The Beginners’ Guide To Selling Print On Demand Products

Print On Demand Products

Monetize your creative juices by selling your own branded products using print on demand (POD).

POD is a dropshipping type of ecommerce business model. You design the graphics, add products you want to print them on (mugs, towels, t-shirts, etc) to your website. Once a customer places an order, the POD service produces the product and sends it to the customer.

I like the POD dropshipping method better than using a wholesaler like AliExpress.  You have more control over the product and have more opportunities to create a brand.

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If already have a core product, you can easily add additional revenue with print on demand. For example, if you are selling parrot toys to bird lovers you can quickly add POD products to your store. Maybe t-shirts with bird quotes/photos/graphics to entice your target customer to spend more.

By the time you’ve read this post, you’ll know the rules of printing on demand, what items are selling the most, and which websites can help you start your own Print on Demand store.

Print On Demand Products

How Does Print on Demand Services Work?

There are many POD businesses out there but just like in every other business, there are good ones and bad ones. Good POD companies offer high-quality service by providing their client, i.e., you, with top-tier printed products that are made of the finest materials.

  • Dropshipping: POD companies have a dropshipping service that lets you place an order for a product, and they’ll send the item to your customer for you.
  • Branding: The best POD services will do the work for you but let you hold the exclusive rights to the item’s branding.
  • Templates: Easily see how your images will look on the item you want to print on with drag and drop templates. Here’s a design generator that you can try, to see how your prints look on different kinds of items.
  • Designing: A good POD company will have the skill to help you design excellent merchandise that your customers would want to buy.

What to Look For In a POD Company

I already mentioned that there are a few bad eggs when it comes to the POD industry. When looking for a POD service, you shouldn’t settle for less, which is why I compiled this list of criteria:

  • Good Quality: It’s crucial that you’re sure that these products are durable, machine-wash safe (where need be) and pass off as original products.
  • White Label Shipping: This is when a particular company makes the product but brands it as if another company did.
  • Fixed Prices and Shipping Charges: A reputable POD service doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to the cost of their services and shipping charges.
  • Fast Turnaround: You don’t want to end up contracting a POD service that takes days to process a single request.
  • Liberty to Set Profit Margins: This is simple; the POD Company should let you set your profit margin on the final product with your print on it.
  • Ask For Payment after a Sale: Although this is an essential requirement for POD companies, some of them still manage to ruin it up by asking for payment before a customer makes a sale.
  •  No Minimum Order Requirements: Make sure that they’re ready to ship out a single t-shirt if need be.

One of the benefits of contracting an on-demand printing service is that it lets you put your design and creativity skills to good use.

Numerous artists are interested in promoting their work on products, and they’re turning towards POD services because it’s feasible.

Top Selling Print on Demand Products

When it comes to print on demand, most people just think T-shirts – but its so much more than that. Popular print on demand products includes mugs, drawstring bags, canvas prints, notebooks, towels, hoodies, decals, and more. Check list below for more ideas.

Mugs

Mugs (Print On Demand)

This comes second on the list of popularity among POD services. However, we don’t just mean regular ‘World’s Best Dad’ mugs but crafty and imaginative mugs that people would want to buy. Mugs are a specialty in today’s world, considering that so many people avidly drink coffee and tea now.

Many people have a habit of keeping separate mugs at work and home, and since a mug is a reflection of one’s personality, they often like to get one that expresses their tastes. Printing customized mugs will make a good addition to your collection of items.

Sublimation Prints

We all know that screen-printing is largely available at a number of POD businesses but they lack all the style that one looks for in trendy clothing. However, with advanced printing technology, sublimated printing is gaining popularity.

This is all the rage in POD products since these have the graphics printed ‘into’ the fabric instead of just onto it. These look much trendier since they allow you to sell clothing with prints all over the items and not only one logo.

Drawstring Bags

Print On Demand Bags

Drawstring bags are quite a staple nowadays for their versatility and usefulness. They can hold a variety of items from a gym kit to school books, so most teenagers usually have one. They’re usually made from a synthetic material such as polyester, making it fairly easy to print on than other materials.

You can add crafty designs, motivational text or fandom-oriented art on a drawstring bad to make it all the more valuable for people who fall into the target population. Millennials who have a passion for themed merchandise are always willing to pay the extra dollar for it if it expresses them in a way that generic items can’t.

Canvas Prints

These are slowly gaining popularity as an affordable way to decorate a space without the need for expensive oil paintings. They work well at replicating the look of an actual painting and make a great gift. Recently, millennials are showing a taste for canvas prints that show off their favorite pop-culture reference.

