself to a city only. If you're in the US, think of states or even regions (ie. West Coast vs. East Coast vs. Mid West). Again, people are proud to represent where they're from.

A really good example of this is California Republic Clothes. They have different designs but a lot of their designs are based around the flag of California and the state animal (the California bear) - resource. Just browse their website and you'll see what I'm talking about.

What we've done for ourselves is come up with a name that can be branded across multiple areas. However, we treat each (area) brand as a separate company. This allows us to tailor our website, social media, pictures, graphics, verbiage, etc to that particular area so it's authentic to the customer. And because it's broken down by a geographic location, we spend less on advertising and see a higher ROI.
 
Last edited: