Posted on

Etsy SEO Tips: Writing an Effective Product Listing (Part 2)

Etsy SEO - How to write product listings

It’s not enough to find great keywords, but you also have to use them effectively in your Etsy listing, creating a listing that is balanced between effective for search engines and understandable/appealing to potential customers. Here are some tips for optimizing your Etsy product listing.

Titles

Titles are arguably the most important part of your listing when it comes to using keywords. Though Etsy says the order of words in your title doesn’t have a direct effect on search ranking on Etsy, because the first 35 characters create the URL for your listing, you should put your most important keywords in the first part of your title to help external search engines—like Google—index your product. The first phrase should be what a customer would most likely search for.

The firs part of your title is adding to the URL

Etsy also recommends keeping your title short and written for humans, i.e. NOT just a list of keywords. It used to be recommended to repeat your keywords in your title and tags, so sellers would create titles using comma-separated lists of keywords so that they could just copy and paste them into the tags; but Etsy now says that you don’t need to repeat keywords, making this style of title both redundant and a turn off to customers.

Example Title

Design and sweatshirt mockup from Placeit

Let’s consider this sweatshirt as an example. It contains a trending phrase that customers may be searching for exactly, as well as a prominent graphic; these keywords, along with the product type, should be the first part of the title.

Because this product is for a specific holiday, we should include that as well. Though this is not necessary for Etsy SEO, as they have an attribute for Holiday, it will help external search engines index it for the holiday.

Expanding it just bit with important keywords in a descriptive phrase, here’s how you could title this product effectively:

Zero Lucks Given Leprechaun Shirt - St. Patrick's Day Green Sweatshirt - Irish Flag Colors

Description

Etsy SEO - Descriptions: 1) Few sentences describing design and product with keywords. 2) product specifications and features. 3) Links to related products. Learn more at ThePODFiles.com

Much like short, descriptive titles, Etsy recommends the following for your product descriptions:

  • relevant keywords in the first few sentences of your listing descriptions
  • avoid copying your title or simply listing your top keywords
  • include important information that will help buyers best understand your product

An effective format for product descriptions is starting with a paragraph of descriptive sentences about the design, use, and audience of your product, followed by a list of product specifications (materials, sizes, features), which you can usually get from your manufacturer.

When applicable, I also link to other products with the same design, which will be clickable links on the live listings, e.g. in case the customer is looking for a t-shirt instead of a sweatshirt. However, don’t link to products offsite, e.g. on your own website, as this is prohibited by Etsy’s Terms of Service.

Example Product Description

This green St. Patrick's Day sweatshirt is a great way to show off your Irish pride! Featuring an illustration of a leprechaun wearing a four-leaf clover shamrock top hat and the pun "zero lucks given," this cozy shirt is perfect for celebrating the luck of the Irish. Design is done in the colors of Ireland's flag: green, orange, and white.
Gildan Sweatshirt
• Fabric: 50% Cotton, 50% Polyester
• Medium-heavy fabric (8.0 oz/yd² (271.25 g/m²))
• Loose fit
T-shirt: https://etsy.me/3ZLtu7T
Tank top: https://etsy.me/3ZLtu7T

See the last section of this post to see how this example was written using artificial intelligence (AI)!

Categories & Attributes

“Attributes are like free ‘super tags’”, explains Jenny Benevento, Senior Manager of Etsy’s Taxonomy team. “They’re extra category-specific keywords, which you can add on top of your 13 open-field listing tags to help your items appear in relevant searches and browse experiences.”

Select as specific a category as possible and complete all of the attributes provided to increase your probability of matching a customer’s search queries. If a word is used in your categories or attributes, no need to use it in tags.

Tags

Etsy listings can include up to 13 multiple-word tags up to 20 characters long each. The tags section is where you can get a little more creative and include keywords that indirectly related to your listing; with our example product, “pot of gold” may make sense in tags, because it relates to the holiday, but could cause customer confusion if listed on the title or description as there is no pot of gold on the design. Be careful not to use irrelevant keywords though, because lots of views without clicks will hurt your SEO.