Fine Art Prints

One of the greatest benefits of being an artist with a POD business is creating amazing fine art prints that capture your work in a piece of interior décor. Nowadays, homeowners are interested in decorating their homes with fine art prints but prints at the usual Homestore are excessively generic and overpriced. You can provide an affordable and unique solution through fine art prints that add a pleasant aesthetic to any home.

Baseball T-Shirt

Baseball T-shirts are a closet staple because of the deep contrast between its sleeves and torso. Baseball players would commonly use these undershirts with their uniform. You can add your own art or logo to the t-shirt to make it an original. The comfortable design of these shirts makes them great for all types of activities, especially sporting ones.

Hoodies

Everyone loves hoodies because they’re comfortable, warm and give a laid-back appearance that looks great in any season. The best part is that people prefer getting hoodies with prints that express them and what they like. Nowadays, people are choosing comfort over everything else, so clothes that feel good is just as good looking as well. You can add your designs and creative prints onto a hoodie and make it an original product of your business.

Towels

Print On Demand Towels

You may not have thought of towels as a good POD product but they’re actually an important part of any business lineup that offers on-demand printed products. They’re particularly popular among fitness enthusiasts because of the large numbers of people who have gym memberships. You can add artistic or motivational prints onto a towel and make it look all the more attractive.

Phone Covers

Everyone has a phone nowadays. Since the smartphones of today lack the ‘zing’ factor and colorfulness of phones and their accessories of the early 2000s, most people turn to mobile covers to personalize their bland phones. Additionally, they add a layer of protection to save them from cracks.

You can use your creative skills to get on-demand printed products with your designs on them. There’s a large market of people who don’t like overly generic phone covers and instead prefer to pay the extra buck and get something original.

Notebooks

You know the old subject notebook that you used in middle school all the way to college. While some students prefer to get the ordinary perforated sheet-notebook off the shelf, there’s a whole market of kids who would much rather like notebooks that have their favorite characters, art or quotes on them. You can leverage the love for themed notebooks by adding your own collection to your POD store.

Cushion Covers

Some people take interior décor seriously, but it doesn’t mean that they prefer designer-only items to accentuate the features of their home. No, they just have a taste for little things that express them better than products you can find just about anywhere.

You can cater to these needs by producing niche throw pillow covers that have comforting art or words on them. Not only will these have a soothing effect on the buyer, but also it gives an all-new way for you to recycle creative designs.

Stickers / Wall Decals

Wall Decals and Stickers

Whether you’re making them as reminders or something that people can decorate their belongings with, everyone has a love for stickers. If you or your outsourced artist have any sticker designing skills, this is a profitable POD product that your customer will love.

Cute characters are all the rage nowadays, but animated images of everyday items look good too.  You can try your hand at designing these to see how well it works out. Since these are small items, to begin with, you can send samples to customers with their purchase. Once the audience grows a taste for the stickers, they can buy them.

PopSocket Grip

These bad boys are common these days because they help phone users get a better grip on their phone. Unlike rings that you can fold down, these stay in place and allow you to wrap your fingers around it to get a better hold of your phone.

Although they have a small surface area for printing, they do work well for some creative ideas. You can choose to add a print to it or maybe an emoji face, depending on what phone users are interested in these days.

Pouches

These are pretty much all-rounder items that your customer will use for almost anything. While some will prefer it to hold small items in their bags, others would like to carry pens or makeup in it.

Girls have an interest in collecting makeup pouches that are fashionable and expressive rather than dull and uninteresting. Adding designs, graphics and quotes to pouches will make them attractive for a specific target demographic. You can use the same pouch but add different prints on them, effectively making them two separate products; a makeup bag and a pencil pouch.

Best Print On Demand Sites

RedBubble

Redbubble

This online marketplace is gaining a lot of popularity among fandoms for having quite the stash of merchandise. You can create a profitable reputation here if you have experience in creating fandom-targeted items that have pop culture references. For more sites like Redbubble, keep reading.

Printify

Printify Drop Shipping Print on Demand for Ecommerce

Printify is known among businesses as the original print on demand ecommerce because of their range of products. Browse through categories like men’s, women’s, and kids clothing that you can customize with logos and prints.

Merch Amazon

Merch by Amazon

This is becoming a common POD service among ecommerce businesses. At an affordable price, you can have merchandise generated through Amazon. The costs include those for materials, customer service, and various other resources. They produce a variety of merchandise like T-shirts, sweatshirts, pullovers, and even popsocket grips.

