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Review: Can You Make Money With Spreadshirt?

I've been an online writer for over 10 years. My articles primarily focus on product reviews.

Read my review of Spreadshirt and whether it's worth your time.

Read my review of Spreadshirt and whether it's worth your time.

Can you make money with Spreadshirt? Short answer: Yes.

While you can make some money, I think the real question is: "Is it worth it?" I'm going to save you some reading time and say, "No."

Don't get me wrong. I have received some payments from Spreadshirt, but it has given me so many headaches, I wish I had spent my time doing something more productive. There are some people making money from Spreadshirt. Most people are not.

Let's go through the good and bad. Maybe my experience will help some of you aspiring artists out there looking to turn your talent into cash money.

You can make money with Spreadshirt, but I don't think it's worth the time required.

You can make money with Spreadshirt, but I don't think it's worth the time required.

The Basics

Sounds easy enough right? Make some nice designs, sit back, and let the money roll in. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. It's not as easy as it sounds.

Spreadshirt sounds good on paper, but it can be a huge mess. You start off with a standard shop. Here you can upload your designs and wait for them to "pass" an inspection.

Vector Designs

If you are looking to make any money, you need to learn how to make vector designs. Vector designs are unique designs that can be resized and retain their quality. Raster designs, on the other hand, get blurry and pixelated when resized.

Vector designs need to be inspected in order for the plotting machine to accept the design. And you have to do vector designs saved in .eps format.

Sure, you can upload raster designs, but they look like crap and they get horribly pixelated when resized. Oh, and you are only allowed to use three colors for your vector designs. Black and white count as colors.

You can easily see how your artistic vision becomes limited fast.

The Process Step-by-Step

So you begin by making a vector design using three colors, and exporting it into .eps. Okay, time to upload. Then you play the waiting game only to find that your design was rejected because the machine can't accept it.

Apparently, some of your lines or curves are too close to each other, or they are too sharp of an angle for the plotting machine to cut. You can see how this can get irritating fast. After a couple of tries and a few days later, you design is accepted. Nice! Now you can put your design on products (T-shirts) and publish them onto your shop.

You will also have the option of publishing your design in the Spreadshirt Marketplace, which is a huge mess. Another annoyance that you may encounter is that you are limited by the number of designs you can upload.

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Read More From Toughnickel

"Upgrading" Your Account

So you have to "upgrade" your account to get unlimited design uploads and a designer shop. The designer shop seems cool at first, but it's pretty much useless. It's a gimmick in my opinion. Real talk.

After you get your shop set up, it is now up to you to promote it. Meta tags and optimizing can only do so much. Google Adwords can get expensive fast. After spending some money on Adwords, I quickly realize that I was selling more from the marketplace, or rather other shops than my own.

This made me realize what a waste of money the upgrade was. To best take advantage of the upgrade, I suggest you have your designs ready, buy one month of the upgrade and upload your designs all at once.

If I had to do it all over again, I would've put my designs on the marketplace and left it at that. Hopefully, the designs do sell themselves and aspiring shop owners will use your design in their shops.

It Wasn't a Failure, But It Was a Waste of Time

I consider myself an above average user. Spreadshirt admits that most shops that get started fail because of poor design, layout, etc. Considering that I made some money with Spreadshirt I can't really say that it was a complete failure. I do, however, value my time and in all honesty, I believe Spreadshirt is a complete waste of time.

If you are thinking about making money with Spreadshirt, please be realistic. To get anywhere, you will need to invest lots of time and energy. A LOT. Also consider current events and trends. We are in a rough economy. People are saving and downsizing. Spreadshirt is a luxury. I am sure everyone at Spreadshirt is hurting. Even the big boys.

This is the realness. My personal experience. Yours may vary.

Pending payout

Pending payout

Previous payout

Previous payout

Not Too Bad?

I know some of you guys are looking at my screenshots and thinking, "That's not too bad." Well, I guess if I put in less effort, I would be saying the same thing, but you have to think about the time invested. Time has value and you can never get it back.

If you spend countless hours working on designs only to get it rejected or not sell at all, than that would be a zero return on your investment. I am, however, humbled and glad that I got some money out of it. I just wish the market was more stable.

Trendy, edgy and thought-provoking designs sell the best. Stay away from "cute" designs. If you want to analyze the market yourself, start by uploading many random high-quality designs.

Keep an eye on which designs get put on different shops. The more shops selling your designs, the more popular that style is. You will quickly realize that you need designs that stir up emotions.

Find Your Niche or No?

They say you should find your niche, and while this is a good idea if you were starting up shop and compiling other artists' designs, the work involved would constitute a full-time job, plus overtime.

If you decide to go the route of opening and promoting your shop, you must work on marketing and search engine optimization, which is a daunting task in and of itself. Not only that, you still have to find time to be creative and make the designs.

If you want to do this "on the side," I suggest you pick and choose. Either be an artist and submit your designs to the marketplace or open up shop and find designs in the marketplace to put in your shop.

If I had to choose all over again, I would've chosen the first option instead of doing both. It is very difficult to promote your shop. You literally have to start at zero. You get no help from Spreadshirt to promote your shop. Spreadshirt only links designs in the marketplace.

Something's Not Right

While you can see the number of shops selling your designs, you cannot view these shops. Spreadshirt does not provide links to them, disconnecting shop owners again. Looking at this from Spreadshirt's perspective—it is not in their best interest to link and promote shops that do not make them money.

Another thing that smells funny to me is that the "marketplace" seems to be just a front word for their own "shop" much like ours. What do I mean by this? Pay attention.

You have a design on a shirt in your shop that sells for $16.99. The same design on the same shirt can be found on the Spreadshirt "marketplace" for $19.99. Who's making the difference? And why? Spreadshirt is already getting a product cut from the shirt.

There is no difference between the products, except one is located in their directory they call the "marketplace." See where I'm going with this? It seems like the "marketplace" is just a fancy name for their own shop. I guess the markup can be justified as advertising cost but it's annoying to see different prices of the same product everywhere.

If I were a customer and I wanted a shirt I saw on the marketplace, I want to get it for the cheapest price. Well, I can. You see I have to click on the product, click on the designer's name, click on their shop name and bam, there it is. A few clicks just saved me a few bucks.

But you can see how pointless and idiotic this is. Spreadshirt has a loyalty towards their end customer and the bottom line of course. But they need to take care of their shop owners and designers too. You know, the people that actually put them in business. The $25 minimum cash out balance is pretty high in my opinion. It can take a long time for a designer to reach that threshold especially if he or she is new.

Also admitting to themselves that most shops/designers fail—where does that money go if it is below $25? I can imagine lots of designers giving up at $15-$20.

Think of it like gift cards. Gift cards are free money. They are instant profit and become lesser profits when they are redeemed. Design commissions are instant profits until you cash out at $25. I am just one designer but I'm sure many more people are dissatisfied with the company.

Spreadshirt Responds

After I published this article, I got an email from Jana Eggers, CEO of Spreadshirt. I guess they are doing damage control and my article conflicted with their best interest.

In my profile page, I have said that I was going to give you (the reader) my experience. I like to keep things real. I'm not going to sell you anything. If I like something, I will tell you. If I do not like something, I will not be afraid to say it.

We all are looking to make that money and save time. I'm just trying to save you some time with my article. That does not mean that I hate Spreadshirt. Oh well. Let's get to it shall we? Here is Jana's email in its entirety.

Hi, *******,

We saw your hubpages post regarding Spreadshirt. Thanks for the upfront feedback. We of course aren't happy that you find Spreadshirt overall not worth your effort. A few thoughts:

  • Thanks for the feedback on linking to other shops that use your designs (we can do that).
  • Not sure what you think is gimmicky about the designer shop. If you can give more specifics we'd love to know.
  • We've found that shops with few designs perform worse... 3 is definitely few. The value of print on demand is that you can put many designs up and provide choice to your customers.
  • In addition to this, many shop partners come with their own communities, so they don't buy AdWords. They are looking to express themselves/their community.

The question of vectors is a tough one. This provides the highest quality printing, but it does mean the designs have to be specific. You can always use digitals and have many fewer constraints. Maybe you didn't see that option?

  • Most of our Shop Partners chose vector because of the quality. To give you an idea of the customer perceived quality, satisfaction on the vector printing is 2x that of the digital printing.

Regarding getting products cheaper directly from the shop, this is by design. We do not want to compete with our shop partners. This is one of the reasons many shops partners work with us.

If you have more feedback, we are happy to have it.

Best regards,

-- Jana Eggers CEO, Spreadshirt

My Response

Above is the email unedited (except my name of course). My first reaction after reading that was shock. I was surprised that my itty bitty article gained the attention of the CEO of Spreadshirt. Imagine doing a review on Windows 7 and getting an email from Bill Gates. Ok, this isn't as big as Microsoft, but you get my drift.

At first, I thought it was just someone that worked at Spreadshirt and it took me a minute to read the signature. I felt a bit insulted when I started to read between the lines. I'll go through each bullet and respond here.

1. "Thanks for the feedback on linking to other shops that use your designs (we can do that)."

You're welcome.

