Print on demand means that an item is only printed when it is sold. It’s a great option for photographers, pattern designers, illustrators and surface designers.
When you upload your designs or photos to print-on-demand websites, they will print, pack and ship items to customers, and you are paid a percentage of each sale. A couple of examples include: Society 6, Redbubble, Printful and Printify.
Typically, most websites will pay you anything between 5% and 15% of each sale, so it’s a great way to start out and test the waters while still earning a little extra cash. When I started selling patterns, I used to make around £300 a month through my Society 6 account. It was on this website that Urban Outfitters came across my work too, which opened a few more doors, as a great way to start out in this field.
You could always take this a step further and set up your own online store. This means you’d be able to sell your own custom-made products, manufacture, ship and deliver them yourself.
If you do go for this option, I just have two small words of warning:
Watch out for the small print!
Some print on demand websites offer ‘coupons’ instead of money – or will only pay you once you’ve reached a certain amount. These websites aren’t likely to make you any money, so watch out for details like this in the small print.
Make sure it’s original artwork
When selling or creating content using artwork, they must be original pieces, created by you. Print on demand sites crack down on those who try to resell or produce artwork from others. And the last thing you need is a lawsuit on your hands!
If you’re hoping to use elements of work from other artists, you can only do so if they are in the public domain, or have a creative commons license (for more on this, click here). Without this, you run the risk of violating copyright, regardless of whether the artist is dead or alive.