POD (Print-on-Demand) businesses are a type of business that allow designers to create and sell custom products without the need for inventory. In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of POD businesses, how they work, and the benefits and drawbacks of this type of business.
How Does a POD Business Work?
A POD business only prints and creates the product when the order for the item is made. This means that items can be ordered one at a time by your customers rather than you having to order in bulk and keep inventory to send out yourself. The artist designs the product, and the POD service handles the printing and shipping of the product to the customer.
The designers creates some artwork or logo, and uploads it to the POD service. The POD service then prints the design on the product (such as a t-shirt, mug, or phone case), and ships it to the customer. The designer earns a profit on each sale.
Benefits of a POD Business
- Low Start-up Costs: Starting a POD business requires minimal upfront costs, as there is no need for inventory or storage space. It can take some time to setup all your designs and make them suit the products they will be printed on.
- Large Range of Products: Designers can replicate their designs across multiple products to suit your customers needs, which gives you a huge range of items for example: clothing, phone cases, stationery, fabrics, homewares, art prints, cards, wrapping paper and much more. You may need to sign up to multiple POD business to access all the items you want to utilise.
- No Inventory Management: With a POD business, the POD service handles the printing and shipping of products, which means there is no need for inventory management or storage space. This means you can reduce operating costs and keep more of your profits.
- Extra Exposure: Some POD businesses include a marketplace as part of their website, which allows people to search through current designers and their work. This can lead to more exposure to your designs as the POD website are often made very well and have great SEO.
Drawbacks of a POD Business
- Lower Profit Margins: POD businesses have lower profit margins compared to businesses that manufacture and sell their own products. This is because the POD service charges a fee for each product that is printed and shipped. They are realistically doing all the labour involved in producing the product so in turn make the biggest chunk of the profit.
- No Control Over Production: With a POD business, the designer has limited control over the production process. This can lead to quality control issues, as well as delays in shipping. There can also be a difference when they POD utilising different print centres in different countries.
- Limited Product Offerings: While there are a variety of products that can be created with a POD business, there are still limitations. Each POD business offers different products to be printed on. Some are common and some less so, and you can not have truly custom products.
- Less Unique: Many businesses used the same POD as you do and the products can look a bit the same over time.
- Localisation: It is not always identifiable as to where the product to be printed on, and even sometimes the printing is carried out. If wanting to choose local suppliers this can be difficult to control.
POD businesses can be a great way to start a business with low start-up costs and customizable products. However, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this type of business before diving in. If you’re interested in starting a POD design, do your research, identify a niche, and find a reliable print-on-demand service. With dedication and hard work, you can build a successful POD business that provides unique and custom products to customers.
A List of Popular POD Companies
- Printful: T-shirts, hats, mugs, and more.
- Printify: Clothing, phone case, art prints, accessories.
- Teespring: Custom t-shirts, hoodies, and other apparel.
- Society6: Art prints, tapestries, phone cases, and more.
- Redbubble: Clothing, stickers, phone cases, and more.
- Zazzle: Clothing, phone cases, and home decor.
- The Print Bar: Clothing, calico bags, aprons.
A List of FABRIC POD Companies
- Spoonflower: US-based, variety of fabrics, including cotton, silk, and jersey knit as well as a wide range of home decor.
- Contrado: UK-based, wide range of fabrics, including silk, cotton, and linen.
- Woven Monkey: UK-based, variety of fabrics, including cotton, jersey, and canvas.
- Digital Fabrics: AUS-based, cotton, naturals, fashion fabrics, swimwear, display and promo fabric.
- Next State Print: AUS-based natural and polyester fabrics for fashion and interior applications