Print on Demand: Low-Risk Method to Sell Custom Products


Physical products are a great way to monetize your creativity, whether you are an artist, writer or designer. You should consider print-on-demand for your business model. You can make your own products, from t-shirts and posters to backpacks and books, and sell them […]

Physical products are a great way to monetize your creativity, whether you are an artist, writer or designer. You should consider print-on-demand for your business model.

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.

Over the last four years, the print-on-demand industry has seen a 12% increase. A recent survey by Printful revealed that 45% were print-on demand store owners experienced a rise in sales through 2020.

Print-on-demand is a faster way to avoid the risk, time and investment associated with managing inventory. It allows you to go from creating custom products to selling them at a fraction the cost of manufacturing them yourself.

Get in on the action! This guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of print-on-demand and tips for starting your POD business.


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What is print-on-demand (POD) and how does it work.


Print on Demand is where you partner with a supplier for white-label products like baseball hats and tote bags to customize those products and then sell them per-order under your brand and with your designs.

After you have actually sold the product, you don’t have to pay for the product’s cost.

Your supplier will take care of everything after the sale, including digital printing, order fulfillment, and shipping. After you have set up everything, you can only click a few buttons to complete an order.

Print on-demand is not slowing down. Today’s customers are in constant demand for personalized products and unique products. Print-on-demand allows businesses of all sizes to offer customized products at a fair cost.

Print-on-demand can be used to:

  • You can test a new business idea and a product line for your existing business without taking on inventory risks. This is a great side-hustle.
  • Make money from the audience you have built (print-on-demand is a great option for cartoonists and YouTubers who want to spend their time creating, not fulfilling orders).
  • Make original products for a niche market (e.g., tshirts for long-distance runners)
  • Print one-off or small quantities of printed on demand teshirts and books, shoes, bags wall art, wall art phone cases, clocks laptop skins, mugs and other merchandise

Print on Demand: The pros and cons for your ecommerce company

You can use print on demand to create a business using the dropshipping method, where the products and shipping are handled by third parties. This is one of the easiest ways to source products or create an online business . However, you need to be aware of its limitations and perks before you jump in.

Shopify’s print on-demand resources make it easy to quickly get your product up and running.

Chris Vaccarino is the founder of Fanjoy


  • Quickly create products. After you have the design, you are able to quickly create the product and place it on sale.
  • Shipment of orders is handled by the supplier. You are responsible for shipping and fulfillment. You are only responsible for customer support after the sale.
  • Lower risk, low investment It’s much easier to add or take out inventory, test new ideas, and pivot your approach.


  • Lower margins. Your costs per item will naturally be higher than if your order is in bulk.
  • You have less control over shipping. Shipping costs may vary for different printed-on-demand products. If you are looking to make your unboxing experience stand out, there are limited options.
  • Products are limited. The 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 and sizes.

Print-on-demand best services to create 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 business days for customers to receive the most economical shipping option.

When evaluating the right company, 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 your Shopify store.

1. Printful

Printful has a wide range of quality products and brands, including Gildan, American Apparel, and many others. It is a favorite choice for print-on-demand websites. Easy-to-use mockup creators and the option to add your branding to the unboxing experience.

Printful has a variety of printing options that you will want to know about, especially for apparel products.

  • Direct-to-Garment Prints directly onto clothing – especially for simple designs (e.g., witty T-shirts). As a result, you can only print on specific areas of the product.
  • Cut and sewis sometimes called “all-over printing.” This is when the clothing article is cut and printed onto, then reassembled for seamless prints across the entire item. Although the initial costs are higher, you can create a premium product that will sell better. This should not be confused with “sublimation print”, which can achieve an all-over print but is less precise and more cost-effective.
  • Embroidery may be the most complicated printing method, as the final product is a threaded design with 3D effects. This works best for simple designs with a limited number of colors and products such as hats.

Printful is what I use for my online store. Printful is great because you don’t need to spend a lot upfront. They will print my design on a shirt, and then ship it to me. If I had to ship everything myself, I would be insane.

Be aware of the impact that additional customizations can have on the price. You will typically pay a small fee to print on the sleeves or inside labels, in addition to the base cost.

Printful offers apparel as well as mugs and bedding.


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2. Lulu Direct

Lulu, a self-publishing platform that allows you to print and distribute your ebooks and books yourself, offers many tools.

Lulu Direct lets you select from a variety of book sizes, binding types and page/print quality in order 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.


3. Gooten

Gooten is similar to Printful and offers a variety of products you can customize with a few that are exclusive to Gooten such as calendars or dog beds.

Gooten prints its products using an international network vendors and dropshippers. This means that there is more variation in quality and shipping costs. However, this also 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.


4. Printify

Printify offers another print-on demand service, with the same selection of hoodies and t-shirts. Printify offers an international vendor network, which allows you to order unique white-label products such as clocks, watches, shoes, and water bottles. This is what makes Printify stand out. 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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You can find more print-on demand services at 10 Paid + No Print-on Demand Companies for Selling Custom Products.

Designing even if you aren’t 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 to source original designs. Recent surveys have shown that 32% of shop owners source designs from outside.

There are many options for producing your own designs. However, it is important to understand some key concepts so that you can work well with designers.

Preparing your design file is the most important step. You should tell designers that the design is intended for printing when you work with them. It is important to save your design at 300 dots per inch (dpi) when working with designers. Upload images that are the same dimensions as the product’s printing area.

Print specifications can change depending on the type of printing used. If in doubt, send the designer the specific print specifications for the product to ensure they are clear.

Most cases, the file that you upload will be either a PNG (or PSD) in most cases. Remember that transparent backgrounds will make the background of your t-shirt the background color.


Design ideas and designers: Where can you find them?

The best scenario is if you are a professional designer, or have a good relationship with one. Don’t let that discourage you if your skills are not in demand. This is outsourcing.

There are many designers who can create usable designs if you give clear instructions. This is how to add context and clarity to a design project.

  • Gain insight into your audience. Let them know what your website is for and who it’s for. Your website can be a great help.
  • Be clear about what you are looking for. Give feedback at every stage.
  • Show them examples of your work.

You should have no trouble finding a talented designer to help you bring your ideas to life. 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.

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


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