How to Sell Print on Demand Embroidery Products

The Step by Step Guide to Selling Embroidered POD Products

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Print on Demand (POD) has transformed the ecommerce space. By 2032, analysts say the market will be worth more than $64.3 billion (around ten times its value in 2022). The reason for this phenomenal growth is that POD makes selling custom products simpler than ever.

I’ve seen countless creators, influencers, and artists monetize their talents in the last few years with POD, bypassing the challenges of producing products themselves, and even shipping them to customers with the right partner vendors.

The only problem is that the low barrier to entry in POD means there’s already a lot of competition out there. To get ahead, you need to offer customers something special. Embroidery products could be the perfect solution. Often seen as more luxurious than standard printed apparel, embroidered products attract a different type of consumer.

With companies like Printful, Printify and Gelato, you can create these high-value items with minimal effort, and ship them to customers worldwide.

The question is, where do you get started?

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right POD service for embroidery products is crucial. You need to ensure the products offered are high in quality, the design tools are excellent, and the production times are as quick as possible, to keep your customers happy.
  • Designing for embroidery is different to designing for other print on demand products. There are limitations in what you can produce, so sticking to simple images, color palettes, and shapes is usually a good idea.
  • After choosing a POD vendor and creating your designs, you’ll need to ensure you can integrate your POD solution with your ecommerce store, to automate order management, production, and shipping processes.

What is Print on Demand Embroidery?

Print on Demand embroidery is a sub-category of the print on demand landscape. With print on demand (POD), companies and creators work with third-party manufacturers to produce custom products “on demand” (whenever a customer places an order).

The third party handles the production of your items, as well as packaging orders and shipping them to customers. These vendors can sometimes also offer access to design tools and resources to help you bring your ideas to life.

When you choose embroidery as a production method with a POD vendor, your garments, and other items are decorated with a needle and stitch thread (or yarn). This gives the product a three-dimensional feel compared to traditional printing methods like DTG (direct to garment).

The good thing about embroidery is that it can make your items seem more luxurious and high quality. Working with a print on demand vendor to create them means you can avoid spending the time and money on making those items yourself, and sourcing materials.

Additionally, you benefit from:

  • A team of experts to help ensure your embroidered products look excellent.
  • Third-party fulfillment, so you don’t have to deal with storing products, packaging them, and shipping them to customers manually.
  • A risk-free business model, as products are only produced when a customer places an order, meaning you don’t end up with any unsold inventory.
  • The opportunity to scale your business rapidly, creating dozens of different designs, for a wide range of products.
  • Business process automation, enabled by integrating your POD vendor’s app with your ecommerce platform or storefront.

Choosing the Right POD Service

Probably the most important part of getting started with print on demand embroidery is choosing a service you can trust to deliver high-quality items to your customers. I’d definitely recommend checking out some online reviews when you’re comparing your options, and visiting the vendor’s website for more information. Look at factors like:

  • Product variety: Compared to other printing methods, embroidery often gives you fewer product options. Some items simply aren’t suitable for embroidery, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a wide range of options to choose from. Look for companies that offer access to everything from embroidered shirts and sweaters to hats, hoodies, jackets, and badges. The more products you can access, the more you can grow and scale your business.
  • Thread colors: With traditional printing methods, printers can blend inks to create colors in all shades. With embroidery, you’re limited to the stitch colors available from your vendor. It’s important to look at the number of colors offered by your vendor. Some companies promise almost unlimited colors, like Printify and Printful.
  • Embroidery placement options: Different POD providers can offer different “placement” options for your embroidered designs. Some will only place patterns in specific areas, such as on the breast pocket part of a shirt, or the front of a hat. More flexibility in placement gives you more freedom to create unique products that capture customer attention.
  • Minimum order quantity: Most print on demand providers won’t apply any minimum order quantity requirements, but it’s worth double checking. Some companies offering embroidered products do require you to purchase a certain number of items, to ensure they can make a profit, and pay their embroidery experts.

Exploring POD Embroidery Services

Based on my own experience reviewing and working with POD companies in the past, there are a handful of great organizations out there who can deliver excellent embroidery products.

For instance, Printful offers an excellent range of products to choose from, various types of embroidery, and a great selection of resources for custom branding and process automation.

Companies like Gelato also offer embroidery products, but there are fewer options to choose from, however you do benefit from the company’s eco-friendly processes and fast production times.

Additionally, Printify offers a great range of products, although not all of them are suited for embroidery. However it does give you the freedom to work with a wide range of suppliers, including many that might be local to your customers.

