11 Steps to Sell Shirts on Etsy Using Printify (5 Awesome Tips to Get Sales)

March 23, 2024

These are the essential steps to sell shirts on Etsy using Printify:

  1. Choose a profitable niche.
  2. Conduct market research.
  3. Set up your Etsy shop.
  4. Connect your Etsy account to Printify.
  5. Start creating your product with Printify.
  6. Price your product strategically.
  7. Publish your product to Etsy.
  8. Adjust product details on Etsy.
  9. Develop a marketing strategy.
  10. Open your shop.
  11. Start executing your marketing strategy and sell your products.

Selling shirts on Etsy using Printify can be a profitable e-commerce business model. Etsy, known for its unique and handmade items, has over 96 million active buyers according to Etsy Marketer. Printify's integration with Etsy provides an efficient solution for producing and shipping custom shirts without the need for upfront inventory. It’s a great way to tap into the personalized apparel market.

Despite the opportunity, the challenge lies in Etsy's competitive market. With thousands of shops selling custom shirts, standing out requires creativity, targeting niche markets, unique designs, and effective use of Etsy's SEO tools for better visibility.

This article will show you the steps to sell shirts on Etsy using Printify. It includes setting up and integrating your Etsy shop with Printify, designing distinctive shirts, competitive pricing, effective marketing, and leveraging Etsy SEO for increased shop visibility. We’ll also talk about the risks and challenges of this business model, and offer a more profitable alternative.

11 Steps to Sell Shirts on Etsy Using Printify

1. Choose A Profitable Niche

Choosing a profitable niche for selling shirts on Etsy involves identifying a specific market segment with high demand and low competition. This strategy lets you tailor your designs and marketing efforts to a targeted audience, leading to higher relevance, customer loyalty, and greater profit margins. 

You can look at Etsy’s Market Insights Report and best-sellers list to get a better idea of which print-on-demand items are popular with Etsy shoppers. 

Here are some examples of shirt niches that you can do:

  • Eco-conscious Apparel: With a growing trend towards sustainability, shirts made from organic or recycled materials cater to environmentally conscious consumers.
  • Fitness and Yoga Enthusiasts: Shirts with inspirational quotes or yoga-themed graphics tap into the health and wellness market.
  • Pet Lovers: Customizable shirts featuring pet portraits or quirky pet-related sayings attract pet owners.
  • Local and Cultural Pride: Shirts that showcase local pride, cultural sayings, or landmarks appeal to those wanting to celebrate their heritage or hometown.
  • Nostalgia and Retro Styles: Vintage or retro-themed shirts resonate with customers fond of a particular era or style.
  • Hobby-Based Designs: Shirts catering to specific hobbies like gardening, baking, or photography can attract enthusiasts in those areas.

2. Conduct Market Research

Market research is important for understanding customer preferences and trends, assessing competition, guiding product development, and enhancing marketing strategies. 

To conduct market research, you need to explore existing POD shops and look at which products have the highest reviews. You can also use Google Trends or Etsy’s native search bar for specific stats and data. This helps you understand which shirt designs, styles, and sizes are in demand.

For more in-depth research, consider the following factors:

  • Consumer demographics and interests: Know the age, gender, interests, and spending habits of your target audience. It also helps to note that 29.61% of Etsy customers are 25-34-year-olds according to SimilarWeb.
  • Trend analysis: Keep track of fashion trends and seasonal styles. For example, the rise in eco-friendly apparel due to increased environmental awareness can guide you to offer sustainable shirt options. In fact, the keyword “eco-friendly” gets 110,000 searches per month on Etsy’s search bar.
  • Competitor analysis: Evaluate what other Etsy sellers are offering, their pricing, and marketing tactics. Noticing a competitor's success with pop culture-themed shirts could indicate a profitable niche.
  • Pricing strategies: Analyze the typical price range for shirts on Etsy. Overpricing or underpricing can significantly affect your sales. Take note of how other sellers offer discounts or packages on their POD products.
  • Customer feedback and reviews: Look into customer feedback on similar products to understand what Etsy buyers like or dislike. Keep in mind that 90% of buyers claim that positive online reviews affect their buying decision according to Gartner.
  • SEO and keywords trends: Researching popular keywords and SEO strategies specific to Etsy can improve your shop's visibility.

3. Set Up Your Etsy Shop

Step 1: Create Your Etsy Account

Visit the Etsy website and sign up for an account. Provide necessary personal information and agree to Etsy's terms of service. This account is where you'll manage your shop, track sales, and interact with customers.

