Posted on

Sell More with Personalized Gifts

Sell more in Q4 with Personalized Products

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you sign up for a service or make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate commissions help me create more content for you!

TL;DR
Combine Etsy’s personalization feature with a print on demand manufacturer like Printful to sell one of a kind products.

Stand out from other print on demand shops this holiday season by offering personalized products custom made for your customer. By providing bespoke designs that customers can’t get anywhere else, you can charge more and will have less competition. Print on demand manufacturers like Printful are perfect for these one-off designs. Here’s how I use Etsy’s personalization feature and Printful’s integration to sell unique products.

Ways to personalize your designs

Add custom text

The easiest way to custom a product is by adding a customer’s desired text by itself or to a pre-made design. This can even be done directly within Printful using their design maker – no extra tools required! I personally use Smart Objects in Photoshop to quickly add pre-styled text to a design. Some common text customizations include names, places (e.g. hometowns) and special dates (eg. birthdays and anniversaries).

Use customer-submitted images

Another easy way to personalize a product is to add a customer’s photo(s). Photo collage mugs are a very popular gift for parents and grandparents and can be easily created with the free graphic program, Canva. I’ve also been seeing a lot of gag gifts using photos, like putting a spouses photo on an all-over print shirt.

Create custom graphics

Although the most time consuming options, creating unique graphics is by far my best selling personalization option. This option involves creating designs from scratch based on customer requests and requires a bit more design skill or a partnership with a professional designer. Some great examples I’ve seen include: watercolor paintings of someone’s home, cartoon caricatures, embroidered pet portraits, and hand drawn maps of first date locations – the possibilities are endless!

How to print personalized products with Printful

Enable personalization on your listing

Printful has personalization tools for Shopify, Woocommerce, and Etsy. There are more features for Shopify and Woocommerce, but they are also more complex to setup. For beginners, I recommend starting with Etsy for personalized products, among all the other reasons for choosing Etsy as your first POD shop.

Screenshot of the Etsy Personalization setting. The left column says "Instructions for buyers. Enter the personalization instructions your want buyers to see." followed by a text input with the example text "Enter the name and birthday you'd like on the mug." Below is a check box titled "Personalization is option." and a numerical input titled "Character limit" with a value of 20. The right column shows a preview of how the form will look to buyers.
  1. When creating or editing a listing on Etsy, toggle the Personalization setting On
  2. Add instructions to the Instructions for buyers box, including what information you need or any limitations.
  3. Optional: Check the Personalization is optional box if you offer the product without personalization also
  4. Optional: Enter a character limit for the personalization (this is especially useful for small spaces like embroidery!)

Import personalized orders into Printful

Make sure that your Printful shop is set up to sync personalized orders by going to Settings > Stores > Orders and checking the “Import personalized orders as drafts” box.

Then when a customer purchases a personalized product, the order will show on your Orders dashboard, but will be on Hold. The product, customer’s address, and other order details will be prefilled for you, but you’ll need to edit the order to add any personalized text or artwork.

Tips for selling personalized products

Combine with variations

Streamline your fulfillment process by using variations in your listing to preset product options. For example, if selling personalized shirts, use variations to have the shirt color and size sync with Printful so all you have to edit is the design.

Limit personalization options

Too many choices can be overwhelming for your customers and just creates more work for you. For example, with custom text, I usually don’t offer font or text color choices, because those can’t be synced with Printful.

Create a business email for customer communication

If you’ll be collecting images from customers on Etsy, the easiest way is via email. Give customers confidence in your business by creating a business email with your business domain. I recommend using Google Workspace to create a business branded Gmail account, for example yourname@yourbusiness.com.

Save time with templates

Whether you use Canva, Photoshop, or another program, use design templates to quickly create your personalized designs with premade styles and layout. I’m a huge fan of Photoshop “smart objects” and actions to cut my design time down to minutes.

Posted on

Are Premium Print On Demand Subscriptions Worth It?

Are premium subscriptions from Printify or Printful worth the cost?

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you sign up for a service or make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate commissions help me create more content for you!

Some print on demand vendors have started adding “Premium” subscriptions, offering additional features for an up front fee. But not all of them live up to their premium status.

Is the Printify premium subscription worth it?

Try Printify Premium free for 30 days!
Get started with Printify Premium for free with promo code ThePODFiles. Your first 30 days are free and you can cancel anytime. Expires 8/20/2022

The Printify premium subscriptions costs $29/month or $299.98/year (two months free). The subscription is pretty simple with only two benefits: 20% off most products and up to 10 synced stores instead of 5. The cost benefit analysis on this one is pretty simple – if you buy at least $150 worth of products a month (across all stores), then you should buy the premium subscription. There’s no reason to buy it just for the additional stores, because if you aren’t making $150 in sales from five shops allowed on the free account, then there’s no need to open another five! Get your first month of Printify Premium free with promo code ThePODFiles.

