The exponential growth of the eCommerce market has led to consumers spending lots of cash online on various products, including electronics, groceries, car parts, and clothing, among others.
Statistics suggest that by 2025, the global online retail sales numbers will hit a whopping $7.4 trillion. For anyone planning to venture into an online store or eCommerce business, this is the perfect time to set up shop and start making some money.
One of the most important things to consider as you plan is what to sell.
There are many profitable niches, some with higher entry barriers than others, but if you love the fashion industry, you can try selling custom t-shirts in your store.
Printing technology has advanced over the years, and one of the niches with a low entry barrier is the apparel niche, where custom tees fall under – and it’s big business.
To get started, you’re going to need a good tool that’ll help you with your print-on-demand niche business. There are many available right now, but two of the best are CustomCat and Teespring, which we’ll review and pit against each other in this comparison piece.
Follow along to find out which one is best suited for your needs.
CustomCat is a print-on-demand service that uses embroidery technology on a wide range of products with more than 360 customizable products.
Since 2006, the company has been using the print-on-demand business model with a high level of expertise, and currently, they have more than 12,000 active online store brands fulfilling their orders through the company.
The print-on-demand app is available on Shopify’s website, so you can download and install it to use on the go. You can also upload your designs for printing on several different surface types, embroidery.
Plus, if you keep using the service, you get special customized discounts and coupons from the company so you can stay loyal to them. The moment your product is shipped to your client, CustomCat credits your PayPal account immediately.
Teespring is another print-on-demand platform on which online and eCommerce store owners can sell their wares. These range from t-shirts to sweatshirts, mugs, phone cases, leggings, and much more.
The website was started in 2011 by co-founders Walker Williams and Evan Stites-Clayton, who started selling printed t-shirts to commemorate the closure of their favorite bar.
It grew exponentially such that they converted it into a business that delivers custom print items to 180 countries, and their offices are in places like Providence, London, San Francisco, Kentucky, and Hebron.
Right off the bat, CustomCat’s sign-up process is simple, though there’s no option to sign up or sign in with your social media or Google accounts. It requires an email address and password.
Once you have an account, the next steps are:
- Integrate your Shopify store to CustomCat.
- Log in to your store, pick a pricing plan suitable to your needs, and then go to the dashboard.
- Your account status will be displayed as Inactive, so go to Settings, fill in your personal information, payment methods, and shipping details to activate it.
- In the Design tab, pick a design library, where you’ll find a ton of designs.
- Upload and edit yours in the store.
- Pick a product on which you’d like the design added, add colors and customize it, then select the print technology you’d like used for it and where the print should go.
- Test and preview how the final product will look, and then place the design where you want it to go.
- Add the product to your Shopify store and prepare to go live.
Unlike CustomCat, which requires an email and password for registration or signing in, Teespring allows you to sign up and sign in using your Facebook and Google accounts, over and above, using an email and password.
This makes it easier to use compared with CustomCat, which requires remembering your login credentials.
Once you’ve signed up for an account, the next steps are to:
- Sign in to your account and create custom products instantly using the Teespring Launcher.
- Choose the product you want and start designing using Teespring’s designer tool. It’s easy to use and helpful too. You can use your designs by uploading them to the platform or using the available artworks on Teespring. While you design, Teespring will show you the exact cost of printing so you can plan ahead.
- Next, set the minimum quantity and price, including the minimum sales you expect to make. This way, if you don’t hit your sales goals, you won’t be charged for items not shipped or printed. However, they also suggest a recommended selling price, but you can adjust it to modify your earnings per sale and see the profit you stand to make if you meet minimum sales goals.
- Give your items catch descriptions.
- Click Launch to go live.
- Promote your products.
- Unlock more sales using the available Teespring integrations.
- Get your profits from your sales in your account (PayPal, Mail Check, Direct Deposit, or Payoneer). You can withdraw at any time you want.
Both CustomCat and Teespring have similar setup processes; however, Teespring beats CustomCat since it allows users to sign up, or sign in using either their Facebook or Google accounts; hence, you don’t have to remember your password each time you sign in.
CustomCat offers design guidelines that help you as you create your custom items. Once you upload your design, you get to pick among three decoration types: embroidery, sublimation, and direct to garment.
You can place your designs on t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, warm-ups, jerseys, bags, jackets, and much more. It also features brands such as Adidas Golf, Anvil, Code V, Bella + Canvas, and much more.
Once you sign up for a free account with Teespring, you can select the merchandise you want to create designs for and even create design pages for people to buy. After they place orders, Teespring handles print and delivery to their doorstep, so you can make more money even faster than Amazon would allow.