Here are are some of Etsy’s tips for effective tags:

  • Use all 13 tags without repeating words
  • Write multi-word phrases
  • Include synonyms and regional phrases, but not misspellings

Example Etsy Tags

zero lucks given, St Patricks Day, Saint Paddys Day, leprechaun sweatshirt, green jumper, four leaf clover, lucky shamrock, Irish Pride, pun shirt, pot of gold, pub crawl, college drinking, grumpy gnome

Need ideas? Try asking AI for suggestions…

Using ChatGPT AI to Write Your Etsy Listing

I’m always looking for ways to be more productive, and am interested in how artificial intelligence (AI) may help. Text generating AI like ChatGPT can be a valuable brainstorming tool, especially with short text like product descriptions. The more specific your prompt is, the more useful the results will be.

For our example sweatshirt, I entered the following prompt into ChatGPT:

Example ChatGPT Prompt
You are an expert copywriter. Write a product description for a St. Patrick’s Day themed green sweatshirt with an illustration of a leprechaun and the phrase “zero lucks given”

Here’s the product listing ChatGPT wrote:

ChatGPT Output
This St. Patrick’s Day, show off your Irish pride with this stylish green sweatshirt! Featuring a fun illustration of a leprechaun and the phrase “zero lucks given,” this cozy top is perfect for celebrating the luck of the Irish. Crafted from a soft cotton blend

Here’s how I would edit it for my Etsy product listing to prioritize my most important keywords and adding additional keywords that I found through keyword research:

My Edited Copy
This green St. Patrick’s Day sweatshirt is a great way to show off your Irish pride! Featuring an illustration of a leprechaun wearing a four-leaf clover top hat and the pun “zero lucks given,” this cozy shirt is perfect for celebrating the luck of the Irish. Design is done in the colors of Ireland’s flag: green, orange, and white.

Then I asked it for ideas for tags for this product, making sure they were under the 20-character maximum.

Example ChatGPT Prompt
list 13 etsy keywords for this product with a maximum of 20 characters each
ChatGPT Output
St. Patrick’s Day, green, leprechaun, luck, Irish, sweatshirt, Irish pride, zero lucks, illustration, cotton blend, festive, holiday, apparel

I was rather underwhelmed with AI’s suggestions for tags, so I fell back on my keyword research instead.

Up Next: SEO Beyond Keywords

The next part of this Etsy SEO series will cover additional ways you can optimize your Etsy listings that don’t involve keywords at all!

Missed the first part? Read Etsy SEO Tips: Choosing Keywords (Part 1).

Sources

  1. “Keywords 101: Everything You Need to Know.” Etsy, https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/382774281517.
  2. “Add Attributes to Help Increase Your Shop’s Visibility.” Etsy, https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/604203126614.
Part 2 of the Etsy SEO Series shows how to use keyword research to write an effective product listing, with examples and how to use ChatGPT.
Posted on

My Favorite Printful Products That Aren’t T-Shirts

My Favorite Printful Products (that aren't t-shirts). Background includes peekaboo images of yoga leggings and a pillow with a bumble bee on it.

DTG-printed t-shirts and tank tops are the bread and butter of many print on demand shops, especially beginners. When you’re ready to expand your product offerings beyond shirts, here are some of the best products that Printful has to offer (and completely different from my favorite Printify products that aren’t shirts!) that are not t-shirts, tank tops, or even DTG sweatshirts.

Leggings

Printful’s All-Over Print Yoga Leggings

Everyone loves leggings – women’s, men’s, and even kid’s leggings are some of my best selling products. Customers love how comfortable the leggings are, and I frequently get 5-star reviews that mention the high quality of Printful’s leggings. With the latest addition of leggings with pockets, these are quickly becoming my all-time favorite product to both make and wear myself!

I particularly like being able to design the entire surface area, unlike a DTG printed product where you’re limited to a few boxy print areas. This has the added benefit that copycats can’t just copy and paste your design to steal as no mockups shows the entire print file and is displayed in 3D.

