Threadless enlists artists to upload images to sell on t-shirts, skateboards and yoga mats in exchange for royalties
Expected pay: You set it
Commissions & fees: NA
Requirements: Original art
Threadless is a print-on-demand site that encourages artists to upload their designs and use them to decorate a wide array of products for sale, ranging from skateboards to yoga mats. Artists get a royalty on each sale.
How it works
Where some sites have artists decide their own royalty rates on everything. Threadless offers two options: You can let Threadless price your goods, offering them via site promotions, but guaranteeing that you’ll earn at least 10% on most sales. Or you can choose your own profit margin, adding that to the base price of the goods to come up with a final price for the product.
Threadless’ terms appear to heavily favor the “managed pricing” option, promising that this will allow the site to feature your art in advertising and in the site’s online promotions. Since the site’s managed pricing program also will allow items to be sold for less than the base cost it charges artists, these products are likely to also appear to be bargains to buyers.
When your items sell, Threadless produces them, mails them to the customer and pays you a royalty, based on the rate you set — or let them set. Payments to artists are made once a month via PayPal.
The one problem with this site is product quality. Both buyers and sellers complain that the designs can flake off, the colors bleed and the quality of the t-shirts and sweatshirts is poor. Since those are your designs looking rotten as they flake off Threadless t-shirts, you may want to be careful about using this site to market your art.
Some other sites worth considering: Society6, and RedBubble, which both allow you to set your own royalty rates. Spoonflower, which is particularly well-suited to people with repeating designs. FineArtAmerica, which we see as particularly adept at turning your pictures into puzzles. And, Printful, which charges less but has you do more of the marketing.
What their customers say (from SiteJabber):
Designed a t-shirt, simple logo format, 4 colors. The colors bled into each other at the edges, looking horrible! How can that even happen with current technology? They told me it was my fault and would not take the blame! Took the design to printify and it came out PERFECT with the exact same file! Do not use this $#*!ty web site and company!
Received my shirts, and I am appalled at the quality. It’s been a few years since I purchased from threadless, and I will not again. The quality is garbage. All four shirts I purchased have extremely low quality prints on them, and 2 of the 4 shirts are laughably crooked. I paid nearly $100 for 4 shirts and patiently waited 3 weeks… I couldn’t be more disappointed.
Terrible print quality
Same experience as many other reviews. The print quality is terrible compared to how it used to be.
In the photo, the shirt on the left was ordered in 2012, and the print is barely faded. The shirt on the right was ordered in January 2021, and has obviously deteriorated, even though it’s only ever been washed on 20 degrees. The same goes for all the other shirts from that order. Whenever we wash them now all the clothes in the machine are covered with print particles. Won’t be ordering from Threadless again.
Products don’t make the cut
I opened a store to offer merch for my music. I ordered a sample of each of the products I intended to offer, before making the store public, which cost me $238. Most of them, across the different categories, look cheap. The digital printing is always blurry (much less definition than in the original images). The pillows have knots in the fabric and even light brownish stains. A friend of mine ordered a zip pouch and came up with the same opinion.
The website may look nice enough, but the products they actually deliver are far from making the cut and would damage any artist’s reputation. I will have to go somewhere else.
I’ve been a Threadless customer for over ten years. I have noticed a significant drop in quality for their shirts. The design begins to peel and crack within a year of purchase. And it’s a shame when I compare those shirts to ones I bought 10 years ago that are still holding up and look better.
Daily Tekk says the Threadless t-shirts shrank pretty badly.
TrustPilot reviews said Threadless t-shirts were oddly sized and bad quality.
SiteJabber reviews were mixed.