Last week we looked at opportunities for designing our own t-shirts and having them produced at POD – Produce (or Print) On Demand – sites like Amazon Merch, RedBubble and Zazzle, and numerous others.
Just to recap, these are tasks covered in last week’s eLetter…
#1. How to Hone Our Design Skills Outside of Amazon
#2. Give PhotoShop and Similar Software the Elbow
#3. Study Amazon Merch Bestselling Designs and Make Ours Similar but Better
And perhaps you were amazed at profits some designers are making at those sites and you are keen to begin your own journey to wealth in the t-shirt design business.
Part two of this feature will help you get started…
#4. Create Hybrid Designs
First…an interesting opportunity that I recognised while doing a little digging.
I spent several hours researching bestselling t-shirt designs at today’s most popular POD sites and found something interesting…the best selling designs on Amazon are rarely the best selling designs on Zazzle or RedBubble. It varies from one POD site to the next.
And that is when inspiration struck and I began looking for ways to incorporate each site’s top selling designs into my own finished image and text combinations. The idea was to create designs that become bestsellers at several POD sites, especially Amazon Merch which does not demand design exclusivity.
I chose t-shirts for women to begin with, primarily because searching designs across the board on Amazon Merch returned more t-shirts for women than for men and children.
Here are urls I used to find today’s bestselling t-shirt designs at three top POD sites, many of which reveal all-time bestsellers, so you really do need to spend longer than I did in the design research stage:
My hybrid designs began with a Word document divided into three columns, one for each of three top POD sites, in my case, Amazon Merch, Zazzle and RedBubble.
Down the columns I described images and text from the top ten t-shirts at each site. Then I looked for ways to combine one or more features from each site into my own new designs.
(I ended up with twenty plus unique designs to test market at several sites and I’ll tell you about in a report I will create in the coming weeks).
#5. Be Evergreen, Be Trending, Be Niche
Next…a few words to add to your design dictionary…Evergreen, Trending, Niche. These are the most common tips given by top designers at Amazon Merch, and some other POD sites.
Evergreen subjects. These are subjects with long term and potentially indefinite selling potential. Even a mediocre design attracting two or three sales each month can ultimately result in significant profits. Examples: dogs and cats, popular celebrity quotes, birthdays, parenting, weddings.
Trending topics. These are subjects that have picked up a bit of momentum. But be careful…a newly trending topic t-shirt might sell in high numbers for weeks or months before going into freefall. So you have to ride the trend and be ready to jump off fast. Examples: political elections, currently popular celebrities, beards and other fashion fads.
Niche markets. These are markets whose members share clearly defined interests…where just one product can sell to a high proportion of members. For obvious reasons, you choose high membership niches over small ones. Examples: Dachshund dog enthusiasts, BMW car owners, dentists, visitors to London and other major cities.
Seasons and Anniversaries. Some events appeal to the population at large, others just a small portion of the general public. The trick is to focus on seasons and anniversaries likely to attract millions of buyers for your t-shirt designs. Examples: Christmas and other faith celebrations, football and other sport calendars, wedding anniversaries, milestone birthdays such as fiftieth and sixtieth, 100th anniversary of an important historical event.
Special Events. Some special events last for weeks and months and others just days, but all can attract heavy sales for clever t-shirt designs. Examples: Olympic Games, important political elections, Brexit, military campaigns.
#6. Brush Up on Your Design Skills
I’ve left this tip ‘til last because I personally found Amazon Merch to be a very difficult place for non-techies to prepare and upload a t-shirt design.
Worry not, however, because sites like Zazzle and Café Press have a much friendlier user interface that allowed me, and no doubt countless other people, to practice creating and marketing designs and getting a foothold in the t-shirt business before tackling Amazon Merch.
Once you have Amazon Merch conquered, you can add your designs to hundreds of different products and venture into every new POD site you find.
The more products you have, the more you are likely to sell, and at some sites hundreds of products bearing the same design can be created in less than half an hour.
Add more POD sites to your empire and you’ll quickly dominate the world with your most successful designs.
Does it really get any better than this?
I don’t think so. In fact, I would suggest you study all of these POD sites today…
Note that some companies have separate country sites but focussing on .com alternatives gives worldwide coverage to your designs.
Just to update one thing on last week’s eLetter, most top t-shirt designers I spoke to and read about before writing this article gave twenty-five as the initial number of designs a newbie can create at Amazon Merch and the level is only lifted when those first designs begin to sell.
Since then, however, I have uploaded my own designs to Amazon Merch and met with a message indicating only ten designs are available to complete beginners.
I’m not sure which version is correct or why some experts still insist twenty-five is the accurate number but I will try to find out and report back soon.
Until then, let us use ten as the number of t-shirts we must create and upload to Zazzle. When we have ten bestsellers at those other sites, we can make them our first uploads to Amazon Merch.
Find more POD sites by Googling:
‘t-shirt POD sites’
… and similar.
That is it for now. I will try to have my full report finished within the next few weeks.