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Getting started with Print-on-Demand (with video!)

Want to sell products that you don’t have to produce and ship yourself? Let me introduce you to print-on-demand.

What is Print-on-Demand? (Often referred to as POD.)

Simply put: It’s a way to take your artwork or original design and print it on a product. The print-on-demand provider will print and ship your product when a customer orders it.

This eliminates a lot of time, hassle and risk for product sellers. With POD, you don’t have to hold inventory and you don’t have to pack and ship products. 

That convenience does come at a cost. With literally higher costs and therefore (potentially) lower profit margins. 

How can you get started?

First, you need original art or a design that you want to print on a product. This is a really crucial element of POD — what you actually print on a product. But for now, we’ll focus on the second part of POD — the platform.

There are lots of POD platforms out there and what will work best for you depends on what type of products you want to sell, where you’re based and what platform you use for your website. 

For Shopify, you can use any POD platform — you’ll simply connect your Shopify store by adding their app from the app store.

I personally use Printful for my POD shop, Wildly Bright. I like the interface and it’s been easy to use and I’m happy with the final product. I started with Gooten and ended up switching to Printify because they had more child shirt options. 

Some recommendations for you:

 

What can you sell with Print on Demand?

Now, let’s talk more about what you can actually sell with print-on-demand (POD), and what makes sense to start with as a first product.

First, consider your business.

Are you a jewelry designer? Consider other accessories, like hats and stickers. 

Do you sell a food item? Try a tote bag. 

Are you an artist? The options are almost endless, you can put your artwork on t-shirts, puzzles, mugs, tote bags, phone cases and more. 

Instead of using print-on-demand to slap your logo on merch (though plenty of businesses do that), think of it as a way to expand your brand and grow your community. And of course, increase your revenue!

Here are some examples:

Note: these aren’t necessarily examples of print-on-demand products (though, they could be!), but the point of the examples is that they’re products they’ve added to their business that you could also do with POD.

The Sill is known as a modern online plant store. They also sell this sweatshirt. Putting one of their taglines on their sweatshirt lets their community share and grow the mission. (Product link)

plants make people happy sweatshirt product photo from The Sill

Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross sells hair products, but also sells a “Hair Care is Self Care” mug.

This mug gives Pattern fans and enthusiasts a visible way to share the value of the brand. And a frequent reminder with an everyday item. (Product link)

hair care is self care mug by Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross

The brand Oat Haus sells granola butter, but also these “Big Oat Energy” socks. I bet these are a fun conversation starter. (Product link)

big oat energy socks by Oat Haus

How to add a print-on-demand product to your Shopify store