Before I decided to design clothing, I thought about doing drop shipping. On paper, it sounds like the perfect business: find cheap items, sell them for twice as much as you can buy them, and you don’t even have to worry about inventory. In theory, all you’d have to do is find a ton of cool items that people would impulsively buy and make money through a process that is almost entirely automated. And to make it even easier, there are countless courses promising you the world on how to become a successful drop shipper!
So what could possibly be the problem with this business model? To be perfectly honest, being as easy and risk free as the model is, everyone seems to try it, or at least researches how to do it. And because the knowledge base is so vast, every day it becomes an increasingly difficult market to break into.
Let me ask you this, would you rather buy something for $10 or $7? Of course you’d rather spend less money. So with so many people selling the exact same items for less and less money, profit margins are getting smaller and smaller. Too many people are undercutting the market and hurting everyone in the process. Also, there have been stores that have been around for years building a customer base and their reputation. So besides battling smaller and smaller margins, you’re also fighting against stores selling to the same customers you are, but they have been around for years.
So what is the perfect business model? In my opinion, it’s Print-on-Demand. Print-on-Demand essentially works similar to drop shipping, except that instead of searching for products to sell, you are designing your own products to sell. I have specifically chosen to focus on clothing because it’s something I actually enjoy working on and designing. And I do believe that’s important. If you have a passion for something, putting your energy and effort into it will be so much easier.
When it comes to Print-on-Demand, there are several different options you have when selecting a partner. Before selling your products, I recommend getting a few samples sent to you so you can check out the quality. Also, I recommend figuring out how much it costs to have the print done and shipped out. The reason I recommend this is because I recently compared Printify and Printful. Quickly scanning through the shirts, Printify looks much cheaper. When I had both items shipped to my house, Printify only saved me about 30 cents because of how they charge shipping. Obviously, who you ultimately choose will depend on which products you want to print on.
Because we aren’t shipping products from China, we are going to have to sell our products at a “premium” to make a profit. And there are a lot of “Gurus” out there that will just tell you to double the price. I disagree. When I was visiting a museum, I walked around checking out all of the different souvenir shirts. All of them were $24.95. All of them said something along the lines of “feel me, super soft” regardless of the brand. And these shirts were Gildan (heavy cotton and soft-style) and Anvil. If you were to print from Printful, Gildan soft-style is $8.95. That means every time they sold a shirt, they would have made a profit of $16.00 (if they were using Printful). And nobody was looking at the tag.
When I first started this model, I decided to design my own clothing. My first couple designs were terrible and people told me. But that meant people were paying attention to me, which is ALWAYS a positive, especially in business. But when I did learn how to design, it was a game changer. People were connecting with my brand and actually wearing my clothing in public and sending me pictures of themselves wearing my products! That was when I knew I could make it work. And once you get one sale (from a random person you don’t know), you truly do realize that it can work. And when you are the one designing the clothing that people are voluntarily wearing, it makes you feel amazing!