This post may contain affiliate links which means if you make a purchase, I might earn a commission at no additional cost to you. You can find my full affiliate disclosure, here.
Is your dream adventure starting an online business? Or do you feel that an online shop can help you live a nomadic lifestyle?
If you have design skills and don’t mind learning how to market an online business, you may want to consider opening up an online store. And before you begin to think about where you’ll store inventory, shipping supplies, and production supplies, allow me to introduce you to Printful fulfillment.
Starting an online store is now more convenient than ever due to fulfillment companies like Printful.
What is Printful?
Printful is a fulfillment company what prints, sews, packages, and ships your designs to your customers. This is a white label shipping company. Your customers will only see your logo – not Prihtful’s logo – upon receiving their order.
Similar companies are PrintAura, ArtofWhere, DesignsbyHumans, Printhouse.io and more.
Although there are a lot of options, I would like to highlight Printful in this post because I believe their process is very well streamlined. You can upload print files, set up your websites and have orders rolling in in a very reasonable amount of time.
How Does this Work?
First, you’d want to create a free account with Printful. From here you can create one or multiple stores within the same account.
Printful integrates well with WooCommerce and Shopify. And they’ve even created an Etsy-approved app that allows you to connect directly to your Etsy shop. You can read more about integrations and discover more software options offered by their company.
If Etsy has been on your radar, but you’ve been skeptical to try them, here are 40 free listings for you. If you use this link to complete the signup process, I’ll also receive 40 free listings – a double-win!
Once all of that is squared away, you can upload your designs.
What Kind of Products Can I Create with Printful?
Printful offers a growing selection of products on which to place your designs: apparel, hats, bags, towels, pillows, and more.
If you are familiar with Photoshop and/or Adobe Illustrator, you can create and upload print files into your Printful account according to their file specifications.
You will then assign designs with products in your shop. The process for doing this will vary slightly based on the type of shop software you use.
For instance, in order for a product to become active on Etsy, you have to log into your Etsy account to approve the listing and agree to pay the $0.20 cents listing fee. But in WooCommerce, you can tick a box that automatically makes the listing appear in your WooCommerce shop.
How Is Their Process Streamlined?
Printful has expanded within this past year and this expansion has made them even more efficient than before.
They have multiple U.S. locations, and they’ve recently opened a European fulfillment location – all of which reduces shipping times for your customers.
Their processing times have always been under four days in my experience and now items ship out even sooner because they have more locations and more employees.
Added to this is the fact that their integration apps make it a little less frustrating to upload products to your website. You can use their mockups and have live shipping rates appear on your website when using their plugin.
They email you to let you know that there’s a pending order. In your account settings, you can choose to manually approve each order, or have them automatically fulfilled. (Both options have pros and cons.) And you can also program alternative inventory options for times when your primary choice is out of stock.
Is It Worth The Try?
I think that fulfilling orders through Printful or other fulfillment companies is definitely worth the try.
When I opened my first t-shirt shop through Etsy, I screen printed each shirt by hand. I had to order stock, store it in my apartment, store all of the screen printing supplies in my apartment, purchase and store shipping supplies, and I had to purchase everything up front. I ended up closing that Etsy shop, but I learned so much in the process, so I have no regrets.
Using fulfillment companies drastically reduce your up front costs.
I strongly suggest that you order samples, though, to ensure that the quality meets your standards. But know that the print outcome may never be as high quality as you would like for them to be. There’s just a different level of care present when you’re the one printing your own products.
The quality will likely always be higher if you were to print your designs yourself. But I haven’t received any complaints about print quality from Printful products.
Printful is a great option if you are starting out and don’t have the space or skill set to print your own products. As your business grows, you can always opt to take over the production end of your business.