Print on Demand: Low-risk way to sell custom T-shirts, books, and more

Print on Demand: Low-risk way to sell custom T-shirts, books, and more

You can make physical products, regardless of whether you are an artist, writer or designer.

You can make your own products, from t-shirts and posters to backpacks and books, and sell them online. You may end up with an inordinate amount of products that you don’t sell if you stick to the traditional route of purchasing and maintaining your inventory.

Print-on-demand is an alternative to managing inventory. It allows you to create custom products and sell them at a fraction the cost.

How does “print on Demand” work?

Print on Demand is when you partner with a supplier to create white-label products, such as baseball hats and tote bags, with your own designs. You then sell them per-order under your brand.

This means that you don’t have to pay for the product until afteryou’ve actually made it. There’s no need for you to buy bulk products or keep any inventory.

Your supplier will also take care of everything after the sale, including printing and shipping. Once everything is set up, you can fulfill an order in just a few clicks.

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Print-on-demand can be used to:

  • Try a business plana new product line to an existing business without taking on the inventory risks.
  • You can make money from the audience you have builtPrint on demand. If you are a YouTuber, cartoonist or social media influencer and want to spend your time creating content rather than fulfilling orders, printing on demand is a great choice.
  • Make unique products for a nicheCustomers. Clothing for gamers, for example.
  • Print one-of-a kind items easilyT-shirts, books and wall art.Phone casesYou can find clocks, laptop skins and mugs. These can be sent as gifts, or kept for your own use and that of your team.
  • Buy photos onlinePlace your photos on various products for your business website. Place your photography on different products to sell on your own business website.

Print on Demand: The pros and cons

Dropshipping model allows you to create a business using print on demand. This means that the shipping and products are handled entirely by third parties. This is one of the easiest ways to source products or open an online store . However, you need to be aware of the pitfalls and limitations before you start.


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  • Quickly create productsOnce you have the design you can quickly create the product and place it on sale.
  • Shipping is handled:Fulfillment and shipping are out of your control and in the hands of your supplier. You are only responsible for customer support after the sale.
  • Lower risk, low investmentIt’s much easier to add or subtract products, test ideas or pivot because you don’t actually have inventory.


  • Margins lower:You will pay more per item if you buy bulk. Depending on how you price your products and gain customers, you may make less profit with on-demand products.
  • Shipping is more difficult:Shipping costs can be complicated because they vary for different products. If you are looking to make a statement, your options may be limited.Unboxing Experience.
  • There is limited customizationThe vendor and product will determine your ability to customize products. When choosing which products to customize, you will need to consider the base cost, customization options, printing methods, and sizes.

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Print-on-demand for custom products

Although many print-on demand services may look similar, you will need to carefully evaluate the options available. This is based on your products, shipping location, and desired retail price.

A low price for one product may make it an obvious choice. However, it takes 21 days to reach customers using the most economical shipping option.

When evaluating the right platform, do your research. Here’s a list of popular services that can be used in a wide range of situations. These services are all free and you only have to pay for the product. They also integrate with Shopify.

This is not a complete list. For more options for print-on-demand, visit the Shopify App Store .

1. Printful

Printful ( Shopify app ) is a popular choice for print-on-demand services due to its large selection of brands and products (Gildan or American Apparel, among others). Easy-to-use mockup creators. You can also add your branding to the unboxing experience with stickers, package inserts and custom notes.

Printful has a variety of printing options for apparel products. These are just a few of the things you should be aware:

  • Direct to GarmentPrints ink directly on the material. This is particularly useful for simple designs (e.g. Funny t-shirts As a result, you can only print on specific areas of the product.
  • Cut and sewSometimes called “all-over printing”, For maximum coverage, the clothing article is printed in individual pieces and then sewn together to create a seamless print. Although the initial costs are higher, you can create a premium product that could be sold for more.
  • EmbroideryThis printing method is the most complicated because it uses a 3D effect and threaded designs. This works best for simple designs with fewer colors and products such as hats that have embroidered designs.

Be aware of the impact that additional customizations can have on the price. For example, printing on the sleeves will typically result in a small fee added to the base price.

