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Lets talk about... Print on Demand... Pocket Money or Great Opportunity?

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GrandRub

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Hello Community,


I've been selling T Shirts (yes of course...) for about a year now via Merch by Amazon and all the other big marketplaces. I earn a decent extra income - but nothing crazy.

I'm pretty sure that's not a good business model. uploading and hoping. Quantity over quality. Throwing shit on the wall. No barrier to enter the market. Absolutely no control over your own brand, over your own products and you are absolutely dependent on the marketplaces.

So I have been building my own shop with Shopify+Printful. online since last week. Of course it is much more complex and you have to take care of your own traffic... But this is ok and actually it motivates me a lot that you can do a lot more than just uploading like a machine... You build something (if it works...). My niche is good and has an unique "twist", my shop is ok and I got my first sales... So far so good.

However... And that is my problem... I wonder if all this is really worth it? Doesn't every teenager and his dog sell T-shirts today? There are millions of T-shirts and brands...

But I also think that it is a really great possibility... If I imagine that i would have wanted to start such a business only 20 years ago... You need staff, storage rooms, machines... And today you can sell almost without cost and effort to the WHOLE WORLD...

i could branch out to other niche related products and see what is working.. so PoD could be a nice method of testing the water.


What do you think of Print on Demand? And T Shirts in particular?... After all, there are millions of people who wear and buy T-shirts...

Is anyone of you successful with PoD? Today? Not 3 Years Ago?

Thank you!
 

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NandoJr

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Hi there! I'm in the process of building my own clothing brand! I believe If you're going to enter this area your brand is a huge component of whether it's going to do good or not. Like you said, everyone and their moms is trying to sell shirts these days, but what makes yours stand out compared to others? I also had doubt when starting the process of creating a brand for shirts and other clothing items, but once I was set on my niche and brand identity, It motivated me to ensure I do everything in my power to make it successful. In terms of printing, one of my old classmates used Printful to create 2 shirts for her Etsy shop (she mostly does crafty projects) and she said she loved the quality of the shirt since she ordered one for herself to test out. If you really want to sell shirts i say keep going at it! But if you're only looking to see what else makes you some good income there certainly are other markets you can look into! Best of luck! :)
 

minivanman

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Personally, if I was going to sell t-shirts, I'd bring in my own customers, not just have a website and do SEO. Racing, kids & adult sports anything like this that needs shirts every year. That way you can have repeat customers. Target those things specifically. You need to stay active to the groups you sell to. Make them THINK you are giving them a deal. Activities around holidays in your community. All kinds of things you could do. But, I have no clue what the profit is on something like that. You could have someone on Fiverr (or some other site) do your special designs for these customers. All the while, selling to people online for your regular t-shirts.
 
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GrandRub

GrandRub

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My "Brand" is based arround a lifestyle that is quite popular but there isnt much real competition in my country... but it isnt something unique or so.

/ "niche" is veganism/vegetarians/yoga/eco stuff

i dont want to be a fashion brand or something like that. we sell merchandise to people to show off their lifestyle and their identity. illustrations, quotes, and such stuff.
our product is "identity" printed on t shirts ... i am sure nobody would buy our shirts if we just printed our logo onto it... but that is 100% ok. i dont want to be the next nike or supreme or whatever.

/i am doing some niche related content on instagram. i am not 100% into that niche but it is something i am interested so i think i can generate a good amount of interesting content over a longer period of time.
 

NandoJr

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My "Brand" is based arround a lifestyle that is quite popular but there isnt much real competition in my country... but it isnt something unique or so.

i dont want to be a fashion brand or something like that. we sell merchandise to people to show off their lifestyle and their identity. illustrations, quotes, and such stuff.
our product is "identity" printed on t shirts ... i am sure nobody would buy our shirts if we just printed our logo onto it... but that is 100% ok. i dont want to be the next nike or supreme or whatever.
Ohh forsure! In that case, with the right research and designs, you can sell with the right marketing!
 

MJ DeMarco

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I hate the business model.

That said, everything your doing is great for your personal growth. No matter what you earn, you will be better for it. And who knows where it might lead.

If you succeed in that business where the entry barriers are low, you'll do that much better once you start wandering into more difficult areas.

See my post on CENTS being potentially destructive to action. Given the choice of what you're doing and not doing anything, I pick t-shirts.

JMO.
 
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GrandRub

GrandRub

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And who knows where it might lead.
Thanks for your answer.

that's how i think at the moment. I want to learn and see where the way leads. If it doesn't work then at least you have learned something.

The entry hurdle for T Shirts is low... But I rarely see T-shirt sellers who give the impression that they are really committed to the long term. No customer loyalty, no "personality", no optimization. 90% are felt Shopify templates with designs that are either bad or just "look nice"... And after 6 months the shop is closed again.

The shops that, at least that's how it looks, sell well look completely different at first glance and "feel" different. Interacting more, are part of their niche and not just anyone who sells T-shirts... That's where I want to go.

We' ll see! I will make a progress thread and hope for the best.

// It isnt a Multi Million Dollar Business of course - But my margin per Shirt is ~10-15$. only expenses are ads and some hosting + some designs for things i cannot do myself. i aim to sell 200-300 shirts per month in the next 12 months. and i am confident that this is doable. i know people who do this on different niches and it isnt rocketscience.
 
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Charnell

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There were a few standouts that do/did well, but for every one that actually does well, there are a hundred that are some high school kid using print-on-demand services for his math class doodles. Which isn't necessarily bad, they just see it as something cool to do rather than a business. Make a few dollars selling to their friends and family. Again, absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can tell who takes it serious and who takes it Instagram serious.
@Charnell - Could you explain that? what do you think are the points a new Print on Demand Brand has to focus on? i agree that social media isnt easy and you wont make bank with a few posts here and there... but isnt it very important to be active on instagram? especially for a "visual" and young business like a clothing brand? niche related content and interaction with your niche? and what would you consider actionfaking bullshit?
Just wanted to reply in your thread instead of the other one.

What I meant between the difference between serious and Instagram serious is some people treated what they did as a business and not something cool they were doing with their friends.

If you're doing print on demand, you don't really have a brand. Slapping your logo on shirts doesn't make you a brand. Once you get into actually carrying stock, having drops that people care about, and maybe writing a tech pack or a dozen you can probably be recognized as a clothing brand. Or, you can just say you're a brand, who am I to gatekeep?

As long as you're making progress that's all that matters. Not everyone has the funds to stock inventory, so do print on demand until you can. Not everyone has the risk tolerance to trust some guy overseas to a) make his design a reality and b) not run off with the money.

For what it's worth, I have a bunch of designs on MBA, TeePublic, RB, Spreadshirt, etc. that I used to bankroll my current endeavor.
 
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GrandRub

GrandRub

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i dont see myself as a "brand" and i dont want to be a brand or streetwear or fashion - It just interested me lot where you would see a difference between taking something serious and "instagram" serious in the clothing industry.


/ but i also see this a lot - just some guys with 5-10 nice and cool looking designs - hoping to be the next supreme. default shopify template and after 6 months... gates closed.
 

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