Creating Effective Embroidery Designs

As I mentioned above, while embroidery is great for creating luxurious and unique items, it does have some limitations as a design method. With embroidery, you can’t blend products and create highly detailed designs, like you would be able to with standard printing methods.

With this in mind, I’d recommend keeping your designs as simple as possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with shapes and colors, but think carefully about what kind of images can realistically be reproduced with a needle and thread.

My top tips for creating high-quality embroidery designs are:

  • Prepare high resolution images: Make sure the images you upload to your print-on-demand application or website are high in resolution. Ensure it’s easy for your vendor to see all the details within your design, so they can reproduce them.
  • Stick to clean shapes: Avoid anything that seems textured in a print on demand embroidery design. Clean shapes and lines are easier to reproduce. Try to avoid mixing too many colors in one area, as this can make it harder to reproduce your design.
  • Forget photographs: It’s almost impossible to create photographic images with embroidery. There are too many small details to replicate, meaning you probably won’t get anything close to the design that you originally chose.
  • Avoid small components: If you use small letters and thin lines, they may not be legible on an embroidered product. It’s best to stick with bold shapes and thicker lines that stand out against any color or background.
  • Follow the POD vendor’s guidelines: Most print on demand companies will share design guidelines that can help you when creating your print files. Follow their instructions carefully, paying attention to sizes, color options, and positioning.

The Top POD Companies for Embroidery

While there are various companies out there that offer embroidery as a print on demand option, the top three that I’ve found over the years are Gelato, Printful, and Printify. Here’s a quick insight into what you can expect from each company.

Printful

printful homepage

Printful is my favorite print on demand company, promising exceptional quality products, a wide range of items to choose from, and integrations with virtually every storefront and ecommerce platform. You can create embroidered clothing like shirts and sweaters, accessories, like badges, and even home living products with Printful.

You’ll also get access to a huge range of fantastic design tools to help you create your unique items, and a powerful mockup generator which you can use to create high-quality images for your website.

Although Printful’s products are a little more expensive than the options from some vendors, you get access to everything from free design elements to one-click integrations with your ecommerce solution. Plus, you can leverage free tools, such as ecommerce marketing tools, and background removal tools.

👉 Read our full Printful review.

👉 Full Printful vs Printify comparison.

Printify

printify homepage - review

Printify is another of the most popular companies offering embroidery as a product design option in 2024. With Printify, you can create a huge selection of products, from t-shirts and hoodies, to home décor, although only a certain number of their printing providers do offer embroidery options.

One great thing about Printify is its design tools, which include AI image generators, and mockup creators, perfect for beginners in the POD space.

Plus, with Printify, you get access to a global network of manufacturers, ensuring you can choose the right vendor based on their location, their rating, their eco-friendly items, or their embroidery options.

You can even access step-by-step guidance from Printify to help you create designs that will look fantastic on an embroidered item. Just keep in mind that the quality of the products produced by different manufacturers can vary.

👉 Read our full Printful review.

Gelato

gelato print on demand homepage

Gelato offers a fantastic “flat embroidery” option to creators, allowing them to design premium quality products that look fantastic. The company commits to producing consistently high-quality items, with strict quality assurance methods. Plus, there’s a range of fantastic products to choose from, such as shirts, hoodies, sweaters, and more.

With Gelato, you get an intuitive design maker to help you produce your embroidered products, and Gelato will even handle the digitization process for you, suggesting the best kind of stitches for your specific design.

There are various stitch patterns to explore, although you can only combine up to 6 colors for any embroidered product.

On the plus side, Gelato benefits from a global distribution network, access to premium products, and it’s an eco-friendly company, that helps to minimize your carbon footprint, while still ensuring products are delivered to customers as quickly as possible.

👉 Read our full Gelato Print on Demand Review.

Marketing Your Embroidery Products

With the right print on demand partner, creating your embroidery products can be simple, but convincing customers to buy them is another thing entirely. Some of the most effective ways to boost your chances of sales include:

  • Choosing the right niche: Before you start producing your embroidery products, think about the specific audience you’re going to target. Some niches simply make more sense for embroidered items. For instance, sports teams and companies often prefer embroidered products for their uniforms. You can also look into options like hobby-themed gifts.
  • Take advantage of SEO: Search Engine Optimization is an excellent way to ensure customers can find your products online. Produce optimized product pages, blog posts, and articles that target the specific keywords your customers are searching for, such as “custom embroidered polo shirts” or “Embroidered hats”.
  • Use social media: Social media platforms are excellent for promoting any type of print on demand product, including embroidered items. Consider running paid campaigns targeting the specific audience you’ve chosen, and regularly promote your products with organic content, such as images and videos on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok.
  • Work with influencers: Consider asking influencers in your target niche to help you promote your products. You can send them free samples of your items for them to review and wear when they’re creating content for their own social media channels or blogs, or simply ask them to create posts where they reference your brand.
  • Use email marketing: Collect email addresses with a landing page or form on your website that offers customers a discount in exchange for their information. This will give you a chance to consistently nurture your customers with new messages about your latest products, and even collect feedback about your embroidered items.