Is Printful Plus or Printful Pro worth it?

Printful offers two upgrade options – Plus and Pro. Printful Plus essentially gives you additional design tools for creating custom mockups and promos. At $9/month the cost is not bad, but if you just need design templates for social media, you might as well get Canva Premium for the same price. Canva also includes an image background remover, as well as other features that Printful Plus does not have.

While I don’t think Printful Pro is worth it for the clipart or premium images, or even the Keyword Scout (if it helps sales so much they’d make it free so you’d make more sales), but there is one instance where you might want to upgrade to Printful Pro. If you sell personalized embroidery – where most of your files are unique to a customer – then the free digitization feature alone makes a Printful Pro account worth it, assuming you’re digitizing more than 7 files a month.

Printful Plus

$9/month or $99/year

  • All the features of Free
  • Create custom mockups
  • Remove image backgrounds
  • Create marketing promos

Printful Pro

$49/month or $539/year

  • All the features of Plus
  • 480+ exclusive clipart
  • Keyword Scout for Etsy
  • Premium Images at no extra cost
  • Free embroidery digitization
  • Carrier-Based Shipping

If you’re just getting started, I don’t recommend upgrading your print on demand subscriptions. Wait until you reach a sales threshold at which the discounts are more than the cost of the subscription. Other features like designs and promo makers are just fluff that can be found free elsewhere.

Posted on

My Favorite Printify Products (That Aren’t Shirts)

My Favorite Printify Products that aren't shirts

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you sign up for a service or make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate commissions help me create more content for you!

When it comes to print on demand, I consider a good product to be one that:

  1. customers want
  2. is priced low enough for me to profit at market rates
  3. has quality manufacturing (both my the print and the blank)

I want all of my products to represent my brand well while also making me money. The bulk of my sales are t-shirts and hoodies, but everyone sells those, so I thought I share some of my favorite products from Printify that aren’t shirts.

Black Mugs

Photo of a black ceramic mug with an intricate and colorful mandala design.

I love black mugs and so do my customers! Available in both 11oz and the larger 15oz size, the black ceramic makes any artwork just pop, with a sublimated print that is sharp and colorful. The best part is that these mugs are both microwave and dishwasher safe, making them great gifts.

There are now several manufacturers of the black mugs, but the original black mugs by MyLocker have always been great for me

All-Over Print Totes

The utility of tote bags plus a reasonable price point make the AOP Tote Bags by MWW a customer favorite. The all-over print gives you way more options and a higher quality print that the canvas tote bags. I’ve heard that sellers also have success with the Weekender Bag and backpacks, though I haven’t tested those myself yet.

I’ll also note that one frustrating holiday season when all printers were running out of the most popular shirts causing massive delays, MWW had their AOP products shipping out in just a few days.

Fanny Packs

Photo of two fanny packs with custom artwork printed on them.

Not gonna lie, I did not think that the high price point on the fanny packs would allow me to sell many, but they are really popular! The useful interior pockets and large adjustable strap, combined with unique artwork make these a custom favorite. I have a feeling they’ll be even more popular this summer as people start going back to events like music festivals.

Kiss-Cut Stickers

Due to their low market price and high shipping cost, print on demand is usually not the best option for stickers. This is especially true for sellers who include shipping in their pricing. However, there are two exceptions to this – large stickers and sticker sets. While I can’t sell a single 4-inch POD sticker to save my life, customers are willing to pay the higher prices for a 6-inch sticker or for multiple designs on a 6-inch sheet. For both of these I use the Kiss-Cut Stickers by SPOKE. If you do multiple designs in your artwork, make sure to order a sample to make sure you left enough space for the borders to cut properly – don’t rely on the mockup! I’m speaking from experience here.

Want more ideas of products to sell in your print on demand shop? Check out Printify’s Best Sellers page for more.

Printify Review: My favorite print on demand products that aren't shirts! Background photo is a colorful mandala printed on a custom black ceramic mug.
pin
Posted on

How to Create Notebook Paper in Canva

How to create notebook paper in Canva for KDP Low-Content Books

Scroll down for the video tutorial on how to create college ruled paper in Canva.

