POD (short for Print On Demand) is another way for you to sell your art work. No financial outlay for you, just your time to create and upload.
So what is POD?
POD is a great way for you to add your art work to many items, usually clothing, mugs and even posters and canvases if you want. The POD company then handle the sale, printing and dispatch of the item.
This is the beauty of it, you do not need to pay for any of the merchandise, you just upload your designs to be shown on the products.
Once you have uploaded the design, you may get the option to set what commission you get on a sale. Some sites allow you to do this, some just have a set commission.
Then, in theory, you sit back and wait for the money to come in.
Sitting back is one option, but sales will be infrequent. Some marketing will be required to help push some sales. However this does depend quite a bit on which POD site you use.
Some sites such as Redbubble, TeePublic and Zazzle will do their own marketing and ads. However the likes of Amazon Merch not so much.
It’s like anything in life. The more work you put, hopefully the better the reward.
POD options I use and recommend as another way to sell your art
Zazzle A US based company, so you will need to supply some tax info before they will pay you. Best used for allowing potential customers to customise the product that has your design on. However, I don’t allow that option very often.
You can adjust the commission you get on each product, and there is a lot of products you can choose from.
My experience with sales, is that they have been very slow and on low price items such as Postcards. It ticks over and has a slow trickle of funds being built up (they only pay you after £30 commission has been acquired). Payment is via PayPal.
I’m sure I could be doing more with my Zazzle shop, especially with greetings cards etc. My Zazzle Shop.
TeePublic Another US based company, but no need to to supply any tax info. Just set up an account and start uploading designs based on your art work.
Not as many products as Zazzle and the commission is set and can not be changed. TeePublic do quite a bit of marketing and quite a few sales.
My sales experience has been quite good on TeePublic just leaving it to them to do the marketing.
They pay your commission earnings on the 15th of the month, no matter what the earnings are. The pay via PayPal.
I’ve been quite happy with TeePublic, you can visit my TeePublic Store Please note, that it is more aimed at aviation and military themed designs.
RedBubble An Australian based company, and like TeePublic very easy to set up and use.
They have quite a few products that you can add your art work too. Not as many as Zazzle but more than TeePublic.
They do allow you to adjust the commission on each product, which is very useful. For example, stickers are a good item to increase commission on. They are quite cheap to start with so even increasing commission on them by 100% they are still affordable.
Commission payments are paid on the 15th of each month, but the amount must be £20 minimum.
(Update May 2023) Redbbble have now changed their fee plan. They now have a very unfair tier system of ‘Standard’, ‘Premium’ and ‘Pro’. Basically if you are selling thousands of £’s (Pro) then you don’t get charged. However if you are selling low amounts, Redbubble take a percentage of your earnings. So until they change this policy, I will not be uploading any new designs to Redbubble.
I’ve done quite well on Redbubble and like TeePublic they do quite a bit of marketing and ads. But it never hurts to do your own promotions.
My Redbuuble Shop is a mix of designs and styles, but mostly aviation and military theme.
Amazon Merch This is Amazon allowing you to sell your designs on a small but expanding range of products.
You have to apply to join Amazon Merch, which may not be for everyone. Once you do get accepted and join you start off in tier 10. This basically means you can only have 10 items for sale. However, once you have sold 10 items you then move up to tier 25. Same process applies, and then you move up to tier 100 and then tier 500 etc.
The benefits of Amazon are that the are the biggest sales site in the world, so have a massive customer base. The disadvantages is much more competition and you need to do more marketing of your own to get seen.
You set the what price you want to sell the item at (based on a base price supplied by Amazon). You don’t have a shop just items on Amazon such as:
The t-shirt above is based on my Eagle Owl drawing over in my Birds Gallery. It is an example of what you could do with your art.
Etsy is an online site where you can set up your own shop. You pay a small fee to add items into your shop (about 20p per item for 3 months). If you sell an item, then there are some small Etsy fees to pay on the sale.
Normally with Etsy you handle the making and dispatch of products. Etsy handle the payments. Obviously in this situation, you control the price and Postage costs. Etsy handle all the payments from the buyer. They pay you your earnings each Monday.
So how does this fit in with the POD model. Quite simply, you can use a drop ship company (basically drop ship is the same as print on demand, they print and ship the product).
In this case, you can set up a Printify account and incorporate it with your Etsy shop. Within Printify you can add your design to a range of products. You can even select which company prints/makes your product and the mark up on the price that you want. The product is then automatically added to your Etsy shop.
When a customer places an order, Etsy take the payment. The order is sent to your selected print company. They print and dispatch the product and then invoice you for the base price of the product, you are left with the mark up you added.
I’ve had great success with Etsy/Printify especially during Quarter 4 of the year (basically Christmas).
I use this method to sell t-shirts and mugs in my Etsy Shop which sit very well with my hand painted items.
POD another way to sell your art – summary
I have found using print on demand a useful way to sell my art and to make a little bit of money to go towards buying art materials etc.
As with all these types of projects, you can put in as much or as little time as you can manage. But at least you are getting your art work out in the world.
Stuart Fowle is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.