How I choose a print on demand supplier for my Art Shop
I recently opened my art shop, were I sell my artworks printed on posters, canvas and t-shirt. For this I use what is called a print on demand service, a company that will handle the printing and shipping for each items without my supervision.
I choose the company Shirtigo for this task, and today I want to explain my reasoning.
These criteria might not be yours, so at the end of the article you'll find a list of reputable company to look into if you want to compare.
My criteria for a good supplier
Integrate with Prestashop
Prestashop is the software I'm using to run my shop; I'll go over the details of why I choose this software in the first place in a future article, but I was already decided to work with this.
It is not the most popular shop system out there; it is often not even mentioned on "Top 10" article conparing the differents offer.
Far behind Shopify and WooCommerce, very few company support it; those who do are mainly based in Europe, since that's where Prestashop is mostly popular.
And generally, when a platform support a niche software like Prestashop it also support many more marketplace and software; which mean I can pivot later if needed (Etsy for example would be an interesting option)
A few years ago, I think somewhere arround 2019, I was ready to launch my shop; I was setup at a company called TeeSpring, now rebranded as Spring.
It was more of a "merch shop", with t-shirt with my logo on it. It was kinda lame, but a great learning experience.
Because when I ordered just a few samples, I sudently understood why they were offering such a low price.
I was not expecting the moon of course, but as soon as I opened the packaging the single solid color logo started to crack and lightly peel off. It was visible in a distance, and I would have feel bad selling this to anyone.
This old store never launched because of this, so a decent quality was important in my criteria because of this.
Based in Europe
I live in the EU, in France, and while I'm not necesary patriotic this point was quite important for me.
I don't want to pay high shipping fee and wait multiple weeks to order samples or product for people I meet in real life; it's just a waste of energy and money for everyone, including my client.
I friend of mine use INPRNT for their high quality reproduction; but because she also lives in Europe, she have to pay almost as much as the artwork to order her own art. That's a situation I wanted to avoid.
Shirtigo is based in Germany; it's a company I can theoraticaly go to and see real human working. That contribute to the human aspect of this endaviour, and feed into my next criteria:
As I will discuss later, other company like Printify are a huge network of factories all over the world; and while this is great for their service, it's also complexe, and I don't want to deal with something too big for me.
While it's not always the case, human sized organization can provide more care for individual costumers and more accessible costumer service; that's been my experience so far with Shirtigo, who were quick to respond to my request so far.
There is something reassuring with dealing with a smaller enterprise, rather than a faceless corporation. Like I said, if I want to visit their factory in the future, I could just send an email and take the train there; I just think it's neat.
Finally, human sized also mean a fair price for both party involved.
I don't think I need to justify this one too much: if a company offer more sustainable option, it was a serious bonus for me.
Shirtigo offer a wide range of eco-friendly (or organic, whatever that means) 100% cotton apparal, as well as an option to ship product in a more recyclable packaging.
Plus synthetic clothes often feels cheap and are not really confortable to wear in the long run; I know it's a big deal for a lot of people.
Those option obviously cost more and eat a bit of my margins, but I'm happy to make this choice.
When you're buying from me, you're buying from my store; not from another faceless marketplace. Therefore it was important for me to signify that by things like putting my logo on the packaging or the invoice.
There are many branding option available with Shirtigo, such as custom washing instruction and labels, and don't yet provide all them; but that's something I want to expand once I get more foot into this venture!
Other print on demand company you should look into
After my my last article on the subject, someone asked for a list of print on demand company to look deeper into this subject.
I'm sure you have different criteria than mine, so I hope this list will be useful to you. Please note that I have little experience with them, since they I choose another service.
- Printful : the biggest and most popular one, they have a large selection of integration and product (they are one of the few that offer giclée for example) but they have higher prices than the competition.
- Printify : it's not really a unique supplier, but a network of independant manufacture arround the world. As such they are very flexible when it comes to product selection and shipping, but the quality can change from one manufacture to the next.
- Shirtee.cloud : They are also based in Germany, and I seriously considered them because they meet similar criteria, with a broader product selection and similar price. But I find their platform really confusing to use (Like they ask me to price my poster and I'm not even sure of the size it will be). But they are a good option if you have the same criteria as me; I was really hesitant for a while.
- Printed Mint : This one is interesting for its product selection (you can sell wallpaper!) and attention to the packaging: you can choose the label on the box, the color of the crickle paper, and for some product even what ribbon will be added ! Beware of the price tho
- Gooten : This one is also a manufacture network like Printify. I like their product selection, it might be worth looking into.
Thank you for reading this article; I hope it give you some interesting insight about what you should think about when choosing a print on demand partner.
If you have anymore question about this subject or want to chat further, please don't hesitate to hit me up :)
Since I also had some question about it, in the next week article I will explain further why I choose to open my art shop on my own website rather than on Redbubble, Society6 or Etsy like many other artists (hint: I didn't had the choice).
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Good luck on your art journey, take care!