All-over print products are capable of of bright colors, and the print can’t peel or wear off because the dye is sublimated directly into the fibers of the fabric, before being cut and sewn into leggings. This multi-step process does take longer than DTG, but most of my legging orders are shipped out in just a few days.

AOP Hoodies & Joggers

Man wearing a bright, colorful hoodie with a symmetrical design of a flower-like mandala covering the entire sweatshirt with a purple background, even the sleeves and cuffs have design on them. The inside of the hood is yellow.
Printful’s All-Over Print Hoodie Sweatshirt

All-over print hoodies and jogger sweatpants are one of my favorite products for many of the same reasons as the leggings – the sublimation printing allows for bright colors, limitless printing area, and impossible for those lazy IP thieves to copy.

But it’s not just the print that make these one of the best print on demand products, but the inside brushed fleece makes these incredibly soft and cozy. I’m seriously considering getting a matching sweatsuit for each day of the week to spend the winter in.

These all-over print products are especially great for artists and surface pattern designers. What better way to market your art than for people to wear it, rather than hang on their wall?! Check out my video tutorial on aligning the hoodie pocket design for an even more premium product.

Premium Pillows

Bumblebee and mandala art throw pillow in yellow and blue, set on an outdoor metal chair.
Printful’s Premium Pillow

Pillows are a popular product with customers, and they make great gifts because the giver doesn’t need to guess the recipients size like with shirts. As more of use are working from home, there has also been an increased interest in home decor and creating fun, cozy spaces.

While both the basic and premium pillows from Printful are polyester, I prefer the premium version because it has a faux linen texture that commands a higher price than the basic pillows, which have a shinier, satin-like finish. I do occasionally sell the basic pillows, depending on the audience, but Printful’s premium pillows are my go-to.

The boxy print area makes it easy to expand your DTG designs to pillows, but also has the advantages of all-over print, like vibrant colors and custom background colors. I add all sizes of the pillows to my product listings to allow customers to select their preferred size. I’ve also change to only sell pillows and not the covers alone, because they covers rarely sold without the stuffing and it wasn’t worth my time making combined listings with multiple variations on Printful.

Vintage Cap Baseball Hat

Embroidered black baseball hat with worn denim texture to look vintage
Printful’s Vintage Baseball Cap

Embroidered hats are a popular product that appeals to a range of customers, especially the classic baseball hat. One of my favorites from Printful is the Vintage Otto Cap.

This hat currently comes in four colors – black, navy blue, maroon, and charcoal grey – all of which have a distressed dye pattern to look vintage. The bronze-colored metal snap on the back is a nice touch as well, and as someone with a small head, I appreciate being able to adjust the size.

Here are some of the best print on demand products from Printful that will help you stand out from the every other shop selling DTG shirts.
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

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

Best Print on Demand Services for Etsy

The best print on demand services for Etsy

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!

Best Overall: Printful

Printful Review

Printful was the first print on demand service I used with Etsy, and it’s still my favorite. Though far from perfect, Printful still has way more upsides than downsides. I currently do most of my all-over print (AOP) products through Printful, as well as any colorful designs demand a high-quality print.

What I like about Printful

Print Quality

Some of my brands involve highly detailed, colorful designs, so I’ve spent lots of money and time testing designs on the same products across POD companies to find the best. For direct-to-garment (DTG), none were as brightly colored as Printful. Their sublimation printing on AOP products is even better, with rich colors and highly detailed printing.

If you’re new to print on demand, make sure to learn about different printing techniques and set your expectations accordingly. While DTG has lots of advantages, it will never be quite as bold at screenprinting or heat transfer vinyl.

Custom Variations / Multiple Products Per Listing

A huge advantage to using Printful that I have not found anywhere else, is the ability to sync a Printful product to an existing listing in Etsy. You can create your Etsy listing with a choice of products (e.g. both adult and kid t-shirts) or designs (e.g. couple shirts), and sync them up with Printful for automatic fulfillment.

