So you’ve decided to start up a print-on-demand t-shirt business – awesome! Whether you’re an artist making prints from your own designs, or using designs created from Fiverr freelancers, there’s an incredible opportunity to build a successful business with print on demand.
The beauty of selling t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, and anything else you can print stuff on, is that you can target almost any niche. Instead of being stuck with just one group of potential buyers, you can target almost any consumer base by simply using designs that interest different groups.
The beauty of print-on-demand is that you don’t have to pay for inventory. You can load up your Shopify store, Amazon account, or Etsy shop with mockups and other pictures of your products, but don’t have to pay for them until a sale is made. The print-on-demand companies that you use will print and ship the products FOR you!
But that leads you to the toughest part…. finding print on demand companies that you can depend on. Your print on demand company will make or break your t-shirt biz. They’re representing your brand! If print quality is poor, shipments late, or material flimsy, that reflects badly on you and your store. It took me months of trial and error, research, headaches, a few grey hairs, Netflix-therapy breaks, comfort coffee, and sample orders to finally find the right print on demand companies for my own brand.
So I’ll save you hours of time by giving you these reviews of print on demand companies. Please fasten your seat belts, there’s some turbulence ahead. (For more in-depth details on these, you can read about them here).
I’ll start with the one everyone knows. Printful. The vast majority of Shopify users who have print-on-demand stores know about the Printful app. It’s the best known, most used, and one of the best reviewed. So how is it? For a more in-depth review, read here.
Printful has a lot of things going for it. Here are some of the essentials.
– Printful’s print quality is very good. Right off the bat, that’s something that you have to love.
– Their variey of different products is huge, from lunch boxes to different socks, back packs, baseball hats, etc.
– Unlike most other POD companies, Printful does their own printing in house, not through 3rd parties, so their printing and shipping time is the fastest of any POD company. This is good for your brand.
– Their customer support is responsive and helpful. Most of my emails are answered within a few hours or less.
– Has options for you to put your own logo on product tags (for an extra cost)
– Has a good variety of integration options – Etsy, Shopify, Big Commerce, Big Cartel, StoreEnvy, Woocommerce, etc.
So is Printful the one-stop dream shop for your print on demand needs? Well… not exactly. I absolutely love Printful for many products, but they’ve got a couple of huge hang ups. Just one actually…
The Negatives of using Printful:
– THEY CHARGE TOO MUCH!! It’s very hard to set decent profit margins with Printful, because they already set their prices too high. Just for example, Printful’s cost for socks is $11.95 for a single pair of socks. This is too much to pay as it is, let alone when you set your own profit margin above it. No matter how cool your socks look, this makes it very hard to sell.
Does this mean that nothing is worth selling through Printful? Definitely not. I’ve found them to be an excellent resource for high quality tank tops, hats of all varieties, and a few others. Their hats are especially cool, embroidering your designs into the front and back of the hat.
But I would NEVER recommend using Printful for socks, mugs, or anything with an all over print (full coverage print).
Teelaunch is another extremely well-known and well reviewed print on demand company available through Shopify, and one of the best that you can integrate to Etsy. For a more in-depth review, check this review out.
The Positive Aspects of Teelaunch:
– The prices through Teelaunch are REALLY reasonable! This allows you to set better profit margins without over-charging your customers
– They’re a great resource for mugs, phone cases, basic t-shirts, and long sleeve shirts.
– Their Etsy integration is pretty smooth and painless
– Their customer support I rate as excellent. They respond fast and thoroughly to all of my issues.
The Negatives of using Teelaunch for your print on demand:
– They’re options are very basic. Both in terms of printing capabilities, and product variety.
– Their print on demand options for cheaper than most, but they’re not very impressive in quality
Teelaunch is definitely worth using for certain products. I strongly advise against using them for all-over-print products. They are by far the best I’ve found for coffee mugs, but also good for socks, phone cases, t-shirts, and decent for tank tops. Here are some examples of my own products through Teelaunch:
Printy6 is a Chinese company, and their app is extremely basic. Even a little tedious to use. But read the details before dismissing it.
The positives of Printy6:
– Printy6’s strongest attribute is that they are one of the only POD companies that offers pop sockets (phone grips). Here’s a picture of one of my brand’s pop sockets. The quality is good.
– They offer some decently low cost wall art options as well, which you have a few color customizing features on within the app.
– Printy6 is also a good, affordable option for phone cases.
– Underrated and lesser known, the variety they give you will give you an edge over your competition who has largely undiscovered this resource.
The negative parts of Printy6
– Their printing and shipping time, in my experience, is not especially good. Make sure you warn your customers that the production and shipping time estimate is fairly high, and is nothing compared to Printful’s turn around time.
– You have to go into Printy6 and pay for each product everytime a sale is made. They don’t process it automatically and put the products to production automatically.
Essentially, Printy6 has very specific uses. Affordable phone cases, good quality phone grips, and wall art. Here are some examples from my brand –
Printify is one of the most loved and used print on demand companies on Shopify, second only to Printful. So how is it?
– Printify offers a variety just as big as Printful’s, with often better prices (except on anything all-over-print)
– Print quality is good, and the material of their clothing is comfortable and durable.
– Good Etsy integration
– Good sweaters and boots. A go-to for your fall fashion releases.
– Unlike Printful, Printify does not do their own in-house printing. They print through 3rd parties. This makes their production and shipping time a little slower.
– Their customization options are better than Teelaunch, but not as option rich as it should be. They’re very specific (a.k.a. obnoxious) about image sizing and things like that.
– They have spontaneously discontinued products on me several times, which made a muddle for my store
Printify is generally easy to work with, and can work as a solid balance between Teelaunch and Printful – lower prices closer to Teelaunch, good variety closer to Printful, but they’re not perfect. Here are some of my Printify products. The boots are a highlight:
I’ll let you in on a secret. One of the least known but by far the most amazing print on demand app is one that I found by accident on Shopify called SKYOU. Though it came well-reviewed, it has very few users, and is fairly new, so I entered it with a lot of skepticism.
Be warned, SKYOU’s website feels clunky, they’re based in China so their shipment times are fairly delayed, and their product prices listed on their website are actually wrong, so their products seem overpriced… the good news is, this scares a lot of competition away from this amazing print on demand company.
Why is SKYOU epic?
– SKYOU is fully customizable. Unlike any other print on demand company, you can customize EVERYTHING on SKYOU apparel. Print patterns under your designs, change the thread colors, customize the color to anything in existence, make the sleeves 2 different colors, put pictures on the hoods of your clothes… the list is endless. While all other POD companies have very specific print area requirements, SKYOU gives you actual software to customize products.
– They have by far the best prices and print quality for all-over-print clothing!
– Your products will be far more advanced and professional looking than most competition using Printful.
– The downside to SKYOU is that they are very new, still getting many of their kinks out, and have a longer shipping time than most other POD companies
– In addition, the vast variety of customizing options can be intimidating to learn, and the software is not easy to use. Worth learning, but not easy to use.
Here are some examples of SKYOU designs I’ve created:
I hope you found these details helpful. Shopify is the best place in the world to start your own clothing brand, and even though it takes a lot of diligent work, and consistency, it’s possible to be extremely successful.
I’ve sold clothes and coffee mugs all over the world – Germany, Japan, Taiwan – there are millions of people that will love your designs. Do right by those future customers, and make sure you use the right POD companies!
If you have any more questions, feel free to comment below. I’ll get back to you fast!