Create a College Ruled Lined Page

  1. Login to Canva
  2. Click the Custom Size button
  3. Enter your page dimensions in inches or mm, including 0.125” / 3.2 mm bleed on your outside margins. For example, to create a US Letter sized page, enter 8.625″ for width and 11.25″ for height. See the KDP help documents for more information.
  4. Turn on your rulers via the File menu
  5. Click and drag the top ruler to add a guideline at about 1.125″ from the top
  6. Click and drag the top ruler again to add a guideline at about 10.6″ from the top
  7. Go to the Elements tab and click on the plain line element to add it to your page
  8. Change the weight and color of the line as desired.
  9. Resize the line to be as wide as the page
  10. Duplicate the line 34 times for 35 lines total (CMD + D on a Mac or Ctrl + D on a PC)
  11. Move one line to the top guideline and one line to the bottom, leaving all other lines in between.
  12. Select all lines
  13. Select Position > Center
  14. Select Position > Tidy Up
  15. Click Group
  16. Move your lines to the center of the page

Add a Left Margin Rule

  1. Go to the Elements tab and click on the plain line element to add it to your page
  2. Change the weight and color of the line as desired.
  3. Rotate the line 90 degrees to be vertical
  4. Resize the line to be as tall as the page
  5. Move to about 1.25″ from the left side of the page

Video: How to Create Notebook Paper in Canva for KDP Books

Posted on

How To Create a 2-Page Calendar Layout Printable for KDP

How to create a 2-page calendar layout in Word for KDP

In this video tutorial, I show you how to create a two-page calendar layout using tables in Word. Want to save time? Check out my pre-made 2022 calendar templates.

Posted on

10 Low Content Books That Aren’t Journals or Planners

10 Low-Content Books for KDP Niches

After doing your niche research and finding areas of interest to create low-content books in, think beyond just blank books and optimize a niche with a full range of low-content book types. Here are some of my favorite low-content books that sell really well.

Review Books

TV show tracker and review book
TV show tracker and review from My Binge Watching Notebook

From wine tastings to movies, anything that people consume is a great opportunity for a review book. Give people a book of pre-made templates to help them remember which items they would buy again and which they’d pass on. Include spots for brands, where the item was bought, price, rating, notes. The more specifics you can include the better, as enthusiasts love to record their experiences.

Subject-Based Study Notebooks

Some education subjects benefit from templated note taking. While their are lots of generic note-taking templates out there like Cornell notes, dig deeper to find templates specific to a subject – or better yet, a specific class or textbook. For example, history students may benefit from a notebook that enables them to catalog the details of historical dates. The study notebooks that stand out from the crowd, however, are those that also include educational information and examples, which gets closer to my next suggested book type…

Log Books

Think about all the numerical data people track – business mileage for taxes, blood sugar for diabetes, workouts and body measurements for fitness, time spent practicing an instrument for students – the list is endless! Anything numerical data that needs to be recorded can make a quick and easy log book with a simple table created in any document creation software. I demonstrate how to make a mileage log book in my video Create with Me: Designing and Uploading a Low-Content Book for KDP.

Workbooks

Workbooks take more effort that your typical low-content book, as they are less repetitive (each page might be different!) and include a bit more structure and information to support the user. Workbooks guide readers educate and guide readers through a series of questions and processes. Workbooks can be be lists of prompts or more visual graphic organizers like this workbook for business owners: Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion Into a Full-time Gig.

Prompt Books

Prompt books can be one of the easiest low-content books to make, because there’s no complex layouts to make – just a list of prompts. The prompts can be anything from reflective questions that require a written response to drawing ideas. Write one prompt per page and you’ve got yourself a low-content book.

Interview Books

Couples interview questions from A Year of Us.

Interview books are a specific type of prompt book that are intended to be used interactively with others. Interview books can be just for fun or a means of historical record.For example, there are books where couples answer the same questions about their favorite things to get to know each other better. Interview books can be a great way for kids to learn more about their grandparents.

Puzzle Books

Crosswords, sudoku, logic problems, word finds – the kinds of puzzles you can sell on KDP is endless! People of all ages love puzzle books and there’s a huge market for them. In order to stand out from every other puzzle books, think about how you can appeal to specific niches with themes. Target a specific audience – is your book for kids on a road trip or seniors in assisted living? Different puzzles will appeal to different audiences.

Practice books

Any writing or reading skill that requires repetitive practice can be turned into a low-content book. For example, college students who study Asian languages often use character practice books to learn writing, as do elementary students just learning how to write. Turn sets of flash cards into a low-content book for students to practice anything from music notes to anatomy.

