There are many people making a killing using print on demand to ship out custom t-shirt to custom audiences.
Some of the stories you will hear about researching this are quite unbelievable.
Today I am going to be showing you how to dropship custom shirts with print on demand using a free plugin, a free graphic design tool, and a basic Shopify plan.
Just to kick things off on a high note, here’s a video of a guy explaining how he did a staggering one million dollars in sales with print on demand using just one custom t-shirt.
But First, What Is Print On Demand?
Print on Demand is the online business model that allows us to create custom-designed items (such as apparel, iPhone cases, wall posters, etc,) and sell them to an audience.
The best (unique) thing about it though is that you can find a printer who will print a specific item for you without you needing to buy in bulk.
To explain it better, the “product” gets printed only when it has been sold. But that’s not where the magic happens.
What Is DropShipping?
You are going to then have to ship the printed item to your customer, that is where drop shipping comes in. Meaning;
- The printer prints your item.
- The printer ships it to your customer.
- You pocket the profit.
That’s basically it. You do not need to hold any inventory either – you just need to come up with a design (that sells) and sell it using the methods I will share with you down below.
Print on demand is a pretty fantastic opportunity, and I’m going to tell you why it works so well next.
Advantages of Print On Demand
Apart from the obvious benefit of not having to store any inventory yourself or handle any shipping headaches, the one MAJOR thing that print-on-demand is loved for is the fact that you can create custom product targetted to “custom” customers.
With e-commerce, we typically first have to find the product, then we try and match the audience. But with print on demand, you can simply find the audience first, then create a specific product for it.
A perfect example would be this print on demand custom shirt that was created for the soccer-mum community/audience online.
You can also see the above-listed video where he shares with you not only how to dropship custom shirts with print on demand but also how to go about finding the right audience with the right product.
Cool… Now let’s talk about what you need to get started.
What You Need To Drop Ship Custom T-Shirts
As previously stated, you are going to need 3 things in order to get started, these are:
- Shopify membership.
- A print on demand app.
- Some sort of graphic design tool.
There will be more to it later, but first, let’s just start with the basics:
A Shopify Membership
This is a must and you can’t do without it. Having your own Shopify store will allow you to build an entire brand around your designs (if you wish) and it will give you all the functionality to grow it into a fully fledged business.
The Shopify plan costs $29 a month and you’re also going to need a domain (that’s another $15 per year). You can get both on the Shopify website.
Confused already? See my Shopify review here >>>
A Print On Demand App
This is where it gets interesting.
Now there are plenty of print on demand Shopify apps that allow you to create and upload designs to and sell products through their site.
Here’s a list of the top print-on-demand tools, but I myself mainly use these two right here:
They’re both fairly easy to use and they require no payment whatsoever.
Obviously, you will need to pay for the printed items once the sale comes in, but you will be getting paid from your customer first – so don’t worry about any costs for now.
Now the focus of this post is to show you how to dropship custom t-shirts with POD but both these apps (and many others) offer much more than just t-shirts.
An item I sell a lot of are custom made watches (using WC Fulfillment). A big market and a big opportunity there if you find the right audience.
What else do you need to get started? Oh yes… a t-shirt design.
A Graphic Design Tool
This is where it can get a bit tricky, as I am sure not everyone reading this have any skills in designing t-shirts.
If you do, then great, I am sure you know (or can figure out) how to create a decent t-shirt design using Photoshop but if you have no idea about it all (like me), then I suggest you use Canva.om to get some ideas.
On there you’ll also find ready-made templates. All you would need to is to edit the text so it should not be hard to put something together.
Things To Remember When Designing a Custom T-Shirt
Remember that what you are designing needs to be printed on an actual t-shirt so it’s a must that your design has a minimum size of 5000 x 5000 pixels.
Anything less than that and the print on demand apps above would likely not accept to print your designs.
Remember that whatever you create, you need a black and white version of (for black and white t-shirts of course).
There’s also a variety of different coloured shirts you can sell so play around with the colours of your design and match them with the right fabric colour.
Make it Memorable:
This “custom t-shirt/print on demand” thing reminds me very much of people selling t-shirts from their car boot at a parking lot.
It really is the same concept, (except you are doing it online) so my best tip to you here is to make your designs memorable.
A great example of this would again be the video I opened this guide with. He had a stadium-themed shirt for a specific sports fan – for them, that makes it extremely more memorable.
Another great tip that I found is to look for quotes people get as tattoos, if they can get it as a tattoo, they are more likely to get it as a t-shirt.
Should You Hire A Graphic Designer?
This is a great question and yes, once you get the hang of the whole custom t-shirts and print on demand business, I do suggest you look into hiring some professional designers to help you create “better” designs.
I suggested a free tool (Canva) because you can do it yourself by learning some design-basis but definitely consider using a graphic designer if (or when) you can afford to.
How To Promote Your Custom Shirts Business
One last thing I want to bring up is how to promote a custom t-shirt business online.
3 things come to mind here, and those are:
Facebooks Ads are the absolute best thing that has ever happened to e-commerce.
I won’t cover all you need to know about Facebook Ads because that would take me a month to write, but there are MANY resources online that will show you the best ways to use Facebooks Ads, specifically for print on demand.
You can also check out the eCom Elites training course to learn how to start a profitable ad campaign with $5 a day.
Oe brand I truly admire on Instagram is BALR.
Now I am not saying they are using the print on demand model, but they sure as hell know how to build a brand.
If you want to learn how to market your brand on Instagram, look into the BALR. account and do everything they are doing.
The last tip I would give is Pinterest (but only if your target audience is available mostly on Pinterest).
Certain niches such as yoga, gardening, homeschooling, etc all have a huge audience on Pinterest so if that is the area you want to do print on demand shirts on, give it a go.
How To Learn Print On Demand
E-Commerce is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to learn how to make money online.
It’s still fairly easy to do, even though the competition is through the roof now but there are still some great opportunities in it, especially with print on demand.
if you want to learn the ropes as to what makes an e-com store successful, then follow the eCom Elites roadmap.
It’s a training course I highly recommend you get as it will cover all you need to know from the very start all the way to more complicated modules on how you should scale your winning ads for maximum $$$.
Thank you very much for reading and for supporting the blog.
I hope this post has served you well and shown you the way forward with dropshipping, print on demand and custom t-shirts.
Talk to you soon and I wish you all the very best.
Since 2011, I’ve been learning how to make money online with affiliate marketing. This website is where I share everything I know and all I will learn along until I reach my next income goal of $30,000 p/month.