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If you are looking to start a print on demand store then you are in the right place? Print on demand is a great way to start selling your art. In this guide we look at Printful, a popular print on demand provider to help you decide if they are the right choice for you.
What is Printful?
Printful is a company that specializes in print on demand products. Print on demand is a type of Ecommerce model where a product isn’t made until it has been ordered by the customer. One of the key benefits to this type of business model is that production matches demand. You don’t have to buy a bunch of inventory at the start or be left with inventory that doesn’t sell.
How does print on demand work?
With print on demand there are 3 entities involved: the customer, the production partner (in this case Printful), and you as the store owner. With print on demand you as the seller will upload your designs to Printful and then connect the products to your online store. When a customer purchases an item from your store they will pay you directly. Printful will automatically be notified of this purchase and start processing the order. Once the order has been processed Printful charges you the base cost of the product and creates the product and ships it directly to your customer.
Print on demand is a nice way to get started selling your artwork and custom designs without having to invest in any inventory.
How much does Printful cost?
There is no upfront cost to using Printful. You can set up your account for free. You are only charged when someone makes a purchase from your shop. Each product has its own base price and then the cost of shipping. Ultimately how you price your product is up to you. You can set your prices depending on how much profit you want to make. If you want to offer your customer free shipping then you will just calculate your prices with the shipping cost in mind.
What kind of products does Printful have?
Printful has a wide selection of products to choose from. They offer apparel for men, women and kids. You can also sell home goods from your online store.
Here is a quick list of some of their popular products:
- Baby bibs and bodysuits
- Phone cases
- Face Masks
- Coffee Mugs
- Blankets & Pillows
- Wall Art
This is only a partial list of the products they offer. You can check out their complete product catalogue here.
What platforms does Printful work with?
Printful integrates with most Ecommerce platforms and online marketplace. Here is a list of the most common platforms:
- Big Cartel
You can learn more about Printful’s integrations here.
How to create your online store with Printful
Check out the video below which will walk you through the steps of how to get started selling online with Printful.
How does Printful work?
1. Sign up with Printful – First you will need to create your free account with Printful.
2. Connect your shop – If you already have a website or storefront like Etsy in mind then you can connect your store to Printful. If you are not ready to connect your store then you can just jump right in and start creating and testing your first product.
3. Upload your design and create your first product – Next you can test out your design on a product. Go to printful’s product catalog and start uploading your design. For each product Printful has a print guideline that you can download.
4. Order a sample – Once you have your product set up you can order your first sample to see how your product looks.
Here is my video of the various samples I ordered testing out Printful’s all over print leggings and all over print yoga pants.
Understanding how payments are made
When you list your product in your store and the customer makes a purchase Printful is automatically notified of the purchase. In this case the customer is paying you the full price and shipping directly.
Printful then starts to fulfill the order and they will charge you the base cost of the product and the shipping price. The difference between what Printful charges you and what the customer paid you for the sale is your profit margin.
Printful Review: Is it worth it?
Printful is a great company with a nice range of products. I definitely recommend Printful to anyone wanting to get started with print on demand.
There are many reasons to choose Printful, but here are a few of my favorite reasons why I like Printful.
1. Large product selection – Printful carries a large range of products ranging from apparel to home goods. They carry apparel for both men, women, youth, and children. You can check out their full product catalog here.
2. Size inclusive – Printful offers many of their products in plus sizes. This way you can have a more size inclusive brand.
3. Easy to use interface – Printful’s design maker makes it easy to create and design your products. They even have some available elements that you can use in your designs.
4. Design templates for all of their products – With every product Printful offers a template that you can download and use to help design your product. This template gives you the outline of the product and helps you know where to position your design. These templates are nice, but I wish they would combine all of the different templates associated with a product in one photoshop file as artboards. This way you can just work within one document and then easily export all artboards into separate files at once. I have started doing this with each of my printful products, but it would be nice if they did this so it was available for everyone to use. Obviously it makes for a larger photoshop document so I don’t know if that is part of the reason why they haven’t done it.
5. Eco friendly options – Printful also carries a selection of eco-friendly product options. This can be good if you are targeting an audience that wants products that are good for the environment. You can check out their collection of eco-friendly products here.
6. Custom branding – With the majority of their products Printful gives you the option to add your custom logo at no additional charge. This is a nice feature because it gives the feel of a real brand.
Overall I have been impressed with Printful as a print on demand provider and will continue to buy products from them, but this wouldn’t be a complete review if I only mentioned the good.
Some of the challenges I have faced are not a Printful specific issue, but more of an issue with print on demand in general.
1. Base white material shows through – For many of the all over print products the design is first printed out and then added to the base white material through a process called sublimation.
With this process you can get amazing prints, but depending on the type of material used when stretched you can see the base white material show through. This is more apparent on some products than others.
In the video previously linked above, I mention how I prefer the yoga print leggings over the regular print leggings because this phenomenon is more apparent with the all over print regular leggings than with the yoga leggings.
In some of the product reviews I have watched you also get this with the blankets and towels. The problem with this is it makes the product feel more cheap and less high end. From a quality perspective they just don’t compare to their commercially produced counterparts that you would find at a big chain store.
2. Print on demand is not the cheapest option – If you want the cheapest option, meaning you pay the least per unit then ordering product in bulk is your least expensive option.
But for me personally I like the perks of the print on demand business model where I don’t have to hold onto inventory and Printful handles the production and the actual shipping of the order to the customer.
3. Quality control is out of your control – Another negative of print on demand is you can’t really control the production quality. Unfortunately it can happen where a design is shipped to your customer that is misaligned or not printed correctly.
Thankfully Printful has a good system set in place where you can reach out to them if there is any issue with the quality of the order.
This is why it is important to do your research and make sure you order a sample of your product before offering it to your customer. This way you can at least initially make sure the design looks right on the product.
Does Printful offer an online marketplace?
No, Printful does not have an online marketplace where you can host your shop. You will need to host your shop on a different provider and then connect them with Printful.
Best Printful Alternatives
If you are still unsure about Printful or want to keep considering your options then here are a couple of good Printful alternatives you can check out.
Printful Review: Recap + Recommendations:
Overall I have been happy with my experience with Printful. I definitely recommend them as a print on demand provider, but not all products should be treated the same. Make sure you get a sample order to ensure that the quality meets your expectations for your brand. Click here to get started with Printful today!
Printful Product Reviews