8
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Print on Demand in Fashion: What You Need to Know

Published on
September 12, 2023
What is Printing on Demand Clothing. Printing on Demand vs Custom Clothing Manufacturing. Image of printing on demand products
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Growth marketer and tech entrepreneur since 2015. Alejandro leads the Digital Marketing team at GAT Fashion Lab.

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Printing on demand is a service that allows you to purchase customized standard products according to your needs, with no minimum order requirement. In other words, you can order as few as one unit or as many as you like, and personalize each product as you wish.

The concept of "On Demand" refers to the fact that products are manufactured only when a customer places an order, eliminating the need for inventory for sales. This concept is very common in the world of e-commerce, especially in the area of dropshipping (selling without holding inventory).

As mentioned, one of the main advantages is that with a printing on demand service, you don't need to maintain inventory; products are manufactured each time a user makes a purchase. The consequence of this is that on-demand production tends to be more costly and is also limited in terms of certain modifications, as the products that are customized must be standard.

Printing on Demand Companies are wholesale product buyers; let's take T-shirts as an example: a printing on demand company must have in its inventory hundreds of T-shirts in different colors and only personalize (produce) them when a user places an order.

What products does a printing on demand company offer?

 There are many options, but let's highlight some:

- Clothing: Women and menswear, including T-shirts, shorts, swimwear, hoodies, etc.  

- Merchandise: Notebooks, mugs, bags, backpacks, etc.

- Accessories: Caps, hats, socks, shoes, etc.

- Home Decor: Puzzles, pillows, towels, candles, etc.

- Stationery: Posters, cards, books, etc.

As you can see, there are plenty of product options for on-demand printing. However, let's delve into Printing on Demand Clothing:

What about print on demand fashion?   

With clothing, the range of products available for on-demand printing is extensive. However, there is a significant limitation: all garments are basic designs that are customized solely through printing.

Because they focus on customization, printing on demand companies use standard products, which means they are the same for all customers. So, for instance, if you want to create a special garment or make changes to the design, such as lengthening or removing a sleeve, it's not possible.

In such cases, it's better to seek Custom Clothing Manufacturing or Private Label Clothing services, as they are oriented toward producing 100% customized designs (not just printing).

Custom Clothing Manufacturing services are ideal for independent designers and fashion brands that require meticulous attention to their products.

Printing on Demand services are perfect for businesses in need of merchandise, streetwear brands, or basic product offerings and dropshippers.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Printing on Demand

One of the standout advantages of printing on demand lies in its ability to minimize or even eliminate waste, as items are created only once a customer has requested them. In contrast, traditional methods often result in a significant buildup of unsold products that eventually get discarded.

Among the disadvantages, we find low profit margins, limited control over printing, packaging, and shipping, and potentially high shipping costs.

Printing on Demand or Custom Clothing Manufacturing?   

If you're starting a fashion brand, this is a question you must be pondering, and here we share our perspective:

The first thing you should be clear about is what type of garments you want for your brand and how each garment adds value to the market.

If you decide to create fashion-focused designs with interventions in the silhouette, such as necklines, puffed sleeves, cutouts, etc., your only option is a Custom Clothing Manufacturer or a Full Package Clothing Manufacturer. These manufacturing formats offer tailored design solutions to meet your needs. Printing on demand only provides customization for basic products, which may not align with your goals.

On the other hand, if you're just starting to establish your fashion brand and it leans more toward basic or streetwear, printing on demand can be a viable option. However, there are better options, such as specialized Private Label providers that offer garments with more design intervention. For example, at GAT Fashion Lab, our Private Label offers hundreds of fashion items ready to be manufactured and customized to match your brand's identity.

Printing on Demand Brand Examples

Here are some examples of companies that use Printing on Demand for their product manufacturing:   

SUNSHINE:

Prints various items, adding a special touch from multiple designers working within the brand.

Inserting image...
Visit SUNSHINE's website.

DUMBCLUB:

Offers embroidered garments in shades of blue, pink, and gray.

Visit DUMBCLUB's website.

PRIDELETICS:

Provides sportswear products celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.

Visit PRIDELETICS' website.

To discover more examples of companies using printing on demand, click here.  

Printing on Demand Clothing Suppliers

PRINTFULL:

Printful operates multiple production and logistics centers primarily in the United States and Europe. Orders are customized, packed, and shipped directly to the end customer from their facilities.

Visit Printful's website

PRINTIFY:

Printify connects suppliers from various parts of the world through its platform so that users can find the best option according to their needs.

Visit Printify's website

If you want to explore more Printing on Demand Companies options, we recommend this blog listing the 10 Best Print on Demand Companies.

What Do You Need to Start Your Fashion Brand with Printing on Demand?

The first thing you need to operate your fashion brand, whether you work with a Custom Clothing Manufacturer or a Printing on Demand Company, is an online sales strategy.  

When it comes to selling products online, there are two fundamental alternatives: you can sell through an e-commerce platform or establish your own website.

Popular online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy offer various advantages, including established reputations and an existing audience. However, setting up your own website grants you complete control over how you market your products. You have the ability to fully customize the e-commerce platform and design a shopping experience that is attractive and rewarding for customers.

Website building platforms like Wix, Shopify and BigCommerce offer the possibility to develop high-quality online stores, with pricing plans and features tailored to a wide range of budgets and levels of competition.

Starting with online sales is much cheaper than establishing a physical store, and it gives you the opportunity to reach a global market beyond the local impact of a store.

One of the main advantages of online selling is that it allows you to reduce the available inventory for sale. If you use Printing on Demand, you can even seamlessly connect to these services, and products will be manufactured only when a sale is made. This is an ideal option to start your fashion business because you won't require initial capital to stock clothing; you'll manufacture only when there's demand.

However, before diving into e-commerce, it's crucial to have proper branding and a clear business strategy. You should know your target market well and have a defined plan for how you'll add value.

Here's a brief checklist of activities to consider when launching your fashion brand:   

1. Business Strategy

2. Branding

3. E-commerce

4. Marketing Strategy

5. Social Media

How to Choose a Printing on Demand Supplier

Various factors influence the choice of a printing on demand company, including:

- Products suitable for customization, such as apparel, containers, and more.

- Range of services offered by the company.

- Minimum order quantities required.

- Product quality.

- Self-editing options available.

- Customization alternatives.

- Customer reviews describing prior experiences with the service-providing company.

-Complete operational costs.

- Retail pricing.

- Shipping and transportation fees.

- Essential shipping requirements.

- Potential for free or low-cost delivery.

- Order fulfillment timeframes and product design.

- Shipping destinations.

- Possibility of requesting samples from the company.

- Profit margins per product.

- Level of experience of the company.  

It's important to research these characteristics, such as transportation costs, offered by various printing on demand companies, and select the one that aligns best with your budget and sales objectives.

Are you looking to create a fashion brand or searching for suppliers for your brand and not sure where to start?   

At GAT Fashion Lab, we are Full Package, Custom Clothing and Private Label Manufacturers, working with some of the largest fashion brands in Latin America. If you want to learn more about us and how we could help grow your business, contact us here.

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