Thinking about selling tshirts on Etsy using Printify? I checked it out for you as an experienced Etsy seller and can answer a bunch of your questions!
When Printify contacted me and said they wanted me to write a post about making tshirts on Etsy using the Printify app I was intrigued! #promotedpost
I love Etsy and am a super big fan of the handmade sellers, but I am a graphic artist, not a maker per se so there was problem with me doing tshirts…. I was never going to source shirts, screen print them, hire models to do the photos or all the other things that were required up until now to sell tees on Etsy.
BUT, before I could recommend this to my peeps I decided to check out the whole process, soup to nuts. I set up a listing for a “Writer” tshirt on my Paperly People Etsy store…
… and bought one for myself!
… so I could follow the process through and see where things might trip Etsy sellers up (thank goodness I did, there were some things that you might miss if you didn’t know to look for them!)
This is NOT a “set up your Printify Etsy shop” post. They have some great videos about how to technically set up your tshirts that I used when I did my listing, you can check them out here.
Instead it is a “how to use Printify and Etsy together” post with lots of great real world tips and tricks!
So here goes…. my Top 5 Hacks For Selling Tshirts On Etsy Using Printify
1. Find out what your audience wants!
Before I ever clicked over to the Printify app, I wanted to make sure I was going to design a tshirt that people would want to buy!
With that in mind I made two different designs and asked my Facebook friends which they would like more.
I have MANY author friends on my Facebook profile so that was a great test. I also sent this to my newsletter list and asked them which one they liked PLUS how old they were (I know, how rude!)
Doing this research let me know that the kind with the pen and ink drop was more popular with the 40+ crowd which is my target demographic.
It is super important to think a wee bit about this BEFORE you start setting up your tshirt designs.
2. Pick Tshirts that fit your peeps’ style
So then I headed over to Printify to pick which kind of tshirt I was going to use for my very first tshirt.
There are SO many different kinds of things you can print on! There are over 50 kinds of tshirts and hoodies, but also tote bags, iPhone cases and bookbags.
But based on my research I knew I was looking for a certain kind of tshirt. First off, most of my readers are women (65.72% according to Google) AND Etsy’s shoppers are heavily female so I wanted a more girlie tshirt style.
But wait, there is more! My readers are fairly affluent. They are generally college educated and have a bit higher income than that the general population so I knew that pricing would not be a problem. If you are selling cute, young hip tshirts, you might want to pick a style that is less expensive than the one I chose.
I picked a style that would be a good match for my customers… a little looser fit, comfy and high quality. That meant that the price would be higher, but price is not as big a deal to my customers.
3. You can “fix” your listings
When I hit publish on Printify for my design I was FREAKING OUT. I have worked really hard on my Etsy store and didn’t want to do something that would get me banned or make Etsy think that I was doing something wrong.
But it was all good! They don’t “publish” it as an active listing, instead it goes into your drafts and you can update A LOT of different things in Etsy. So many that I made you a video to walk through it all!
4. Make sure to update your handling times and mind your shipping
When you are picking your tshirt printer you can see how long their handling times will be. The printer I picked said average production time would be 2.01 business days.
I ordered my shirt on October 20th…
and was shipped out on the 25th and arrived on the 28th…
So the actual time from order to delivery was 8 days. But when Printify sets up your listings there is a SUPER long handling time as a default!
That 2 to 6 WEEKS processing time will probably kill any chance of making sales. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that it scary turning over production to an outside company, but based on the turnaround time for my item I would think you could safely say 7-10 business days. Or be even more conservative and say 10-14 business days. BUT saying it could take up to 6 weeks to receive a product will definitely decrease the number of sales you get!
BIG ONE >>> They Don’t Mark It Shipped In Etsy!!!
The reason I wanted to order my own shirt was so that I could see both sides of the transaction the whole way through. I felt like everything was super seamless EXCEPT that they don’t mark your item as shipped in Etsy.
I saw production was finished and there was a UPS tracking code on the Printify side but it never notified Etsy that the item was shipped (I waited until it got into my home, delivered and it still never did it).
That is no bother of course, you can take that tracking code, go into Etsy and mark it shipped and paste in the code. Just know that you need to do that or you could really get into some hot water with Etsy. Say you were super successful and sold 100 tshirts (YAY!) Because they were never shown as shipped, Etsy would think that you took all that money and didn’t deliver any products.