Step 2: Adjust Your Shop Preferences

In your account settings, adjust preferences relevant to your shop. Set your shop’s default language, country, and currency. Decide whether you plan to sell full-time or as a hobby, as this can affect how you manage your shop.

Step 3: Name Your Etsy Store

Choose a unique and memorable name for your store. It should reflect your brand and the products you sell. Make sure that the name is not already in use on Etsy. A well-chosen name can have a significant impact on your brand's recognition and marketing.

Step 4: Set Your Payment Options

Decide on the payment methods you will accept. These include credit cards, PayPal, Etsy gift cards, and cash on delivery.

Provide the necessary information for payment processing, like bank details or a PayPal account. Setting up a streamlined payment process is crucial for providing a smooth transaction experience for your customers.

4. Connect Your Etsy Account to Printify

Integrating your Etsy account with Printify makes it more efficient to sell personalized shirts. As your production partner, Printify automates the printing, packing, and shipping process so you only have to manage the orders on your Etsy shop.

This minimizes risks and costs by eliminating the need for inventory. It also ensures that your creative designs are paired with Printify's quality production and global reach, which improves customer satisfaction and boosts your sales potential.

Create A Printify Account

To create your Printify account, go to the Printify website. Look for the sign-up button, typically found on the top right corner of the homepage. Clicking this will lead you to the registration page.

Here, you can choose to sign up using an existing Google, Facebook, or email account.

After signing up, you need to connect Printify to your online store. Printify can easily integrate with platforms like Etsy, Shopify, or WooCommerce.

Integrate Your Etsy Store With Printify

Etsy integration with Printify is key to automating the order fulfillment process. When a customer purchases a shirt from your Etsy shop, Printify receives the order, prints the shirt, and ships it directly to the customer.

To link your Etsy store to Printify, you need to prepare your accounts. Then, log in to your Printify account.

Once inside, navigate to the Integration Section. Look for an option like ‘Manage Stores’ or ‘My Stores’ on your Printify dashboard.

Select the option to add a new store and choose Etsy from the list of platforms to start the integration process.

You will be directed to Etsy to authorize the integration. Log in to your Etsy account and agree to the terms to link it with Printify.

When the accounts are connected, set your preferences in Printify for how products should be displayed on Etsy, such as pricing and product descriptions.

5. Start Creating Your Product With Printify

Step 1: Choose a Product to Sell

Select the type of product you wish to sell. Printify offers a wide range of items, but since we're focusing on shirts, you can choose from various shirt styles and materials. This sets the foundation for your product line on Etsy.

Step 2: Upload Your Design

If you already have a design ready for your chosen product, upload it on Printify. This design could be an artwork, text, or any graphic that represents your brand or appeals to your target audience. Make sure that the design is high quality and has good resolution for the best printing results.

Step 3: Place and Position Your Product Design

After uploading your design, place and position it on the product. This step is about adjusting the size and alignment of the design mockups so they look good on the actual shirt. Printify has a built-in alignment tool to set your design.

Step 4: Pick Your Colors and Size

Select the colors and sizes you want available for your shirt design. Offering a variety of colors and sizes allows you to cater to a wider audience and meet different preferences, making your Printify product more appealing to a diverse customer base.

Step 5: Edit Your Product Details and Price

Finally, edit the product details, such as the product title, description, and tags. This information helps customers understand your product better. Mention the shirt material, fit, and sizing. Setting the right price is also essential. It should cover your costs and desired profit margin while being competitive in the market.

6. Price Your Product Strategically

Strategic product pricing is essential for selling shirts on Etsy with Printify. Your price should balance profitability and market appeal. It involves calculating the cost of production and Etsy fees, researching competitor prices, and setting a selling price that covers costs and desired profit. 

This process requires considering market trends and customer perceptions. You need to settle on a competitive yet sustainable pricing strategy. Regular reviews and adjustments based on sales data and market shifts helps keep your prices effective and responsive to the Etsy marketplace.

How to Price When Selling Shirts on Etsy Using Printify?

