[Case Study] $1 Million in a YEAR from Print on Demand w/ Michael Shih


Hey, guys. It’s me, Sarah, the video editor here at Wholesale
Ted, and in today’s video we’re going to be talking about how to build a million dollar
store with print on demand. Yes, we have had tons of requests of people
asking us to talk about print-on-demand, which is kind of like another form of drop shipping,
but it doesn’t use AliExpress. Just a quick explanation for my viewers out
there that don’t know much about print-on-demand. How it works is you take a piece of artwork
like this, and you then install an app like Printful into your Shopify store, which will
take the artwork and put it onto different items like t-shirts. Then when a customer comes to your store and
orders a t-shirt, Printful will print that individual t-shirt, and ship it out directly
to your customer, which is why it’s called print-on-demand, and arguably could be called
a form of drop shipping. So to help me with this video today, I have
one of the top experts in the world at print-on-demand, [Michael 00:00:53]. Michael built a store that in just one year
did over a million dollars with just print-on-demand products. So I’m just going to switch over to the interview
that I did with Michael, where he shared with me some of the top performing products that
he sold in his store, explained why they sold so well, and also gave some tips on how you
guys can pick your own winning items. Thanks for coming on to Wholesale Ted, Michael. So let’s just jump straight into it. All righty. Let’s take a look at this t-shirt here. I believe you told me that this was the first
winning item the store had. It’s a pretty looking awesome t-shirt, I must
say. So my question for you, Michael, is a two
part question. Firstly, do you [inaudible 00:01:34] … Sorry. How much roughly do you think that money this
t-shirt made each month, and secondly, and why do you think it sold so well? I think our viewers would love some insider
tips on how they can choose their own winning print-on-demand products like this one. Yeah. First of all, thanks for having me on. This design, or this t-shirt right here is
actually one of our first designs in the store, and basically we got sales right away. It did around five figures a month on this
one, and the reason why it did so well, or we got sales right away, is because we actually
tapped into a very passionate niche, and we also did our research beforehand to find our
interest. So, if we look into the Audience Insights
tool, we can see that let’s say the gothic fashion niche is around to 2 to 2.5 million
active people in that niche. We can also expand into the sugar skull niche,
which is similar, and that is around 2 to 2.5 million, as well. So when we have a good product, and we put
it in front of a passionate audience, we can get engagement right away. Sometimes we can get sales, as well. These indicators actually help us, tell us
what we should do next. During this whole process, we’re running Facebook
advertising, so everything is being tracked. All the activities that our customer are performing
on our store, it is being tracked, so when we scale with designs like this and other
designs, it makes it so much easier. Cool. Awesome. Thank you. There’s some great tips. I love that niche, by the way. So I’ve got another question. I know that clearly, as your store made over
a million dollars, that you’re an absolute ninja at creating profitable Facebook ad campaigns
and scaling them. Can you please share with us some of the … Sorry
… the process of how once you find a winning product, like that t-shirt, that you scale
up your Facebook ads to make those massive profits? Yeah, so when we’re talking about Facebook
ads, there are actually different ways for scaling. We can scale vertically by increasing the
budget, we can either scale horizontally by testing more interest, create lookalike audiences,
or split test different conversion events. So with this one in particular, we did both
vertical and horizontal, and also we added a funnel in backend. Now this is important, because with a funnel,
we can increase our average order value, and that will increase our margin for us to spend
more on ads, also have more profit, and that is why the funnel was so important in this
case. Cool. Yes. Thank you so much, Michael. Actually, I want to just like quickly shift
gears here, and move on to the next product that your store successfully sold, and this
is this nifty pillowcase here. So this design is a bit different from the
t-shirt, but it’s still similar. It uses a similar color scheme, and it’s also
targeting that same niche. So here’s my question for you. Where do you find awesome designs and artwork
like this that you use for this pillowcase? Yeah, so there are actually different ways
to do research. We can go to different top performing Shopify
stores to look for design ideas and also different marketplaces, but one thing is we shouldn’t
copy any design pixel by pixel. We need to be creative and create something
that’s ours. Another thing to keep note is any designs
that we do buy should have commercial license for us to use it, and some places to go to
will be Shutterstock.com or iStockphotos.com. You can actually buy commercial license for
that to use on your design. If you were to hire your own designer, you
have to communicate that with your designer, as well. Make sure they’re creating designs from scratch,
or they have commercial license to use it. This is very important because we don’t want
it to bite us in the butt down the road, or get any take down notice down the road, as
well, so just do our due diligence to do our research and create nice, awesome designs
on what’s already selling out there. Awesome, thank you. Yes, I completely and utterly agree. It is so important to make sure that you use
artwork that you have the rights to use so that you do not get sued. So let’s move on to the third winning product,
these shoes. I can see that they have the same design as
the pillowcase, but you just transplanted them, sorry, onto the shoes. So my question for you, Michael, is actually
a two part question. Firstly, when most people think of print-on-demand,
they usually think about selling things like t-shirts and hoodie, but obviously this store
successfully expanded into other types of items, you know, shoes, and pillowcases. Are there any other types of print-on-demand
items that you’ve successfully sold? The second part of my question: What type
of item do you think is the most under utilized, one that most people don’t think to sell,
but they should, because it sells super well, like pillowcases? Yes, that’s actually a very good question,
because the print-on-demand industry has grown significantly in the past year and there’s
actually more products out we actually can print on. I do have some samples right here. So you can see my screen. I have a glassware right now that we [inaudible
00:07:04] print on. This is actually engraving, and it’s print-on-demand. I don’t know if you can see the text here,
but that is glassware we can actually print-on-demand, and there’s also shot glasses, as well. And these are great during Father’s Day. So those are two examples, and I do have other
ones that … So these actually, I just want to mention, these are from PrintTech. They’re really great. Another example is ShineOn. They make jewelry as print-on-demand, and
the quality is actually very good. It comes with these boxes, so the whole unboxing
experience for your customer is really nice, and you can actually put a discount code inside
these box for them to come back to your store. Then with ShineOn, they’re from the USA, New
Jersey, so the shipping time is really good. So your retention rate for your customer to
come back to your store will be really high if you sell product that are high value and
they’re from the United States. So here are just some examples, and people
don’t normally think about these products when they think about print-on-demand. So, we have some bracelets over here. This is a charm bracelet. We can even sell other charms onto this bracelet,
so these actually sold really well for me. That just gives you an idea of how you can
expand outwards from just selling t-shirts. Yeah, no, that’s crazy. Almost no one thinks of selling things like
shot glasses and wine glasses, so that’s a fantastic insight there. So now that we’ve seen some of your winning
products from your store, I’d love to hear even more of your insight, this time into
the process that you go through when testing different Facebook ads for products, because
I’m sure that you’ve created products in your store before, and you thought that they would
be winners, and you’ve run Facebook ads for them, only to find out that the products didn’t
covert well at all, and I think that for many people when they do this, when they put a
product into their store and they run an ad for it, only for that product to not sell
and convert, it can incredibly frustrating, and they give up. However, I know that you don’t. You, instead, just add new products and keep
running ads, and of course eventually you do find one that connects and converts with
the buyer base, and in this industry, of course, we call that process testing products. So can you please explain for my viewers here
the process that you go through to test products, which ultimately helps you identify winning
items that then go on to make the massive profits for your store? Right, so there’s actually a few different
ways for testing. One way is actually just to ask your customer
what they want. So what you can do is create an engagement
ad on Facebook with four different product on that one image. Label it A, B, C, and D, and ask your customer,
“Hey, which product do you want?” Once you monitor the comments and find out
what is working, then you can take that product and put it into its own campaign, and start
scaling that product. So that is one method of testing, and it’s
really easy to do, and you can actually utilize the same concept by sending it out to your
mailing list and ask them what they like. So that’s a very cheap way to test. Now, another way, which is more advanced,
is basically a giveaway model to a collection page. Now, I really like this model because you
can essentially do a tripwire concept where you’re giving away, for example, a tote bag,
and your customer is covering the shipping for you if they do pick it up, but the whole
idea is for them to click on that ad, come to your store to a collection page with that
image they already pre-sold on to a whole bunch of different products. So that image can be on leggings, t-shirts,
mugs, and as they come to your store, maybe they’ll buy leggings more than the other products. Then you know, “Hey, that leggings actually
perform pretty well.” Now I’m going to take that product and put
it as my main front end product and start scaling. So those are just two really good ways for
you to perform during the test phase. Nice. I love that advance tip. I’m totally going to make use of that. Thank you, again, Michael. I’m sure a lot of my viewers really appreciated. It’s always nice to see that even advanced
drop shippers and people who make all this money still have to test products. So, of course, giving up too early is definitely
a mistake that I see people who are new to drop shipping and new to print-on-demand make. I’m wondering, though, could you give us three
other big mistakes that you see new stores make, and any tips for avoiding these mistakes? So there are actually a couple thing that
can come into mind when I’m thinking about mistakes that people make. The first is people stop testing after they
find a winner. So what that means is they might find that
a t-shirt is performing really well, and they only scale t-shirts, or that campaign only,
but they never actually take that design and put it onto, let’s say, a leggings, for this
example. You don’t know what you’re demographic actually
want, so without testing you’re actually leaving a lot of money on the table, so my advice
for people who are listening is once you have a winner, definitely test other products to
find out if maybe other product will take off even more. So that’s number one. Number two is actually scaling too early,
and when we’re talking about Facebook ads, there’s this thing called the … Sorry. That’s okay. I know what you mean. So when we’re talking about Facebook ads,
there’s this thing called the learning phase, and if we scale too early, Facebook will actually
kill the optimization, and that is when you hear a lot of people say, “When I start scaling
my campaign, and it dies off.” And that’s because Facebook needs more data
before you can even touch that campaign, so just wait until the initial learning phase
is over before you touch that campaign. Now, number three is not having a funnel in
place. Now, having a funnel, like I mentioned earlier,
is very important, because you can actually increase the average order value, have more
margin. This allows you to spend more on ads, and
also bid higher on your campaign. So, always have a funnel in place once you
find out if something is working. Cool. Awesome. Thank you so much, Michael. Those tips were fantastic, and I can see this
interview has gone on a bit longer than I promised, so we will cool it here. So there you guys go. I hope you enjoyed seeing real life examples
of winning print-on-demand products, and I’ve also got some exciting news. We are running a live webinar with Michael. In this webinar, Michael is going to be giving
a deeper insider look into how he built his automated print-on-demand store that went
on to do over a million dollars in a single year, and if that sounds like something that
you would like to learn more about, you should be sure to register in the link in the video
description below. Please note, you do need to register as this
will not be streamed live on YouTube. And of course as always, we have our free
e-book, which teaches you the six steps that six figure stores follow to make over $10,000
every month with drop shipping, and you can find a link to that e-book also in the video
description below.

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