Calling All Artists and Graphic Designers!
Going off of my last article, my inner creative self has been fighting to come out and I finally let it happen. I have tried a number of different things like selling canvas art and digital downloads, but my passion has always been creating some sort of clothing line. I've watched plenty of YouTube videos suggesting I find what is hot and trending; however, how is that authentic to my vision?
It's not so I stuck with what I've always envisioned doing and created a line of print on demand hoodies that have a variety of color, sayings and inspiration. My friends know me to have a few catch phrases that never grow old AND they know that I am an optimist. If I see a long line but free bagels, I choose to see the free bagels and will wait versus others that would be discouraged by the long line.
After coming to a determination that I wanted to create a clothing line of hoodies, the next thing was figuring out how to do that without spending a lot of money. I started researching online and on Google and I came across a few different print on demand companies like Shopify, Printful, Redbubble, CafePress, Zazzle and Teespring now known as Spring. I've tried Printful, Shopify, Redbubble and CafePress and the one that I've had the most success on so far is on Spring.
I was able to create designs within the application, but I found that it was tough to upload those exact creations anywhere else so I decided to use Canva (new article review coming soon!). Spring offers a variety of products that have now expanded to digital products. The cool thing about digital products is the customer doesn't have to wait for the inventory to be shipped. It's readily available. Spring is one of the first sites that has digital products available which has positioned them well in the market.
I have limited experience when it comes to design technology; however, I have found it a bit hard to make the updates to my website through Spring. My account has not gone through the update this year and while I am patient and will wait, I am very limited on how to I advertise my products. I am just sticking with hoodies, but I would like to expand into other categories like stickers, digital downloads and wall canvases. Spring's interface is easy for me to understand which makes it user friendly and easy for beginners, but without the upgrade there are a lot limitations.
I want to create more categories especially for upcoming seasons and holidays like Mental Health Celebration and Pride month; however, for now I need to settle for using the star feature online. I can star featured items but cannot actually categorize them. There is a limited number of available fonts and colors, but I do like how easy it is to update the interface of my store.
Spring is now offering cheap options to buy a domain directly from the website. I was able to purchase the domain which made it connect easily to my other websites. I find that there is more with less and so I have simplified my company logo and designs. I have listed a limited number of colors available in each design and I have utilized the front and back and much as possible. Once the design is created I am able to go in at anytime and make updates and modifications to the design and/or description. It's also very easy to upload the products and also hide them. Before submitting your final product, I recommend choosing which store you are going to use. The item already accounts for the mark up so you can turn a profit. Additionally, each item will tell you where the items will be shipped from.
Spring's shipping policy is not as straight forward as I hoped it would be, but you can decide to either cover shipping or choose how much the customer will be expected to pay for shipping. I had to pick the shipping details etc. since I had to add the payment information, but I do love not holding my own inventory.
There is a lot of great material added to the website about how to create, market and expand your brand. Here are my recommendations if you are just getting started:
- Use Canva to design all creations so you can upload to different websites and products
- Use an appealing combination of colors that pull your customer in to look through what you are offering
- Do not overwhelm each product with a lot choices between colors and product variations - the simpler the better
- Make sure your products are shipping domestically and from the US
- Order some samples to give away for free as marketing items
- Follow your passion - yes you can jump on the trend wagon, but I find it harder to engage in something creatively when my heart isn't in it
- Set up social media to help advertise your designs
- Follow seasons and trends - collections can be a huge hit
- Be patient, it is going to take time for your website to gain organic traffic - if you need additional assistance, you can find someone versed in marketing and social media consulting to help increase sales
- Have fun designing!
If you do this right and correctly, you could have some nice side income.