When pricing shirts on Etsy using Printify, you need to consider a few key factors so you can stay profitable, competitive, and appealing to your target market:

  • Production costs: Include the cost of the shirt from Printify and any customization or printing expenses. Production costs typically represent the largest portion of the selling price in retail, often amounting to 50-60% of the final price.
  • Etsy fees: Factor in Etsy’s listing fees (typically $0.20 per listing), transaction fees (5% of the sale price), and payment processing fees. Incorporating these fees is crucial as they can amount to 8-10% of your sale price.
  • Competitor pricing: Research the price range of similar shirts on Etsy. Competitive pricing is key to market entry, with CXL’s study showing that over 94% of online buyers compare prices before making a purchase.
  • Customer perceived value: Consider how customers perceive the value of your shirts. Quality, uniqueness, and branding play significant roles. According to Etsy’s Gifting and Personalization Shopping Trends, 49% of customers want to be more thoughtful when buying on Etsy. This means a higher preference for personalized details, variations, and customizable elements.
  • Shipping costs: Decide whether to include shipping costs in the price or charge separately. Free shipping is a top purchase incentive, with about 59% of customers more likely to purchase from a store that offers free shipping according to e-commerce giant Rakuten.
  • Profit margin: Set a profit margin that aligns with your business goals. Typically, a profit margin of 30-50% is considered healthy for online retail.
  • Seasonal demand and trends: Adjust prices based on seasons, holidays, or current trends. Seasonal shopping can increase sales by up to 3-4% according to the National Retail Federation, making it crucial to adjust your pricing strategies accordingly.
  • Discounts and promotions: Plan for occasional discounts or promotions to boost sales. You can offer a "buy one, get one 50% off" deal or bundle your shirts during holiday seasons or special events.
  • Market feedback: Regularly revisit pricing based on customer feedback and sales performance. If other Etsy sellers are offering similar print-on-demand shirt designs you may need to adjust your price points.

7. Publish Your Product to Etsy

Publishing your Printify-designed shirts on Etsy means that you’re ready to sell your products. This step involves listing your shirts on the Etsy platform, where millions of potential customers can discover and purchase them. 

Here are the steps to publish your listing on Etsy using Printify:

  • Use Printify's interface to push your designed product to your Etsy store. Make sure that your Etsy integration with Printify is already set up.
  • Complete your Etsy listing details. Fill in all necessary info such as product description, images, category, and tags for SEO.
  • Set your price, accounting for costs and profit margin, and set up shipping details.
  • Review your listing so all details are correct, then publish it on Etsy.
  • Use Etsy’s promotional tools or social media to drive traffic to your new product.

8. Adjust Product Details On Etsy

Adjusting product details on Etsy is essential for selling shirts using Printify. Accurate descriptions of size, color, material, and care instructions set the right expectations for customers and improve your product’s search visibility on Etsy. 

Listings with clear and correct info build trust, reduce returns, and improve customer satisfaction. It can also differentiate your shirts and foster a professional brand image that attracts customers.

When publishing your listing, make sure double check and adjust these details:

  • Design appeal and trend
  • Product title and descriptions
  • Competitive pricing
  • Size and color options
  • Quality product images
  • Shipping and returns info
  • SEO optimization and keywords
  • Customer service details

9. Develop A Marketing Strategy

Developing a marketing strategy for selling shirts on Etsy using Printify involves creating a plan to promote your products, reach your target audience, and differentiate your brand from competitors.

  • Social media marketing: According to Hootsuite, 90% of businesses claim increased exposure through social media. Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook , and Pinterest to showcase your shirts and engage with customers.
  • Email marketing: With an average ROI of $42 for every dollar spent, email marketing is a powerful tool for personalized promotions and building customer relationships. Build an email list and send them promotions for your Etsy shirt listing.
  • SEO for etsy listings: 93% of online experiences begin with search. Optimize your Etsy listings with relevant keywords and tags to increase visibility.
  • Influencer collaborations: 89% of marketers say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels. Partnering with influencers to promote your Etsy listing can amplify your product reach.
  • Content marketing: Companies with blogs get 67% more leads than those without. Share stories, your Printify design processes, or customer features on your blog to engage your audience.
  • Paid advertising: Paid ads on platforms like Google and Facebook can yield an average ROI of 200%. Use targeted ads to quickly reach your target customers.
  • Customer referral programs: Referral marketing generates 3-5x higher conversion rates than any other channel. You can start a referral program to encourage word-of-mouth promotion of your Printify shirts.

10. Open Your Shop

Opening your shop on Etsy to sell shirts with Printify lets you build and showcase your brand to a global customer base.

The great thing about the Etsy platform is it facilitates direct engagement with customers, allowing for feedback and relationship building for business growth.

After creating your Etsy account, designing your shirt on Printify, and uploading your listing, you can officially launch your shop. Use marketing strategies like social media, SEO, and Etsy ads to promote it and drive customers. To view your online store, go to etsy.com/shop/[yourshopname].

When you receive an order on Etsy, it automatically appears on your Printify dashboard for production and shipping. The process is similar to Etsy dropshipping where a third party provider handles the order fulfillment, but Printify shirts are customizable and made-to-order.