Watch my video tutorial to learn how to create multiple design options in one Etsy listing.

Design Features

Many POD services let your resize and position your print file, but Printful has some extra design features that make it even easier to quickly make products. One of my favorite is the ability to create a repeating pattern, which is great for seamless designs on AOP products like leggings. There’s also some basic design tools that you can use to add text and clipart, which can be helpful for beginners. Printful’s file library is also one of the best with the ability to upload multiple files at once and to organize them into folders.

Variety of Mock-ups

No other POD service provides nearly as many product mockups as Printful. In fact, most don’t provide model or 3D mockups like Printful. Having a variety of mockups available is great for quickly adding new products. Though I still recommend using real-life photos of your products or purchasing quality mockups from places like Creative Market to help your brand stand out.

Personalization

Printful is compatible with Etsy’s personalization feature, which allows customers to send you the customizations they’d like. While you still need to create the custom art file, Printful will import the order with the default product and place it on hold until you add the custom art. This is a great way to fulfill personalized products, such as shirts with a customer’s name on them.

Self-Service

Being able to control my orders is important to me, and I don’t like having to waste time contacting customer support for changes. Printful makes it easy to do everything your self: sync with your Etsy store, add products, and most importantly: change or cancel orders when necessary. Many POD services don’t allow you to change an address or cancel an order without going through custom support, and a product might ship before you get a response! Some companies even require you to have them set up your store – ugh, no thanks!

Global Fulfillment

Prinful not only ships globally, but has manufacturing facilities in several continents, including the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia, and Mexico. Having multiple locations not only gets products to your international customers faster, but can also cut down on customs fees. Etsy is an international market place, so your fulfillment should be too!

What I don’t like about Printful

While I am generally please with Printful’s service, there are a few things I don’t love.

Expensive

With a rare few exceptions, Printful’s products are the most expensive of all POD services, and usually by a few dollars – not just cents! Yes, you get what you pay for, and Printful certainly has advantages worth paying more for. However, my shrinking margins is what led me to look into other print vendors, especially for simple one or two color DTG shirts.

Refund policy

My biggest annoyance with Printful right now is their strict policy requiring that you contact them within 4-weeks of an order’s estimated delivery if there’s an issue with the product or delivery. While most of the time this is fine, I find that the estimated delivery date is almost always underestimated and most international orders take four weeks to arrive! By the time a customer realizes their order is lost, it’s too late to get a refund. Printful should refund all lost orders, regardless.

Product availability

Printful’s product catalog is much more limited than other POD services. They generally have fewer shirt colors to choose from, rarely follow trends, and pretty much ignore customer requests. For years, one of the top product requests has been black mugs, yet they won’t add them. I also don’t know a lot of people who wear baby pink and light blue sweatshirts; can we get some trendy colors like olive green and cream? And how about some modern styles like a scuba hoodie or at least less baggy everything. Don’t go to a brand’s wholesale site – it’ll depress you to see the number of great options Printful isn’t using.

Custom order syncing error

I receive lots of custom orders via Etsy’s custom order request feature, but these orders never sync with Printful. I use to create them manually, but now that Printful charges sales tax on manual orders, I use Printify for all of my custom orders.

Runner Up: Printify

I am increasingly using Printify to fulfill my products and find that they are often improving. Some the issues I had with them early on have been resolved and I now recommend Printify almost as much as Printful. These days I use Printify mostly for simple white or black DTG prints, and for almost all my mugs.

Printify Review

What I like about Printify

Cheaper

Cost on Printify depends entirely on which vendor you select, but there is almost always at least one vendor that is several dollars cheaper than Printful. I only tried Printify at all because the margins were so much better.

Product selection

Because Printify partners with multiple vendors, their product catalog is extensive. Many clothing vendors also offer shirt colors that aren’t available from any other POD.

