Using Print-On-Demand T-Shirt Fulfillment Companies: Advice & Tips For Designers Using Printful, Teelaunch, CustomCat Etc.

Last Updated: May 12, 2017

Are you looking at using a Print-On-Demand T-Shirt fulfillment company like Printful, CustomCat or Teelaunch to do the printing and shipping for your clothing brand or business?

If so, I have some advice for you.

I’ve been using Print-On-Demand T-Shirt Fulfillment companies (or T-Shirt Dropshippers) for over 3 years now – and in that time I’ve dealt with pretty much every issue you could ever expect.

In this article I’m going to explain the difference between T-Shirt fulfillment companies like Printful and sites like Redbubbble, Merch By Amazon and TeeSpring – and delve into some of the nitty gritty with some helpful tips and tricks for YOU – the budding brand owner.

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Merch By Amazon Review Q1

2017 Q1 Review [Merch By Amazon vs. Redbubble vs. Teepublic] + 3 Big Lessons

Last Updated: April 10, 2017

Yes, the first quarter of 2017 is over already! yikes!

So it’s time for a review post.

Hold on to your hats.

Let’s Look At Those Numbers!

Here’s my month on month from Q4 2016 to Q1 2017:

Merch By Amazon Earnings Graph

As you can see I experienced a big drop from December to January.

Of course that was not unexpected – December is always going to be the biggest month in retail.

But that drop was a little harder than I had hoped, and I’ll get into why later.

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Increasing T-Shirt Design Output

5 Lessons From Increasing Design Output (And Why It Matters)

Last Updated: April 10, 2017

December 2016 was my best month ever for T-Shirt sales and income.

It blew everything up to that point out of the water.

But – if I’m honest – I was somehow a little disappointed, and felt it could have been better.


Because the total number of design available on my single biggest sales channel (Merch By Amazon) was significantly diminished throughout November and December (through a combination of Amazon’s introduction of the new 60-day-rule, plus a crackdown on designs that violated Amazon’s design policies).

(I explain a little more about that in my 2016 T-Shirt Income Review article.)

In other words, a lot of potential sales were lost because the number of designs I had available (on Amazon at least) dropped significantly.

Now, there’s little I could have done to protect myself against the 60-day-rule (any design that doesn’t sell in the first 60 days gets removed). Some designs sell, others don’t – and it’s very hard to predict this accurately ahead of time.

And there’s somewhat more I could have done to protect myself from the clean-up on potentially policy-violating designs – for example: staying away from controversial topics and potentially offensive jokes.

But the single biggest reason that I didn’t make more in December is this:

I didn’t have enough designs!

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Selling T-Shirts on Amazon Seller Central With Shopify

Selling T-Shirts on Seller Central with Shopify: Part 2 (Overcoming Headaches)

Last Updated: April 10, 2017

Last week we took a look at how to sell T-Shirts on Amazon Seller Central.

If you aren’t familiar with Seller Central – or the difference between Seller Central and a platform like Merch By Amazon – then go back and read last week’s blog for a detailed run through.

In short though: Seller Central has some distinct advantages over a platform like Merch – and thanks to the new Shopify integration with Amazon, we can effectively sell T-Shirts on auto-pilot.

But – the whole Shopify -> Amazon integration is still pretty buggy, and we ran into some annoying obstacles.

The good news is that I’ve (pretty much) figured out the issues, and now have a system in place that works as intended.

Read on for the nitty gritty…

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Selling T-Shirts On Amazon Merch vs. Seller Central – Pros & Cons (& Headaches)

Last Updated: June 14, 2019

Update! A lot of the issues discussed in this post have since been resolved, please see this blog post for an updated version.

Let’s talk about Amazon!

When it comes to selling T-Shirts on Amazon, you have a couple of options.

1) Merch By Amazon. You upload artwork – and Amazon prints and ships the T-Shirts for you – paying you a percentage of each sale made.

2) Amazon Seller Central. You sell Shirts directly to customers via Amazon, and are responsible for the printing and shipping. You can use a T-Shirt Fulfillment company to handle this for you, and you simply manage the process. You receive the gross value of each sale (minus fees), so your profit is the difference between your sale price (plus shipping) and the cost of printing and shipping that shirt to the customer.

Selling T-Shirts Merch Amazon vs Seller Central

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Selling T-Shirts On Instagram: 3 Marketing Tips

Last Updated: April 10, 2017

If you’ve been reading my blog for anytime at all, then you’ll know my main source of income – and what I write about most often – is selling T-Shirts through print-on-demand platforms like Merch By Amazon and Redbubble.

Almost all of those sales come organically.

That means I don’t do much ‘direct’ marketing of my own, and I do almost no paid-marketing (i.e. Advertising).

Well, that is beginning to change.

I’ve been playing around with Shopify for a few months now, and am beginning to see some success using paid traffic via Instagram – specifically by reaching out to popular, relevant accounts and paying them for sponsored posts.

The income from my Shopify store is not about to replace that from my print-on-demand sites (it’s only brought in about $2k/month for the past 3 months), but it’s been a nice additional income stream, and it comes with the added bonus of a direct relationship with my customers, and the chance to re-market to them over and over again in the future.

This post is by no means comprehensive – and I’m no expert in this area – but I have picked up few tips that I think will help anyone who is looking to take things in a similar direction (ie. – your own brand store + paid traffic or direct marketing).

But beware – you will need to drop some cash to make this work.

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Branding T-Shirts online

Brands and Branding while Selling T-Shirts Online: Your Questions Answered

Last Updated: April 10, 2017

When it comes to selling T-Shirt online, branding is one of the things you’ll wrestle with sooner or later.

  • Should you have one T-Shirt ‘brand’ for all your designs – or several?
  • Should you keep your brand identity specific to a single niche, or broad and general to appeal to as many people as possible?
  • Should you brand yourself as an individual artist / designer, or as a business / company?

These are questions I get asked a lot, so I thought I’d delve into some of the various considerations here…

(and that way I don’t have to personally reply to a bunch of emails individually in the future – I can just send people this link 🙂 )

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T-Shirt Income Review 2016

2016 Year In Review [$100k Profit, Channel Breakdown and 2017 Plans]

Last Updated: April 10, 2017

2016 is over – so it’s time for a review post.

This isn’t going to be a particularly long or exhaustive article – more of a brain dump. I just want to share my raw numbers and pull out some major headlines, plus explain my thinking and plans for 2017.

2016 was a big year for me.

In 2016 I…

  • left my full-time job to go full-time on T-Shirts
  • started this blog, alongside an email newsletter and a Facebook group (secret, message me if you want in 😛 )
  • wrote a book called How To Sell More Shirts! and released it for free (updated, non-free version is coming soon)
  • designed at least 300 T-Shirts
  • made a lot of new friends 🙂
  • was interviewed for two podcasts (here and here)
  • and the big one…brought in over $100k in T-Shirt profits (not just revenue).

How did I do it?

Read on my fellow T-Shirt traveller…

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