Sunday, April 14, 2019

Review - Printful for Artists

As an artist running a business with just one employee (aka. myself) and not a lot of storage space, I'm always looking for time-saving and space-saving measures so that I can focus more on art and less on other tasks that take time away from creating.  I'm at a unique position in my business' growth where I don't have a huge amount of print sales, but the few that I do get are enough to take up a good chunk of the morning to prep, package, and send out on my own.

This made Printful a good choice for me to look into until I feel comfortable expanding to printing art on my own professional printer at home and hiring more employees.  I have been using it for a little over a year and wanted to share my experience with it for those who may find themselves in a similar position as myself!

What is Printful?

Printful is a print on demand service that will drop ship directly to your customers on your behalf. This service seamlessly integrates with Etsy, WooCommerce, Shopify, and most major shop options. They take a cut of the profits and handle the printing and shipping.

They will also process returns on your behalf with you acting as an intermediary for your customers. Printful fulfills orders mainly to the US, but they have been slowly adding fulfillment centers in Europe so that they can quickly deliver items overseas.

Printful is a completely white label service, which means they will never include any of their branding within your orders. If for some reason you do not want them to integrate with your shop, you can also place orders with them to drop ship manually for you without requiring shop integration.

What Does it Cost?

Like most print on demand companies, there is no monthly fee, rather they only make money when you sell a product.  There is a base price for the cost of the item and labor, and a percentage on top of this base price which the company takes a share of.

You can set your own list price per item in your shop to suit the profit margin you want to see with each item.  Printful has a handy estimation tool so you can see exactly how much you'll make per item when you set your list price.

How is the Quality?

I have used Printful primarily to purchase luster prints, so I cannot speak to the quality of their many other products.  As far as print surfaces, they offer matte, luster, and canvas prints.

I chose their luster prints because I prefer a semi-gloss finish for my art.  Their luster prints are gorgeous and provide excellent color reproduction for some of my most difficult prints, such as dark digital pieces with subtle color like the one pictured below.

My Kushiel's Dart print arrived rolled in tissue paper inside of a mailing tube.
An example of the branding included on the outside of the package and the tightly wrapped print.

An example of the branded pack-in slip that's included for free with orders.