Zazzle

Zazzle Personalized Gifts Custom Products Décor

This online business gives designers and creatives the opportunity to make products that have their art on them. These items can then be sold to the artists own customer base. Here, you can let your creativity flow as you design cards, invitations, clothing items, accessories, home décor, electronic device add-ons and much more. This is definitely for people who have a distinct art profile and know how to work with an array of items, such as event décor. Honestly, I prefer other options, that focus more on selling on your own site.

Printful

Custom Print Product Drop Shipping Warehousing Fulfillment Printful

At Printful, you can get custom prints on a variety of items that can be a part of your store. Choose to put your designs on items like backpacks, posters, mugs, swimsuits, hats, phone cases and best of all, even leggings. Nothing makes girls happier than artistic prints on leggings.

Gooten

eCommerce Print On Demand Solutions Gooten

Gooten is another on-demand dropship platform that offers integrated business solutions as well. Whether you sell through Shopify, Etsy or Amazon, they have personalized formats that make it easier to understand. Of course, you are also met with a dazzling array of customizable products to choose from. This includes wall art, apparel, and even certain kids’ items.

TeeSpring

Teespring

The name says it all; TeeSpring initially started out as a business to sell personalized t-shirts but their catalog has plenty of other items as well. So now, you can look through items like tote bags, accessories, mugs, home décor, and even socks. They have an easy to use design feature that lets even beginners try their hands at making cool merchandise.

Society6

Society6 Affordable Art Prints iPhone Cases and T shirts

Society 6 is for creatives who love designing things around a personal aesthetic. Most of the items you can sell through Society 6 are related to interior décors, such as tapestries murals, and canvas prints. You can design phone cases and skins, and stationery too. Whether you specialize in graphic design, fine art or photography, there’s a way to get your work printed on merchandise.

Spreadshirt

Custom T Shirts and T Shirt Printing Spreadshirt

Spreadshirt makes it easy for self-expressing artists to create products and sell them online. They have quite the collection of items- even water bottles- but since they’re based in Germany, you’ll have to give their customer service a pilot test to see how well they integrate with your needs.

Design by Humans

Graphic Tees Cool T Shirt Designs For Men And Women DesignByHumans

It’s quite the marketplace for fans as well as creators; so you’re bound to find a customer base. You can design almost any kind of t-shirt, mugs, hats and notebooks with this website. In case you’re looking to cater to parents as well, you can rely upon Design by Humans to let you design baby apparel too.

Merchify

Merchify create and sell original On Demand merchandise with zero inventory

If you have a Shopify site, then Merchify is the software you need. All you have to do is install the software and use it to design your items. Once you’ve created new products, you can publish the design onto your Shopify site. From there, once your customer places an order, Merchify will produce the item and ship it directly.

Fine Art America

Fine Art America Canvas Prints Posters iPhone Cases and More

Many artists prefer Fine Art America to publish their work in the form of canvas and framed prints. Even if you’re not an artist but still want to try making your own merchandise, there is still a plethora of items. You can choose from throw pillow covers, t-shirts, phone cases and tote bags. Not to mention, they have an amazing community that will help you create a fan base.

CG Pro Prints

Photo Canvas and Wall Art Canvas Art from CG Pro Prints

CG Pro Prints are the experts that mostly cater to photographers and graphic designers. This is because of their specialty that mainly includes canvas, metal and fine art prints.

Heat Press Fun

Heat Press Fun

Heat Press Fun provides all the tools you need to get started in the printing business. They offer printing services that allow you to print on all kinds of products. You can then sell these products to consumers. As print on demand businesses become more competitive companies look to bring printing in-house to gain more control over quality and production times.

Tips for Selling POD Products

Finding a Designer

To start a POD business, it isn’t necessary that you have designing and creative experience that’s needed.

But, you do need an artist who can do it for you.

You can crowdsource a designer for your POD business through websites like 99designs and Dribbble since these are the platforms where you’ll find the most talented designers working on projects.

You can even opt for freelance artists through websites like Fiverr. There are also websites where you can find designs, and offer to buy them. Of course, there’s always an option to meet an artist in real life who can create your designs for you.

Selling Tips

  • Don’t rush to add more products to your lineup. Instead, focus on each one and see how well your customers like it.
  • Productively work on distinct and unique prints to provide them.
  • Stay with the trends that people talk about. News events and popular happenings gain momentum quickly and people want to show off their support for a particular side. You should keep in touch with the happenings and create designs according to these events.
  • Market your product. Whether you prefer having a hilarious twitter account, an aesthetic Instagram or hiring an influencer to promote your products on Snapchat, pick a campaign and stick with it.

