On-demand printing and production is here to stay, irregardless of which industry. It is a great way for independent artists and small business owners to get started selling art and designs online without having to risk any start-up money.
With print on demand services artists now have access to markets that were usually costly and difficult to get into. Setting up your own e-commerce store is often costly, takes a ton of time as well as the time and money you have to put into marketing your store and competing with everyone else. Using a PoD platform will let you instantly access an already huge customer base who are already on that website for one purpose, to shop and spend money. You can also validate a design or product idea without having to risk buying hundreds of shirts that might never sell!
Another time-saver is that you don’t have to deal with any customer service. Trust us, that takes more time than you think and as an artist you probably prefer making designs rather than tracking shipments and dealing with customers.
So in the end, your profit per sale may be less using these platforms, but in the end you might even come out on top when you don’t have to spend money on employees, shipping and keeping stock, plus you will have more time over to do what you love, creating art.
What’s on the list?
With the popularity of print on demand, there are too many platforms to list, so that’s why we have focused on the ones we believe are great for starting and getting sales easier. It can be tempting to find all the platforms and sign up for every single one, but is a waste of time since your efforts are spread out across many different sites. We recommend that you get started with 2-3 of the following marketplaces to start and once you start seeing sales you can think about expanding to other websites.
Bonfire is a new player on the market and is also why we highly recommend it. If it’s something we know, it’s that the early bird gets the worm. The market is set up differently from other platforms as it was built for fundraising but they have since added the possibility to sell t-shirts purely for profit.
The platform has a great and smooth user experience for uploading and creating artwork, yes you can actually create the design on the website if you don’t have access to design software. You then choose if the profits from that product are intended for fundraising or for profit as well as selecting how many you’re planning on selling. Selling more increases your profit margins since the base price gets lower.
Profit margins on Bonfire
Bonfire charges a base price which varies depending on how many shirts you sell. There is no minimum amount so you’ll start earning from the first shirt. There is also an option for your customers give you a tip at checkout so you earn even more.
The above is just an example and even if it is recommended to use the standard profit margins, you can yourself decide how much profit you want per shirt sold.
You as the designer or uploader retain all rights to the work you upload. Bonfire can however use or “represent the design or work of authorship in blog posts, remarketing advertisements, or any other marketing materials” which is to your benefit as they will try to get your product sold.
Bonfire uses PayPal to send you your earnings 1-2 business days after requesting a payout. There are no additional fees.
(Using this link will earn you $1 extra on every shirt sold for the first 100 shirts)
Teepublic is one of the easiest and fastest print-on-demand platforms we’ve used when it comes to uploading artwork. Design placement and background colors are set with a click. Just fill in the title, description and tags and you’re pretty much done.
However, Teepublic offer the least amount of products to sell on, but they have the most important ones and sometimes less is more. You’ll find clothing in all ranges, stickers, wall art, tapestries, pillows, pins, phone cases, mugs and more which are the most popular categories anyway.
Profit margins on Teepublic
Teepublic keeps things standardized and you can’t change the price of items. There is a regular price and a sale price (for the first 72 hours after upload, when there’s site-wide sales and when you’re featured). As an example, if you sell a premium t-shirt your profit is $5, but when it’s on sale it is $3. It keeps things simple and even for customers. Click here to see the profit margins for every product.
No worries here, all designs still belong to you and you keep your copyright but Teepublic gets the right to use, promote and archive the designs. Read T&C.
According to us, Redbubble is one of the biggest and best sources of passive income out there. With the right strategies and designs you can easily make a lot of money. We’ve heard of several people who eventually made more money from Redbubble than their regular job. Redbubble actually acquired Teepublic in 2018 but they both run as independent platforms.
Redbubble offers a ton of products to print on. In fact, you can put your design on over 60 different products and they are always adding more. The site is also available in multiple languages and currencies making it a big contender on the international market.
Profit margins on Redbubble
Redbubble charges a base price for each product, you can then set your own artist margin as a percentage to decide how much you will earn on each product. The base price includes everything such as service fees, shipping costs and manufacturing fees which gets deducted from the retail price. What’s left is your profit and paid to you. Example: The base price of a classic t-shirt is around US$15, and if your profit margin is 40% (US$6) the retail price to the buyer is $21 and you pocket the $6. Read more about Artist Margins here.
Nothing to worry about here. Redbubble has a great track record and your copyright still belongs to you.
Redbubble offers payouts with PayPal or bank transfer (ACH) to US bank accounts. If you don’t have a US bank account you can use Transferwise or Payoneer to get one. Payments process on the 15th of each month as long as you’ve reached the payment treshold of US$20.
Society 6 is another of the big platforms with tons of products. We counted and as of writing this there are 68 different products to put your designs on. In addition to the regular t-shirts and stickers, they also have some interesting products that others don’t, for example you can get your artwork printed and sold on furniture like credenzas, coffee tables, bar stools and even garden furniture. This is the place to get creative with your designs. High price items like this also yield higher margins so you’ll earn more.
You can also find and join communities on the site to stay up to date with current trends, find support and feedback from other sellers to help you succeed. However, the uploading function leaves much to desire as we find it slow and tedious to align every design to the product.
Profit margins on Society6
For most of the items you sell on Society6 you will earn a fixed 10% of the retail price. The remaining 90% covers manufacturing, fulfillment, customer service and the rest. However, you can choose your own markup on some products such as art prints, framed prints and canvas prints.
As with most other print on demand sites you retain all rights to the work you upload. Society6 may however use your work in marketing to get you and the platform more sales.
Society6 uses PayPal and you get paid on the first businessday of each month. There is a 30-day clearance period before your earnings can be paid to account for returns.
Spreadshirt has been around for ages and compared to its competitors it is more heavily focused on clothing. They have over 200 different products you can put your designs on and most of them are different varieties of t-shirt, while they still offer other items like baseball caps, aprons, mugs, phone cases and more.
With Spreadshirt you have two different sales channels, the marketplace and your own shop. The marketplace works similar to the other platforms on this page where you have access to thousands of customers looking to shop. In addition you can set up you own shop which is hosted by Spreadshirt but is not shown on the marketplace. You would instead have to share your shops link with your existing or potential customers.
Profit margins on Spreadshirt
How much you earn is pretty straight forward and it works similarly to other platforms, but instead you specify your margin in dollars, and not a percentage. The base price + your margin = retail price.
You retain all rights to the work you upload to either the marketplace or your own Spreadshirt-shop.
Spreadshirt uses either Direct Deposit or PayPal to pay out your earnings on the 15th of each month as long as you’ve reached the minimum balance. The minimum balance varies depending on your chosen currency.