Making money

Selling T-shirts: CafePress vs Zazzle vs Teespring vs RedBubble

In a previous post I touched upon selling T-shirts in order to generate a passive income stream, this post is explores where to sell T-shirts.

Print-on-demand websites are becoming increasingly popular and a great way to generate an additional income for sellers.  More and more people are purchasing goods online, they are free for sellers to join and incredibly easy to use.  But there are so many out there, which do you choose?  This post compares some of the most popular print-on-demand websites to help you make your decision.

What is a print-on-demand?

Print-on-demand is a printing technology that these websites use where the designs aren’t printed onto products (e.g. T-shirts) until an order is made.

How does it work?

  1. A seller joins the website for free and uploads their designs
  2. The seller will then need to promote and advertise their design. Buyers can also browse the website and find your design.
  3. When the buyer makes the purchase, the T-shirt is then printed with the design, packaged and shipped.

What’s so great about print on-demand?

  • No inventory to hold
  • Free to join and upload your artwork
  • Showcase your original designs
  • Artists have the freedom of self-expression
  • Secure channel for financial transactions between the buyer and the seller.
  • Availability of unique designs that can’t be found on the high street.

Not an artist?  That’s okay, there are freelance websites such as Fiverr and Upwork where you can buy T-shirt designs.



CafePress market themselves as a gift shop and each seller has their own store front.  It is free to join but you can also subscribe to the premium option with which you have access to more products and features.

CafePress pays a flat royalty rate of 10% for all products sold.  The more you sell, the more you earn by receiving a Shop Performance bonus.

Don’t have any of your own designs?  That’s absolutely fine because you can use the clipart available in CafePress, alternatively become an affiliate by joining the CafePress Partner Program and receive a commission of up to 15% for selling the products of others.

I love the Fan Portal at CafePress.  Here you come up with your own custom designs of your favourite television show, film or game and make money selling them.  People love creating fan art but can’t sell it due to copyright, well now you can with CafePress (of course this will need to be within the guidelines).

What else can you sell other than T-shirts?  All types of clothing including kids and babies, bags, art, phone cases, home décor…



Zazzle is similar to CafePress, it’s a standard print-on-demand website that is free to join and you create your own storefront.  You can customise your products greatly with the text, colour and graphic options available.

You set your own royalty rates on your custom products, this tends to be around 15%.  Any higher and you are charged a transaction fee.  Also, if you keep your royalty rate below 15% you have a better chance of inclusion in the Zazzle marketplace and website promotions.

Zazzle also has an affiliate programs but with a higher rate of commission which is a minimum of 15% and up to 30% with the Volume Bonus Earning Program.

What else can you sell other than T-shirts? Wedding items such as invitations, various clothing and accessories, art, home décor…



Teespring differs to the others mentioned in this post in that each design has a campaign.  The campaign aspect of Teesprings has a feel of urgency due to the limited time frame it can be purchased.  For each campaign you:



  • Set a sales goal (for example to sell 20 T-shirts)
  • Choose the length of time for your campaign (3 to 21 days)
  • Set a sales price

T-shirts are shipped as soon as a sale is made, they are shipped once the sales goal has been met.  Don’t worry if you set your sales goal too high and have not met your target, providing you have sold a sufficient quantity to make a profit, Teespring will ship the order.  At the end of the campaign you can re-start the campaign as many times as you wish.

Teespring has it’s own images and text that you can use on your T-shirt designs, so you don’t need to be able to use Photoshop or have any digital painting experience.

All products have a standard base price depending on the volume of T-shirts sold, the seller sets the sale price and keeps 100% of the profit.  For example, if the base price of a T-shirt is £8 and you set the sale price at £20, that’s a profit of £12 for you to keep.

What else can you sell other than T-shirts? Home Décor, Socks, Phone Cases, Towels…



Redbubble started as a dream to give independent artists a meaningful new way to sell their creations.  It is an extremely popular website, once of the highest ranked print-on-demand website for traffic according to Alexa’ Traffic Rank.  A very simple print-on-demand website that is free to join, simply upload your ideas and start selling.

What Redbubble doesn’t have is its own images and text for you to use to make your own designs.

Redbubble have a very simple pricing strategy.  There is a a base price for each product which covers their service fee and the cost of manufacturing, the seller then adds the profit margin on top.  The profit margin this tends to be about 20%, but the seller is able to set their own profit margin.  For example the base price of a T-shirt can be £10, if you want to make a profit of 20% you would sell the T-shirt for £12.50.

What else can you sell other than T-shirts? Various clothing items including kids, phone cases, stickers, stationary, bags…

Which website have you chosen and which is your favourite?

5 thoughts on “Selling T-shirts: CafePress vs Zazzle vs Teespring vs RedBubble

  1. I did have a quick look at teespring a while back. I like the idea of creating designs for t-shirts with the potential of recurring income. I didn’t realise there were this many options (and probably more). Thanks for posting and reminding me to check these out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was originally thinking of using Teespring myself because it seems to be the most famous one. Now that I’ve done some research I think CafePress is better suited to my needs. Glad you found this post useful.


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