2. "Not sure what you think is gimmicky about the designer shop. If you can give more specifics we'd love to know."

Although I said it was cool at first, I think it's gimmicky because it's pretty much useless unless, for some reason, you want to specifically have a design on your sleeve or back. While it offers the customer some control, it costs a premium to shop owners to get a designer shop with an upgraded account. If they do not upgrade their accounts, the customer would have to navigate to Spreadshirt's designer shop through their main website and pay a little extra. (I'll get more to this at the last bullet). Some people will like it, I did at first, but I didn't find it to be worth it later.

3. "We've found that shops with few designs perform worse... 3 is definitely few. The value of print on demand is that you can put many designs up and provide choice to your customers."

Taking a shot at me now? Yes I have 3 designs in my shop. This was after I decided just to go the marketplace route. Beforehand I had almost a dozen designs until I decided that maintaining a shop wasn't the reason I joined Spreadshirt.

I deleted my other designs but having those designs did not help my traffic or my shop. So I shut down my shop, basically abandoning it and left only the designs that were on other people's shop, the 3. Refer to my paragraph, "Find Your Niche or No?"

Like I said, opening your own shop is hard work. You start from nothing. Zero links and no visitors. Actually, I take that back. You start with 1 link maybe. Doing a google search of "list of spreadshirt shops" I found a directory. SEO is huge job. It's unreasonable for the average shop owners to come up with designs, while maintaining and promoting their own shops on their own. Summary: Shops with lots of designs and no traffic do worse. Traffic is the problem and these shops just aren't getting any.

4. "In addition to this, many shop partners come with their own communities, so they don't buy AdWords. They are looking to express themselves/their community."


5. "The question of vectors is a tough one. This provides the highest quality printing, but it does mean the designs have to be specific. You can always use digitals and have many fewer constraints. Maybe you didn't see that option?"

I did see that and I mentioned the benefits of vector in a way that it becomes the standard in order to compete. I never questioned the quality of printing, I just simply pointed out that process for designers can get frustrating.

6. "Most of our Shop Partners chose vector because of the quality. To give you an idea of the customer perceived quality, satisfaction on the vector printing is 2x that of the digital printing."

I understand this completely—that's why I suggested to my readers to avoid raster designs.

7. "Regarding getting products cheaper directly from the shop, this is by design. We do not want to compete with our shop partners. This is one of the reasons many shops partners work with us."

But the shop partners are getting the "design commission" either way. Both the shop owners and Spreadshirt benefits, Spreadshirt just benefits more while the customer loses. The only way for shop owners to take advantage of this is to adjust the "product commission" so that it is just under Spreadshirt's main shop. The "product commission" serves no other purpose except to even things out with Spreadshirt. Shop partners benefit from a link they would normally not get. A sale they would normally not get because of low web traffic. Either way you cut it, we can both be right.

Well that was interesting right? Why did I choose to post this email and respond publicly? My loyalties are to you, the reader. I also hate getting disrespected. I understand that it's easy to misinterpret things online, but I am also smart enough to read between the lines.

Since this email, I've deleted my account with Spreadshirt. This is why we hire public relations experts. Because they are good with public relations. I made some YouTube videos helping other designers that wanted to try Spreadshirt. I've deleted those videos also. Things come and go. It was time to move on from this. Those who have any questions or comments, please post below.

Anyone can post, you do not have to register. I would love to hear your success stories or experience with Spreadshirt.

What Now?

After all this, I don't want to leave my visitors sad and depressed. The best thing for me to do right now is to direct you to Spreadshirt competitors.

Zazzle, Cafepress, and Printfection are a few companies to consider. I have to be honest, the quality of these prints is what drew me to working with Speadshirt in the first place. However, my experience with them has been tarnished and I don't see myself supporting them at all, for anything. I don't have any experiences with those companies since Spreadshirt was the first I tried, so keep that in mind.

For all the would-be designers out there, make sure you plan ahead. You will have to do everything on your own. It isn't exactly easy spending hours designing and then spending days promoting it.

Good luck!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Do You Have Any Experience With Spreadshirt?

Shop closed on March 19, 2019:

I guess I join the army of dissapointed artists turning away from spreadshirt. they purposefully gave me wrong information about the status of shipments, they randomly deleted designs when I asked about dissapearing commissions, they even accused me of copyright violations, when I was 100% the author.

When I pointed out that all my works were my original designs and that I have all the originals on paper in my possession they just deleted all of my designs from my shop and the marketplace which have been there for months, claiming qualitiy issues and legal issues although quality was good enough and sold products as long as I kept my mouth shut and let them have commissions magically dissapear.

In the end they don't even want to close my account since this would mean they still have to pay me 5€ of my remaining commissions.

Kelly on March 18, 2019:

Yes, you can! I love Spreadshirt and Zazzle. I've earned from both without even putting much effort into design. Not much lol, but a few coins here and there...

Robert on February 15, 2018:

I have had a favorable experience with Spreadshirt. When I devoted time and focus to my designs and created stuff that I myself would buy, I saw orders come through. And vice versa. Sales would definitely trail off if I stopped uploading designs.

Interestingly enough, when I read the contents of the e-mail that the CEO sent you, I thought it came across pretty tame and did not interpret any part of it as taking a direct shot. She may have made an error with some assumptions based on the number of designs in your site at that time, so I can understand your displeasure with her response.

For me, at least, I have always seen Spreadshirt's potential as a long-term play and secondary source of income. I think Spreadshirt could be a primary source of income for someone with an illustration background, but that person would also need to think of their shop as a full-time job. And since Spreadshirt lifted that premium free, that is one less barrier for the eager illustrator/designer to give it a go.

A N on January 11, 2018:

If anything, that response you got from the CEO made me not want to use Spreadshirt. What a rude response.

James boyd on January 01, 2018:

So who really owns the designs after you upload? It sounds like spreadshirt takes your design and adds them to their marketplace to make more money for spreadshirt.

Is there a trademark or copyright check for the design on their website? Does spreadshirt care about intellectual property ?

When you close your shop does spreadshirt keep your designs?

Does spreadshirt have their own design team on staff to add to their market place? Are all shops truly owned by real people or some of the shops possibly owned by Spreadshirts?

Just trying to read between the lines. Thanks for your post

Tanya on December 15, 2017:

thanks for taking the time to explain . I was considering working with Spreadshirt, Yet I'm not so sure yet, as I should consider their competitors.

Suntari abdulmunim on August 12, 2017:

Thank You

No Kidding on May 18, 2017:

@set's all set -Great Article - Love your candid approach and thorough accounting. You'r so correct with your retorts from Spreadshirts CEO. You've saved me much time and aggravation. Mega Kuddos!

Set's All Set (author) from New England on April 05, 2017:

Wow HubPages have changed alot since I last logged in. Anyways I'm glad people are still commenting on this post. I haven't kept up with all the changes and I do admit alot can change in the 7 years I've posted this.

Seems like I can't reply to people specifically now so I'll just do this:

I think if you have a good brand, specifically, a popular youtube channel and promote your shirts there, you can supplement your income with very little work. I've noticed more channels promoting their brand on youtube and started hearing more about Spreadshirt again which got me nostalgic about this article I posted. It's pretty interesting seeing the comments supporting spreadshirt linking their shops and it's dead so there's that. Take it for what it's worth I guess.

I agree with the comments about treating SS like an intro to business which is a shame I guess. I personally know some talented artists who might look at SS as a good idea but pour countless hours into it and not getting their ROI. It could definitely be a hit on their ego and talent.

Making money online now, whether it's Spreadshirt, YouTube, Adsense, Affiliate Marketing, even this platform(HubPages and it's sister sites) seems like a big race to the bottom. I've tried lots of things, even mined Bitcoins haha. Anyways, I guess I'm writing this because it reminded me of my younger self who was always looking for a way to be my own boss and now that I'm a little older and wiser, I guess I miss my younger self.

To those who are still using SS, please keep this article alive and keep posting your experiences. I have no ill feelings toward SS as a company, not because they bought me out or anything. But because I wrote this post to help people and I wish my readers pay it forward with their own experiences.

paul on March 04, 2017:

Just read all the posts on here. Out of all the ones that were saying how great spread shirt is and posted links to there shop or website there are not many links working now.... And the links that are sill active have not been updated for a few years.

I guess they have all made there millions and are now living the dream...... lol

Reggie Hammond on February 07, 2017:

Spreadshirt will take your commissions based on technicalities. Use Zazzle or anyone else.

Spreadshirt refuses to pay me the pittance of $10 they owe me from commissions earned from sales of my products on their website. At first they told me I did not have the sales to meet the threshold for payment. I sent them an invoice proving I did have the sales. Next they told me I didn't have a price marked for "Design Price" on the product. I then went through all of my products and added a "Design Price" to all of my products including the SOLD products. I was then told because the products did not include "Design Price" at the time of purchase I would not be compensated for my product. Keep in mind my sales were for "PRODUCTS" and not the "DESIGN" so the price for the sale of just the design is irrelevant. Even then, Spreadshirt made money from my creation so therefor I am due my cut. A measly $5.00. I feel that Spreadshirt makes their commission structure and payment plan confusing for a reason and that reason is to keep designers payments.

