Top 5 Websites to Start Your Online Apparel Store For Free
If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’ve probably sat around once or twice and thought about a new way to make some money on the side. This could have been through freelancing, writing an eBook, or even the classic ole’ lemonade stand. However, if you came up with the idea to sell apparel with your own custom graphics, designs, and phrases then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at the top 5 websites that you can access to start selling your designs today for free! To help you further decide, I’ll also be going over some pros/cons to each website and you can find your best fit.
Spreadshirt is a great platform for the designer, with a marketplace that is very centric on the discovery of niches and upcoming designers. Spreadshirt has a very friendly search setup that is rather specific when it comes to looking at things categorically. Spreadshirt also offers the ability to customize your own storefront page that displays all your products in a clean manner.
Seeing that you are a business and you want things to go well, Spreadshirt also offers support, discounts, sales promotion events, bulk ordering, and if you are not satisfied with your order, they’ll take it back within 30 days. This is huge for you: you want to be the designer – have the products sell themselves and ensure that support is handled. That way, you can keep designing in peace while any issues are being resolved by Spreadshirt.
- Customer support and availability.
- A good selection of products to print on.
- A user-friendly design interface for products.
- More simplistic regarding what is possible with design.
- Since they are a print on demand service, delivery times may not be as
- Profit margins will not be as sufficient elsewhere.
TEEPUBLIC is a lot like Spreadshirt in their moves to supporting independent artists with highlights to designers of the month, sales strategies, and more. TEEPUBLIC also offers bulk ordering for wholesale buyers/designers and an okay range of products to print on and sale.
The reason, however, that TEESPRING and SPREADSHIRT rank lower is that their design interface is not that complex in overall capability. This isn’t bad though – TEESPRING fairs itself as a lot more simplistic to set up versus Spreadshirt. For instance, when you upload a design to TEEPUBLIC, it goes on sale for 72 hours which is effective for you, the designer, to advertise it. After this 72-hour window, it will still be on the site, just not at a sale price. After all, the easier it is for you as a designer, the better. TEEPUBLIC advertises themselves as the company with the lowest prices and highest commission rates of any designer marketplace online. Which, if you check out their commission rates – it’s not that bad!
- Easier to setup than Spreadshirt.
- Higher commission rates than Spreadshirt. (Better profit margins)
- Offers bulk-ordering.
- Again, it is a Print on Demand (POD) service, so you may not be able to easily rely on delivery times.
- Design interface is like Spreadshirt, not as intuitive.
- Marketplace is not as browsing-friendly (easy for a customer to navigate) as Spreadshirt.
Etsy has always been known as a great marketplace for artists and designers to sell their knick-knacks online. Much like this known reputation, they carry it over when it comes to setting up a store that will sell your apparel items. Now, where ETSY doesn’t do printing, they’re still a storefront service that has several analytics, customer support, fulfillment strategy, and print services linked.
To allow the sale of these kinds of products, simply use a service like Printful to print your products for you. Both companies are great examples with a variety of products to print on. Printful is great as they have recently updated some of their machinery and gotten access to do more intricate designs like sleeve-printing which supports you to be more creative.
Etsy will give you the access to priceless knowledge for managing your storefront all while incorporating services that will bring your imagination for designs to the next level.
- More analytics to help you sell more sufficiently.
- Ability to link to better quality design services with more options.
- Significantly better margins.
- Organic traffic from Etsy marketplace.
- Etsy does not do print on demand on their own, which may make it a little bit more difficult to setup.
Redbubble is much like the first two services we covered in that they operate as a designer marketplace. The reason they rank higher on this list and above Etsy is because of the way they operate and the overall ease of things to get started.
To begin, simply upload your art and list the products you would like to print out to and create yourself a little storefront. The reason this will be a bit easier is because Redbubble has a more engaged community and is known for being a place for artists to sell their work… this will benefit your motives as more traffic will frequent the site for such a purpose.
When it comes to quality, Redbubble has better looking prints/products in my opinion – just look at their phone cases vs. phone cases from TEEPUBLIC. Another interesting thing about Redbubble is that it’s setup on a social media like basis. Users can follow you as an artist if they like your designs which will encourage repeat buyers and again, an increased flow in traffic.
- Relatively easy to setup.
- High quality prints on high quality product.
- Good margins.
- Increased traffic due to a more communal feel.
- As it is a POD service, it may yield to longer delivery times depending on the production capability.
- Potentially less margins on certain products.
At the top of our list, reigns Merch by Amazon. That’s right – Amazon does print on demand for your merch. Are you an influencer that wants to open a merch line to sell to your following? This is the perfect fit for you. Merch by Amazon operates as a print on demand service selling your products under Prime shipping. Yep, you read that right: your products with prime shipping.
Amazon has a quality selection of products and to top it all off you won’t have to worry about delivery given Amazon’s track record of reliable delivery. But wait, it gets better: Amazon will not only allow you to have a storefront to display your products to your target consumers, but it will also display your products organically and we have generated a ton of sales with this option. When people don’t even know who you are they may be buying from you – this is huge.
The only downside is that this service requires access by means of an application process, which you can find here: AMAZON APPLICATION PROCESS (but trust me, if you get in, it’s worth it).
- Access to the Amazon services of printing and fulfillment with Prime (AMAZING!).
- Organic exposure to the Amazon marketplace allowing in organic sales traffic.
- Quality prints and products.
- Requires access by means of an application which may delay your launch.
Hopefully this list gave you some added insight into starting your own online apparel business worry free and to your own personal liking. With these services available to you today, you are in the golden age of starting a business in this industry – so take advantage of every little benefit!