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Print-On-Demand: A Beginner’s Guide


It may sound a little boring, but let’s face it: as an artist, you’re a business — and the business headaches around merch production and fulfillment can be a lot to handle.

The announcement of the Spotify <> Shopify partnership that allows artists to promote and sell merch directly from their streaming profiles has potentially huge commerce implications for artists at all levels. More established artists with major distributors and a stockroom full of merch already have their turnkey solution in place — but for indie artists with a smaller operation, Print-On-Demand (POD) solutions are a vital piece of the puzzle to make this integration as useful as possible.

If you’re new to POD e-commerce, it works pretty much just as it sounds: products are produced and shipped as ordered, reducing the upfront costs and product waste that comes with bulk ordering. Print-on-demand is booming (the POD tee shirt operation is expected to be a $10 billion business by 2025), and there are lots of options out there. 

Not sure where to start? Check out some of our recommendations below

Some housekeeping and disclaimers…

  • Single is not affiliated or partnered with any of these companies.

  • This is not an exhaustive pro/con list, and these aren’t “ranked” in any way. This is meant as a guide and starting point for you to research which option is best for you. 

  • All of the below share two criteria: they have a free pricing tier, and they have a direct integration with Shopify.

Printful

In Their Words:

“Printful is an on-demand printing and fulfillment company that helps people turn their ideas into brands and products. Whether you wish to create your own online brand or gift someone a personalized t-shirt, we can help you get it done. Whenever someone—you or your customer—makes a purchase, we'll automatically receive the order, fulfill, and ship it.”

Cliff notes:

Global fulfillment • Quick turnaround • No order minimums • Many e-commerce platform integrations

Learn more at printful.com


Teelaunch

In Their Words:

“Shopify is an amazing platform that provides you almost everything you need to start your new business. The only missing piece is the actual products to sell. That’s where teelaunch comes in. We take all the hassle out of creating products for your new shop. Everything we sell is print on demand which means the only thing you need to worry about is creating the products.”


Cliff notes:

Currently for Shopify and Etsy • Global fulfillment • No order minimums  • Unique product catalog

Learn more at teelaunch.com/


Printify

In Their Words:

“Printify is a transparent print-on-demand platform that makes it dead simple to work with multiple print providers all around the world to fulfill and send your products to your customers.”

Cliff notes:

Global fulfillment • Large product catalog • No order minimums  • Many e-commerce platform integrations

Learn more at printify.com/


Gooten 

In Their Words:

“Gooten is a globally distributed company that operates a smart supply chain for brands that are looking to utilize on-demand manufacturing to transform the way they do business.”

Cliff notes:

Competitive pricing • Unique product offerings • Global fulfillment • No order minimums

Learn more at www.gooten.com/


SPOD

In Their Words: 

“Backed by Spreadshirt and 20 years of experience, we’ve mastered the art of print-on-demand and dropshipping. You design your products, and we print and ship them to your customers. Whether you aim to share your designs with the world or are a patron of POD, we aim to equip you with the power to succeed.”

Cliff notes:

48-hour domestic (U.S.) shipping • 50,000 icon design library • Global fulfillment  • No order minimums

Learn more at www.spod.com/


Custom Cat

In Their Words:

“By connecting the CustomCat app to your online store, you gain access to hundreds of unique products to which you can apply your own artwork. You can customize the products you choose within the CustomCat app & export them directly to your website for your customers to buy. When orders are placed for these products, the order information is transmitted to us for production & white-label shipping.”

Cliff notes:

Slightly lower fees • Fast turnaround • Smaller product catalog • No order minimum

Learn more at customcat.com/


Gelato

In Their Words:

“Thousands of online stores connect to Gelato for customized items produced locally and delivered within an average of 72 hours. Faster, smarter, greener.”

Cliff notes:

Analytics dashboard • Low pricing • Easy-to-use design tools • No order minimums

Learn more at www.gelato.com/


As mentioned, this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, because such a list would be, well, exhausting. Have a hot tip on something we’re missing? Drop us a line and let us know!

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