Since I began my creative entrepreneurial journey seven years ago, my business has changed and evolved in many ways. One of the most significant ways is how I produce and fulfill Winnie Jean shop orders. A little over two years ago I started toying with outsourcing production and fulfillment (packaging and shipping) and as of today, 90% of the shop is manufactured and shipped outside of my home studio.
This was not a decision I made lightly, or one that happened over night. There are definitely pros and cons to each scenario but I'm going to share with you where I have the majority of my products printed now and how I outsource almost the entire shop operations.
After many Google searches (something along the lines of, "how to produce lifestyle products without the burden of overhead costs and inventory storage") and quite a few tears, I stumbled across the answer to my prayers. The Printful is an on demand, product printing and fulfillment company. Thanks to them, my shop has almost become a "passive profits" revenue stream for me. By outsourcing production and fulfillment, I am able to spend more time doing what I love: hand lettering, designing and creating more products.
Because the items are made to order (one at a time), your margins do go down a bit. For me, this isn't really an issue because I didn't want to purchase products in bulk (generally quantities of 100 or more) and it also allows me to offer multiple designs in each product category without having to invest my money. My overhead is much lower and my studio is much tidier (... sort of). On top of that, my profits have actually grown 3x since I started outsourcing production. Now I'm able to focus more on social media and other forms of marketing that I wasn't able to do when I was stuck packaging up hundreds of orders!
There are a few other options out there for on demand printing and fulfillment, (some even have lower pricing) but I have been most happy with Printful's quality, customer service and ease of use. Some other reasons I love outsourcing with them:
- They offer a number of product categories and are consistently adding more options. (Phone cases coming this year!)
- They let you order samples (limited to 5 sample orders per month) at 20% off with free shipping.
- You control your profit. Want to make more money? Raise your pricing.
- The website has a mock-up generator where you can easily make product photos for your website.
- They sync with Shopify and many other e-commerce platforms making your life 10x easier.
- There is a FREE option to add a branded sticker to each package sent out from your store.
I've recommended Printful to countless other creatives who use them for production and fulfillment in their shop. If you're one of them I'd love for you to chime in with a comment to share your experience with those who are just now hearing about them!
I highly recommend setting up an account and seeing for yourself. If you have any questions at all just holler! I'm here to help!