Just make sure to move that code over when you see your items have shipped and you will be fine!
5. Have at least one real version of your tshirt for lifestyle pictures
Printify is super cool in that they do all the tshirt mockup pictures for you! But for marketing I highly recommend that you have at least one lifestyle picture in there. (lifestyle meaning showing your shirt in a flat lay style shot!)
The nice thing for me about this kind of picture is that I take a lot of the other pictures I have in my store using this desk so there is consistency in the look and feel even though I am selling a tshirt and not a planner or a workbook.
If you are a tshirt Etsy shop, you should find a style of photos that you like and use that same theme throughout your photos. It may be taking them on a real person, hanging from a fancy hanger or even laying flat on your hardwood floor. The way is not as important as the consistency throughout your shots.
It looks great in my store now that it isn’t such a sore thumb with just the mockup image.
FAQs About Selling Printify Tshirts on Etsy
Throughout the process of setting up my tshirt and ordering I had a great gal assigned to me from Printify who was always willing to answer my (millions of) reasonable questions I had about getting started. Here are some things that came up for me that you might also be wondering about!
Where is my listing?
I was going to take the tshirt down after I did this post, but I liked it so much that I decided to keep it in my shop! Here is a link to the writer tshirt!
How does the Etsy/Printify Hookup Work?
To sell Printify tshirts on Etsy you go to the Etsy marketplace and pick the Printify app. You set up an account and then it gets “hooked” to your Etsy store so they can add your tshirt designs to your listings.
Every time you update Printify it updates your title and description
Printify is not used to shops that have SUCH long titles as we do in Etsy! Every time you update your Printify item it re-pushes a shortened title and non formatted version of your description. Not a problem at all, I just made a little text document that I could cut and paste them back in. Your tags and materials stay the same.
Will Etsy be mad at you for using Printify?
If you have been around Etsy for any amount of time you know that they were once handmade only. Then they were handmade and digital, then supplies and now they allow manufacturing partners. Yes, you could use any company that you wanted to make your tshirts, but Printify is Etsy approved as a member of the marketplace which means that they are already hooked up into Etsy. You don’t have to do anything manually except add the shipping date and tracking info, Printify does all the rest automatically! BRILLIANT!
How much does it cost to do a Printify listing on Etsy?
Etsy charges $.20 per listing for 4 months. So if you just listed one item (even with lots of variables) it still counts as one listing so 20 cents. If you set your quantity for 999 like I do, every time you sell a listing it renews for $.20.
How much money can you make?
Okay, this one is up to you! So for the shirt I made I had a $5.98 markup (the shirt and printing cost $19.01).
But then I saw this breakdown and I was like, dang I really made $2.98 after shipping… BUT WAIT! I got the shipping cost back through Etsy as a line item in the order!
So I really did make $5.98 on the sale. Now, I chose a high priced shirt to sell and a lower profit margin than Printify suggested so I COULD make more if I picked a less expensive shirt and a higher profit margin! But remember, my whole input into this was the time to make the design, research tshirt designs and do the listing. Now every shirt I sell after this is pure profit and Printify is fulfilling it AND doing the shipping for me!
What does it look like when someone orders your product from Etsy?
I made this video as part of the process of writing this post and wondered if it fit in… hmmm not quite the way I had planned, but seeing as I had SO MANY QUESTIONS when I was getting started, I thought you might like to see the process in action!
How are the items shipped?
I am pretty fussy about my shipping. I do the whole pink tissue paper and business card for my Glamorously Vintage store and so I was a little concerned that the packaging might not be up to my taste level.
The item was shipped beautifully in a black folded over poly mailer. The shirt came out in wearable shape and I would not be embarrassed to have it represent my brand.
Final Thoughts About Selling Tshirts On Etsy With Printify
- Using Printify makes it easy to take your Tshirt idea from just a concept to an active listing in a matter of minutes!
- Printify is an Etsy Marketplace approved vendor so you know that you won’t get in trouble for using them for your fulfillment.
- Make sure you update your listing details and shipping options.
- YOU set how much profit you make. You can make a low cost, high profit item or make a more affordable product your buyers will love!