Chrono on January 17, 2017:

I agree, it is a waste of time. Even more a waste of time if you aren't a designer. I started a shop just for some money support for my youtube channel and I haven't gotten a penny after many months of promoting. It really isn't spreadshirt's fault in my case. My channel just isn't popular enough to sell my stuff to anybody. But that doesn't make it any less a waste of time. Unless you have a huge following that would kill to buy your stuff. Don't waste your time with it.

stuzbot on December 02, 2016:

I've made a couple of hundred quid over the past few months on SpreadShirt, with under 100 designs on there. So it is possible to gain a trickle income.

For me though, the biggest 'pain point' in using SpreadShirt is their appalling website. Seriously. Every time I have to upload a few designs to SpreadShirt, I end up wanting to headbutt walls in sheer frustration.

From the "Sorry about the delays... our engineers are working on it..." message which greets you when you open the product designer and has been there for about the past 6 years [might be time to find some new engineers!] to the horrible mix of Flash and HTML5 elements, to the teeth-grindingly infuriating way that you have to tediously re-enter the same product information over and over again, when switching between uploading designs / adding to marketplace / adding to shop, etc, it's hard to imagine that they could have made the interface less-intuitive and less user-friendly if they tried.

I've also run into problems with their trigger-happy legal team banning designs I've created myself, for the most spurious of reasons. Another pain point, when you've spent many hours working on a design.

All in all SpreadShirt is a complete mess and I long for the day when something better comes along and I can abandon it for good. Unfortunately though, most of the competition seems just as bad or even worse [I wouldn't have thought that was possible, but never underestimate the ability of coders to produce atrocious applications they have obviously never had to use themselves].

Shannon on July 19, 2016:

HI. Thanks for this great article. I was looking for a way to earn some money but the way u put it, i understand you. It does not seem to be worth it. What i wanted to know is if you had to promote your shirts as a designer and use facebook ad campaigns and send traffic to your designs in the marketplace to get sales. That is a waste and time consuming. Or is that sort of promotion only at the shop level?

Rob on June 12, 2015:

I think you have a few valid points but most of it is just bitching. YOu have no idea what it takes to create a design in Illustrator or Corel, print it to film, apply emulsion to the screen, burn the image onto the screen with the right amount of time, setup the registration, apply the ink, work the ink till it is running smoothly, apply the ink to the shirt with the nearly perefect amount of pressure/ angle and then cook the ink into the shirt with a heater. If its Direct to Garment machine where you can do one-off then its differnt but still anintricate process. Your irgnorance on the topic is staggering. I have a few issues I see with spreadhshirt but most are riduclous.

Rota on February 15, 2015:

wow, this was a very helpful and informative hub giving a lot of insight - even regarding Spreadshirt's admin. Thanks!

Rada on August 09, 2014:

I personally love Spreadshirt.. Sure some of the things you have addressed are correct but like others stated, I don't even use my shops, 100% of my income comes from the Marketplace. I make sales everyday without any advertising except for posting some stuff to Pinterest. I am a stay at home mom with two kids so posting 5 images per day is plenty for me. From what I see, Spreadshirt actually gets more traffic than Zazzle or Cafepress. The only thing I wish would change is their payout.. Monthly payout would be nice instead of quarterly.

lasselle on July 26, 2014:

This article made me mile, because i have seen the ups and downs too with spreadshirt. Had my shop I believe for a year now and we've been getting sales now and again not consistent. But hey this is a introduction to the business world. Whatever reason you set up your shop for you are not going explode on the scene with everyone buying your stuff straight away.

You have to find your niche, like you said and get the demand. . Apologies in advance for my poor grammar at times.

However, I can give you a few hints! First of all, you're worried about search optimisation. Create your own buzz take advantage of social media. You need to have a fan base, the majority of you starting spreadshirt are just designers. Like myself I had to realise that my designs can't sell my brand by itself. Who do I think I am nike or adidas?

You have to be able to have skills in selling not just designing!

So as I was saying search optimisation frightens people. But through creating social buzz via Twitter, Instagram and especially Facebook you will get people visiting. Now my brand is top search on google so it isn't impossible! My spreadshirt shop is top of the list.

Yes sales are progressing slowly. But its progression so far is good! For now anyway! No upfront costs or liabilities and profit I have made has gone to my first batch of snapbacks my brand sells on our official store website. So spreadshirt is playing its part, I'm still trying to make it more effective with trial and error. Bare in mind i actually spend no less than a 30 minutes every so often on spreadshirt. I don't waste much time uploading designs etc. Mainly check shitty discount offers to see what they do! For me spreadshirt is just helping me get my brand to a running start. Give yourself a objective. How long can I see myself using spreadshirt?

A wise person told me to take my time and don't spend till you've guaranteed the sale! Look at all avenues!

For a long time i never understood this as I wasn't business driven at first, I was just a designer. But what I can say is just because you've started something which seems so hard to achieve. Well at least you haven't invested a lot of money on a new project and now have become ridden in debt!

Funny example I started a fashion label 2 years ago selling no product just focusing on planning different strategies to PROMOTE and sell! During that time we worked our socks off attracting our niche and branding ourselves (creating that buzz). Meanwhile my friend had the funds to start his label up straight away and he invests in unique clothing (you know them pattern tops everyone likes). He sells well for a couple of months before Versace do the same thing. Now he pays more for his apparel and production is slow because he sometimes doesn't have enough funds. However, he also lacks demand as he hasn't built a fan base. To this day he is still at the same place he left off because he only knew one way of selling and thought one dimensional. He didn't have a plan B or C. If you can invest comfortably into your brand do it. But invest knowing your limits!

After one year me and my business partner had done research. Also shared experiences with family, friends and genuine people who have experience and wise words of wisdom. We now had a rough idea of how we are going to execute this project. Because of the amount of effort on social media and i mean a lot. We are getting buzz. We got people asking about the release of closing! DEMAND! This was because it was a year in the making!

Leave them thirsty! It will be the best drink they ever had that they remember it and come back for more!

We don't use premium account on spreadshirt as it is a waste of money and we would recommend never to upload anything on the market unless thats something you would prefer to do. But if you are a new brand starting out don't do this! (we only paid for premium once to see if there was a difference)

There was none!

Also take pride in you're website! Its not pretty on spreadshirt, yes we know! But add a little description of the design. Don't leave boxes blank! Customers need to be inspired and you need to be in there after thoughts!

Print on spreadshirt official tops! They print vector and digital direct the best and they are cheaper so more commission. Whatever you do make sure you NEVER do Digital Transfer looks dreadful. Take it from someone who has seen all quality of tops and prints from spreadshirt.

If you have a vector design or any design for that matter please don't make small fine detail designs. They seem to struggle a lot with it and sometimes purposely leave out intricate if its too hard for them. Or miss place your design on the tee, which can look so awful. Lucky enough I have seen these faults and not my customers.

Name your products with simple but effective names. Be creative too!

Look I'm not promoting spreadshirt and please don't take my experience as spreadshirt being great, because it isn't fabulous, but remember your goal and your outcome. Remember what you want to achieve from it! Plan ahead definitely don't rely on spreadshirt. I'm not.

Please I can't stress enough if you starting your own BRAND and you using spreadshirt you must work on promotion and channeling people to your link. Its the only way to get your shop noticed to be honest!

If you ain't doing that you need to start immediately!

Rocketman on January 26, 2014:

Hey man, I have found this all very informative and learned a lot. I hope the author did as well. BTW, I make money. More designs and cheaper prices or "GTFO" as the kids say.

Azza1070 on January 06, 2014:

Ok I'm reporting back after typing my online shop link into google and finding this article again haha

In 2013 all-up I made just over $1600.

I'll report back at the end of 2014 and make another comment on how much I made!

The-J-Zein on October 18, 2013:

We have talents and we want to convert them to cash.. that's what the fuss is all about. You guys may live in great countries and have jobs, and sell designs just as a side job to make extra money. Ppl like me suffer. There is too many designers in my country, but in MY COUNTRY, there's "almost 0" work opportunities for those ppl. That's why we go to selling designs on the net.

But if SS is not gd enough, and cafepress is not gd enough, and zazzle is not gd enough, then what is ? How the hell can designers make a gd living ? We are gifted we should be kings and queens of our professions, not treated like dirt by websites and bosses (like I saw in the post of Set's All Set).

How many years should we the designers suffer to earn few bucks (especially the newbies) ?

If everybody treated everybody well in this domain we will be gd. Im not only talking about tshirt

design.. The guy above wants a beautiful house and a nice car well he has the right ! He has the right ! But gosh.. he's a designer.... See ? That's the problem, we are not appreciated we are not awarded well, the cash that should be ours goes to companies and their bosses. Now you'll tell me "go make your own website and sell" well no cuz this is called shattering. Who can live with $200 per month dudes seriously... Let's say u got in a website and signed up and started uploading designs.. spammers are everywhere they start copying your work (if the website is not protecting the design as your own property) and you vanish between spam designs is that fair ? You guys happy with that ? We have the RIGHT to be appreciated we have the right to be well awarded and we have THE FULL RIGHT to make a gd living ! None of you want to be a Richard Waterson (a fat bunny with no work and spends all the time sleeping and eating and watching tv on a couch)

Successful designers share your stories and experiences so every new designer gets benefits from it and start a successful career, I'm talking about the designers' community every desinger is gifted and has the right to be appreciated.

