How To Start an online tshirt shop with fulfillment and dropshipping

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how to start a dropshipping businesses with product fulfillment. Dropship your custom tshirts and mugs

Should you start a dropshipping business?

Starting an online shop can get expensive. How can you add products to your online boutique when you don't have the funds to purchase more inventory? Dropshipping is a great way to feature products in your online shop without having to purchase the inventory up front.

Dropshipping works like this: 

  1. You feature a distributor's product in your shop
  2. A customer order's that product
  3. The distributor sends the product directly to your customer on your behalf

Dropshipping Pros

  • You don't have to invest in inventory 
  • Access to thousands of products
  • Save time and scale business quickly
  • You can start for free

Dropshipping Cons

  • You have to trust a third-party with your products
  • There are often lower product margins
  • Possibility of logistical errors


Did you see that last pro? You can start for free.

Yes, I really mean that. Please please please don't get suckered into paying hundreds for access to an expensive dropshipper website. Do your research before experimenting with something like that- too often those sites are featuring low-quality products from china or are offering "wholesale" prices that are way too high.

So how can you get started for free?

One option is to put your own designs on products and have them printed and fulfilled by Printful. I love this option. I use this method to fulfill orders from my mug shop.

The second option is Oberlo. Oberlo allows you to easily import dropshipped products into your ecommerce store.


Using Printful to put your designs on t-shirts and other products

Printful makes it easy to put your designs on products such as tshirts, mugs, leggings and dresses. Upload your designs to products of your choice. Printful will fulfill your orders with on-demand printing and will use dropshipping to send products directly to your customers.


How does Printful work?


1. Upload a design to one of the many products offered in the Printful catalog (shirts, mugs, blankets, etc)

2. Publish the product to your ecommerce platform or other sales channel

3. When an order is placed, Printful will print your design on the product you selected

4. Printful ships the product directly to your customer


You can create a new storefront with Printful or link your existing store. Printful syncs with most ecommerce platforms making it east to seamlessly fulfill orders. Printful will link to your ecommerce website for free. You pay Printful for products only when an order is placed.

Manual ordering is also possible giving you endless possibilities to how you make sales.

Branded packaging can also be created with Printful . Every order is stamped with a 3x2 inch sticker that can feature your logo. You can also add pack-ins (thank you cards, promotional materials, etc) to your order for a small fee. 

What if I'm not a designer but I want to start a dropshipping business Using Printful...

If you are a designer then you'll have no problem getting started with Printful. You own every design you'll be putting on the products because you created them.

If you aren't a designer you can still create awesome tshirts and mugs but you will have to pay for the designs you use. Creative Market is a great resource for finding graphics created by expert designers. This is also a great place to find unique fonts to create your own quotes or word graphics, Keep in mind that you will need an extended license to use someone else's design on any product you are making money from. Read up on the licensing faqs to see what is required of you. 

Click here to browse Creative Market

What products should you sell?

Tshirts? Mugs? Leggings? Pillows? There are hundreds of products to choose from.

Printful has a product mockup and print file generator so you can see what a product looks like before you start selling it. This also makes a great product feature photo. Click here to try out the photo mockup generator now


Ready to start dropshipping custom products?


Using Oberlo

Oberlo makes dropshipping products a breeze. You can easily import products into a storefront by selecting your favorite products from the catalog.

Select products are available for automatic shipping. There are currently more than 1,000 products with the automatic shipping capability. What this means is you can ship these products to a customer with the click of a button.

Shipping times with Oberlo are a bit longer because they are done via epacket. Shipping usually takes 12 to 20 days. This is longer than ideal but customers will still purchase items they love even if they are on "back order".

If your online boutique is in need of more products, consider importing some items from Oberlo so you can offer your customers more selections. It's free to get started and you can start importing right away.



Sign up for a Printful account and you'll automatically be sent a welcome email with a video tutorial to help you get started :)