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If you’re reading this, you probably have this amazing idea to start your own online store. Maybe you want to sell clothes or maybe you want to sell mugs. Either way, somehow you found yourself stumbling across the words “dropshipping” and “printful”. Well, I do both and want to share my experience in hopes it provides more clarity for you.
First of all, let’s define some terms.
What is dropshipping?
For the sake of this blog, we’ll define dropshipping as the middleman between a customer and the business owner. Let me elaborate. Dropshipping allows you to sell a product you do not physically have in your presence. You know how people have a warehouse full of inventory they need to sell? Dropshipping companies realized there are people who (1) may not have the means to house inventory or (2) are not even interested in housing inventory. So they came up with this idea to allow you to house your products (or utilize theirs) and they will customize, package, and ship the product to the customer on your behalf.
For the visual learners, here’s the closest thing to a graphic I can provide
- You want to sell holiday themed pajamas
- You find a company that makes them
- You create a partnership with them where they charge you $10/pajamas to customize, package, and ship to prospective customers
- You set up an online store promoting the pajamas for $30/pajamas
- A customer goes on your site and purchases two pajamas for $60
- You pay the company $20 to fulfill the order
- You profit $40 from the sale
- Everybody Wins
And the best part of that scenario is you didn’t even have to lift a finger.
Now, our next question is – what is Printful?
Simple. Printful is a print-on-demand dropshipping company. That means they make orders as they come in – similar to going to a restaurant. You have to put in a food order and they will cook it for you. Let’s go back to the holiday-themed pajamas. Printful has a warehouse full of generic products to customize. You select the pajama type you like and provide them with the graphic designs you want on them. Printful gives you mockup photos to put on your site to promote to customers. Every time someone purchases pajamas from your site, Printful is notified and they will fulfill that order on your behalf.
And once again, you never had to lift a finger.
So how do I – Lola The Manager – use it?
Well, I have my own online store where I sell entrepreneurial apparel. I use Printful’s dropshipping services to fulfill all orders. I chose this method for several reasons:
- I didn’t want to spend money on inventory that may potentially not sell
- I didn’t want / nor had the means to house any inventory
- I wanted to be hands-off with this business venture
- I wanted more passive income
- It had $0 startup cost
I have been using Printful for almost 2 years now and my feelings for it in the beginning still remain – I love it.
Now let me just say this. In order for this to work, you need to sync Printful to an eCommerce platform like Wix, Shopify, or Etsy. Printful is only the back office. They need a front office to tell them what to do. That front office is the eCommerce platform you decide to use. I personally use Wix. So though Printful is free to use (because you are only charged after an order comes in), the eCommerce platform you decide to use will not be free. I know Shopify charges a monthly rate to use their site whereas Wix charges an annual fee. You just have to see which option works best for you.
I hope this provided some clarity for those interested in dropshipping – specifically through Printful. If you would like a tutorial or course on how to set this up, please tell me in the comments or send me a message. You know I am always looking for ways to educate us, fellow entrepreneurs.
Until Next Time,