I haven't posted for a couple weeks because I've been soooooo sooooo busy with adding new things to my art business. That's right I am officially calling it a business now. I haven't made much off of sales yet, in fact I'm probably in the red still if you account for all the supplies I buy all the time. However, I'm hoping all of this work will pay off in the long run. I didn't go into this to create a business, but I'm hopeful by the time my 1 1/2 year old daughter has to go to kindergarten (4 years from now) I will be able to continue staying at home and working as a full time artist. That is the goal, the dream!
So, if you haven't had a chance to check out my Etsy shop or items in my Society6 store, you can check out the links at the top of this page or go to my "Links" tab and you can find tons of cool merchandise I've added with my watercolor art on them. I've added pattern design to my resume and I've started creating some cool watercolor patterns to create into home textiles and baby linens!
So, since I can't manufacture this stuff myself, I've looked into print on demand services. So far, I've checked out a 4 different ones and here's my opinion so far.
This is a fabric and wallpaper print on demand company. They give you a small bit of the profit from the sale of their products with your design on it. They also have home textiles with Roostery affiliate but I didn't get far enough to check it out. I added a couple patterns to their site so far and I'm waiting for my sample fabrics to come. I ordered two fat quarters and I had to pay just over $20 with the shipping added in to get the samples before they will even approve the designs to sell. If I was going to make a whole collection of patterns and have to order each one - I would be putting down a chunk of change and it's not something I want to do at this point in my business until I start making more money in other avenues first. So, I may come back to this site in the future after I've gotten some other sources of income and can afford the initial costs of ordering samples.
I like this site so far, but unfortunately due to Covid-19 they are basically at bare bones for items you can list with them. Initially I had things like shirts and home textiles listed through them as a production partner but in the last couple weeks they are no longer letting you create new listings of those items due to extremely long production times. The profit margins can be adjusted to your choosing which is nice. They offer suggested amounts and you can select free shipping of your items and make an appropriate adjustment to the prices of the items to reflect the shipping costs. They ship the items directly to the customer. It is fully integrated with Etsy so I can push the listings to my shop and they show up in drafts under your listings panel. You just need to add the production partner information, and the shop section to it before publishing your listing. As of right now, I only have prints framed and unframed and canvas prints active in my shop through them until they say they are back at normal production times. They do have really nice mockups (see example above) that auto generate for you so it saves you time in that regard!
I happened across this site a couple weeks ago and they are pretty much identical to Printful. However, I feel their shipping costs are quite a bit higher. They do offer several different items that Printful doesn't carry, for example baby / child room linens and accessories such as car seat covers, crib sheets and baby swaddles and blankets. I have listed a bunch of these into my shop. As a parent, I will say these items end up being pretty expensive for the short amount of time they will be used, but perhaps they will make a nice splurge item or gift for someone. I created a bunch of items in my new Red Panda collection. I have a bunch of patterns and designs to coordinate with it and I'm still slowly working on creating more to match it. I also made some basic patterns and am working on adding those items slowly to the store. One nice thing about Gooten is the Etsy shop integration. They have other store fronts you can integrate with like Shopify too. It's tricky to figure out their shipping costs so you can price your items but once you figure it out hopefully it won't take too much time to price your items. You can choose to push the listings as draft or to go active right away. You will have to go to the listing and edit the production partner information though. My least favorite thing about their site is their product mockups aren't very good. They are really plain and only show the item on plain backgrounds. It takes me extra time to do a mockup of a blanket in photoshop so my listing photos aren't just a rectangle of the item laid flat. Hopefully they change this because it would really increase my likelihood to continue using them. I will likely use Printful more often if they get back to regular shipping times.
Mockup example below from Gooten for a kitchen dish towel, and below that is with the stove (mockup I made)
I really like this sites interface and their mockups are really great. They do not integrate with Etsy so you will have your items in a stand alone store on their site. They pretty much set the mark up margin on all their items except for art prints which you can set the percent increase on. The quality of the canvas and prints is very good. My mom ordered a couple pieces of artwork and coaster from them and they turned out beautiful. I am going to continue adding items to this site, and I'll see how it does. I think I might need to get more of a variety of artwork on their. I have some prints and some pattern items I've made into home textiles. They have some one of a kind items in furniture and textiles you can't find on other print on demand sites which is a positive. Their prices seem pretty comparable to other companies for similar items. See their generated mockup for a mug below. They have nice mockups - they are simple but very realistic looking.
I briefly looked at Stationary HQ, Zazzle and Redbubble. They were fairly similar to Society6, and Stationary HQ offers more cards / invitation type items. For now I'm sticking with the three I've already got going and may expand to other sites if I find I have more time.
Right now it takes me at least half an hour to do one listing because I don't have item descriptions or prices figured out for new items so I'm taking extra time to write up descriptions, tags and calculate price and shipping for my list prices. I'm also making mockups for some items in photoshop for the Gooten listings.
What other companies have you used? Who did I miss? I love the idea of the companies integrating with my Etsy shop so I have everything on one platform, I wish I could do it with the items in Society6!