Updated: Jul 14, 2021
A POD is a site that will print your product on demand, with no minimums, so you customer can order one single item or print from your store. The POD handles the sale, delivery, customer care, returns, and the transfer of money to you at the end of the month.
The sign up process is easy and adding your artwork is quick, the site is very responsive, and doing small edits to your artwork onsite for each product is easy but basic. My favorite feature of the uploading process on RedBubble is the option to create a repeating pattern or a half drop pattern with the click of a button, instead of preparing the artwork before uploading which means it saves you a lot of time in both artwork creation and uploading all the different formats. Once you've uploaded, you can set your own earning percentages per product as well.
There are many POD's out there. Some specialize in stickers and magnets or stationary for example so depending on your business model you can find one that fits your artwork, or maybe you want to explore which business model might work for you, then this is a great way to see what sells and at what price/markup. If you already know you only want to sell you art on fabric, you may only choose items such as comforters, dresses, skirts etc. There is also a POD called Spoonflower but this site has an annual fee to sell you work and you must order samples first.
It's helpful to have your own following of people to sell to. RedBubble do marketing for you too, but it isn't enough for your new store. You need to market yourself, but this is the perfect starting point if you dont have followers, because now, you just set up a store, with absolutely zero cost to you and you can offer those products for sale and begin to grow your audience.
Here is the catch with POD's though. You do not own your customers. When I say own, I mean you do not get their contact details, so marketing to them directly isn't possible. But dont let that deter you. You need to focus on building your own followers and fans or collectors. I build mine in Instagram, but I also focus on my mailing lists too. Build your own data base and market to them. They are your people and they love your art. If you dont get sales right a way, dont be discouraged. You need to keep persisting. Sales will come faster to those who already have an audience to sell to.
I'd love to know if you try a POD, and how you are doing with the experience. I'm more than happy to answer your questions and help you where possible.