I'm a bit out of topic but this should be discussed. So do something about it.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on October 11, 2013:


1. No. Selling shit IRL is tough. You need location like a kiosk at the mall or some shit like that. That costs money too.

2. Starting your own clothing brand is also a tough venture and judging from your last paragraph, I wouldn't suggest it.

3. YES... Don't take my word for it though :P. I never had to pay it but my faint memory tells me yes.

4. You can have nice things in life, you just have to work for it. Some people have to work harder than others but that's a different subject(more politics).

I can't make your dreams come true. You have to do it yourself. You and me are in the same boat. Hate my job though I don't think I'm lazy. You'd have a better chance in the US of A if your dad was rich. I'm getting off topic so I'll leave it at that. Good luck Wolfberry. You are the man.

Azza1070 on September 27, 2013:

So far I've made $1000 from spreadshirt and I started 9 months ago. I've got roughly 30 designs uploaded and traffic to my shop increases every month. I think it's worth it tbh.

WolfBerry on September 16, 2013:

Just wondering if your inspiring knowledge could answer me a few questions -

1. Do you think buying your own T-shirts from SS and selling them at a market or in the real world be more beneficial than selling on an online shop?

2. Would it be better to make a brand than a just making random designs? ( I have noticed that most selling brands have some sort of animal on them - Drunken Monkey, Crocodile, Pinguin etc lol )

3. If you are selling on SS do you have to pay VAT on what you sell?

4. Why is nothing eeeeeasy :( ?

Basically I just want to own a supercar, have a nice awesome house with a jacuzzi, play pc games and let the money roll on in. GTA 5 is launching tonight, seems like it may be a possibility that I will never want to go back to my day job but I am going to have to have some sort of income, can you make this happen for me @Set's All Set ? And if not by selling T-shirts, how am I going to accomplish this in the most easiest way because I hate working, extremely lazy and get easily bored. The Lottery just don't seem to be happening for me, its the worst!

Many Thanks


Ian on February 03, 2013:

Hi, I find the base price of the apparel overpriced on SS, and so hard to make a decent margin, maybe 10% or something. Can anyone recommend a similar site where the base price of the products is lower? Available to the UK. Thanks!

Set's All Set (author) from New England on January 19, 2013:

Congrats Sage for being successful at it!

So by being the 1% of people with success, the rest are children? No need to argue a strawman. When you paid for a product(like I did), you have a right to criticize it all you want. It's not whining.

If you complain about a coffee that was made wrong at a shop, are you whining? Logic. Apparently used by whiny children.

Sage on January 15, 2013:

I would say spreadshirt was worth it. I get paid now on average over 5,000$ and at this point I don't really have to do anything anymore. Their marketplace sells the stuff for me.

People are so quick to whine and complain that things aren't easy and they don't hold your hand like a little child. You know how I make so much money? I work at it. I put in the hours. I didn't just whine and give up when I didn't sell anything in the first month.

Stop being such a child.

Brian on January 09, 2013:


first of all i would like to appreciate your guts to post this article on A big hifi to you. Infact people like you are needed for giving honest reviews and user experience to others and myself too. I recently opened a shop and that's when i searched about the image quality and stuff which is how i came across your article. Thank you so much for this article!

From Brittany on December 25, 2012:

Here is one of my numerous bad experiences as a SS designer in France. I created a design over a year ago featuring a scooter bike (Lambretta like) and when I submitted it to their Market Place, the keyword 'scooter' was rejected. What could I replace it with? NOTHING! A scooter is a scooter, isn't it? And although it appears to be a common noun – being the same in several languages: English, French and obviously German – which can be found in any common dictionary, I asked SS why they would not accept it. The silly answer was: BECAUSE there is some pop rock (or whatever music) band named 'Scooter' in Germany (whom no-one I know has ever heard of).

In France, we have a pop rock group named Telephone, and guess what? You can find tons of pictures using the keyword 'telephone' without any problem on SS.

What would anyone enter if they were looking for a design representing a scooter then?? So I argued this with them and eventually, I had to call the lawyer of Scooter's record company, who were totally stunned by such stupidy from SS not to allow scooter as a keyword, to get an authorisation from them! Which I got, but it was a real stupid thing as scooter is a common noun, and the design itself was only artwork, no text, not even carrying the word scooter, not even in the name of the design itself.

This is only one of my rejected-design experiences.

I have scrolled through the market place a couple of times and you can find a large number of designs featuring the Beatles (not sure everyone got an authorisation there) or the name Lennon for instance, and obviously, those managed to go through!

Thanks for this article, I agree with it all and I think it is useful!

Fresh Start on December 17, 2012:

hey looks like Jane, deleted your link.. bad publicity??

Alpha-9 on November 22, 2012:

I've had about $200 from spreadshirt with not much effort, over about 3 months. I just use rasterized images that have been scaled up to about 2000x2000 resolution, that seems to be good enough quality, yet to use a vector image.

My trick is to find an image that is trending and not copywritten/open source and make it into a t-shirt. I made one that was floating around the internet as a meme "I RENTED THIS HOOKER" and made my own version of it and linked it on the website it was posted (memebase) w/ relevant tags. It's been my main seller.

So you can make money, you just need to be smart, you don't need to waste hours on designs, just make them good enough quality or high enough resolution that they look okay scaled up on a t-shirt

Set's All Set (author) from New England on October 25, 2012:

Hisham Zahra, you make 6k monthly with SS? LOL. You must be the .0001%

AnimeTshirts on October 23, 2012:

I have to agree with Set. I've had a shop for a little over 6 months maybe and just got my first payout a few days ago, which was about $72 and that was like 19 sells combined. My commissions are set between $1-6 depending on the item and complexity of the design. Check out my shop and tell me what you think. I can't say I'm doing great but it's not doing so bad yet. Though I am limited by shipping demands as alot of customers always ask about shipping to the philippines, which is where most of my potential buyers may be located.

Jason on October 16, 2012:

Does anyone else agree that all PODs are charging to much for just a basic T-shirt I mean in my part of the world we can get a basic t shirt for as low as $4.99 and some with designs and graphics as low as $9, Just wondering if anyone else thinks this to be the reason its so hard to get anyone to purchase from our SS,CP,Zazzle,PF? someone tell me if they like my ideas Please greatly appreciated, I saw Rekohukid SS, They are fantastic, but you need more products in your store I'm sure you're working on it. GoodLuck to all of SS shopkeepers,designers and partners....FYI I would start looking into putting up some Christmas stuff.

Jason on October 16, 2012:

I have Spreadshirt,Zazzle,Cafepress&Printfection POD's I have been doing CP&Zazzle for over 2 years haven't had any real success, I also haven't had any success with printfection or spreadshirt, I have been told millions of times my prices are to Expensive, The very reason no success, every customer I have has sent me emails over time they all stated they would like to purchase this or that but aren't willing to pay the outrageous costs! I know I think they are to expensive myself or I would have purchased some of my own products already, but I happen to agree with my clients 100%! here are just a few of my links you see for yourself,, Anyways my spouse also has a site at cafepress I absolutely wonder why she hasn't sold anything and she started before: let me know if my links aren't working if you would be so kind.

Jason on October 10, 2012:

I guess I should have posted my spreadhirt link so if you want to look go ahead if you don't okay.

Jason on October 10, 2012:

I actually just found spreadshirt and literally found some good ways to make money, however its only been three days. I have not yet made any sales not exactly sure why that is except I have found that these POD's are absolutely saturated and for good reason millions of people have terrific Ideas for apparel the problem always seems to lay with the admins and the way won't allow you to set up your shop without their logos, even with a free shop they should still let you set up your shop the way you see fit; without their slogans or designs mucking up your store, I never bother with premium shops unless I can see that the basic shop will pay for itself and most people feel the same way I do, I have marketed my shop like no other and yet in 3 days time still no visitors no sales nothing, I have made blogs,videos, and even business cards, Frankly if these basic shops can't even bring in traffic why would anyone think a premium shop would?

The Rekohu Kid on July 12, 2012:

I understand where a lot of your comments have come from and we're all entitled to our option - hey, we all have our own unique experiences and I respect yours. It's always good to get an indepth review - I found this as I didn't know the difference between having a store and using the market place.

I think I've only ever made about £15 on SS, Spent probably £60 on my own designs and spent double that on some basic advertising with no luck - one sale :) I'm not surprised really. The hardest bit is getting your designs noticed

Although I haven't sold much, i've always been happy with the quality - I've had the same designs printed at SS and also Zazzle and SS has always been the best results.

All my designs are a bit specific though and are generally only for people from New Zealand - check it out if you can and let me know what you think

Set's All Set (author) from New England on July 07, 2012:

Blegit, for a moment, I marked your comment as spam but then I approved it as it seems to be an alternative. I don't believe that you make over 6gs with that site. Prove it.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on July 07, 2012:

Ben, thanks for your valuable experience. Managing a website is not as easy as people think and I completely feel your pain in what you had to go through. I'm not surprised that you didn't get any emails from SS AFTER they took your designs down. It just goes to show you who they really care about. It feels almost like a betrayal. You put in work and make them money but they treat you like the dirt they walk on.