The platform offers the Merch Shelf that also lets you share your merch directly under your YouTube video if you have a channel and stand to make more profits with a wider audience at hand.
As long as you have an account, choose Start Designing on the website and pick a product category from t-shirts to pillows, leggings, die-cut stickers, phone cases, socks, home decor, mugs, apparel, and lots more. You also have the option to buy or sell; hence, you can buy, create and sell designs, thus making more profit.
On the platform, you can add custom designs, images, and text, change product colors, and set your pricing too. It’s easier to set up buy or sell options on Teespring than on CustomCat.
CustomCat beats Teespring by offering you more design options, including embroidery. Although Teespring does not offer you much flexibility in terms of design type, you will surely get high-quality designs suitable for your chosen products. You also get to make more money by sharing your design merch with your YouTube followers.
When a client orders and pays the money to your PayPal account or bank, CustomCat starts production on the item with your custom design within 4 hours.
Once production is completed, the items are shipped straight to your customers’ doorstep, so you’re not involved or worried about the production, storage, inventory, or event logistics. All the orders are sent for fulfillment automatically, and you need not track them manually; just keep designing and marketing your items from your end.
Products are also shipped with your own label, so customers don’t know they’re outsourced to CustomCat. This way, your online store will gain a competitive edge over competitors and give your brand presence.
Teespring offers screen printing and directs to garment or DTG printing. Both are high-quality processes, and the system automatically determines which one to use based on the product type, quantity, colors, and more in the order details.
For higher quantity orders, screen printing is used, while DTG printing happens once the design you uploaded is scanned, analyzed, and prepared by a computer. After the Teespring team vectorizes it to check for imperfections, they apply the design directly to your desired products.
The company guarantees quality and satisfaction from Screen and DTG printing, plus all designs on their website are thoroughly and rigorously analyzed before they start printing.
CustomCat wins because it allows you to white label your customized products.
CustomCat is committed to customization fulfillment, offering more than just embroidery but also 3D dye diffusion and printing. They decorate their items using Aeon Direct to Garment printers, which means you get your orders much quicker as the printers work and deliver pretty fast.
The company has its production facilities in Detroit, MI, which they own – both plant and equipment – and they’re the only printer offering 1200 dpi resolution on apparel in the USA, with a soft-hand feel.
The company ensures the sew files are correctly created for different fabric types. This way, you can get on-demand caps, polos, bags, and jackets, among other items – not just t-shirts.
With its dye-sublimation technology, they not only get to print on polyester and other fabric types but also on an insanely wide range of products, including mugs, phone cases, hairbrushes, jewelry, and much more.
The fact that the plant and equipment they use belong to the company, quality control is thorough and maintained, which shows by its less than one percent replacement rate.
They boast an impressive production capacity of 100,000 units each day, which is made possible by the large facility with non-stop 24/7 production by its more than 450 employees.
However, ensure you follow the CustomCat guidelines for preparing the perfect print for the best print quality.
From user reviews, the quality of Teespring products varies depending on the type of printing used. For DTG print, there could be a slight blur to some areas of the print design, and the quality of the fiber strands may be wanting.
However, the color doesn’t fade as fast as the print-on-demand products from other competitors do.
Further, you can’t specify the type of printing you’d like to use; they do that for you based on the number of items, colors, and design, among other parameters.
There have been issues about misleading design views and varying sizes from the output, but when compared with other printed items, especially in the clothing department, its print doesn’t fade after washing several times.
Fabrics used are also comfortable, not baggy or too thick, but they fit just right.
You can get various products to add to your designs besides clothing. Popular categories include fashion socks, hoodies, men’s or women’s clothing, baby products, and more.
CustomCat wins because it uses superior print technology compared with Teespring. It also lets you choose the appropriate design type and printing technology for your products.
CustomCat tracks your sales for you and keeps you in touch with your customers. It also uses buyer data and creates a mailing list for different types of customer audiences.
If you sell designs through Teespring, you can see how well your products are selling or not. It has an Analytics section in your account that displays graphs with your orders, units sold, and how much profit you’ve made. It also breaks down where your sales come from, orders, and listings.
It’s a draw here since both CustomCat and Teespring has a user-friendly analytics tool that lets you monitor sales and other statistics.
Support is available via phone on business days from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm Eastern Time, or you can reach them via email at contact@CustomCat.com.
Their customer service is built into the app so that you can get help on any issue. They also refund you any costs where it’s their fault, but you’re responsible for preparing print files, and if you fail to follow their preparation guidelines, the fault is on your end.
