Teespring is undoubtedly the OG in the print on demand industry. Even if you’re unfamiliar with POD, the name should ring a bell.
At one point, seemingly every YouTuber, Instagram influencer and Twitch streamer was launching their own Teespring campaigns. It was seriously big business. They were valued at a whopping $650 million and they looked to be unstoppable.
However, in the following years their finances were not living up to expectations. Cheaper and more innovative POD competitors were springing up (pun intended) left, right and center. At the same time, the soaring popularity of eCommerce platform Shopify meant other designers were choosing to run things by themselves.
By 2017 the company was valued at just $11 million. A big change in direction was in order, and that leaves us with the Teespring we know today. Leaner and with more humble ambitions, Teespring is finally a profitable company.
So how does Teespring compare as a POD solution for your business? I’ve put together this review so that you can find out what this ecommerce platform is all about before you decide for yourself whether this is where you would like to launch your custom apparel business.
How Teespring Works Step-by-Step
Teespring is easy to use even if you have never used a POD service before. If you have previously used one of these sites, then you will already be familiar with how the process works.
1. Create an Account
Visit the Teespring website and create an account with your name, email, and password. Creating an account is free.
2. Create your Design
Next, you'll choose the 'canvas' you want to put your designs on including posters, mugs, beach towels, wall tapestry, flags, and of course, apparel like tee-shirts and hoodies.
There are three ways to create your designs. You can choose from the available artworks, create a design using the built-in Teespring designer tool, or upload your pre-made custom designs. The designer tool isn’t that difficult to figure out and allows you to add images, text, and artwork to your design. The launcher only accepts PNG files and the file should be no larger than 50MB.
3. Set the Price
Just like with other POD sites, Teespring has a base price for all its products but you set your own price. Your profit will be the difference between the base price and the selling price. If, for example, a t-shirt goes for $15 but you choose to sell at $28, your profit in this case, will be $13.
For a more definite estimate, check out the Teespring profit calculator here.
Why Signup for Teespring?
One of the best reasons to join any print on demand e-commerce site is just how easy it is to get into the business. The site handles all the major aspects of running the business on your own including inventory, shipping, printing, marketing, customer service, and more. This reduces your workload and the learning curve of starting a new business while allowing you to narrow your focus to the design and product offering.
When speaking about TeeSpring specifically, there are a couple of areas we'd have to consider before making a final judgment on whether this service is worth joining.
1. Diversity of Products
Teespring has over 50 products that customers can choose from which gives you a great range of design possibilities and product offerings. Additionally, successful sellers get access to specialty products including clinch socks, backpacks, duffle bags, and more. Essentially, the more you sell, the more likely you are to increase your product range and carve out a niche for yourself.
Although this is hardly a unique business model in the POD industry, Teespring is 100% free to use. You don’t have to pay anything upfront and you get 100% of your profits on any sale you make. It used to be that you had to sell a minimum number of items before your orders could be fulfilled but this has since been scrapped. This makes it much easier to fulfill your first order and get some skin in the game.
The site is also very transparent in terms of the base price of products and how much profit you get to keep (anything on top of the base price).
3. Production & Printing
Newbie designers will be pleased to know that you don’t have to deal with the technical details when it comes to production and printing at Teespring. The site offers Direct to Garment printing (DTG) and Screen Printing, and an automated system decides which method to use based on a couple of factors such as the product type, number of colors, and quantity among others.
For more seasoned designers, however, losing control of the production and printing process side of your business means that there is no guarantee that your products will match your expectations or quality demands. Teespring does get the occasional complaint about the printing quality and as a business owner; it can be disheartening to know that there is really nothing much you can do to fix the problem.
4. Customer Reach
One aspect of TeeSpring that you probably can never match as a solo entrepreneur is the customer base at the company's disposal. The company has print partners scattered across the US and the EU and uses the customer's shipping information to assign the printing and dispatch location.
This puts a huge potential market at your fingertips and also ensures that your products get to your clients quicker than you could ever have hoped if you were doing the printing and shipping yourself. The company also recently entered the Asian market which has previously proven lucrative for both big brands and small niche businesses.