Blegit on July 07, 2012:

I agree that SS is very hard to work with and doesn't really leave room for a profit margin. My advice to you all is open up a account. You are free to do and upload anything you want at no cost to you. Millions of people search and shop bigcartel daily. You can check their webstats to see that. The only thing is you have to design and print your own shirts. But if you really want to be a designer then, that is the route to go any how. Good Luck I hope this info helped.

P.S I wish I would have seen this article back in 09 it would of saved me tons of hours & headaches. I made 2 sales my whole time with SS but have made over 6,000USD with bigcartel

Ben on June 28, 2012:

Great article. I noticed that you speculated what the SS experience would have been like buying designs in and then selling through a shop. I did this and thought you may be interested in how I got on.

I opened a sports themed shop, bought a domain name and skinned the SS shop with nice graphics etc. I made sales and quite quickly, mostly from Google searches, but overall the experience was fouled by SS since they would randomly pull designs I had bought in from the marketplace without warning leaving gaping holes in my shop. I realise they have to comply with copyright, but it was the lack of even an automated email to warn me of the holes about to appear in the site that irritated me.

I have a few designs up on the marketplace as well and for a bit of pin money it works well enough, I’ve sold about 700 designs over the last two years, but not one has resulted in any traffic to my deviant art profile or Facebook page. So overall I agree with you it’s not worth the time invested and offers ZERO opportunity to grow your profile.

CS on June 10, 2012:

thanx that helped a lot. sounds like ss aint for me.

Rupert on March 06, 2012:

Thanks for the reply. Even if i disagree with what you say on SOME points, i enjoyed the article none the less.

Toni T on March 05, 2012:

Thank you for your amazing hubpage.

The many different views have given me perspective and a starting place as I venture into the murky waters.

No doubt you have helped many such as myself; and if this is the act of a toddler or narcissist--well, we should all think about becoming (call-it-like-it-is) toddlers and (I love to help people) narcissist.

Thanks again.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on March 04, 2012:


Thanks for the comment. I can assure you I am not a toddler but you are free to have your opinion. I actually thought about closing down this article because I no longer post on hubpages but I come here from time to time to moderate comments.

I didn't know the CEO replies that often but wouldn't not knowing that make me "ignorant" and not an "idiot?" Anyone would infer disrespect if they were in my position. In that same respect, would the CEO be labeled ignorant for not knowing about my dozen designs? Either way, I'm over it. Really, I am!

Believe me, I am no narcissist. My main goal of this article was no to get revenge or anything, but to share my experience with others and save them some trouble. I'm not forcing people away from spreadshirt. In fact, I encourage success. The ratio to which people fail and give up is way higher than the success. The link is now dead, but there was once what I called "the Spreadshirt Graveyard" which has an A-Z list of shops and I would guess that 99% are dead.

There must be a reason for that. Just like you, I was looking for a way to make money online. Not passively, but actively and I turned to spreadshirt. Many other people did as well and they may have failed for various reasons, but to have Spreadshirt impose a $25 payment limit as well as sell you their design shop is immoral. Not because it's not fair, but because it's borderline scam IMO.

How many people were testing the waters to have $5 or 10 in their account to just give up? Where does that money go? If they are imposing a production fee, why would they work so hard to promote their designer shop? Who are their customers? The designers? I think that trying to milk money off the designers and not your core customers is bad business and it shows a lack of focus and long term goal.

I'm not speaking as a toddler. I'm speaking from experience. Take for example Hubpages. They tell you right when you sign up, what they offer(a platform to post articles) and what your cut is(a rough 60/40 split favoring you). That's it. They don't try to up-sell you anything. They know that without you, the author, they wouldn't be in business. So they don't promote any "upgrade account" scams. They also offer lots of help for beginners to write better content, and in turn, make more money.

In contrast, Spreadshirt(when I was there) made it difficult to upload designs which can be rejected due to improper formatting or technical limitations of the plotting machine. Then they impose an upload limit. You can remove the upload limit if you pay. Then they give you a shop with their ads on it. You can get rid of it, if you pay. They offer no help, and their emails takes days to respond. Their marketplace is littered with design spam so you not only have to fight spreadshirt to get started, but you also have to fight design spammers just to get visible. Their staff doesn't seem to follow any consistent guideline. I upload a design to get it rejected, then upload the same design and got it accepted. The CEO claims that they priced the same product you have on your shop more expensive because they don't want to "compete" with you. It's funny that they say that because there is no competition. They are a huge site dominating the search engines. No way are people going to find your shop in google over the main spreadshirt site. That was a nice way of saying, "We can afford to set our prices higher because we can."

I don't mean to come off as a petty narcissist or anything. I've helped a lot of people with this article regardless if they don't like me or my attitude. It's hard enough to communicate clearly in real life much less, the Internet. I try to be direct in my writing. Thanks for the comment.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on February 26, 2012:

Mr. Experience

I have my own website but I've moved away from selling shirts. You are stating the obvious.

Mr. Experience on February 24, 2012:

Open up your own website online , and just purchase your products from Spreadshirt. I am selling shirts for $35 , making almost $15 profit on each shirt. There are ways to be a businessman. Nobody is gonna give you customers , you have to go out and work for it !!!

Set's All Set (author) from New England on February 02, 2012:

claudia, no I haven't. Sorry :( I stopped worrying about selling shirts years ago. Perhaps others will have an answer for you.

claudia cooley on January 31, 2012:

have you found any way to connect your shop(whether it's at cafepress,zazzle, spreadshirt) to sell on Amazon? Cafepress has Amazon check out, so there must be some connection. I would love to get my designs/shop via cafepress onto amazon. I just don't know how.

Thanks, your article comes in handy, like the previous poster of above me, I too have recently navigated the murky waters of e-shops. thanks.

ayomide on January 25, 2012:

I just wanted to say that I appreciate your article. I am currently looking into sites like spreadsheet, zazzle etc and wanted to read about other people experiences. Everyone isn't going to be satisfied and each new tee shop is going to have their share of problems, just go and read tee shirt forum.

I didn't understand what the point of the marketplace was and your article helped me some to understand what it is good for. I want to market my company and doing that doesn't seem like the path I want to go down.

Anyway, Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experience!

Set's All Set (author) from New England on January 23, 2012:

Alix, If you read my response, I wrote that I had almost a DOZEN designs but deleted them and kept the one that were already featured on other people's shop.

Perhaps parts were informative because you only choose to read parts of it. Thanks. Ohh, and your welcome.

Alix on January 19, 2012:

I agree with Brian, the email had little to no negative feeling to it. I can see why you might think that with the three designs comment. Though 3 designs does seem to be a small amount. It just feels like you take everything a bit too personally (CWUTIDIDTHUR?)

The problems you've had with the website sound fair enough, though you commented for the one poster to write when she would be otherwise wasting time, like watching tv, so maybe that would also be a good time to work on designs and such?

Parts of your post were informative, so thank you for those.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on January 06, 2012:


maybe you would like to take some time out of you busy day to express your opinions(you have a right to it) on Spreadshirt. I was making sales above $5 as well as under it. What is funny about that?

"making it sound as if it was their fault you weren't making money of your expensive designs"

You accuse me of reading to much into a email response but it seems you're the one reading to much into this. No one invented any attacks here. The emails are posted verbatim with only my name censored. You should get out more. Detecting "jabs"(or politeness) doesn't take a PH.D. Next time you post, sleep on it :)

Ohh, wait. I don't want to make this sound like a jab. PLEASE sleep on it. :) CWUTIDIDTHUR?

Brian on January 06, 2012:

You're reading way too much into their extremely polite and informative response to your negative statements. Most of what was said by the rep is correct and was not a jab at you which is so very clear. Your opinion was not useful in any way and I laughed when you mentioned DROPPING your design prices to $5 making it sound as if it was their fault you weren't making money of your expensive designs. I'm not saying you don't have a right to your opinion (as do we all) but then to invent an attack yourself when all they did was politely point out your issues which do come across as attacks on them, vectors, etc. Next time, sleep on it :)

Set's All Set (author) from New England on December 28, 2011:


I'm come on Hubpages to moderate comments. I haven't been active as far as posting but I come here because hubpages makes me a few bucks here and there. That's good to hear you're building a server. I've always wondered if you could make money doing that. Maybe you should write a hub on it :)

Steve on December 28, 2011:

I completely agree with your 'boss' comment. I can't stand it when big-shots patronize their customers, it's just not good practice -- especially when it was as 'concealed' as her attempt. That really turned me off of spreadshirt.

This sort of remind me of the recent outrage about Ocean Marketing, hehe, but not nearly as horrendous as their customer service. Not even close to that bad.

I saw that you allowed comments with shop promotion, but I figured you just didn't want to deal with spam control. That's a really intriguing experiment - great idea :)

I'm glad to see you're so active. Keep writing, I've been coming back as frequently as possible between building my new server and the holidays. No worries about other reviews, I still enjoy the tongue-in-cheek writing :)

Set's All Set (author) from New England on December 23, 2011:

Hey Steve!

