If you've ever wanted to design your own graphics to sell on T-shirts, mugs, etc., you'll be excited about today's review on Spreadshop. In case you weren't aware, Spreadshop is the back-end for Spreadshirt, an online marketplace for print-on-demand custom merchandise. It's similar in a lot of ways to Cafe Press in the sense that independent graphics artists can post their creations for sale on the platform as custom logos. The primary product is t-shirts, but you can put your designs on all sorts of other items, including mugs, hats, aprons, and bags.
Spreadshop handles all the hard stuff – payment processing, printing, and shipping. They also supply the merchandise. All you have to do is come up with interesting ideas for images and upload them.
Most Spreadshirt designers who are serious about making money take the time to set up their own custom shop with personalized branding, and that's where Spreadshop comes in. It's the online interface for Spreadshirt sellers, and it's equipped with all sorts of tools to make the process of running your graphic design business easier.
The goal is to bring customers to your storefront and entice them to browse through your designs. If you have enough high-quality pieces of art and an interesting style, you can get return business from people who like your aesthetic, and over time you might be able to build a strong customer-base.
Getting set up with Spreadshop
It's fairly simple to start your shop. Just register and begin uploading your designs. From what I've read, the shops don't actually require very much setup, but you can do a whole lot of customization to make your storefront feel unique, and you'll probably want to spend some time on that before you start promoting.
Making Money with Spreadshop
They pay a 20-percent commission for every item sold, plus you can earn bonuses if you bring in a lot of business. There's an option to add a “Design Price” of up to $20 on top of the basic item cost, and all that money goes directly to you.
Spreadshop pays out every month for the previous month's sales. Payments are delivered via Paypal or direct bank deposit. You'll have to meet a minimum threshold of $10 in profits to trigger a payout.
What skills will help me succeed as a Spreadshop graphics designer?
Obviously you'll need some artistic talent and a good imagination. People who can come up with unique ideas for designs that appeal to customers are the most likely to succeed.
Also, most Spreadshop designers use vector graphics, so strong technical skills with tools like Photoshop are a great asset. If you don't already have the needed tech know-how, it will be necessary to do some research and educate yourself before jumping in.
Promoting Your Designs
Spreadshop has some built in tools to help in marketing your work, including a custom keyword tagging system that helps users find your items when they search. You'll want to make sure you learn everything you need to know about setting up your tags properly and study the marketplace to see what's selling so you can cater your designs to customer interests.
There are also quite a few online communities, including forums and Facebook groups, centered around the business of selling your artwork on sites like Spreadshop and Cafe Press. You'll need to poke around in those places to learn all the best marketing tricks from people who are already making good money.
One thing that usually helps with businesses like this is producing a large volume of work. Remember, the marketplace is huge, and one design is like a needle in a haystack – it just gets lost in all the noise. To get the necessary visibility, you'll probably have to generate a lot of ideas and create new designs quickly. This will have the added benefit of increasing the variety of products on offer in your shop, which means customers will spend more time there and are more likely to find something they like.
I looked over several web-forums to see what professional graphic designers think of Spreadshop, and almost all the opinions I found were extremely positive. People seem to love the customization options and the analytics. The shirts, from a construction standpoint, are high quality — apparently much better than what you get from a lot of similar services.
The commissions are above average, items are delivered quickly, and Spreadshop pays on a reliable schedule. I saw quite a few successful graphics designers who said Spreadshop was one of their favorite marketplaces.
If you have some artistic talent and want to give Spreadshop a try, go here to get more information and start setting up your seller account.