Shopify Integration

Whatever online store platform you’re using for your brand, it’s crucial that you seamlessly integrate it with your POD and dropshipping service. Shopify sites are quite popular among retail business owners because of its benefits and convenient framework. Shopify works great for POD.

Conclusion

SO no matter what niche you choose, you can probably add some print on demand products to your offering. You’ll be able to have additional revenue without worrying so much about inventory, shipping, and fulfillment.

As a stand-alone business, I like it better than dropshipping completely generic products. Having your own branded print on demand products is just a better marketing strategy.

Have a question? Drop a comment, Ill be around today.

Darren DeMatas

Darren DeMatas

Darren has an MBA in Internet Marketing and 10+ years of experience marketing retail, manufacturing and Internet marketing corporations, 7-figure brands and startups online. Follow him on TwitterLinkedIn to learn ecommerce.

38 thoughts on “The Beginners’ Guide To Selling Print On Demand Products”

  1. Hi Darren,
    This is great information!!! I am seriously working on some products for POD both as a designer and maker.

    Thank you so much and enjoy your day!
    Naomi

  2. Thank you very much Darren. Recently I thought of that idea in printing my own brand with my designs on them. Now I really appreciate your article. Can you give me give me an estimate cost for start up, and which website is safe for me to purchase and ship from my country Papua New Guinean.
    Thank you Darren.

  3. Thanks for great information as always. Which one would do white labelling with a wide range of quality items? I use shopify for integration. Thanks,

    1. White labeling shouldnt be a problem, you just have to find the products that fit in with your target market or core offer.

  4. Your knowledge and resources are much appreciated, thank you. This gives me more direction and inspiration to establish my core branding.

  5. Great article! Do you know any POD Companies that do specialty things to your products to make them look even more like a “big” brand? For instance – sewing on a woven label (with your logo on it – think of the brands Lucky Brand, or Hurley), after they print the product. (for t-shirts, bags, etc)

  6. Hi Darren,
    I am a graphic designer interested in starting a line of children’s products among other gift and stationery items. I am unable to find anyone to print and dropship quality children’s dishes or other items for children’s decor. Shutterfly has an array of children’s items and I wonder how I might find a printing company for these items. Do you have any advice for me?

  7. Janet Willicott

    Hi Darren, Thanks for such an informative blog post. I am new to this, so please bear with me for asking simple bog standard questions. I have a Rare Disease Non Profit Company (newish) and some of our global families with this specific rare disease, are wanting to purchase hoodies/t-shirts etc etc to support and advocate/bring awareness of their disease. The community is small for now, but spread around the globe … So for (P-O-D) what would be the best way to save on costs, which e-shop is most appropriate to help those around the world, as well as making a tiny amount just to cover our potential e-shop costs? I am based in the UK, but those with the rare disease are UK, USA, South America, Europe, India, Scandinavia for now… Any help and support would be so beneficial. Kind regards Janet

  8. Hi thank you for your work, i have launched a pod business 6 month ago from France with teechip but i have a big problem with the shipping fees.
    Indeed when i am selling a mug 13 $ my client has to pay 7$ for the shipping fees, if they take 2 11 $ and 3 almost 15 $. The problem is they agree to pay the price the mugs but when they see the shipping fees its become too expensive for them what i can understand. I have seen many of POD website but the shipping fees are always high, do you have a solution ? Or do you know a POD site where the shipping fees are low or where i can buy many articles and pay just one time shipping fess. Best Regards

  9. The best thing you mentioned here about canvas signs is how millennials have taken to on-demand canvas prints to decorate their homes, share as gifts, and as an affordable alternative to expensive oil paintings. This is why my dad would want to get these canvas prints at wholesale price from the best canvas stores in Sacramento. He’d want to get these canvas bags and shirts printed with the most popular pop culture icons, art, and quotations featured in the downtown cultural hub. He’s confident both adults and kids would love to bring home these easy-to-carry totes with them when they go home after visiting the museum.

  10. There is a lack of information on how Taxes are handled on these POD service sites. Does the designer/artist need a business license/permit, need to collect and submit sales tax on goods sold, does the POD site provide a 1099 for the designer/artist’s tax return, etc? As far as I know Amazon Merch is the only POD service site that handles everything for the Designer/Artist (sales, customer service, delivery, returns, sales tax, etc). At the end of the year the Designer/Artist just needs to file a 1099 from Amazon. Please provide information on how taxes are handled on POD sites so that Designer/Artists can be aware and choose wisely a POD site that lets them focus on creating and not on running a business. How about an article on the 5 best 1099 Royalty based POD sites or user friendly POD sites.