Thanks for the comment and praise. Since I've written this article, I've noticed their shop directory(I call it the spreadshirt graveyard) returns a 404 page not found error. Gee, I wonder why... I never looked at this article from a "reader's POV" and I suppose it has a romancing underdog story. This is the Internet. You can't treat the people that make your company(designers) like peons. I noticed she hasn't update her blog/site for quite some time(since 2010). It's been a while since I visited that blog but I find it funny that one of the first pics I see on her flickr photostream is her enjoying a glass of wine in Venice Italy while us little people struggle to make a buck. LOL, life must be hard...

I didn't review any other shirt companies but I will say I did try out a free sample of Printfection. Compared to Spreadshirt, their website and shop looks more simple or rather, out-dated. The promotional shirt they sent me came in fast and the quality was pretty good. My moral was too low at the time to give it a worthy test drive.

While I can't endorse spreadshirt, there seems to be a few people above that seem to have success with the company. Who knows, maybe you might get lucky. Base on some of these comments and the amount of attention this article gets, I'm sure there are more people struggling than succeeding on spreadshirt. The boss is also uninspiring. Granted I'm no big-shot CEO, I do know a few things about customer service. If you take things too personally, like she did, you shouldn't be sending emails like that to people. You hire someone else to do it. Now it's forever immortalized on the Internet with her name on it. MUAHAHAHA!!

I'm happy that successful shop owners are posting comments but I wonder if the vibe would be the same if newbies posted. I've left comments where some newbies try to promote their shops. Lets see them 3, 6, or 12 months later. Will they be doing well? Since spreadshirt removed the link to their graveyard, I'll open this article to some newbies(spam away boys) and we'll all keep tabs. I can already see where this is going.

Thanks again for the kind words, Steve! Sorry I couldn't help with other reviews.

Steve on December 22, 2011:

I don't normally leave comments and I rarely read the full articles -- I was trying to figure out the best way to deliver shirts to my fanbase (I run a small website and have a handful of people that would like shirts). I heard of spreadshirt through my webhost.

I'm glad I found your article: you're funny, well-spoken, and your exposing of the CEO's unprofessional email (which was loaded with potshots at you) won me over. You're a fantastic writer and a great reviewer, I just wanted to leave that note here.

I still don't know with whom I should align to sell my shirts... I really don't want to get rich off of them, but it's not like I'd be happy with pennies either. Maybe I should just buy 20 shirts from a local printer (~$8 ea) and then sell them myself... that seems like the best way to do it, and then I can do quality control on my shirts.

Too bad. I'm really disappointed to hear about Spreadshirt, but your writing made up for it. Did you review any other shirt companies I can read about?

Set's All Set (author) from New England on December 15, 2011:

Thanks nikashi_designs. Selling designs on Spreadshirt is much different than making money on HubPages. In my early stages, I was uncertain whether it would pay off but now that I am experiencing trying times, I am very grateful of the extra income. It seems you have the Spreadshirt game figured out. Congrats! My advice on HubPages is to be patient or write when you REALLY have free time. Time you would've wasted watching TV or something un-important.

nikashi_designs on December 04, 2011:

Really great article and full of many views. With everything on the internet it takes work to generate income. Currently, I have been with Spreadshirt for a couple of weeks and have made over 30 sales which comes out to roughly $100 plus dollars. (Considering, have been on Hubpages for five months and have made a fraction of that.) I market on all my blogs and website and add new products daily. Compared to Zazzle or Cafepress, the quality and ability to create excellent quality graphics is no comparison. Never made a dime with those other sites. It's a numbers game...when I first started had one site making about 100 dollars per month, now I have over 100 sites some making money and some not. This holds true for Spreadshirt, will open more stores and get more exposure with different niche products on each. I use Google Trends to figure out popular keywords and design my T-shirts according. Works great. Image quality is key, at least 150dpi or higher at 3000x3000 for digital. Every once in a while I purchase my t-shirts just to see how the quality prints out, always crisp and clean. Best to save as a .PNG transparent file. Vector graphics are something that still playing around with. Tough guidelines. Anyway, thanks for your Hub many great points.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on October 26, 2011:

Thanks for the success story 247swag!

You have a great fb page and I love your models! That's an interesting path that you went all digital. When I was doing this years ago, spreadshirt, in their wisdom, recommended vectors. I guess their own R&D didn't know jack. I'm glad you proved them wrong.

Thanks for the words. I've abandoned spreadshirt years ago. To your credit, it is your hard work, not them, that you are successful. With your drive, business plan, and skills, you have carved a nice niche. I'm sure you would be just as successful with zazzle, cafepress, or any other vendor. Good luck!

Sorry Your Experience Sucked on October 24, 2011:

We've been up for 3 months, have over 200 products and just via Facebook and Twitter and my Tumblr, we generate sales.

Also I have forbidden spreadshirt to use my designs in the marketplace(I love that option personally and am glad they offered it) because if it's not being bought at my shop and being associated with my brand, then I don't want the sale. My partner and I (he studied business and I'm a design student) thought long and hard about every available option. Spreadshirt is not just "a way to make a quick buck" for us, but we intend for it to eventually fund something larger and run our shirts from the ground up.

Also the bulk of our designs are Digital Direct prints and all of the designs are made in the max size spreadshirt will accept of 3000x3000 pixels at a high resolution and we have zero issues with the shirts being printed blurry. We just did a photo-shoot for our main website to showcase some of the products for our local promotional materials and only 1 shirt didn't look write and it's more because of a printing error with spreadshirt than us, so we sent it back. You can view the top 100 designs on our facebook page, and you can also view some of our models wearing the designs. They all look great and I don't do a damn thing in Vectors. I feel Spreadshirts vector stuff is very limited and the people who are buying from us like images with LOADS of colors and brightness.

I see the things you're annoyed with, but if you had the time and the energy, you can work around them.

Andy on September 27, 2011:

I have not signed up with the site, so I wonder about a few things I've not seen directly addressed and was hoping people who've used the site could give me some feedback. So, if you dump your designs straight to the marketplace, not having a shop, when you sign into the site, is there an interface to see all the designs you've uploaded, and links to the pages on which they are being sold? Or, are you just throwing the designs down the well and waiting to get paid if someone actually buys something? If they give you links to the marketplace pages where they're being sold, I can easily make a shop page on my own site with links to those pages. Or, would I need to create one of these "shops" on their site to actually have reliable linking to my products?

@Rainbow_Blues on August 30, 2011:

Hey, I just want to say that to a large extent, I know what you mean with Spreadshirt, it is difficult trying to draw people to your shop, especially since you have to pay a fee to have the spreadshirt logo and links removed from your shop.

I think that if ONE thing needs to be changed, it's that they need to junk the premium partner version, the links make the shop look amateurish, which won't help sales at all. If shops are to have any hope in hell of making money, those things need to be removed, now, or at the barest minimum, moved to some tiny text at the bottom of the page. I did not find Spreadshirt through a link in another shop, I was googling for services where you could sell t-shirt designs.

Whilst it is awful trying to promote your shop, they have improved in one area.

There is now an automated bot which checks your designs for compatibility, and suggests adjustments, which you can just approve online, if your design is just out by a tiny bit. I uploaded a heart design and a flock of geese just a few minutes ago and in less than a quarter of an hours, I have them on shirts.

If you have a sec, can people check out my shop and suggest any improvements? Bear in mind I'm changing all my stuff up so there aren't as many products as there ought to be.

Northern on August 08, 2011:

i love spreadshirt its worth it if u no what you doing and how to do it. Marketing is how u sell not just spreadshirt. if u arent prepared to work hard u wont reap the rewards!

Set's All Set (author) from New England on June 26, 2011:

Philip, I approved your comment just so I can rebuke you. As a note to others, please refrain from spamming your shop.

Digital prints are undesirable because they fade or "peel" in the wash. Flock printing is very durable and lasts much longer.

Your "Gold Lion" prints have the dreaded "non-transparency" black background and you're saying I don't know how to work with graphics?

I've purchase my own flocks and other designers' digital prints to test quality. There is no comparison. Digital prints are of lower quality and if I recall, even spreadshirt says this.

You are right, designs don't have to be in vector(EPS) format. Just don't expect great quality.

Mirabelle on June 13, 2011:

P.S. to my previous message: some designs don't appear on the marketplace even if you type the title of the design :-o

Mirabelle on June 13, 2011:

I have to agree with you. I don't use vector but I was very satisfied with digital printing. The problems are:

-Pretty low sales : close to 0 in the shop, about 200€ made in one year on the marketplace. That's not much for the time invested.

-Agressive customer "service". After I questioned the reasons why some designs were refused (First reason : copyright issue but when I proved that the picture used for my derivative work was CC and allowed this use, they changed the reason to "not original enough, we want original designers". Thanks for the compliment and have a look at your marketplace. Thanks also for wasting my time), I got kicked out of the forum forever :D

Spreadshirt should seriously improve its customer service! Right now, they think they can be successful without the little guy. Well, that's a mistake. Just look at how many "little men and women" gave up Spreadshirt. It adds up. The bad PR doesn't help either.

