Off the Beaten Path
Join me on an adventure. Where will we go today?
Most of us are looking hard for side hustles. If we can set it up and let it run to generate passive income, that’s the best. After watching multiple how-to-do it videos and reading blogs, we started researching the ETSY/Printify combination. The strategy is simple. Create original designs on Etsy and link them to products on Printify. You carry no inventory; the customer is shipped directly from the manufacturer on the Printify system. There are over 200 manufacturers worldwide, so we spent a week reading the reviews and calculating price comparisons for similar products. We created a spreadsheet with all the charges Etsy adds for every design uploaded and every product sold through their site.
Setting up that first design took some time, but replicating the rest was easy. We calculated shipping expenses in an average cost to offer free shipping on all products. We decided to make a small profit, much less than a physical store would profit. We launched the store. We saw data that people looked at the designs, but no orders materialized. I looked at our store from my cell phone without logging in so that I could see the store. I saw ads running across the bottom of our store saying, "get a similar shirt for only $8.”
Etsy was pushing lower-cost designs from their top sellers on our store page. After looking at the numbers, their shirts' profit margin must be in cents. They make it up in quantity, but a new store starting would not be able to compete. Our costs with small quantities with the Etsy charges and eating the shipping cost far exceeded the $8 advertised shirt. Our COST was more than $8 before adding in free shipping.
The Etsy/Printify model is flawed because Etsy does not protect the small and newer stores. Etsy sinks small and new clients because they advertise similar products at significantly lower costs on the store pages at the bottom under the title “You may also like.”
My recommendation if you have original designs is to sell the digital designs and let clients download and do whatever they like with your design. You are opening yourself up to lose your original ideas this way so that is a red flag as well.