Drop Shipping vs Print Locally

In this post, I’ll dive into my decision-making process behind printing my art prints locally, as opposed to drop shipping them. [Disclaimer: I do not see anything wrong with choosing dropshipping. It is a method that I still use and I believe it is a great alternative for those who either do not have the materials or do not have the time, to create certain products.]

How Drop Shipping Works (Using My Experience)

For a few years, I’ve only had surface-level knowledge of drop shipping. If you don’t know what dropshipping is (which I didn’t for a long time) let me explain it simply to you in respect to my business.

I began creating digital art and initially wanted to put it on t-shirts. I purchased over $100 of t-shirts in different colors and sizes and also purchased the vinyl to create the shirts. Long story short - my t-shirt collection did not go as well as planned and I basically lost $100 and to this day, I still have some t-shirts sitting in my home studio. 

Now if I had gone the route of dropshipping, all I would have had to do was find a company that could print my artwork on shirts for me, decide on the shirt and colors I wanted, (purchase a sample), then upload their mockups or take my own photos with the shirt and upload to my website, and thats it! Then if a customer were to order my t-shirt, the company would take care of everything – printing, packaging, and shipping. I would not have to put more than (about) $25 into my idea, and I would not have inventory taking up space in my (NYC dining room-sized) home studio.

Dropshipping can be a lifesaver! But there can be risks. 

An Artist’s Nightmare

When I was in the process of receiving samples of my notebooks (digital art created by me), I noticed significant color differences with a particular company I used. My art on my iPad was vibrant, whereas the notebook sent to me was incredibly dull. And the whole point of outsourcing my products was to finally see my vision come to life – and those dull samples were not it. (Sidenote: I ordered over 10 samples from a different company and I am now more than pleased with their quality!)

Art Prints My Way

Now, I did not source samples of my art prints and posters from an online company. And as much time it would save me by drop shipping my prints and posters, I did not want to take the risk of prints coming back to me (after waiting a week) and testing out different suppliers, just to be unhappy with the quality. I decided to find local print shops and take the time to test out their art print qualities. My wait time was typically less than 2 days, and if I was unhappy with any aspect of the print, I was able to voice my concerns to a representative and get the issue(s) corrected almost immediately.

It All Came Down To

My choice to print locally versus drop shipping all came down to being able to quality check my products before them being shipped out. Plus, I 1000% prefer the opportunity to be as hands-on as possible when it comes to my business and its products.

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