Redbubble, Society6, TeePublic, and Threadless

I’ve had a shop on Etsy since 2007, but I’m new to the print-on-demand thing. I’ve opened shops for my illustrations at each of the following services, and I wanted to do a brief review of my experiences so far.

None of these services require payment or fees upfront, which makes them low-risk endeavors; the only thing lost is time putting everything out there.

So here goes; a comparison of all four services in list format:

Redbubble

  • Average product selection; stickers are a big seller because they weren’t offered elsewhere until recently.
  • You set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • Easy tools for centering your art and repeating patterns. Fast editing experience overall.
  • Supports full-bleed, repeating patterns.
  • Upload different images for each product.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but still includes Redbubble branding.
  • Supports Google Analytics and basic view counts, favorites, and comments.

Society6

  • Wide product selection (Floor pillows! Curtains!)
  • You set the price per product.
  • Can’t set product defaults; your shop displays products in your shop at random.
  • No tools for centering art on each product; you edit placement manually. Product editing is slow; each one has to be individually enabled and customized. The interface is slow and buggy in Chrome for Mac.
  • Supports full-bleed, repeating patterns (but you have to create them manually in a graphics program).
  • Upload different images for each product.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but still includes Society6 branding.
  • Supports favorites and comments.

Teepublic

  • Narrower product selection, with a focus on t-shirts.
  • They set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • Easy tools for centering your art.
  • Full-bleed, repeating patterns for some products.
  • Upload one image for all products.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but still includes TeePublic branding.
  • Supports Google Analytics and Disqus comments.

Threadless

  • Wide product selection, with a focus on clothing.
  • You set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • No editing art placement per product, but their algorithm is smart about it.
  • No full-bleed/repeating patterns.
  • Upload different images for each product.
  • Shop design is customizable (colors, fonts, layout) and branded for you.
  • Supports Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.

So far, it seems Teepublic and Redbubble get the most traffic (and the most sales). They also do more to feature individual designs and artists on their front pages, whereas Society6 is a bit of a black hole unless you’re driving traffic to your shop. Threadless has design challenges alongside their artist shops, which makes for more community interaction (their shops feature is relatively new), but they also emphasize the need for self-promotion, and I haven’t made a huge effort there.

In terms of what sells, most of my sales on Redbubble are stickers (“Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down” is popular), and most of my sales on Teepublic are tees.

How much have I made? Let’s just say I’m not quitting my day job by far, but these services are helping save a little for a family vacation. I’ve also donated about 25% of my earnings to Planned Parenthood, and I’ve been inspired to make art, which in some ways is payment enough.

I hope this has been helpful to anyone looking to start up a print-on-demand shop of their own!

😃+

4 thoughts on “Redbubble, Society6, TeePublic, and Threadless

  1. This is awesome. Trang and I will be releasing our first sticker pack on iOS within the next week or two but I have been really looking into branching out and introducing her into new marketplaces. I want to introduce her to Etsy and the marketplaces that you just wrote about so that she has an outlet for creativity. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. 🤗 Looks like we have work to do!

    • Caroline says:

      Yay! I love creative little side projects, I have far too many of them. 😀 Etsy has been good to me, although it’s a more manual process than the print-on-demand stuff, and there are listing fees upfront.

      Good luck with the new sticker pack! That sounds like fun to work on, esp. as a designer/illustrator. Oh goodie, more ideas. Just what I needed… 😉 *hugs*

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