E-commerce and selling print on demand products custom t-shirts
Once upon a time product customization was, in fact, the basis of production.
Apparel, shoes, and accessories all used to be tailor-made. This changed with the industrial revolution and mass production. But now that we’ve seen the flipside of mass production (everyone wearing the same thing), personalization — also known as customization — is making a comeback.
Whether you’re an artist, writer, designer, or entrepreneur, physical products can be the perfect canvas for monetizing your creativity.
From t-shirts to posters, backpacks to books, you can put your own original spin on everyday products and sell them online. However, if you go the traditional route of buying and holding your own inventory, you may be left with a pile of products that aren’t selling.
Print-on-demand services offer an alternative way to bypass the time, investment, and risk associated with managing inventory, letting you go from creating to selling custom products at a fraction of the cost.
Print-on-demand services for creating custom products
While many print-on-demand services might seem similar at first glance, you’ll have to carefully consider the ones you choose based on the products you want to create, where you’ll be shipping them, and the retail prices you want to offer, among other factors.
Where to find design ideas and designers
In the best case scenario, you’re a designer or know one you can work well with. But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have immediate access to design talent. That’s what outsourcing is for.
You can find designers to work with on Behance, 99 Designs, or other freelance sites who can produce usable designs as long as you provide clear instructions. Here’s how you can add clarity and context for a design project:
- Share insight into your audience. Tell them what it’s for and who your audience is. Showing them your website, if you have one, can also help.
- Clearly explain what you want. Use your initial pitch and subsequent revisions (you should get at least 1 or 2) to over-communicate what you’re looking for and the guidelines to follow, and try to provide concrete feedback every step of the way.
- Provide examples for inspiration. Give them a reference to base the design on or point to past work that you liked.
There are a lot of talented designers, so you should be able to find someone to bring your ideas to life. The tricky part is figuring out what you want to design in the first place.
This will depend on your target audience for the product, but you can find design inspiration on:
- Facebook Pages
- Wherever your potential customers hang out online
You can look for content, messaging, or styles that already resonate with your target audience to brainstorm ideas worth pursuing. Just be sure you’re not infringing on anyone else’s work.
Social media is also a great place to litmus test your ideas. If you’re looking to turn the internet into your focus group, try the following:
- Post to your personal network on Facebook or to groups
- Use Instagram’s Poll and Question stickers to solicit feedback
- Share a rough version of your design idea with a relevant subreddit