5. Selling Tools
Finally, Teespring offers selling tools for designers who are looking to tip the odds in their favor. The Boosted Network, for example, supports features that you cannot get on your ‘regular’ account. The additions here include end-to-end integration where Teespring optimizes your listings, top-notch cyber security, and access to more market places including Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Wish.
The additions here include end-to-end integration where Teespring optimizes your listings, top-notch cyber security, and access to more market places including Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Wish.
Teespring also has its own analytics in the seller account to help you keep track of the most popular products, where most of your traffic is coming from, and other useful data that can help you to optimize your listings. Additionally, the account also supports integration with Google Analytics.
6. Your Very Own Storefront
It's also easy to set up your own storefront, hosted on Teespring's own servers.
Here you can showcase all your shirts and other merchandise. Customers purchasing items will still have their transactions handled by Teespring. You can also customize the shop so that it matches your brand.
The main advantage here is that you get your very own store URL that you can market. You don't have to direct people to individual product pages. According to Teespring, listings featured in storefronts tend to get 58% more views on average and sell 20% more units.
1. Requires active marketing
One of the most common complaints about joining Teespring is that you will have to do most of the heavy lifting in terms of marketing your merchandise or designs. This isn’t one of those sites where you set up a couple of products and check in every few days to see if you sold anything.
You will have to do a lot of marketing such as sharing content on social media, using influencer marketing, Facebook ads, Google Analytics, and really anything that you can think of to boost your visibility. It can feel a lot like you are selling merchandise on behalf of Teespring rather than actually owning your own business but that is just part of the game.
2. Shipping Times
Secondly, while most clients seem happy about receiving their purchase within a reasonable timeframe, most customer complaints have to do with shipping. Either the clients do not get their purchase at all or that the tracking number does not work properly. Given that Teespring designers are assigned a trust rating, it can be frustrating to watch your rating go down through no fault of your own since the company handles the shipping.
3. Doesn't Integrate With Ecommerce Platforms
Unlike most other PoD platforms which let you seamlessly integrate with your own online store on platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce, Teespring does not offer such integrations.
That's because Teespring decided to position themselves as a direct competitor to these e-commerce platforms. They want you to run your store on their platform.
Sticking with Teespring is fine in the beginning stages, but locking yourself into a single platform might cause a headache down the line. It would be nice to be able to transition to your self-managed shop and keep sourcing products from the same company.
Is Teespring Legit?
If you are asking whether Teespring is legal and is not a scam then the answer to both questions is Yes. Teespring is 100% legal and you don’t even need a business license to sell your designs here. It is also not a scam and you can withdraw your profits in as little as 3 days provided that the amount is less than $100.
Teespring collected around $600,000 in seed funding when the concept was first developed by co-founders Williams and Stites-Clayton. The company has since raised more than $50 million in venture capital and has a good track record of licensing and fair business practices from the relevant regulatory bodies.
Are There Any Good Teespring Alternatives?
The thing about comparing Print-on-demand sites is that different designers have different experiences and success rates on each platform, making it extremely difficult to say conclusively which one is better.
Still, there are some good alternatives to Teespring if you want to diversify your online presence and product offerings. These include Bonfire, Redbubble, Zazzle, TeePublic, and Spreadshirt. Redbubble, for example, has a much larger customer base and records more organic traffic than TeeSpring so it may be worth checking out as an alternative.
Overall Teespring is a decent but somewhat unremarkable print-on-demand company.
Their early market momentum is all but gone. And now, among all the other POD platforms in the fray, they don't have anything that will really entice designers to choose them over the others.
Their product range is dwarfed by the likes of Redbubble and Society6. While selling shirts is a good way to test the waters, at some point you’ll want to expand your offerings.
Pricing, shirt print quality and storefront features sit somewhere in the middle.
Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to throw my designs up on Teespring. Since there's no upfront cost, it's worth signing up with them and seeing if any of your designs attract visitors.
However, if you're looking to set up your online clothing store, I'd still recommend going with a dedicated e-commerce platform like Shopify or Webflow and integrating with a PoD fulfilment service such as Printful or Printify.
This gives you more flexibility in customization, more powerful selling tools and doesn't tie you in with a single print warehouse. An approach like this makes you more unique and competitive, which is invaluable if you're trying to start a more serious business.