Collection Catalog

Collectors of all kinds – from records to books to toys to antiques – love to catalog all of their items. Create a low content book with pages of item records that include details like when and where the item was acquired, when it was made, who the creator is, storage location, and any niche specific details, e.g. the number of pages in a book or the print number of an art piece.

“Finish This” Creative Exercise Books

Finish This Drawing by Jess Erskine

Similar to prompt books, “finish this” type books give creators the beginning of a piece of work, such as part of drawing or the first line of a story. It takes a little more creativity than simple prompts, but there’s far less competition. Think about what other creative works you could start, maybe the first notes of a song or the setting of a movie script – the possibilities are endless!

Expand your niche research by thinking beyond just lined notebooks and journals, and get creative with a whole series of low-content books. Which type of low-content book will you try next?

10 Low-Content Book Types for KDP
Posted on

10 Best Commercially-Licensed Fonts for T-Shirt Designs

10 commercially-licensed fonts for t-shirt designs that sell!

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you sign up for a service or make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate commissions help me create more content for you!

Here are my favorite commercially-licensed fonts for creating apparel designs that sell.

Amatic SC Font

Amatic SC

This kitschy handwriting font was likely inspired by the popular houseware brand by Rae Dunn. Available for free from Google Fonts, Amatic SC is great for minimalist typographic designs geared towards. If you design on multiple computers, use the free Skyfonts tool to download and sync fonts across devices.

Nanami HM Font

Nanami / Nanami HM

Related font families Nanami and it’s handwritten version Nanami Handmade are designed by Thinkdust. They come with a huge variety of styles from thin to super bold, making them extremely versatile and useful for all sorts of niches. More importantly, the fonts are well-design with balanced letters that kern well without needing manual adjustment. The handmade version has both a solid and textured version, and add subtle characters to your designs.

Argentinian Nights

Brush script fonts make great designs by themselves and are great sellers. What I like about Argentinian Nights, besides how lovely the script is design, is that it includes swashes to start and end words with flair.

Bebas Neue Font

Bebas Neue

A simple caps font, it’s the simplicity that is the beauty. The tall but slim letters enable you to make bigger, eye-catching typography. It’s clean lines make this font work well on it’s own or paired with others. If you have Adobe Creative Suite, download the upgraded font family, Bebas Kai, from the Adobe font library.

Bluberry Font - Grunge Version

Bluberry

Bluberry is a fun and friendly font that is especially great for kids designs. Like many of my favorites, it comes with several variations – outline, drop shadow, and grunge – that make cohesive font pairings easy.

Bhatoshine Font - Brush Version

Bhatoshine

Bhatoshine is a fun bounce letter brush script. My favorite is the brush variation that is textured to look like it was painted.

Prisma Font

Prisma

Prisma is a great font for retro 70s and 80s inspired designed, especially those silly retro sunsets.

Saltash Font - Grunge Version

Saltash

Is Saltash overused in grunge designs? Yes. Does it sell a lot of products? Also yes. The bold letters with rough lines, and optionally distressed texture, make it easy to add character to any design with Saltash. Pro tip: all the letters are caps, but typing in a mix of lowercase and uppercase show different letter variations making it look less like a font and more handmade.

Holland Font

Holland

Holland is an elegant and modern script font that elevates any minimalist typographic design. (Yep, another script font…I don’t know if it’s a power move that millennial moms are playing on the next generation who can’t read cursive, but they love their script font shirts.) You can try it for free with the personal-use version, but be sure to buy the commercial version for any products.

Special Elite Font

Special Elite

For designs with a retro handmade vibe, a typewriter font is a classic choice. Special Elite is available for free from Google Fonts, and has the character of a kitschy typewriter font, but is not overly grungy and is still readable.

10 Fonts for Bestselling T-Shirt Designs by ThePODFiles.com
10 Fonts for Bestselling T-Shirt Designs by ThePODFiles.com
Posted on

Create With Me: Merch By Amazon Products

Create with Me: Merch By Amazon and Redbubble

Since y’all seem to enjoy watching me create a KDP product, I thought I’d do another walkthrough video, but with print on demand products. In this video I show you how I set up my template for Merch By Amazon (MBA) t-shirts and then automatically resize my design for hoodies, bags/pillows, and Popsockets. I also show how to create a template for two-sided mugs to upload to platforms like Redbubble. My process uses Photoshop guidelines, circular text, smart objects, layer masks, layer styles, and actions.

Skip to a specific section:

Posted on

How to Sync Multiple Designs to a Printful Listing on Etsy

Multiple design variations in one printful listing. Example shows white text on black shirts and black text on white shirts.

