Why your art business needs print on demand
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 will not blame you if you haven't heard much about print on demand before; not everyone as to be as nerdy about the subject as me!
But if you're an artist, with an online store or not, I would highly encourage you to give print on demand a go. In today's article I want to go over why.
It's simply a better use of your time
They are many reason why I choose print on demand myself, but the main one is that I really don't want to ship anything myself.
One of my core value is freedom, and being tied by a huge stock to maintain, and needing to always be there to find a box, print the label, and ship the package was a huge overhead for me.
I saw a lot of pretty vlogs on youtube about young people starting their brand and art shop. I'm sure you've seen those. They ship and sometime create everything themself, put goodies and doodles in the packaging to make it a lovely and unique experience to the buyer. And I really admire their commitment.
It's really appealing to watch and fantasize about this small business lifestyle, but here is the catch: that's not the best use of your time.
Going to the post office and being surounded with stock and boxes is not my passion, and I will assume neither are yours. We could also spend more time creating art and new product, promoting our store, or just rest.
Sendings boxes is not were you create the most value.
How many orders can you send each week? 5? 10? 100? What's your limit?
Even if you love sending each orders yourself, there is a point where it will not be sustainable for you and your health. Sure, you're making good money if your margins are good, but you barely have any time for anything else.
What kind of business is this where the work get more draining as you're succesful?
By delegating printing and shipping, your workload stays the same (and very low), weither you're successful or not.
You don't ever need to close shop to restock or refill your energy. Unless the supplier run out of blanks or paper, which is unlikely, you can be open all year long and not be bound by your own limitation.
Unlimited number of product
Uploading a new design doesn't cost you anything, literally.
If you want to create tshirt out of every doodle you've ever made, or offer print of your whole Instagram feed, you can.
Well, I don't necessarly recommend it from a business perspective, but this allow you to experiment and create more option for your fans at virtually no cost.
No huge investment
It technically cost nothing to start with print on demand. Depending on the supplier, you will need to transfer a bit of money to get the production started, but that's just advancing on the first sales you will get.
The only real cost is when you order samples of product, which for me is very important to judge the quality in advance.
But apart from that, it's a really accessible business model to start.
No need to take a loan to get supplies and stock that will maybe never sell. You're largely reducing your risk this way.
And finally, print on demand is also more ecological:
as you maybe know, large scale clothing store keep a huge amount of stock, and when the season end and the collection need to be renewd, a colosal amount of clothes needs to be destroyed.
By printing exactly what you need for each order (and using sustainable material and ink), print on demand avoid this stock problem and is more sustainable.
But, what if I want to create the product myself?
That's a valid question, and I will not blame anyone who prefer to create handmade or unique product that goes beyond the realm of tshirt and print.
That's actually something I'm considering myself for the future of my art shop.
I don't have this point figured out yet, but what I'm considering is a warehouse service; where you rent a portion of a warehouse, send your product to them once, and they then take care of packaging and shipping to the individual costumer.
Once I have more experience in this field I will gladly create an article to go more in depth on this subject; because that's something any artist can benefit from, including those who are way more crafty than me.
I hope this article was interesting to you! If you've an Art Shop already and want to give it a go, you can gradually integrate print on demand into your offers; you don't need to go all in and completly change your business to see the benefic. Costumers are okay with receiving separate packages when you're clear about it.
Next week I will talk about my personal criteria for choosing a print on demand supplier. I also want to talk more about why I choose to have my own website instead of relying on a marketplace like Rebubble, Society6 and others, like so many artist do.
If that's something that's interesting to you, you should join my Newsletter Club, where I share more insight about what is coming and where I can easely answer your question: