This side hustle hero story is all about selling print on demand t-shirts with Amazon Merch. But, this is a real print on demand success story and I think anyone hoping to get into this passive income stream will really enjoy this and get tons of value from it.
Before we begin I will give you a little heads up on what Amazon Merch is for those of you who do not know.
Amazon Merch is a print on demand t-shirt service. This means you can design t-shirts with them and once they sell Amazon will print it and send it to the buyer. You receive a part of the sale and the rest goes to Amazon. The royalties you receive depends on the price you list it at but to give you an idea I have sold shirts on this platform for $20 and I get around $5 per sale.
- You hold no stock
- You DO NOT print anything yourself
- You never deal with any returns
Not bad for designing something and uploading it once.
We have talked about other platforms regarding selling shirts online and it is a massive industry now with more and more platforms opening up their services.
I have sold shirts on various print on demand platforms and probably have over 500 listed across them all providing a passive income stream now but Jason, who I am interviewing today is taking it to a whole new level.
Anyway, this gives you a little insight into what we will be talking about in this interview. If you like the idea of creating something once but to be able to sell it over and over again then grab a coffee and check out this interview and success story with Jason from PeriPeriHustle.
The Print On Demand T-shirt Interview – PeriPeriHustle
[JOHN] – Thanks for doing this. Can you give us a little bit about your background for our readers and how you ended up getting into Print on Demand t-shirts?
What a journey it’s been for me! So Around 2015/2016 I started getting the urge to get back into drawing/designing, I started drawing from a young age, around 4 right up until around 20 or so, then went away from it and joined the rat race of working, etc, anyway, I started getting the urge to draw and when the iPad Pro came out, it was instant love at first sight! So I started drawing on the iPad, and guess what, it bored the shit out of me! There was no beginning and end for me and I ended up doodling away with no direction.
So the iPad Pro turned into my games console for a year or so, then my wife suggested I should do my art but put it on Instagram, at least I could share my talent and that would give me some direction, so I started that, and guess what, it bored the shit out of me again! But in doing so I found out I had a knack for communicating motivational stories through artwork. I found this guy called zen pencils who inspired me to create inspirational comics. I created quite a few and my Instagram grew to over 3k followers but guess what, after a while, it bored the shit out of me!
But from Zen Pencils and seeing what he did with his canvasses, he did give me the idea to sell my art on canvasses, so after a bit of research, I found out that I could get canvasses printed on demand, therefore, no stock and less risk. So I created The Buzz Store, this was my first shop on Shopify and chucked a load of canvasses on there, I didn’t sell shit!
As the canvasses were linked to tee launch, I noticed that they printed t-shirts too, so I added some t-shirts and again didn’t sell shit! I was nearly ready to quit, but then I thought I’d be a bit cheeky and do a Bruce Lee t-shirt around his death anniversary and I ran some Instagram ads to it. I still remember that evening, when I came home from dinner with my wife and I heard my very first Ka-Ching from the Shopify app! That evening I made only 5 sales, but that feeling is what got me hooked on selling t-shirts.
From there I moved on to Etsy and then MBA, and as the saying goes; the rest is history.
[JOHN] – I see from your numbers you are doing fantastic! How long did it take you to scale up to this stage?
Thank you! I was on Etsy in 2017 and Amazon in late 2018, many many mistakes and trials and errors.
[JOHN] – How do you come up with your designs? Do you follow trends or go for more evergreen shirts?
I do the usual, search around on Amazon, Merch informer, and when I’m in shops I take photos of shirts that have just come out. The big retailers have been studying trends for years, so if they stock something it’s normally a sign of things that are starting to trend.
Probably the most effective way I find designs though is simply playing around with the Amazon search bar. Try out different keywords and if a long tail has around 250 or less and decent BSR’s (Best Sales Rank) then go into that. I tend to go for evergreen, mainly coz I suck at the holidays, I think I did 75 designs for St Patrick’s day and sold like 5 shirts lol
[JOHN] – Do you list each design as a jumper, long sleeve version and on the other country platforms too to try and maximize profits?
Since the new beta uploaded I list on everything and in UK and Germany too. It’s great since then I’ve started to make sales in Germany and here in the UK which is nice.
[JOHN] – Do you run ads or rely solely on organic traffic?
95% organic, I now run ads on my best sellers and I monitor it very closely. I went crazy around Cinco de Mayo and nearly lost my ass lol But that’s another story.
[JOHN] – Ok great – I am a fan in investing in your business and I guess spending money on ads is no different. I know from using Facebook ads though it can be a minefield. How do you find the Amazon Ad platform and do you have any tips?
I think it’s great actually, like any good business they make it easy for you to spend so watch it. I have a simple system. If it’s a new shirt that I want to get eyes on I do it as auto, then get a report when it made a sale, so I can see what people typed in the search bar to find my shirt. From that, I do a manual ad targeting to just those keywords so I can target my customers and keep the costs down.
For a shirt that’s already sold, if its quite niche, I use my keywords from the listing in a manual ad, so again I can target my customers and keep my costs down.
[JOHN] – Do you set yourself targets? And do you have any long term goals with this?
Hell yeah! I’m a VERY goal orientated person and I attribute my success to setting realistic goals and kicking my ass along the way to keep myself motivated. With my Merch, my ultimate goal in the next 3 years is to create enough cash flow and cash in the bank to get my next house. Along with my mortgage advisor and accountant I’ve created very specific targets along the way to maximize my chances. A lot of work to do, but very exciting! I keep my goal close to me visually (in writing) so anytime I’m slacking a bit, it gives me that extra push.
[JOHN] – You also mention on your Instagram feed that you use other platforms too. Is it simply a case cross-listing the same designs? How are you finding the other platforms?
Yes Etsy and KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) right now, I did a bit on Redbubble too. I do use the same designs, but as Etsy is a different market to the niches I target on Merch by Amazon I do different designs for that.
[JOHN] – I always like to end with a hot tip. What would be your number one tip to anyone who is thinking of starting with Merch?
I would say have a goal in mind so that you’ll keep going when you’re putting in the work and not making any sales and be different to the designs you see, be creative and enjoy it!
Final Thoughts & Wrap Up
Firstly I would like to thank Jason for his time and providing some incredible insights into his print on demand business. His first profit month was November 2018 and in that month he made $45, fast forward just six months later and he now profits over $2000 per month.
This is an incredible achievement. Remember what I said at the top of the post. He had to make these designs once and now they are listed and could sell forever.
This is what passive income is. Putting the work in up front and getting rewarded for it over and over.
Some key takeaways from this post are:
- Cross-list on other platforms
- Never GIVE UP (Jason found his path after doing many things before this)
- Invest money to make money. (Jason is running ads to his top sellers)
- Set goals! (We’ve talked about this before and it’s so important)
For me, the print on demand T-shirt income model is such a great one now that Amazon has joined the party. During the early years of print on demand when Teespring hit the scene, you really had to push hard the advertising. There was no such thing as organic sales. But now with the juggernaut that is Amazon, there are many people (myself included) who make daily sales and don’t have to lift a finger to get them.
I would like to wish Jason all the very best with his targets, I am sure given the current rate he will smash them out of the park.
Be sure to give him a follow on Instagram here: PeriPeriHustle
Are you interested in this passive side hustle? In our “Ten Side Hustles You Can Start Today” eBook we outline the exact steps in getting your shirts listed on Amazon Merch! Grab your free copy below!