  11. Yasin Sulaiman

    Thank you darren, this is very insightful information. I’m a graphic designer from indonesia and planning on making my own brand with my own digital art, i’m planning to use shopify as my Ecommerce platform… My question is does all POD Companies only available only for US citizen or International seller (designer) are welcome? because i want to sell my Brand (Product) that i’ve design in the United State and Europe… Thank you

    Warm Regards

    Yasin S

    1. Hey Yasin – thanks for your question. I wish i knew the answer. You should contact the POD companies for the most updated, accurate answer.

  12. Hi Darren,
    Thanks for your fine walk trough 🙂

    I am looking for the “right” worldwide (US + EU minimum) print on demand + drop shipping partner/supplier regarding my product-concept. A Motivation wall poster + How To book + Spiral calender-notebook for tracking progress.
    – But I find it difficult to localize a partner/supplier that can deliver in all 3 categories, which I would prefer so the customer won’t have to pay for ex. “3 x shipping”.
    – Do you have any insights in if there are any of the players in the market that do al 3 categories?

    My product concept is made up of either 1 + 2, or 1 + 2 + 3 of the below elements.

    1. Poster in A A1/B1 (70×100 cm) format, as either 1.A.”plain poster” or 1.B. Hardboard /PVC board (so it can stand on its own).
    2. A how-to book (app.100pages) and a spiral “calendar/notebook”.
    3. Combined with the Apparel: Sport-t-shirt/PoloShirt/Hoodie & CoffeMug.

    Do you by chance have an idea, like – yes, company X, do it all you can integrate it in your website…

    Kind regards
    Henrik

    1. Hey Henrik – not off the top of my head. You have some pretty specific requirements, try contacting the suppliers listed here and see how the address your question.

      Good luck, report back what you find.

  13. Andrey Akhmetzyanov

    Hey Darren,

    Thanks for a good article. I need your professional expertise. I live in Canada and I build a store, but most POD are in USA. Would you think this will make any trouble for delivery and stuff?

    Maybe you know any Canadian POD site.

    Thanks again.

    1. Hey Andrey – I can’t speak from personal experience on this one. I live in the US, so I have not had to deal with international POD personally.

      Do you plan to market mostly in canada?

      Have you looked into these guys: https://www.teehatch.com/

      1. John Aguilar

        Hi, is this available in the Philippines, Can I make the campaign even I’m not in the USA or Europe?

  14. Hi Darren, I’m a photographer looking to get into pod for prints and products… I know Fotomoto has a widget which integrates all of their product offerings with prices directly to an artists site, but unfortunately my site was built with wix, which is not compatible with Fotomoto. Do you know of another pod provider with a similar widget that IS compatible with wix? Thanks! Ps I know about wix stores Order a Print, was hoping for something better

  15. Great options! I’m just a singer trying to sell merch that can be printed on demand to save myself some time and stress. Do I have to have a page on all of these sites in order to sell merch or am i able to integrate them into my own personal website?

  16. Thank you for your info!
    I am a bit concerned about payment with POD.
    I visit Gooten and it said I receive the payment off the customers,
    but Gooten charge me via credit card for product & fulfillment.
    I wonder if that means I need money even before I can correct money off customers,
    and I am not sure how can I manage it if I do not know how much money I have to have beforehand.

    I always thought POD company handle money off the customers, and give me the
    profit margin, but with Gooten it does not seems work that way.

    Is it normal that POD company take money off you and you handle money off customers?
    Is there POD company handle money off customers and just give me margin?

    I like to use POD company which does not have their own market place ( like Society 6, zazzle ) and just do POD fulfillment. ( Printful, printfy )

  17. Hi Darren, I am disappointed in the dullness of DTG could you recommend a print on demand dropshipper that does screen printing? Or do you have any advice for getting sublimation brightness on DTG.

    Brent

    1. Darren DeMatas

      hey brent, thanks for writing in. I wish i had a good answer for you – but that is a bit out of my wheelhouse. Try reaching out to the DTG providers and see what they say.

  18. If we integrate some POD items into our Shopify store, but not all the items in our store are POD, how does that work? In other words, can we have a shop where some items are POD & others aren’t? And if so, how do these POD companies know which orders are supposed to be POD?

    1. Darren DeMatas

      You definitely can. The POD products are synced to the POD provider. You can add non POD products as well.

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