Thinking of starting your own POD online business?
There's no better time than now!
There are many product, print and distribution companies that will run with your designs. They are the partners in your online enterprise. We'll examine how they work, and the pros (and any cons) of the main players.
The Beauty of Print on Demand (POD)
It used to be that for anyone with the grand idea of starting a retail business, there were so many initial hurdles to consider. First, a business loan from a bank. A daunting commitment! Then, leasing a premises - that's the old brick-and-mortar store. Then the budgeting begins. Stock. Storage. Staff. Utilities. And that's before you've even put your merchandise on the shelves!
When you consider that most new businesses fail after their first year of operation, it's easy to see how the dream quickly turns to a nightmare. And, after your rude awakening, you more than likely still owe money.
There is an antidote. We are wholly fortunate to be living in the 'golden age' of e-commerce. You do not need the capital, space, nor crushing amount of resources in order to get the wheels turning on your retail dream. And, more people are turning to online shopping for convenience, comparison, and the pure entertainment that is scrolling and shopping. This trend is only gathering pace.
You can start and run an online POD business from your sofa or desk, or wherever you're most comfortable. No need to scout expensive retail space in the 'best places' to be seen -- and hope that the customers come flooding in.
Your webpage is your shopfront. Your merchandise doesn't require storage in your garage or basement, risking fire or flood. It is 'out there', on the shelves at your printing partner's warehouse, waiting for you to apply your designs.
Then, once an order is placed, your printing partner company will also ship it directly by courier or post to your customer. Your part in the sequence is to conceptualize your designs and apply them to mock-up photos within your online shop that will represent the finished product to your customers. It is the perfect combination of creativity and commerce!
And, you don't have to be an art graduate to make a great design. There are apps for that! We'll talk about them more in POD Resources.
Printing partners operate in much the same way, although each has its own strengths and weaknesses. We'll break them down so that you can get a good idea of what to expect, and what best suits your tastes and needs.
You'll then decide which products to focus upon offering, and that may itself determine your ideal production partner.
It's especially fun to anticipate the holiday season, and to choose certain products for your shop that you know your customers will enjoy at that time of the year. And, don't forget that the calendar is punctuated with other occasions like Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Mother's & Father's Days, graduations and so on -- that will let you cater to a wide audience.
So, now is the time! It's your time. And we'd love to show you how to get started in POD.
This is the creative part! We know the best places to research and download the visuals for your designs. We're talking graphics, artwork, and fonts -- and you'll be spoiled for choice.
Do I Need to Be an Artist to Succeed in POD?
Absolutely NOT! Now, if you happen to be an artist, or even a supreme doodler -- that's great -- (and we're a bit jealous!). You should know that there is a wealth of online resources for graphic assets that you can access. See the list to the right to get the general idea.
So, what will you design? Do you feel stuck, before you've even started? We've been there, and know the feeling! It helps if you think that there is inspiration all around us - in print, song, and snippets of overheard conversations.
What's in the news? Trending on Twitter? What's your jam - is it sarcasm, cats, or your own little niche that you know has like-minded followers? Which YouTube channels are swamped with followers, and why? Those are your key starting points.
Maybe you just want to start with text designs for slogans and phrases to get the ball rolling. That's fine! Some creators do only that and do very well. Or, maybe you love color and pattern -- that is home decor and fashion-accessory territory which has exciting potential, especially on Etsy. The choice is yours.
One thing about this business, you will always find something new that you're driven to create and put out there for your customers. It might feel 'clunky' at first, while you get your bearings, but that's how it evolves. Every design builds upon the previous one--as your ideas cascade and confidence builds.
There is something incredibly satisfying about knowing that someone you've never met before, perhaps thousands of miles away -- has bought your design on a T-shirt or mug and is eagerly showing it off to their friends and family. Or proudly giving it as a gift with its own special meaning.
We're in the business of making people happy - and having our own fun along the way, while growing a sustainable business. Talk about a win-win!
We really hope you come back to our site to start -- and then continue -- your evolution in POD!
-Dani for EcomGemini
Hi, I'm Dani Sherman
ceo at ecomgemini
I've been thriving in the online space for the past several years, and I know what it takes to establish a presence on multiple e-commerce platforms. I've had a lot of learning and support along the way from different sources, and now I'd like to help you get started with your own dreams of running a successful online business. I publish a weekly blog post and I hope you'll check back as often to see what's new, and how it might assist you in your own online ventures!
To moving forward,