They are losing customers, not only partners. Now that I don't order from Spreadshirt anymore, they lost all the people ordering wih me (5 people) and 3 potential big clients/partners.

Fred on June 11, 2011:

I started out designing shirts at spreadshirt as a hobby and to make nice t-shirts for myself. After a while I started to get e-mails from SS that someone had bought one of my designs and I got some cash for it.

I thought I'd give a go for real and I spent a few nights creating scripts that basically automated the entire process.

I now have about 2500 designs listed and I make roughly 4000 USD/month average. For me it has been totally worth the effort, but if I needed to do everything manually I probably would agree with you...

Set's All Set (author) from New England on June 08, 2011:

@ NewGuy,

I'm glad you got your design up with no problems! I also have no problems helping you out.

To get other shops to feature your design, they have to find it. If the marketplace was what I remembered, then this may be a problem. Say for example, I run a very successful shop that sells only "cat" shirts. In order to find new shirts to list, I would probably search the shop every month or so with the keyword "cat." If I remembered correctly, when you upload a design, you have the option to "tag" your design with relative keywords. This can help you or hurt you. Say you do add tags. These tags have to be relevant to what the shop owner is searching for. So for me to find your design, I would have to search for the string, "push for verbal abuse" which is in the title. If you have added tags, say for example, "abuse" or "funny", you design may show up. I say "may" because, you are also competing with other designers for these search results.

When I was using Speadshirt, there was no other way to get shop owners to reach my designs or even see it without adding tags. Even if shops featured my designs, there was no way to contact them(this might have changed). Sorry to tell you, you do have to market your designs. This is the main problem I had with spreadshirt.

Lets say you play the "tag game" and tag all your products. You will notice design spammers uploading the same exact designs 10 times for a keyword but change 1 color. Now you have to figure out a way to compete.

If you do decide to build your own niche, an "I'm All That" theme or whatever, you will be on your own. This is by far the most difficult thing to do. Not only do you have to design, but you will also have to maintain your site/shop.

Do note that there is a limit on how many tags you can put on each design. I don't know the exact number.

NewGuy on June 04, 2011:

Thank you, your response has been very helpful indeed! Since I posted on here, I have only submitted one design whilst waiting for your reply :)My first (and so far only) submission was accepted overnight, so no issues there, however I can quickly see it becoming a problem If I was to create an image any more complicated than a stick-man...

Now, talking about getting your designs featured in shops I understand, but how do you get your designs noticed in the first place? Is it merely from the shop owners stumbling upon your designs in random searches, or are they directed on my number of sales? Or, as I fear, do I have to advertise my designs my self somehow?

Once I overcome this issue of getting my self noticed, given that I am not profit-driven to say the least I don't think I will have any issues with this site at all (fingers crossed).

So thank you again for your help, I do understand the process a little better now, and your advice from the main article will NOT be forgotten whilst I am using this site!

Here's a link to my so far only design so you can see it and also have links to my profile on Spreadshirt:

I would be glad of any further help or recommendations, though don't feel under any pressure seen as you've already helped me once! :)

Set's All Set (author) from New England on May 30, 2011:

@ NewGuy, this was written in 09, which is ancient by internet standards. Luckily, comments like yours have kept this article fresh for would-be go-getters like yourself.

I have not been on spreadshirt for a while so take my advice for what it is. Unless I hear otherwise, they still use the same method to approve designs. Each design is manually approved by a person and each can be accepted or rejected for various reasons. If you go this route, prepare to get designs rejected for technical reasons. For example, the plotting machine they use to make the prints cannot handle sharp angles or small details. This is a limitation of the cut and not the designer. If you are a patient person, go for it.

It's hard to define "enough." What is good enough for me might not be good enough for you. I have gotten multiple payments from them but the work put in did not equal the rewards I got back (time).

Your last question is hard to answer. If you are going for the marketplace approach, then your goal would be to get your designs featured on as many shops as possible. This is entirely up to chance but from my experience, "edgy" designs tends to attract more shop owners than generic ones. So, the more edgy or funny designs you submit, the better the chances they get featured on a shop. Getting featured is the hard part as most successful shop owners only put the best. Since my venture was more random, my feature ratio was about 7 designs to 1 featured. Given this will vary depending on skill, design, and how well it is now. Hope this helps.

NewGuy on May 28, 2011:

Hey, I'm not sure how old this article is, but a response would be appreciated. I'm not exactly looking to make money, more the novelty of creating vector designs and seeing them in the marketplace. I don't mind how much I make, I just want to see what this is like. If I am just creating designs and submitting them to the marketplace, there's no way I can lose money, right? Would you still recommend I steer clear of the whole thing? And I can see why people would complain about not making 'enough' money - but how much is considered 'enough'? And what are the realistic figures for earning potential against a given number of submissions? Thanks, any help appreciated...

Set's All Set (author) from New England on April 01, 2011:


It's been a long time since I wrote this article and it's sad to hear you are experiencing some of the same things I did. I've checked out your blog and congrats on the recent sale. I hold nothing against Spreadshirt but it is still a bit painful to see very little improving. Especially the design spammers. I wish you lots more sales. Be sure to stop by again and post updates.

Ben Moore on March 28, 2011:

Thank you for this review it has been very useful. I've been blogging about my efforts with Spreadshirt and haven't found anything in this article that runs contrary to my experience.

superbob17 on March 10, 2011:

Thank you for this info, I am just starting with Spreadshirt and trying to see if its worth it.

brad on January 27, 2011:

spreadshirt is just too expensive...

Set's All Set (author) from New England on October 30, 2010:


actually, I have not tried them all. I've only tried Spreadshirt and Printfection. I would never recommend anyone using them(Spreadshirt). Printfection was great. I had a coupon to get me a shirt for $1 and it came out good. Nicer than I expected. The prints from Spreadshirt was good in Flock but I noticed that some of the fit and finish was off. If you have fine details in your graphics, they will look good with spreadshirt but they won't come out perfect. For example, the holes might be a bit off centered where they make their cuts.

I can't provide any feedback for cafepress, zazzle, or etsy. It funny that you mentioned cut. When I was using spreadshirt, I too could not find their exact cut either. I mentioned above that sometimes shirts came out cheaper in some instances and spreadshirt responded that they didn't want to compete with their designers. I do remembered the shirts being over $10 before I made any money. When you sign up with them, you should see their base price. That's the price where you don't make any money and it depends on which shirts you choose to put your designs on. For example, heavier cotton shirts will have a higher base price than a light cotton shirt. More colors affect sales too. They charge in a way that makes it hard to sell anything with more than 1 color. Not many people will spend $25 for a shirt. Even at that, you might make a few bucks.

That's a great idea. If your target audience are loyal, that's a guaranteed sale. Sorry I can't be much help.

POD Curious on October 28, 2010:

I am a complete POD newbie.

I have some "talent" for making up cool slogans and designing things but I AM NOT A DESIGNER. I just have a couple of blogs/websites and want to make t-shirts and stuff for them.

People that will buy (or not) would mostly come from my blogs. So, I don't want to spend any money either...

I'm not expecting to make a ton of money either but I simply want to set something up, create a shop that people can go to and buy the blog-centered merchandise if they want to, in a way that I don't have to deal with the whole payment end of it.

which one of these PODs is best???

I liked cafe press alot but it seems like their bases prices are so high that if you wanted to make any money at all, you would have to price really high which means you probably won't get any sales. When I was looking up spreadshirts, I couldn't plainly find how much their cut is. ie; what the base price is, to see if it was good enough price that I could market a t-shirt for a reasonable amount and still make a few bucks.

anyhoo, since you've done them all, I figured you might have some feedback.


Set's All Set (author) from New England on August 22, 2010:

Sorry for the late response guys. You comments was marked as spam for some odd reason. Maybe Spreadshirt have been reporting them lol.

Anyways, thanks for the support Anon. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Sometimes, I don't understand why people are so defensing. Their loyal defense can be compared to overzealous patriots. These spreadshirt defending losers don't even bother to read that I strictly use vectors yet they bring up DPI and the blurriness of raster designs as an argument! Just who are they kidding?

@ Ida, you don't have to spend money at all. If you do what you described, you can make money but you are only allowed 1 upload per day (last time I checked). Also, you must work crazy hard to promote your shop but if you strictly want to focus on designing and not the web-seo-bullshit, then you have to pray that an established and successful shop will feature your design.

That or try to get ranked high on their marketplace. Good luck with that. There seem to be no rhyme, rhythm or reason on how that mess works.

@ Frustrated, LOL. I know how you feel. The demand should've been dwindling and the marketplace should be over saturated by now. I believe some of your designs need to be "approved" before you see them. The whole site is a mess for designers.

Frustrated on August 22, 2010:

The site is not user friendly. It has taken me hours to try to set up designs that I already have placed on Zazzle months ago. I loaded several designs on Spreadsheet. It kept asking me if I wanted to safe and add more designs and so I did. Then I attempted to change some info and now I cant access my designs. What the hell Spreadsheet??? It should not be this hard.

