Well well, well guys. The time is finally here! You can now sell on Etsy with Printful to create a more passive income stream for your business (you could previously, but had to use a ShipStation account which added an extra cost for new sellers).
This is huge news! Not only because if you already have a Printful shop it opens you up to the Etsy marketplace with over 30 million buyers, but also since this is the first print-on-demand + drop ship service Etsy has ever approved.
That shows incredible trust + support in the Printful platform. If Etsy trusts Printful, that makes me beyond confident to place my trust in them.
Before we get into how to connect your Etsy shop with Printful, let’s quickly go over the potentially new player to you — Printful.
What is Printful?
Printful is a print-on-demand + fulfillment service. They source products that can be imprinted or embroidered + users create designs and choose from the available items to set up their shop offerings.
It is called print-on-demand because they only go into production once you get an order. So you don’t have to invest in a bulk buy up front; instead you can create the design, choose the product, and only incur a cost once you already have an order. After production they ship directly to your customer.
You’re probably most familiar with this process for custom t-shirt printing on-demand.
Plus, did I mention its free??
Yeah, Printful is totally free to use. You only pay for the cost of the product. And you only pay for the cost of goods once an order is actually received. WIN-WIN!
I love the simplicity of their tagline which nicely sums up their business goal:
We’ll handle the printing and shipping so you can focus on creating.
Printful offers a variety of products such as tees, mugs, totes, hats, art prints, pillows, phone cases, and more. And are always looking to add new products to keep up with trends – think crop tops, small left chest designs, and embroidered hats.
See their full custom product options here.
For complete set up information or how to use Printful for your business, I created a full write up here.
Today we’re going to just focus on how to integrate Printful with Etsy (spoiler alert: it’s dead simple).
This post contains affiliate links; which means I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you decide to sign up through my link. I only recommend products I use + love, and appreciate your support of The Shop Files!
This is part 3 of 4 of the Make Mo’ Money Passive Income Series.
Part 1: Take the (free) Passive Income for Creative Shop Owners 4-day course
Part 2: How to Make Extra Money to Fund Your Creative Business
Part 3: How to Sell on Etsy with Printful (aka how to sell physical products passively)
Part 4: Using Affiliate Marketing for Online Shops
How to Sell on Etsy with Printful
First up, let’s get you registered with Printful: you can sign up here (remember, it’s totally free to use – you aren’t charged until you sell each product).
If you’re already on Etsy, it’s a super easy connection to add your store. (If you’re not, skip to the bottom to get a quick Etsy set up guide.)
Go to Printful’s Etsy integration page here and click “Connect Etsy Shop”.
That will take you to the page to register your Etsy shop with Printful. Click the “Connect to Etsy” button.
From there you will be asked to log into your Etsy account, which will take you to a page asking you to confirm + allow access to Printful’s application.
Read the short terms, including what Printful will do on your behalf for orders placed, and click “Allow Access”.
BAM. You’re almost done!
After allowing access, you’ll be asked to either log in or set up a new Printful account. Register or log in and you’re ready!
Let’s add our first product!!
1 | Click “Add product”
2 | Select product category (tee, totes, mugs, etc…)
3 | Select the exact product option.
For example, I choose Totes > selected the LA Apparel E549 Bull Denim Woven Cotton Tote
4 | Upload your design!
Printful gives you very thorough design template specifications (size, color guidelines, etc). So check those out prior to creating your design.
5 | Click “Proceed to Mockups” and select the options you like
Printful creates product mockups you can use, however I highly encourage you to buy a sample and take your own photos.
Having control over the visual part of your brand is so important. Plus, with the possible (and very likely) influx of LOTS of Printful sellers on Etsy, you’ll want your images to stand out!
6 | Click “Proceed to Description”
Printful will automatically upload the features of the product (ie. material, dimensions, necessary product information, Made in USA, etc)
This is where you can (and should!) add your own personality and benefit-driven description to entice a buyer to purchase.
7 | Next up “Proceed to Pricing”
This is where you set your profits! You’ll see the cost of the product (includes all print + package services) and you can determine what retail price to charge.
8 | Last, hit “Submit to Store”!
They’ll give you some final instructions and then you’re all set!
Note: Once the product is synced, it will go into your Listings as a “Draft”. To push your product live, just go into Etsy > Shop Manager > Listings > On the right hand side, find “Listing Status” > Click “Drafts”, then Click the Settings wheel and Select “Publish”
From there, it will ask you to confirm the $0.20 listing fee and then take you to the Listings Overview for final review before officially publishing!!
- You may need to re-order your photos to select the primary image or adjust the thumbnail.
- This is where you fill out all the Etsy specification search information, categories + tags. Don’t blow past these step!
- Be sure to enter your “Production Partner” information per Etsy’s terms (mentioned below)
- Select shipping options (Printful pre-loads their turnaround + shipping choices, just confirm everything looks good)
- Okay, PUBLISHHHH!
YEAH GIRL YEAHH. You’re up and running with Etsy + Printful!
