Professional swag produced with the support and guidance of a knowledgeable human is always best. Period. However, what if your budget is limited? If you want to get started with swag and promoting your brand on a very limited budget, I like the concept of print on demand. POD is a great way to get your little baby brand out to the public and can create an early revenue stream, albeit a littler baby one.
Thinking small? POD is for you
You will have fun with your SWAG, no doubt. At the same time, it is important to plan, budget, and work with an experienced professional. Improper planning causes excess inventory and excess inventory takes up space and collects dust, not profits. If working with a professional is not in your budget yet, (I say “yet” because it should most definitely be planned for and budgeted), then print on demand will do a good job of getting you by in the meantime.
Companies like Hoi Polloi can guide the set up, answer questions based on experience, and help you avoid a few hard knocks. Help from a small advisory company like Hoi Polloi also can be a helping hand from brand development to setting up an online store, budget, plan, and then transition from POD to working with a professional swag company. Planning and process will lead to proper promotion and passive profits.
POD — Why Printify?
As a complete beginner, Printify was inviting. After enduring YouTubers and a few “it takes five minutes and no money” click baiters, I learned enough to feel comfortable starting with Printify. Various age groups and experience levels will feel more comfortable learning new software, however I recommend you plan on a solid day or two to truly grasp the process.
Get comfortable with how supply chain, ordering, proper pricing, shipping, payments and general day-to-day business is done. From there, decide where you are gonna offer the swag and connect to that “store” on Etsy, or Wix, or your chosen platform. Another reason Printify is a solid choice is they connect to a variety of well known platforms with ease.
Setting pricing can be a challenge. You have to find that magic balance to provide value while covering shipping costs. We suggest focusing your first sales with family and close friends to work through those lessons and to see how Printify or others handle customer service issues. It is always easier to work through an issue with a friend or family member than to lose a customer.
Moving from POD to professional printing…the sensible thing to do
Once your business is up and flying, it is going to make all kinds of sense to move from print on demand to real bonafide print vendors and professionals that know their SWAG. Why? Once you have scaled up (even a little) your per piece cost is going to go way down (like half), which of course, means your profits on SWAG go up, as well as the quality is going to be much better. If you are in the position to do so, work with a pro! If you are starting out solo or on a limited budget give Printify a try and/or reach out to a small business advisor like Hoi Polloi Advisors.
*you can check out The Huntress Collection for POD as an example of what I did on my own, with no experience in POD and very little experience with website building….that’s a topic for another blog.
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