Ida on August 06, 2010:

Do you have to spend any money at all?

Or can you just make some designs, post them, and wait for the cash to roll in, without having to do anything

or pay a single nickle?

Best regards,


Anon on May 01, 2010:

Set's All Set has made many good observations. Some of the responses that diminish her/his opinions are uncalled for and unfounded. There seems to be a Love Fest of "shop" owners who need to defend their Spreadshirt territory even if they have to fight to the last shirt.

There are a LOT of dead and dying links. Other than posting 'how-to's' Spreadshirt corporate seems to favor the producers as the dying links fade away. There isn't a POD out there that thinks any other way.

Also, dissing someone else's designs seems to be the bailiwick of either art school drop-outs or frustrated critics or Spreadshirt shills. Let me get this straight...some of the posters above have defined proper dpi, fuzzyness, vectorization and a few other Photoshop tutorial site buzz words. What are you saying? A design you haven't even seen is by your blind critical eye, Wrong. Wrong!? Diss Set's all Set because you think a picture is SUPPOSED to be NOT fuzzy? How do you know? Your clairvoiant with mise-en-scene? The art degree by mail folks told you that? "Clear good fuzzy bad" is not a valid critique. (Don't bother with a retort here, it's for intellection).

I'll leave any, if any, future readers with this takeaway:

1.) Your chances of success with any POD are practically zero, unless you put in a LOT of time, a lot of time, a lot of time. If you read the above posts that should seem familiar.

2.) Until Spreadshirt corporate budgets for, some call it advertising, their own SEO and a little sizzle in their approach, you are on your own with only a url link. (Thanks for the great bandwidth though).

3.)In my opinion, and lastly, take some of that "a lot of time", and look at ALL the POD sites and possibilities before you ever think about designing a shop full of limited appeal trinkets and apparel. Most important: Keep your day job.


(I dislike having to explain my experience, so very briefly, CP since '05, Zaz and PF since about when they opened.)

Huntz on April 15, 2010:

If people just want to design and submit stuff and think that success is going to be easy that's not how things work. I'm not saying that you dont understand that.. Its just way too many times people just becuase they can design well that they should profit. If you want to be a successful designer you better learn to also be a great web marketer at the same time. Understand that you can take any endeavour on the planet and there is a reason that people are successful in one endeavour and that the same endeavour = fail. More often than not its not the vehicle or knowledge its the flat out will to do it. Hour by Hour, contact by contact, book by book, and so on... Seek people that are making thousands of dollars a month get in their pocket as much as possible for the knowledge of how they did it.. Too many times people just think that their idea is having it all figured out. Either way that's my rant.. As far technically speaking I think Spreadshirt is the best platform for what "I need it for" i've ahd accounts at all the others also. to make basic fun design and able to keep the price under 16.00 for all colors.. all of those other companies when you immediatley switch to another color shirt they jack the base price to over 18.00 add a 3.00 commission and shipping now your talking about providing a single shirt that sold for 26.00 that you made 3.00 off of.. whoopie.. and ultimately if you truly wanted to be a master successful t-shirt seller and designer making 6 figures plus.. Than you need to host your entire own website pay for design or spend the time to create a fully functional website and pay for shopping cart software taking full control. POD companies do all the leg work you. and at Spreadhsirt I can have a larger profit margin. Just because someone is good with graphics guarantees nothing.. you "have to" learn web marketing, seo, build your network, and always be pushing the boundaries. I know some amazing writers that will never be best sellers.. and Spreadhsirt is not the gospel neither is any other company.. All the companies are only vehicles to make your life a little simplier in your own will to flat out succeed.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on March 16, 2010:


I'll leave your backlink up just to rebuke you. Congrats that you're successful with Spreadshirt! I posted with the screenshots that I do have a "fundamental understanding". While many people have gotten no where with Spreadshirt, I've managed to see both sides of the argument and have gotten a payout from them. I've linked the "shop graveyard" above. Dig for it. See all of the shops.

Do the calculations and come back to me. What do you think is the success rate of Spreadshirt designers? I'm not going to bother sifting through the hundreds (maybe thousands) of shops to add to the failed list. I'm over them and by you keeping this discussion going, you're adding to their bad press. Thanks.

I'm not bitter at all. I just want to help future designers that may make mistakes with Spreadshirt. Spreadshirt is not the gospel. There's Cafe Press, Zazzle, and other companies out there. Thanks.

carl on March 16, 2010:

I've made hundreds of dollars through Spreadshirt selling products that support my existing webcomic, allowing me to turn around and fund better hosting and contests. Your bitterness and frustration seems to be a product of a lack of fundamental understanding of any real Spreadshirt capabilities. Setting a commission too high will destroy any desire for purchase. I see you say you "lowered" your commissions to $5 - still sounds crazy to me. I don't think Spreadshirt is right for you. You're not doing the right kind of time investment to make a profit off it.

Set's All Set (author) from New England on February 23, 2010:

thank you marketplace man. I too have had most of my designs sell from the marketplace. Good to hear you are having success. The problem with the marketplace is that these designers take up 2 spots for a keyword when it is essentially 1 design slightly modified. For example. Say you were searching for "guns". You will find 2 of the same design but one is in silver and the other is in black. These guys know that is the only way to be featured on the marketplace so there can be 1 designed modified with every color of the rainbow just to get a spot on the keyword, diluting the other unuque designs.

To be honest with my readers. I liked spreadshirt. I made money with them in a relatively short time and I believe if I worked at it, I could've been successful. My gripe with spreadshirt is that they have the data to see what is going on. The artists that submit the designs are not webmasters or web marketers. They are simple designers. They sell you a dream that if you spend this time to build a great collection of designs, you can make serious cash. This is not true. These poor artists simply do not have the knowledge to promote their shops. It is more cost and time effective just to focus on the designs and sell it on the marketplace.

This brings us to the core problem of Spreadshirt. Those that quickly realize the shop and "premium" shops are a complete waste of time and money will turn to the marketplace. The marketplace have been a mess for years. Before it was redone, it was a mess and when I left spreadshirt, it was a mess. What spreadshirt needs to do is outsource their filtering. Hire Google or something to sort all those designs. Repeat and irrelevant results and rampant by those who keyword stuff.

For years they've been dicking around with the marketplace. Unless there is true organisation, the designers will suffer and ultimately have to compete against "spam" designers.

Spreadshirt, you say you are looking for feedback. What more do you need? You try to lay the blame on me because I had too few designs but here is another designer claiming your own marketplace needs a revamp. Stop blaming other people and take responsibility. The designers build your site so don't shit on them.

Marketplace Man on February 23, 2010:

As a spreadshirt seller, I quickly learned not to go the route of the shop. I had already made over $75 dollars in the marketplace, before a single shop sale (and yes I only received one shop sale ever, because the first was my roommate's buying of a design haha - so we could see how it was). I stopped moving and categorizing designs in my shop (what a waste of time), and just submitted the designs/products to the marketplace. I make about $250-300 a month with my hundreds of designs placed mainly at $3.00 each. I often have one, if not more, of my designs in the first page of the bestseller category daily (several throughout the first three pages).

I believe one of the main reasons for my sales is due to tagging each design with the maximum of 25 key words.

The designer shop should have an option (if not the only option) to view all the designs from account. I can view them all when I'm creating products? So why not make the designer shop list my designs, I thought that was what it was for...instead it is just like the product designer...

The product marketplace is in dire need of maintenance, there are so many repeat products (from the same account), that I swear my profitability margin is reduced significantly, especially when the repeat products cover the first 30 or 60 items viewed.

For example search "lion" in the product marketplace, and put the views on 60, scroll down and this lion heart crap litters the page...Someone is crapping all over the product marketplace and spreadshirt is not cleaning it up!

Set's All Set (author) from New England on February 04, 2010:

@ Get over yourself.

re-read my article. I know how to create vector designs. I understand gradients, lines, and curves being able to scale better. I suppose you took my article as a pure rant and skipped reading it huh?

In the past, I've use illustrator, xara xtreme pro and inkscape to make vector designs for spreadshirt. Who's blaming who again? Apparently I've created such a buzz that the president of the company had to address me. That's nice that you're tired of those types of people. Move along because that person is looking at you in the mirror.

Spreadshirt was built by the designers that supported them. When they turned their backs on the designers, people will complain.

Again, re-read my post. mentioning raster designs was aimed at inspiring artists that DON'T know what they are getting into.

Get over yourself on February 04, 2010:

If your raster designs are blurry try uploading files at the proper resolution. Designs should be at least 150dpi, no printer can magically make up for a lack of pixels in the original image, It's not spreadshirts fault you don't know anything about printing. I'm sick and tired of people like you blaming others for their own refusal to learn new things then getting angry because the world isn't rearranged around their inabilities.

Jana Eggers on August 04, 2009:

Just to clarify, this wasn't about damage control, but about listening to and responding to customers. You can see that this is a regular occurrence from me and others on our team. (Just search around the Web... the examples come up quickly.) No service is perfect, including ours. We want to know when we are not living up to expectations. And we like to learn.

I have no problem with you responding publicly. I did not at first out of respect for your privacy.

Best regards,


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