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If you want to start a new print on demand store or you're looking to add POD products to your existing ecommerce store, one of the first things you'll most likely look at is the locations of the print on demand companies available to you.
And more often than not, POD sellers will try and sell into the USA as it is by far the biggest market of online shoppers in the western world. If you can break into a passionate niche in the USA, you virtually have a license to print money.
So it sounds pretty easy right? Just pick a USA based print on demand company, hook it up to your Shopify store, upload some designs, and start selling, right?
Sadly, no. It does get a little more involved than that and quite frankly, swimming through the sea of print on demand companies at our fingertips can be a daunting task.
You've got companies that are based in one country but have printing “partners” all over the world, others that own all their own printing facilities worldwide and then the more traditional print on demand companies that print and ship from just one location.
So whether you're starting your own clothing line, launching a print on demand jewelry brand or adding apparel to your existing dropshipping store, this article is going to help you cut out the noise so you can choose the perfect USA based print on demand company.
Here's just some of what we'll cover in this article:
- The best USA based print on demand companies
- What products they offer
- Where they print and ship from
- What their reviews are like
- The differences between a Shopify app and a POD Platform
Different Types of Print on Demand Companies
So before we get into listing the different companies, I'd like to take a moment to point out some key differences in the types of POD vendors available.
Firstly, you have companies that own their own printing warehouse, equipment, staff and other infrastructure. Some of these firms have multiple locations, and others just have the one location that they ship from.
The other type of POD company that we see a lot more of now is what we call a “middle-man”. They own and operate the Shopify app technology and the customer support part of the business, but the physical printing and fulfilment is outsourced to an established printing company that operates behind the scenes. These printers are often referred to as “partners”.
Sometimes we see POD companies that are a hybrid of both the above mentioned models, and to add to this mix there are also stand-alone software platforms that offer sellers their own POD website rather than having a Shopify or Etsy integration.
As we go through the various USA based print on demand companies it will be clear which fulfilment model above they fall into.
USA Based Print on Demand Shopify Apps
Let's kick this off by reviewing the current USA POD companies that integrate with Shopify. Most of them integrate with other platforms too which you'll see in the summaries below.
Fulfilment Model: They have their own printing facilities in the USA, Europe, UK and Mexico and also outsource to some partner facilities in other parts of the world.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: Los Angeles CA, Dallas TX & Charlotte NC.
Product Catalog: Printful have a massive choice of products ranging from standard direct to garment apparel such as t-shirts and hoodies, right through to sublimated cut & sew products and homewares, fashion accessories, wall art and more.
App Cost: Options include a free plan, $9 per month and a $49 per month plan.
Shopify App Store Rating: 4.5 stars out of 3,683 total reviews.
Also Integrates With: Etsy, WooCommerce, Ebay, Amazon, WIX, Squarespace, BigCommerce + 15 more.
Fulfilment Model: Printify is purely a partner facility model. They outsource all printing to various print providers around the world and they are very transparent about who they use.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: According to their website, Printify current has 24 USA based print partners offering anywhere from 1 type of product up to 50 different product types.
Product Catalog: Because they have so many print partners, Printify is similar to Printful in that it basically offers everything. from standard apparel to cut & sew sublimation, accesories, wall art, sports gear and more.
App Cost: Options include a free plan or a $29 per month plan.
Shopify App Store Rating: 4.2 stars out of 1,699 total reviews.
Also Integrates With: Etsy, eBay, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Squarespace, WIX & PrestaShop.
Fulfilment Model: CustomCat owns their own printing & shipping facility. The parent company is called MyLocker.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: All of CustomCats products are printed and shipped from their facility in Detroit, Michigan.
Product Catalog: CustomCat offer a large range of standard apparel, all-over-print (sublimation) products, wall art, homewares and accessories. Pretty much everything you could ask for!
App Cost: Options include a free plan or a $30 per month plan.
Shopify App Store Rating: 4.2 stars out of 527 total reviews.
Also Integrates With: Etsy, BigCommerce & WooCommerce.
IconEcom (Formerly PrintTech)
Fulfilment Model: IconEcom owns and operates their own facility.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: All products are printed and shipped from Hannibal, Missouri.
Product Catalog: All the regular apparel you would expect, plus a lot of unique items like Bible covers, wine glasses, wall art, Christmas stockings, cutting boards and BBQ kits.
App Cost: 14-day trial then $9.99 per month.
Shopify App Store Rating: 3.9 stars out of 7 total reviews.
Also Integrates With: Etsy, Amazon & WooCommerce.
Fulfilment Model: Viralstyle operates a partner model and does not own their own facility.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: All fulfilment is currently done from the USA but there are no specific details on the Viralstyle website regarding where their partners are located.
Product Catalog: All basic items such as tees, hoodies mugs, dog tag jewelry and canvas wall art.
App Cost: Free
Shopify App Store Rating: 2.8 stars out of 58 total reviews.
Fulfilment Model: ShineOn owns their own USA based facilities
Printing & Fulfilment Location: USA Print and fulfilment is done out of both New Jersey and Florida.
Product Catalog: ShineOn are the jewelry specialists offering a big range of custom pendant bracelets, necklaces, watches and other creative jewelry items. They have also recently added metal wall art to their catalog.
App Cost: Free
Shopify App Store Rating: ShineOn are not currently on the Shopify app store (but they still integrate with Shopify)
Also Integrates With: Etsy + they have their own platform (see further down in this article)
Fulfilment Model: Teelaunch uses printing partners
Printing & Fulfilment Location: These guys have a great network of 15 printing partners spread across the USA.
