I first encountered print-on-demand companies when I was looking for ways to expand my fashion company, Sci Chic. They enabled me to expand my science-inspired jewelry line into an apparel business as well. I was finally able to begin offering clothing adorned with the same designs that inspired my jewelry without having to fill my house with boxes and boxes of shirts. Not only did print on demand provide an easy way to offer my customers more options, but it was also a simple way to spread brand awareness without having to fill my apartment with inventory.
The world of print-on-demand fashion has revolutionized the side hustle and merchandising game for many entrepreneurs. There is no risk in launching a new T-shirt design in your store because there is no preprinting and inventory required. All you need is the design you want to put on your merchandise and virtually no website design skills. Your business is ready to go.
While some companies are designed for sales to be contained within their websites — like Redbubble or CafePress—many make money by integrating with existing sales platforms. They then offer automatic fulfillment for orders placed on those websites. Printful is a major print-on-demand company that can sync with other website platforms to auto-fulfill orders placed on those sites. Recently, the company announced a new partnership with Etsy that allows artists to fulfill T-shirt orders automatically through the Printful platform. It can also integrate with website-building companies like Shopify and Weebly.
Once the store owner’s website is connected to an on-demand printing platform, all they have to do is choose the products they want to offer and which designs will go on each item. When a customer places an order on one of these platforms, it is sent directly to a company like Printful, which then screen-prints or embroiders the design onto the chosen item and even handles packing and shipping. This allows unique custom items to be created with little effort by the artist.