Sometimes you have to take a chance on something new. Since 2003 I had a shop (ok, multiple) on CafePress. At the time it was a pretty revolutionary thing. You could upload your design, put it on items, carry no inventory and make money doing it. For the first few years this worked great. Any amount over the base price was your profit no matter how the customer found you.
A few years ago, they changed their commission structure to a flat 10% of your sale. You could raise the amount of your commission based on a few factors, but one of the main ones was of getting followers and following other designers. After seeing tiny commission for an item that cost the customer $25.00 I had decided I had enough, I needed to find another print on demand business.
I had heard of Society6 and Zazzle but wasn't impressed with them or the others like it. I was looking around on YouTube and kept seeing Printful pop up. I was intrigued but skeptical. I looked into it further and decided to try it out.
I really like the way they handle things down to the packaging. You can put your black and white logo on the packing slips and the envelopes/boxes that they use to ship. So it looks like it's coming from your online store and not a third party printer. I also like the integration to Etsy, all I have to do is link my store, upload my designs, select the products and once you sync, the item will automatically be dumped into your Drafts on Etsy where you can finalize it.
Another cool feature is you can buy from your own shop at a discounted rate and also order samples. I set up some items a few months ago and haven't really promoted it but I have had a few sales. I'm not going to depend on this for my income or anything but it's a nice option. Anyone that is into designing full time should look into it. Oh, and they integrate with tons of sites, not just Etsy. Shopify, BigCommerce and even Ebay are a few of them. There are also detailed video tutorials on setting everything up.
One aspect I was confused about was the payment structure. Printful allows you to have a "Wallet" which you can load money into. When someone places an order the money is taken from the wallet/your paypal account/your bank card to pay for the initial order. Your profit comes from whatever store platform you use. For example. One of my t-shirts is priced at $25.00, the base price for the shirt is $17.00 so Printful charges me the $17.00 for the shirt and everything else is handled through Etsy. I get the full $25.00+shipping but you just have to subtract the initial $17.00. It isn't clearly spelled out but once I got my first order I figured it out pretty quickly. $8.00+ profit is much better than the dollar or less I was getting from CafePress.
I haven't ordered a sample yet as of the time of this post, but I am planning on it very soon. Once I do I will review it.
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