11. Start Executing Your Marketing Strategy and Sell Your Products

Initiating and implementing a marketing strategy when selling shirts on Etsy using Printify increases product visibility and targets potential customers. This includes using social media marketing to share your brand story and designs, optimizing Etsy listings for SEO to enhance organic reach, employing email marketing to maintain customer relationships, and utilizing paid Etsy ads to expand your audience. 

Content marketing can provide value to your audience, fostering deeper engagement. But you need to constantly analyze and adapt to drive more sales and improve your brand recognition in Etsy’s competitive marketplace.

Why Sell Shirts On Etsy Using Printify?

Selling shirts on Etsy using Printify is a great option for beginners because it simplifies entering the e-commerce market. This business model lets you earn a profit on Etsy without making anything. Etsy's easy-to-use platform, combined with Printify's print-on-demand service, reduces the complexity and risk of online sales. Here are a few key reasons why it's effective:

  • Large customer base: Etsy Marketer reported over 96 million active buyers offering a vast audience for new sellers like you. This extensive customer reach is ideal for beginners looking to find their market for print-on-demand shirts.
  • Ease of use: Printify simplifies the production and order fulfillment process. As a print-on-demand service, it eliminates the need for inventory management which can be a major hurdle for beginner Etsy sellers.
  • Low startup costs: With Printify, there’s no need for upfront investment on materials and inventory. This reduces the financial risk and barrier to entry. You can create your own design on Canva for free and upload it to Prinify with a free account.
  • Niche market appeal: Etsy is known for unique, custom, and handmade items. Beginners with creative shirt designs can tap into this niche appeal, catering to customers seeking originality, which is often less available on mainstream platforms.
  • Integrated Tools and Analytics: Etsy provides you with tools and analytics to track performance, understand buyer demographics, and optimize listings. This data is invaluable for beginners to refine their strategies and grow their businesses.
  • Community and Support: Etsy has a supportive community and provides various resources through the Etsy Seller Hanbook. This can be beneficial for beginners who are in  the early stages of their online business.
  • Trend Accessibility: Etsy is known for being on top of trends, especially in handmade and custom products. This makes it easier for beginners to align their products with market trends and customer interests.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell Shirts On Etsy Using Printify?

Selling shirts on Etsy using Printify can cost around $20 - $25 per sale. This business model combines the creative and diverse marketplace of Etsy with the convenience and efficiency of Printify’s print-on-demand services.

The cost of selling shirts on Etsy using Printify has several components, which can be broken down as follows:

  • Etsy Listing Fees: Etsy charges a flat fee of $0.20 per product listing. This fee is for registering each product for four months, and you can edit the product freely without incurring additional costs during this period. If you sell multiple quantities of the same product, you are only charged for the listing once they make a sale. Printify’s integration with Etsy automatically sets your listing to 999 units, which is the highest possible amount for on-demand products with no stock limits. Upon each sale, your stock is automatically renewed, incurring a renewal fee of $0.20. 
  • Etsy Transaction Fees: Etsy collects a transaction fee of 6.5% of the total cost of the product, shipping, and any gift wrapping. This fee is a percentage of the total sale price and is automatically processed for Etsy Payments users. For instance, if you sell an item for $10 with a shipping cost of $4, the total transaction fee would be $0.91 (6.5% of the total cost).
  • Etsy Payment Processing Fees: In the US, Etsy charges a payment processing fee of 3% plus $0.25 for each sale. This fee may vary depending on your region.
  • Currency Conversion Fee: If your Etsy Payments are set in a different currency than your product listings, an additional currency conversion fee of 2.5% of the total sale amount is charged.
  • Cost of Producing the Shirt with Printify: The cost of producing a shirt through Printify can vary depending on the product. For instance, a hypothetical t-shirt might have an initial cost of $10.90 with a shipping cost of $5.

If you sell a shirt for $21.70 including shipping, here's the breakdown of your costs and profit: 

  • Etsy's fees (listing, transaction, payment processing, and sales tax) = $4.08.
  • Printify charges $9.82 for production and $4.00 for shipping = $13.82.

After these expenses, your profit is $3.80.

Remember, costs might change with updates in Etsy's fees, Printify's prices, or shipping rates, so keep an eye on these for continued profit.

Is Selling Shirts On Etsy Using Printify Profitable?

Yes, selling shirts on Etsy using Printify can be profitable if you apply effective cost management, strategic pricing, unique shirt designs, and the right marketing strategy. These aren’t easy to do and it will take you anywhere from a few months to an entire year before you start seeing any significant profit.