What are you waiting for? Join Printful for free today
How to Set Up Your Etsy Shop
To get started on Etsy, you need to register an Etsy account, which is free. Etsy makes it really simple and walks you through the process step by step.
How to set up an Etsy shop:
- Select your shop preferences: language, country, currency
- Choose your shop name (you can change this later)
- Set up billing + shipping information – this is where you’ll enter your credit card and they’ll charge you $0.20 for your first listing.
- Connect to Printful using above instructions. Visit printful.com to create your free account today
- Add and sync products – you’re able to add both your own products + Printful products, so your shop can be a combination of both.
- Choose your prices, edit all the SEO information, add descriptions, etc,
- Woohoo, publish your products!
Personally, I have a bit of mixed feelings on Etsy integrating with Printful. And that is not AT ALL because I dislike Printful’s service (I love them), but more so what some of the recent changes Etsy has made means for the “handmade” business and whether they’re really staying true to their makers (I’m of the belief they’re straying a bit!).
In 2013, Etsy changed its definition of “handmade”. They began allowing Etsy shops to sell products made by, in their terms, “Production Partners”.
However they added a few disclosure rules:
- Sellers must disclose their production partners and maintain transparency of how their products are made
- Production partners must comply with Etsy’s Manufacturing policy
- Sellers must comply with their Handmade policy, which states you must be making and/or designing your products (ie. no reselling)
So, products that are printed by Printful can be sold on Etsy as handmade items provided proper disclosures are made.
A few things I think are super important to consider as Etsy continues to make these changes…
- Your photography NEEDS to stand out. This new integration will likely bring on even more new sellers as it opens the door for an easy entry (I mean, hello, little ol’ uncreative me was able to create a half way decent product in an evening. I’m dying laughing at it btw. BUT IN THE NAME OF RESEARCH, I HAD TO TRY THE FULL SETUP PROCESS) Using generic product mock ups will not cut it (makes mental note to self to update ASAP). You need to create a unique look, vibe, + personality for your shop.
- Invest the time to make your products truly unique. Even though we have the option of throwing together some quick text art (I mean, that’s what I did in the name of research + because my bones are 0% artistically creative); but think of how you can go beyond that to create something truly special. Do you hand letter, sketch, or do abstract art? Think creatively outside the box to still create a standout product.
- Use this opportunity to test, tweak, + expand. Printful’s integration with Etsy will only take some shops so far. Use this new opportunity as a way to test a bunch of new product designs with absolutely no risk or upfront investment. Then when a design or two takes off, take it back in house and create or source the product you really want.
- Use Printful to expand your best offerings. Have a favorite design you just can’t keep in stock? Offer it on a few additional patterns and let the sales roll in as extra frosting each month. (Anyone else hear “frrrrost yourself” from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days?)
Now that you’re set up to create a passive income stream on Etsy… learn more about HOW to promote your new products.
If you’re interested in learning more about passive income, take my free course. It’ll cover more than just selling physical products on Etsy and could spark a new idea for a third or even fourth stream of income!
As an online shop owner or Etsy seller, you know that time = money.
Which is why I created the free 4-day course: The Creative Shop Owners Guide to Passive Income.
- the two markets you can create passive income for
- 4 recommended programs for selling passive products
- tips for creating scalable physical products
- 3 effective ways to promote your new products on autopilot
Join the (free) 4-day course below!
Hello- thank you for this awesome post! I am an artist/designer and have been selling my original screen printed designs onto tshirts, tea towels, messenger bags (and more) on Etsy since 2010 (though I officially joined (prematurely;-) in 2007. I have had some decent success, though since Etsy made some changes was it in 2013 or 2014? my sales have been declining- they seemed to have peaked in 2013. Long story short- I want to switch over to a POD company so I can focus more on creating artwork and new designs and less on screen printing. However, I still have A LOT of printed stock that I need to sell.
So my question is this: Would it be best for me to set up a separate shop on etsy under my viva sweet love brand solely for printful products, or do I offer the printful products within my current shop? One thing that has me concerned is the need for exchanges with tshirts- sizing can be tricky and I do deal with a fair a mount of exchanges due to size. Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated! And here is a link to my etsy shophttps://www.etsy.com/shop/VIVASWEETLOVE?ref=shop_sugg As a side note, I know my product photography could use a lift…at times it can be a bit overwhelming all of the different hats one must wear to run your own business!
thanks a bunch!
Excellent post! Couldn’t agree more that product photos NEED to stand out! It is more important than ever for your online shop to have a unique story and personality and for your product photos to be able to communicate it effectively.
Thanks for sharing this, just to confirm (as I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere), once a customer places and order and payment processes does Printful handle everything or do I manually need to order the product to shop from Printful?
I ask because my first order of a Printful product was just placed and the payment is still processing two days later, is this because I have missed a step on my end or could it just be a customer payment issue?
Hi Laura! yes, everything should be handled by Printful once the customer places their order. Do you have your shop setup on Etsy, or your own website?