Product Catalog: Teelaunch offers a wide range of apparel, canvas and metal wall art, kitchenware and home goods. The main product they don't yet offer is cut & sew sublimated clothing (all over print).
App Cost: Free
Shopify App Store Rating: 4.3 stars out of 608 total reviews.
Also Integrates With: Etsy, BigCommerce & WooCommerce.
SPOD by Spreadshirt
Fulfilment Model: SPOD operates their own facilities around the world.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: USA facilities include Nevada and Pennsylvania.
Product Catalog: SPOD offers a wide range of apparel, accessories and wall art. They do not offer all-over-print products at this time.
App Cost: Free
Shopify App Store Rating: 4.1 stars out of 645 total reviews.
Also Integrates With: Etsy, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento & Squarespace.
USA Based Print on Demand Platforms
Now we've covered the big USA based players that integrate with Shopify, let's take a look at some of the stand-alone platforms that print and ship from the USA.
For clarity, a “platform” is like Spring (formerly Teespring). As a seller you sign up to these platforms and you get given your very own storefront which is like a basic version of a Shopify store.
The main benefit is that you don't have to handle any of the customer service because that is all handled by the platform and you don't need to pay for individual products when they sell, you simply get given your “payout” after each successful sale.
There are pros and cons when it comes to using a platform versus using Shopify of course, but that's a discussion for another day!
Spring (Formerly Teespring)
Printing & Fulfilment Location: According to their website, Spring uses a variety of trusted vendors across the USA.
Product Catalog: Spring offers a huge range of apparel, accessories, phone cases, drinkware and home goods.
Platform Cost: Free
Printing & Fulfilment Location: All products are printed and shipped from within the USA.
Product Catalog: GearBubble keeps it pretty simple and offers t-shirts, mugs, pendant jewelry and a few other basic but popular products.
Platform Cost: $97 per month for 100 products or $297 per month for unlimited products.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: Moteefe have 3 partner facilities in the USA
Product Catalog: Over 40 different products are on offer including tshirts, hoodies, mugs, tote bags, blankets, wall art and more.
Platform Cost: Moteefe is free to use.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: Spreadshirt owns SPOD so they print and ship from their own facilities in Nevada and Pennsylvania.
Product Catalog: They do more than just shirts thats for sure. Spreadshirt offers a huge range of clothing, stickers, embroidered products, homewares and more.
Platform Cost: It's free to run your store on Spreadshirt.
Printing & Fulfilment Location: RedBubble uses printing partners and simply states that orders will be printed and shipped from the closest facility. They list USA as one of their locations so it's safe to assume that most products sold into the USA will print and ship from there, with the exception of some of their more unique, specialised products.
Product Catalog: RedBubble is a huge marketplace that celebrates artists from around the world. They offer everything from clothing to stickers, phone cases, wall art, accessories, stationary and more.
Platform Cost: RedBubble doesn't charge you to list products or to operate a store on the platform. Like most platforms, they make their money from each sale that you make.
No this isn't a typo, ShineOn also has a platform which is super cool. It's actually a great way to start testing jewelry products. They ship from the same locations as mentioned before and you can get same great quality that we've all been used to the with Shopify app.
Should I Avoid POD Companies From China?
If you're active in any of the print on demand groups on Facebook, you'll have no doubt seen or even been spammed by the huge influx of new POD companies that have emerged out of China over the past couple of years.
To be completely honest, some of them are downright dodgy and really should be avoided at all costs. Especially if they are new and relatively unheard of. This could be a nightmare for you if you find a winner and want to scale.
There are however some very reputable companies based in China that I highly recommend and one of them is Subliminator. In years gone by, Pillow Profits were also pretty good but I haven't heard much from them or from sellers for many years.
So to answer the question, no you shouldn't necessarily avoid Chinese based POD companies but you should do your research and weigh up the pros and cons. Shipping may take a little longer but pricing will generally be cheaper than USA based companies, depending on the products you are selling.
Shopify vs Print on Demand Platforms
Whilst this might be slightly digressing from the original topic of this article, it's a question thats popped into your head no doubt so its worth touching on briefly.
Personally, I've always loved Shopify because I love building brands. But back in the early days, I made a fortune selling in Teespring so I'm certainly not against the idea.
Here's my two cents on this argument.
You Should Sell on a POD Platform if You:
- You don't want to spend time creating a brand
- You haven't chosen a niche yet and you just want to test a bunch of random designs
- You don't want to learn how to build a Shopify store (even though its easy)
- You don't want to pay $29 a month for Shopify
- You don't want to be bothered with after-sales customer service
You Should Sell POD on Shopify If You:
- Have a great niche idea and a brand that you can build
- Want higher profit margins
- Like the idea of building a long-term, saleable brand
- Want complete flexibility in the products you can add
- Understand the HUGE benefit of building and marketing to an email list
The Final Word on Print on Demand in the USA
Even though I'm located in Australia myself, I have always launched my print on demand brands into the USA because the market is just so big there. Ecommerce and POD knows no boundaries and you can literally sell anything you want, anywhere in the world without even touching a product.
There's also an abundance of passionate niches in the USA which is a vital component to the success of any POD store.
So if you're looking to start your POD journey or simply scouting out some new companies to use, this list is all you need to start selling and scaling your POD store in the USA.
I highly recommending spending some time taking a look at the different companies and picking one or two that fit with your brand.
I'd love to invite you to continue this conversation over in my Storehacks Facebook community where 5,700 POD sellers network, learn and share all sorts of tips and tricks about succeeding with print on demand.
Thank you for reading, now go start selling POD in the USA!