Print on demand shop on Etsy: short beginner’s guide


Print on demand is a business model that is raising in its popularity – there are more and more systems and ways how to do this type of business and earn good money. And one of those ways is having an Etsy shop that sells print on demand items. Keep reading to learn more!

What is Etsy?

Etsy is an online marketplace where you can find unique products from independent crafters, artists, and creators. It is primarily used for selling handmade goods, art, vintage items, jewelry, stationery items like custom notebooks or stickers, etc., but lately, it has expanded and also offers custom prints aka print on demand products, furniture, art supplies, etc.

You can use Etsy as a customer or buyer or as a seller. Anyone can join Etsy’s seller community – all you need is a product to offer and the enthusiasm to sell it.

Print on demand on Etsy

Even though Etsy started out as a platform that solely sold handmade things, it has grown and now also includes products that are otherwise original, for example, have a custom print on them. And that is where print on demand comes in.

The main thing to remember when entering Etsy with a print on demand shop in mind – the designs and prints need to be originally made by you. You also need to disclose your print on demand partner – Etsy really strives for transparency and that includes noting who are you working with to create your product, if it is not 100% made by you.

How to start a print on demand business

It doesn’t matter where you will sell your items, the first steps in starting a print on demand business are the same. So, here they are!

  1. Find a print on demand partner. Every print on demand business story starts with a print on demand partner. You need a company that is reliable and will print all the items for you. Why is this the first step? You need to know what items the company offers, so you can create your designs specifically for those items.

A few tips on how to find the best print on demand supplier: 1) check the reviews (at best, look for 5-star reviews with a commentary); 2) get in touch and evaluate their communication style and whether it works for you; 3) Order a sample with a print to check the quality and how the products are shipped; 4) Follow recommendations but always test the company yourself.

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If you are looking for a print on demand supplier, check out! They have great reviews and good statistics: 99.78% of customers keep their purchases; 96.56% of partners keep working with them after the first purchase; since partnering with them, partners’ revenue goes up by 40% on average; 98.72% of orders arrive within a week, in perfect condition.

  1. Create designs. Now that you know your print on demand partner, you can start creating your amazing designs. You can specialize in one theme, for example, cats or puns, or have a variety of designs and prints. And of course, over time you can supplement your stock, make new categories, etc.
  1. Take photos. Not only it will help you test the quality, but you will also have the opportunity to photograph your designs and create stunning pictures for your Etsy shop. When taking pictures be sure that it is clearly understandable what product you are selling, but that said, don’t be scared to style it with other items making it feel more real and easier for your customer to imagine it in his or her own house or wardrobe.
  2. Create a product description. Whether you are planning to sell your products on Etsy or on an independent site, you will need a product description. Make sure to write it as compelling as possible – treat it as a marketing text, but remember that you are selling your product to an individual person. Speak from experience, include your values, and don’t forget to add important facts about the garment (for example, fabric composition) and other practical information.

Once all these steps are done, you can start working on your Etsy shop.

Etsy basics

Before you start working with Etsy, make sure that Etsy is the place where you want to sell your items. Read their seller policy, make sure your location is where selling on Etsy Payments is available, and be informed about the fee Etsy will collect for using their platform.

Handmade items by you

By Etsy’s definition, print designs you create yourself counts as a handmade item as long as you enclose your print on demand partner. However, be aware that you are not allowed to resell someone else’s handmade items. It is also prohibited to use copyrighted material, even if the items are created by you. For print on demand, that means to better stay clear of comic book heroes, popular quotes, and other famous and not-so-famous TV or movie trivia.

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Business and legal questions

Etsy does not require you to have a business license for you to sell on Etsy. However, you should definitely be aware and follow any laws that apply to you by your country or state. Your location might also impact the legal side of your business, so if you are located outside your home country, be sure what laws are applicable in your location. If you are not sure, it is best to consult with a specialist, for example, lawyer or accountant.

Your shop preferences

When you set up your shop preferences, make sure you pay attention because some of this information is not changeable later. Some of the preferences are:

  1. Shop language. This is the main language in which you will describe your items. Once a shop is made, you cannot change your shop language, however, you can add translations.
  2. Shop country. Choose the country from which you will ship your items.
  3. Shop currency. Choose the currency in which you will price your items. Some conversion fees might apply if your bank’s currency is different than the one in your shop.
  4. Time commitment. This is a question for informal purposes and won’t affect the setup of your shop.
  5. The name of your shop. The name of your shop is also your brand, so try to get a name that you use elsewhere, for example, on Social Media. Make sure it is 4–20 characters long, is decent, is not in use by another Etsy member, and does not infringe on any trademarks.


Etsy is a great way how to start your print on demand business. It is a platform that already has lots of potential customers, good recognition, and a reputation. So, all you need to do is to find your print on demand partner, choose your designs and start selling!


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