The Best Print on Demand Embroidery Products to sell in 2024

As mentioned above, some products are more suitable for embroidery than others. If you want to boost your chances of creating the best products (and making a sustainable profit) in 2024, here are some of the items worth exploring.

1. T-Shirts

T-shirts are always a popular choice in the print on demand market. They appeal to a massive audience, giving you the opportunity to make a significant profit. Plus, they’re available in a range of shapes, sizes, and styles, so you can diversify your product catalog.

When creating embroidered T-shirts, I recommend looking for a company like Printful, that offers unlimited color embroidery, so you can really make your designs stand out. With this method, Printful allows you to dye white threads any color, so you have endless options.

2. Hoodies and Sweatshirts

Hoodies and sweatshirts are excellent if you’re looking for a larger canvas for your embroidered design. They’re great if you want to sell products that feature bold designs and logos, such as hoodies for sports teams, or premium sweatshirts.

With Printful, you can create hoodies and sweatshirts that feature 3D puff embroidery, which is excellent for giving your designs a three dimensional feel. Inkthreadable also offers some excellent eco-friendly embroidery options for sweatshirts, hoodies, and t-shirts. Make sure you check the “embroidery area” available from each vendor when making your choice, to ensure you have access to a large enough space for your design.

3. Hats, Caps, and Beanies

Hats are excellent for embroidery, particularly if you want to create promotional products for companies and sports teams. Companies like Merchize offer access to excellent design tools that are perfect for creating patterns for embroidered hats, and they also offer a range of color options to choose from, as well as sizing options to suit different needs.

When designing embroidered hats, I’d recommend experimenting with different styles. Some consumers will appreciate minimalistic designs, such as very small shapes with limited colors, while others will want their hats to make a statement.

4. Tote Bags

Tote bags and similar reusable bags have become increasingly popular in recent years, as consumers become more eco-conscious and sustainable. For print on demand vendors, these products are usually very affordable and easy to create. They also give you plenty of space to work with detailed embroidery patterns, or even create custom designs for individual customers.

With tote bags, it’s often a good idea to look for a print on demand vendor like Printify or Printful, who can give you access to a range of color options and stitching styles. This will give you the freedom to create highly unique designs that instantly grab attention.

5. Polo Shirts

I mentioned above that corporate apparel is an excellent option for embroidery, as many companies prefer to create uniforms with high-quality, durable embroidered logos, rather than relying on standard printing methods. Polo shirts are excellent in this category, as they allow you to create highly professional looking garments.

However, you can also create polo shirts for a wider audience, such as men, women, and children that are looking for more casual, formal attire. Companies like the Print Bar offer some great options for embroidering button-down shirts, and polo shirts. You also get various ways to customize your embroidery products with different stitch types.

6. Jackets

Jackets are another fantastic option, particularly for creators who want to sell more expensive, luxurious items. Jackets are a great way to diversify yourself from companies that only sell sweaters and hoodies for outdoor wear. Depending on your chosen print on demand provider and fulfillment service, you’ll be able to create jackets with a huge range of embroidered designs.

Some companies allow you to add embroidery to an entire panel or portion of a jacket, while others can create badges that can be sewn onto jackets for a unique appearance. You can sell these products to teams, corporate groups, and even streetwear lovers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What products can I embroider through PoD?

The products you can embroider with a print on demand provider will vary depending on the vendor you choose. Common options include t-shirts, sweaters, hoodies, hats, and tote bags. However some companies will also allow you to create embroidered accessories, like badges, polo shirts, and more.

Is it cheaper to embroider or print?

Embroidery is often more expensive than direct-to-garment or screen printing, depending on your project requirements, order size, and chosen colors. That’s because creating complex embroidered items will usually take more time than simply printing a pattern onto a product.

How do I ensure the quality of my embroidered products?

Choose simple designs without too many colors, or textures, and make sure you follow the instructions provided by your print on demand provider when uploading files. Avoid small font, thin lines, and photographic images, as these elements are difficult to reproduce with embroidery.

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is an experienced content creator, news reporter, and blogger specializing in marketing, business development, and technology. Her expertise covers everything from artificial intelligence to email marketing software and extended reality devices. When she’s not writing, Rebekah spends most of her time reading, exploring the great outdoors, and gaming.

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