Creative Business

How to Use Print on Demand

April 29, 2020

So, you want to sell your art online. If you’re starting a creative business or shifting your art career into the online space, then you’ve likely heard of Print on Demand (POD). When I started my creative business, I was hand-printing every single item, storing inventory, and then hoping it would sell. What mostly happened […]

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So, you want to sell your art online.

If you’re starting a creative business or shifting your art career into the online space, then you’ve likely heard of Print on Demand (POD).

When I started my creative business, I was hand-printing every single item, storing inventory, and then hoping it would sell. What mostly happened in those early days was that I would sit on that inventory for years.

But then I found POD and realized how much it could help my art process and creative business. With POD, I was able to test out new patterns, designs, and products without having to invest any money or long days of printing upfront (only to find an idea wasn’t really working).

Now, I sell a combination of hand-printed goods and Print on Demand products in my shop.

If you’re considering POD, there is no downside to trying it out to see if it fits into your creative vision. In fact, when I look back on my journey, one thing I would change would be to work with POD sooner!

So, What is Print on Demand?

Print on Demand is a process where you (the artist!) work with a manufacturing company to print and sell your designs on a variety of products like napkins, t-shirts, coffee mugs, greeting cards, etc. (the list can include a wide variety depending on who you work with).

You upload your designs for the specific products you’d like to sell. Then, when someone sees your beautiful artwork and orders your product, the manufacturing company takes care of the rest! They print the item and ship it directly to your customer.

Pretty cool, right?

How Does Pricing Work?

With most companies, it doesn’t cost anything upfront to sign up and start putting your artwork on products. This makes it a low risk method to grow your business.

When you create a product, you (or the company depending on who you work with) set a sale price for the product. When a customer orders that product, the POD company subtracts the production costs from the sale price and you get the profit!

Some POD companies have a set selling price for products while others allow you to set the sale price to determine your profit margin.

Why Print on Demand?

Print on Demand is a powerful way to test new products in the marketplace, reduce the amount of inventory you are storing in your apartment or home, as well as take production and shipping off of your hands! There are also so many fun products that you might not be able to manufacture at home or in your studio. This can open you up to new industries and ideas for your artwork.

Which Print on Demand Company Should I Work With?

There are so many options when it comes to POD partnerships.

Some are:

Society6

Printful

Gooten

and

RedBubble

The choice really comes down to a matter of preference.

Here are some points to consider when making your decision:

-What types of products do you want to sell (i.e. primarily clothing, home goods, fabric, or a combination?)

-Do you want to set the sale price (and therefore the profit margin) or are you happy with the company setting these numbers?

-Do you want your products listed on the company site (like Society6) or do you want to push the products through to your own online storefront (like Gooten‘s integration with Shopify and Etsy)?

-When you test the user interface, is it easy to interact with as a customer? Is it simple to upload your artwork to the products?

-When you order a test product, are you happy with the quality? Would you buy it?

My Favorite Print on Demand Company:

I personally LOVE working with Gooten. I started working with them because they have a wide range of products, especially in the areas of kitchen and home. Since I make art primarily focused on food, I wanted people to use my designs while cooking in their kitchen or dining with friends. Gooten hit the spot with tea towels, napkins, table runners, placemats, mugs, as well as art prints and greeting cards. Plus, their customer service team is incredible.

How do I use Print on Demand?

To learn more about the different POD options, as well as how to set up your POD site and sell your artwork with ease, enjoy this free lesson from my online course, “Ditch the Inventory: How to Use Print on Demand to Sell Your Art and Launch Your Creative Career.” In this lesson, you’ll learn how to create a greeting card with your art using Gooten:

If you want to dive deeper, you can take the full class here.

Enjoy!

💙, Liz

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I know that creativity can feel like an elusive skill that only certain people are born with. But I believe that we each have an intrinsic creative power that needs to be expressed in the world.

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