READ MOREHow to start a business selling t-shirts printed on demand? This guide will show you how to start a print on demand t-shirt business.How to start an online T-shirt businessLearn everything about research and designingT-shirt templates and mockupsSet up, print, and set up your online shop today.

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Printful offers apparel as well as mugs and pillows.

printful print on demand service for t-shirts and other products

2. Lulu Xpress

Lulu allows you to publish and distribute your ebooks and books through a self-publishing platform.

Lulu Xpress is their print-on-demand service. It lets you choose from a variety of book sizes, binding types and page/print quality options to create your book product.

Lulu Xpress doesn’t have a built-in editor that allows you to design your book. However, there are downloadable templates available to help you get started. You can even use the transparent pricing calculator to estimate your project’s cost, as well as various shipping options.

If you order bulk, there are discounts.

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3. Gooten

Printful is similar to Gooten (Shopify App) and offers a wide variety of products you can customize with many that are unique, such as calendars or dog beds.

Gooten prints their products using an international network. This means that there is more variation in quality and shipping costs. This means that you will likely see lower shipping and product prices.

Gooten’s intuitive image editor gives you an idea of how your final product will look.

gooten print on demand service for a wide range of products

4. Printify

Printify ( Shopify app ) is another service that allows you to print on-demand. It offers the same selection of t-shirts as hoodies.

Printify’s international vendor network allows for unique white-label products that you won’t find anywhere else. This includes clocks, watches, water bottles, and jewelry. Printify boasts more than 200 products that you can print on.

Printify is completely free to use. However, you can purchase a premium subscription for $29 per month to get 20% off all products. This is a great option if your goal is to grow later and increase your profit margins.

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printify print on demand service for t-shirts, jewelry, and more

Designing products when you’re not a designer

Design is a key component in the creation of print-on-demand products that are successful. You don’t have to be a full-time designer in order to source original designs. You can commission or create your own designs in many ways. However, you need to be familiar with some key concepts that will allow you to work well with designers.

Let’s start by talking about how to prepare your print file. It is important to specify when your design is intended for printing when working with designers. This informs designers that the design should be printed.300 digital pixels per inch(DPI or PiPi), have a transparent background and other nuances of printing vs. Web design.

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Print file specifications can change depending on the printer used and the printing technique. If in doubt, send the designer print specifications for the product along with any printing guidelines. This will help them understand the context.

Upload your designs to beLarge enough to allow for printingYou can either use the product image or a larger version. Reducing the size of an image to make it larger will result in loss of quality. You can also use Photoshop if you don’t have Photoshop.Pixlr(Free) or one of thesePhoto editing tools.

Design ideas and designers: Where can you find them?

If you are a good designer, or have a friend who is one, this is the ideal situation. Don’t let that discourage you if you don’t have access to designers immediately. This is outsourcing.

Behance and 99 Designs are great places to find designers who can create usable designs. As long as you give clear instructions, they will work with you. This is how to add context and clarity to a design project.

  • Give insight to your audience.Let them know what your website is for and who it is for. If you have one, showing them your website can be helpful.
  • Be clear about what you are looking for.You should use your pitch and any subsequent revisions (at least one or two) to communicate what you are looking for and the guidelines. Also, try to give concrete feedback at every stage.
  • Give examples to inspire.You can give them a reference or point to previous work you like to help with the design.

You should have no trouble finding a talented designer to help you bring your ideas to reality. It is important to decide what you want to create.

It will all depend on the target audience of your product. However, you can get design inspiration from:

To brainstorm ideas, you can search for messages, styles, and content that resonate with your target audience. Be sure to respect the work of others.


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You can also use social media to test your ideas. These are some ways to make the internet your focus group.

  • Post to your Facebook network or to groups
  • To solicit feedback, use Instagram’s Question and Poll stickers
  • Send a rough version to a subreddit with your design idea

How to start a print-on demand business

Although it might seem easier to use a print-on demand service than managing your inventory manually, there are still some things you need to be aware of. There are creative solutions for almost all of the problems you will face.

How to set up a print-on demand business using Shopify

Print on demand is an easy way to create a highly profitable business without any inventory. This tutorial will show you how to print on demand.