Custom order syncing

Unlike other vendors, Printify has the ability to import orders created via Etsy’s “custom order request” feature. You still have to manually add the product, but you won’t be charged tax that Etsy has already collected and the shipping status and tracking number will automatically sync back to Etsy.

What I don’t like about Printify

Not a manufacturer

What delayed me in using Printify initially and is still my biggest issue with Printify, is that they are not the manufacturer of any products, but just the software that connects your Etsy shop to your manufacturer. Because of this, quality and fulfillment time varies greatly across different printers. This is especially a pain during Q4 when vendors disable certain product variations and you have to manually go through your store to determine which products are discontinued.

Locked orders

Because Printify is not the actual manufacturer, once an order is submitted for production, you can’t make any changes or cancel the order without contacting support. Often it will ship before customer support gets back to you or they are unable to help because it’s out of their control. It is common for customers to make mistakes with their address or to cancel when they realize it won’t ship in time for an event or holiday. I will say though, that customer support times have gotten much faster over the years and they are increasingly able to cancel a delayed order.

Product syncing limitations

Unlike Printful, Printify doesn’t let you create listing in Etsy first and then sync it. It will let you manually sync an unsynced order, but this still makes it tedious to over multiple products or designs in one listing. Changing color names and other variations will also break the sync with Printify. I end up doing a lot of manual imports with Printify.

Global shipping issues

Although Printify works with manufacturers across the globe, you can only sync one location per listing. So for example, if a Canadian orders one my products, it will be shipped from the US manufacturer that is synced with my listing and possible be charged a customs fee, even if the manufacturer has a Canadian location!

Additionally, I’ve found that all of Printify’s manufacturers use THE SLOWEST shipping couriers in the world (e.g. Asendia) and the tracking is delayed at best and usually non-existent. Whenever possible, I switch non-US orders to an International manufacturer or to Printful.

Best for Bulk Orders: Scalable Press

I don’t use Scalable Press often, mostly because they don’t actually sync with Etsy. But Scalable Press is great for two specific needs: bulk orders and backup.

What I like about Scalable Press

Screen Printing

This best thing about Scalable Press is that they offer screen printing with no minimums! Granted, ordering just one screen printed shirt is expensive given the set up costs, but it’s possible! When I get a group order or someone inquires about a discounted bulk order, I use Scalable press to leverage the large order size to get a high-quality screen print. The pricing is fantastic for large orders (as low as a few dollars a shirt) and the quality is excellent.

Backup

Scalable Press also offers DTG and embroidery on many items, as well as some sublimation like mugs. This is helpful when both Printful and Printify are out of stock on an item or are experiencing slow fulfillment times. I don’t think many POD shop owners use Scalable Press, so the fulfillment times are usually quicker.

What I don’t like about Scalable Press

The fact that Scalable Press doesn’t sync with Etsy is the biggest downside, since every has to be done manually, including marking your order as shipped in Etsy. I also don’t love the navigation of their product catalog as you can’t see what colors are offered and what the cost is until you go to the product page. Checking out is also a bit clunky, as you have to place an order and then go pay for it on another page.

Conclusion: Use Multiple Vendors

Whichever vendor you choose to start with, my advice is to have a least one other ready to go as a backup. Product stock issues and fulfillment times at one can often be resolved by switch an order to a different provider. You can also maximize your products by using multiple vendors to price shop.

The best print on demand drop shipping services for your Etsy shop.
Posted on

How to Create a Seamless Hoodie Design

Create a seamless hoodie design by lining up the pocket

All-over print hoodies are a great product for artists to showcase their work and get creative with multiple print areas. One way to level up your all-over print hoodies and make them look professional is to line up the design on the front so that it flows seamlessly across the pocket. Now, because these products are handmade and the print areas differ slightly on each size, it’s not going to be perfect. But, the better print files your provide, the better the outcome.

Here’s how I use smart objects in Adobe Photoshop to line up the hoodie pocket to create a seamless print file:

Save time with a pre-made template!

Save time with my pre-made AOP Hoodie Template for Printful and start making seamless hoodies today!