By in Art

Side Hustles: Art, Online - Print-on-Demand

Hey folks, hope everyone had a good weekend. My next stop on the side hustle train for artists is print-on-demand (POD).

Some of you who are writers may already be familiar with POD for books. It enables you to sell your self-published books without having to buy a big number of printed copies and then to try to sell them on your own. Instead, you simply write a book and market it, and the POD company produces only as many copies as you get orders for. That way, there is no extra stock to fool with and no chance that you will lose money on a pile of inventory that doesn't sell. This saves resources and energy and waste besides saving money, so it's a win-win-win-win!

There are POD services for artists, too. You can come up with a design and list it for sale online, and then the printing company will print individual items as they sell. Most POD companies will also "drop ship", as well, which means that they will ship the products directly to your customer as soon as they produce the order. This saves time and money, as they don't have to send it to you and have you turn around and send it back out.

There are two types of POD for artists: The kind that provides a marketplace, and the kind that works with your marketplace. The kind that provides a marketplace, like Redbubble, Teespring, Teepublic, Zazzle, Cafe Press, et al, have websites that people go to and buy items directly from. You create a "store" on those sites, and when someone places an order, they pay the site itself, the site produces the item and ships it to the customer, and sends you your payment, which is the amount they collected minus what the item costs you.

For example, I have a store on Redbubble that I started recently. Whenever I submit a design, I can decide which items I want the design to be available on, like tee shirts, water bottles, stickers, mouse pads, etc., and Redbubble tells me how much each item will cost ME to produce. I can then decide to set my profit margin, which determines how much money I will make as profit after the cost of the item.

The other type of POD service works with marketing platforms that you already have. It's similar in that they let you know the cost to you and then you decide what to charge to make a profit on that, but in this case, you provide the store. As I mentioned in my last article, I have an Etsy shop, and some of the items in my shop are POD. For that service, I use a company called Printful. They allow me to design individual items and place them in my Etsy shop. The ordering process works in a slightly different way: When a customer places an order in my Etsy shop, they pay Etsy, Etsy pays me, and I pay Printful, who produces the order and ships directly to my customer.

So, that's print-on-demand. This is a longish article, so I just wanted to give an overview, and I will write in more detail about my experiences in future posts.

The above picture is one of my designs on a coffee mug made by Printful.

Image Credit » My original design

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VinceSummers wrote on August 8, 2022, 8:56 AM

Sounds like a good idea to me. Now if only this concept were applied to "junk mail."

MegL wrote on August 8, 2022, 1:11 PM

I have a few POD items but never many sales. I must create some more and do some marketing.