So you want to offer some merch for your podcast listeners. T-Shirts seem like a good place to start. But what's the best way to get the shirts made and sell them? There's actually 3 main options you have to choose before deciding on the best method.
|High upfront cost
|Quick setup time
|Moderate setup time
|A lot of setup time
|Must handle every order
Option 1: Full Service (easiest to run, lowest profits)
A place like TeePublic is a full service shop. You give them your design and in a few quick clicks your shop is all up and ready. No need to design how the shop looks, or go through any lengthy process it's quick and easy. When someone buys the shirt, TeePublic will print it and ship all for you. You're totally hands off. Oh and there's no monthly fee! So you have absolutely nothing to lose here.
But their shirts are fixed price. You can't say how much it sells for. And you will get $4 per shirt when yours sells. It's super easy, quick, and hassle free.
Option 2: Hybrid (easy to run, flexibility on price)
Now if you can find someone to print your Tees and then find somewhere online to sell your Tees, then you will have a lot more control over what goes on. An option here would be something like Printful + Shopify. You give your designs to Printful and when they get an order they'll print on demand and ship the shirt to your customer. And Shopify will be your store front to handle how much shirts cost, and how the shopping cart looks, and handles all the billing stuff.
Shopify does have a monthly fee, so if you aren't selling a couple shirts a month, you might be losing money here. Printful charges only when a shirt is ordered.
What's great about this option is that you can set the price, and Printful is fairly cheap at making the shirts. So for instance, Printful can make shirts for $10. Over on shopify you can say to buy that is $22. Resulting in you getting $12 profit. Three times as much profit as TeePublic!
Creating a Shopify store can be easy if you want to just use their template, or you can spend weeks on it making it look amazing and custom for you. But some designing will be needed because there's lots of options on look of the store.
Once everything is setup it's set and forget! Shopify handles the shopping experience, integrates into Printful, sends the orders there, Printful prints it up, and ships it out. Hands free experience.
Option 3: Self Service (more effort, but higher profits)
Lastly you can do it all self service. This is where you find a local print shop willing to make you the shirts. Give them the design, wait a week, go get the shirts, and store them. Now even if you bought just 5 of each size that ends up being 20-25 shirts. Which can be pricey, and what if they don't sell.
Buying in bulk like this is going to be cheaper than buying them print to order 1 at a time. So you'll get them made for less than Printful usually, and probably higher quailty too.
Next you still need an online place to sell them. Shopify is a good solution for that still as you can use their store to handle all the billing and how the shop looks. Then when an order comes in, you have to go find the shirt, pop it in a mailer, and go down to the post office and mail it out. This can be time consuming and requieres you to have extra materials ready like mailer pouches.