  • Effective Cost Management: Printify’s production cost for shirts typically ranges from $8 to $15. Meanwhile, Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee, a 5% transaction fee, and payment processing fees around 3% + $0.25 per transaction (varies by country). Keeping these costs low is crucial to maintaining a healthy profit margin.
  • Strategic pricing: To ensure profit, you need to cover all costs and leave room for profit. This means pricing your shirts to not only cover Printify and Etsy fees but also to account for any additional expenses such as marketing, while still being attractive to customers. Remember, the average ROI for email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent, indicating the potential profitability of well-strategized marketing efforts.
  • Unique and appealing designs: Profitability increases significantly if your shirt designs are unique and align with current market trends. Etsy’s House Rules emphasize that buyers go to the platform to find items they can’t find elsewhere.
  • Efficient Marketing and SEO: You can increase your shop's visibility and attract more customers if you effectively market your shirts and optimize your Etsy listings for SEO. This could involve social media marketing, where platforms like Instagram and Facebook can greatly increase your brand’s exposure, or leveraging Etsy’s SEO tools to enhance the discoverability of your listings.
  • Customer Engagement and Service: Profitability is more likely if you actively engage with customers and provide excellent service. Positive customer reviews and ratings on Etsy significantly impact sales, as buyers often rely on these when making purchasing decisions.
  • Regular Analysis and Adaptation: Continuously analyzing your sales performance and adapting your strategies are crucial. This involves regularly checking your product performance, customer feedback, and market trends to refine your approach.

Is Selling Shirts On Etsy Using Printify Worth It?

Yes, selling shirts on Etsy with Printify can be profitable if you know how to manage your costs and pricing. Production costs from Printify range between $8-$15 per shirt, and Etsy charges listing and transaction fees, plus payment processing fees. These can eat into your profit before you even start selling.

Success depends on offering unique and trendy designs, effective marketing, especially through social media and SEO, and providing excellent customer service. You'll need to stay responsive to market trends and customer feedback on Etsy's fashion category. While Printify offers a low barrier to entry with its print-on-demand model, running an Etsy store requires time and effort to manage.

There have also been complaints about Printify on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, mainly regarding product quality and customer service issues. Some users report that Printify also withholds money and takes a long time to resolve. This can be a risk factor as it might affect customer satisfaction and your shop's reputation.

5 Awesome Tips To Get Sales On Selling Shirts On Etsy Using Printify

1. Don't Disregard SEO

Use relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and tags. Remember, a majority of online shopping experiences begin with a search engine. SEO helps increase the visibility of your products to potential buyers actively searching for items like yours.

2. Leverage Etsy Ads

Investing in Etsy Ads can increase the reach of your products. Etsy's advertising platform allows your listings to be prominently displayed in search results, which can lead to increased traffic and sales. According to Etsy, sellers who use their advertising platform often see a noticeable boost in their visibility.

3. Promote Your Etsy Store On Social Media

Utilize platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to showcase your shirts. Social media not only helps in building brand awareness but also drives traffic to your Etsy store. Engaging content, such as behind-the-scenes looks or customer testimonials, can enhance your social media presence.

4. Follow Trends And Popular Demand

Stay updated with current fashion trends and customer preferences. Creating designs that align with what's popular or in demand can attract more customers. Platforms like Google Trends or fashion blogs can be excellent resources for staying informed.

5. Always Monitor Your Performance

Regularly review your Etsy store and Printify performance metrics. Analyzing data like sales patterns, customer feedback, and click-through rates can provide insights into what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make informed decisions to improve your sales strategy.

Conclusion: Why Owning Digital Assets Is A Top-Tier Choice Than Selling Shirts On Etsy Using Printify?

Owning digital assets through local lead generation is often a more strategic choice than selling shirts on Etsy using Printify, mainly because of high competition and lower profit margins on Etsy. With over 7 million active sellers, standing out on Etsy is challenging, and various fees and the continuous need for active store management often squeezes the profits.

Local lead generation offers a less competitive environment, targeting local businesses with only a handful of competitors, compared to the vast number on Etsy.


Local lead generation is also more passive. Once a website ranks well on search engines, it can maintain its position and generate income with minimal upkeep, unlike the constant effort required on Etsy.

The profit margins in local lead generation are significantly higher, with potential earnings of $500 to $2,500 per month from a single site at approximately a 95% profit margin. This model works by creating websites that generate leads for local businesses, offering a sustainable income stream with less competition and higher profitability.

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