Shipping takes 2-3 days and another 1-7 days for delivery in North America, and 4-15 days for international delivery to other areas of the world. Their pricing for shipping is $4.99 for domestic (within the USA) and $7.50 for international shipments.
You can reach Teespring support service by clicking the Help button, which leads to an FAQ page with answers to basic queries.
They also have information like company policy, shipping topics, buyer and seller information, and more. There’s a support chat available on business days between 9 am to 5 pm, or you can send an email and await a reply within 24 hours on working days.
The company uses USPS to ship locally within the USA, which takes about two weeks to deliver customers’ orders. For international delivery, they work with DHL, which takes three weeks to deliver.
Shipping costs vary with every product, though.
CustomCat gives you more options of reaching their customer service representatives, including dedicated helplines available Mondays to Fridays, 8.30 am to 6.30 pm EST.
CustomCat integrates fully with Shopify and WooCommerce, plus it has a custom API you can use to integrate with other sites or CMS platforms. However, you may need a software developer to help you with the integration process if you’re not using Shopify or WooCommerce.
Teespring integrates with Shopify, so if you have a store with the platform, you can post your designs on the store. It also integrates with other stores and tools like Amazon, Etsy, Walmart, and social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, and other social media platforms.
Teespring wins since it supports third-party integrations with more eCommerce and social media platforms, unlike CustomCat, which does not integrate with Social media platforms.
CustomCat offers the CustomCat Lite version, which is free, and a premium or paid version. If you pay for the premium version, you can access t-shirts and items at lower prices so you can sell at higher margins.
However, you can access CustomCat features and products with the free version, except you won’t buy products at lower prices.
T-shirts cost from $6, mugs from $3.50, and hoodies at $16.50, which makes its pricing reasonable, and is a cheaper alternative to other print-on-demand services.
Teespring lets you set prices and profits for your products except for those in its Boosted Network, which are discounted based on monthly sales, while others have flat pricing.
They don’t charge start-up fees to design your items, but they make their money from every item sold, so you can focus on designing and promoting your products.
Similarly, if you sell for charity, you can donate your profits to charity using an option available on their website. They payout through PayPal (4-6 business days), Direct Deposit, or Payoneer (2-4 business days).
Teespring wins since it lets you set your product prices, which lets you make more profit, unlike CustomCat that has fixed prices for its products.
- CustomCat facilitates multiple design options: embroidery, sublimation, or direct-to-garment (DTG).
- CustomCat allows you to select your design option.
- Unlike other print on demand companies, CustomCat has printers that facilitates a 1200dpi resolution.
- CustomCat supports white label print on demand service.
- CustomCat does not include other sign-in options, which gives users the flexibility of signing into their accounts using their social media handles.
- CustomCat does not offer you the flexibility of increasing your profit by selling or sharing your designs on YouTube.
- Teespring has a user-friendly setup process
- Teespring lets you create and share your design merch directly to your YouTube channels, thereby boosting your income and increasing your YouTube followers.
- Based on your product, quantity, design, and color, Teespring determines the best printing option for your products.
- Teespring lets you set prices for your products, which lets you make more profit.
- Teespring integrates with social media platforms.
- Teespring does not offer you embroidery as a design option.
- Unlike other POD companies, Teespring chooses design types for your products based on your design, product type, color, and quantity.
|They both offer print-on-demand services||CustomCat offers three decoration types: embroidery, sublimation, and direct to garment.|
Teespring offers screen printing and directs to garment or DTG printing
|Wide variety of products and items to print designs on||CustomCat offers a free and premium version of its app|
Teespring is a web-based service
|Both integrate with Shopify||CustomCat integrates with Shopify and WooCommerce plus has an API for further integration.|
Teespring integrates with Shopify, social media channels, Walmart, Amazon, Etsy, and more.
|Both services offer customer support via email, blog, and support chat||CustomCat support is limited to chat and email|
Teespring offers a Help section with FAQs
|–||CustomCat lets you choose the print design you want|
Teespring selects whether to use screen printing or DTG printing on your behalf based on their own parameters
|Both offer a way of tracking your store’s activity||CustomCat only tracks sales|
Teespring tracks sales, orders, and profits
|Both offer local and international shipping and delivery||Shipping takes longer with CustomCat compared to Teespring|
|Both services carry out rigorous and thorough product and quality control checks||CustomCat has in-house printing equipment|
Teespring has an in-house team to check designs
Both services shine in different areas, but the clear winner in this round is Teespring.
Not only is it free and easy to use and sign up for, but it has more opportunities to make profits and is more flexible.
I am Brian. I started my first e-commerce company in college designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using Print-On-Demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7 figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you get succeed.