Whether you want to offer both light and dark shirts in one Etsy listing, or completely different designs altogether, with a couple extra steps, you can list multiple design variations in one single Etsy listing and sync them all with Printful.

Option 1: Printful Variations

The simplest option for offering multiple design variations, e.g. white text on dark shirts and black text on light shirts, is to use the “Variations” feature in Printful. Note that this method only works on products with multiple variations such as shirt colors (so not all-over-print products) and you can only add each variation once, e.g. you can’t have multiple different designs all on black shirts; to do that, skip to the next option.

  1. Create a product with one version of your design on all the product variations you want for that design. For example, add your white text version on all the shirt you want to have white text.
  2. Click the Edit button next to the product
  3. Click the Add Variants button, located at the top right (if this button is greyed out, go to the next section about adding variants via Etsy)
  4. Uncheck all the variants you already have listed
  5. Check the variants you need to add and edit/replace the design as necessary
  6. Finishing publishing the product as usual

Option 2: Etsy Variations

Some products, such as all-over-print products, require you to add the variations on Etsy first and then sync with Printful. This method also works if you want to offer multiple designs on the same product variation (e.g. matching couple shirts printed on the same shirt model) or multiple product types (e.g. a t-shirt and tank top) in the same listing.

Watch my video on Adding Multiple Color Options for AOP Products for an example of this technique.

  1. In Printful, go to Settings > Stores > Orders and make sure Import existing products is checked. (If you have multiple stores synced with Printful, use the dropdown at the top to change stores and check this setting for each).
  2. Create mockups images of your products (you can use Printful’s standalone Mockup Generator)
  3. In your Etsy shop, create a new listing with all the required information such as title, description, photos, etc.
  4. In the Variations section, add all the product options you want to offer. Since you are only allowed two variations (e.g. color and size) you may have to get creative and combine multiple variations in one. For example, if I were offering family shirts with different sizes and colors, I might have one variation with the design options (mom, dad, sister, etc.) and another that combined the size and shirt color, e.g. “Adult XL Blue”, “Youth M Black”.
Keep in mind that too many options may cause “purchase paralysis” and customers won’t buy your product because they are overwhelmed by options. If offering multiple designs, I recommend sticking with one product color. You can always have multiple listings, which will also increase your odds of being found in search.
  1. Publish the listing (you can also save as a draft if you prefer)
  2. Go to your store in Printful and click the Refresh data link, located at the top right.
  3. When the new listing appears on your product list, click the Edit button next to it.
  4. Next to each product, you will need to click Choose Product and select the product and design for that variation.
  5. If you didn’t publish in step 4, go back to Etsy and publish your listing.

Note, you can also skip syncing all the products and instead sync them as you get orders; after you sync an unsynced order, it will sync all future orders. If you take this approach, make sure that “Import unsynced orders” is checked in your Printful settings.

Video Tutorials

Posted on

How to Create Text with a Photo or Pattern Background

How to add a photo or pattern to your text in Photoshop

Want to create those trendy leopard print or buffalo plaid letters? It takes just three steps! This text effect can be done in any graphic design program with a clipping mask feature. Below the tutorial is a video where I show how to do it in Photoshop.

Option 1: Using a clipping mask to add a background to text

A clipping mask can be use to show a layer only where there are pixels on the layer below. It’s a quick way to add photos, patterns, or textures to another layer without have to use a selection tool. A clipping mask will automatically update when the main layer is edited. Here’s the short tutorial:

  1. Create a text layer
  2. Add a layer ABOVE the text layer with the photo, pattern, or other art you want to fill the text with
  3. Enable the clipping mask on the top layer that contains your fill content

Here’s more information on using clipping masks in different graphic design programs:

Option 2: Using the Pattern feature in Photoshop to add a seamless pattern to text

Using the Pattern feature is a a great way to fill text with a repeating pattern while leaving both the text and pattern editable. Here’s how to create a pattern and add it to text in Photoshop:

Create a repeating pattern

  1. Open an image in Photoshop
  2. Select > All
  3. Edit > Define pattern

Fill text with a repeating pattern

  1. Create a text layer
  2. Double-click on the text layer to open the Layer Style dialog
  3. Click the Pattern Overlay option
  4. Click the drop-down next to the pattern to select your pattern
    • Use the Scale option to resize your pattern
    • Click and drag on the layer to move the pattern around (must still have Layer Style dialog open)
  5. Click Okay to apply the pattern

Video: Adding a photo or pattern to text in Photoshop

How to add a photo or pattern to your text using Photoshop.
How to create leopard print letters and other seamless patterns in Photoshop. A tutorial by The POD Files