Print-on-demand masks are relatively a brand new product, which is a good chance for small entrepreneurs and creatives to venture into eCommerce and earn extra bucks.
To take advantage of the high demand for this product, you must work with the best print-on-demand service provider. But hey, choosing one can be tricky! So, this review aims to help you choose the best platform so that you can cash-in on the print-on-demand masks bandwagon.
This article is for you if:
- You’re interested in starting your own print-on-demand business but haven’t started yet
- You already have a selling print-on-demand designs and want to expand into selling masks
- You already have a small eCommerce store and want to try print-on-demand masks
We take a look at some of the best services for print-on-demand masks using our evaluation criteria. At the end of the article, we pick the top platform for you. Read on!
What We’re Going to Talk About
- How to Choose the Best Print-on-Demand Service for Masks: Our Criteria
- 4 Top Sites for Print-on-Demand Masks: Printify, SPOD, Redbubble, CustomCat
- Our Verdict on the Best POD Service for Masks
- The Differences Between Print-on-Demand Masks and Surgical and N95 Masks
- How You Can Start Making Print-on-demand Face Masks
How to Choose the Best Print-on-Demand Service for Masks: Our Criteria
To determine the best service for a first-time print-on-demand mask seller, we set the following criteria in evaluating the top service providers:
- How to design your products - What are the design options and techniques that they offer? Do they allow customers to customize their orders and create their designs?
- Quality of products - How’s the quality of their masks?
- Pricing - How much does it cost to open a store on their platform? Does it provide value for money for eCommerce newbies? How much does the software cost? What are the product cost and product margins? How do they calculate shipping costs?
- Shipping and fulfillment time - How long does it take to ship the customer’s order? What are their standard delivery times?
- The seller support - How do they manage customer support to you as a seller? Does the provider take care of end-user concerns too?
- Refund and return policies - What’s their system for return products?
- What makes them stand out - What makes them stand out compared to other platforms? Do they offer something that others don’t?
- How to get started - How to sign up with them? Is the platform easy to use? Do they integrate eCommerce platforms?
4 Top Sites for Print-on-Demand Masks
In this list, we have Printify, SPOD, Redbubble, and CustomCat. You’re probably wondering why Printful is not included here when it’s one of the most popular print-on-demand companies operating in the US and Europe.
Unfortunately, Printful has disabled customization for face masks because it aims to help release as many face masks as possible to consumers. Because of that, it only sells black face masks with no print. So, if you want to stick with the stylish and creative face masks with different designs, Printful is out of the options.
Let’s take a closer look at our four best options:
Printify is a print-on-demand platform that connects merchants to multiple print providers worldwide, making it easier to fulfill and send your products to customers. Fabric face masks on Printify are fulfilled by MWW On Demand.
How to design your products. You can use Printify’s mockup generator for free to create your designs and upload them to your store. That’s a great feature to have because it makes it easier for the seller to create designs, as compared to others where you have to use separate software.
Quality of products. Printify’s face mask is of good quality. It’s made of two-layer 100% polyester fabric with flat-woven elastic earloops. It’s good as extra protection against COVID-19, but it’s not medical-grade and not for medical use.
How can you be assured of the quality? MWW uses an AQL program to assess the quality of all raw materials, the production process, and the finished products. That’s a good assurance for the seller that you’ll sell only quality products to consumers.
Pricing. It’s free to create an account with Printify, but upgrade options are available for more features and benefits. A face mask’s price starts at $4.91 apiece, which is just about the average price you’ll see online. It’s up to you to set your markup, so what’s left after paying Printify the retail price will be your profit.
Shipping fees start at $4 for deliveries in the US for the first item, plus $0.50 for every additional item. Shipping to Canada costs $13 and to international locations $15, plus $1 for every additional item. These rates are based on the print provider, so it’s a little bit complicated to compute compared to other vendors that have straightforward shipping fees.
Shipping and fulfillment time. When someone buys from your store, the order will be forwarded to the print provider that will produce your product and ship it directly to your customer. It takes an average of 3.06 days for MWW to prepare the product for shipping. So that’s around the average compared to other vendors.
The seller support. Got any concern regarding your store? Printify has 24/7 merchant support and a self-serve help center, which is good, especially for first-timers.
Meanwhile, you have to handle your customer service, but Printify has prepared several guidelines that you can use to manage your print-on-demand business. If you subscribe to the Enterprise plan, though, you’ll have a branded customer support, plus a dedicated account manager. These are great features because not all vendors help you with end-user support.
Refund and return policies. Once the order has been placed and sent to the print provider, you can no longer alter it or any incorrect information from the customer (e.g., wrong size, color, etc.). In that case, Printify won’t issue a refund or exchange. The same thing applies when your customer simply doesn’t like the product.
However, if the problem is with the manufacturing, such as printing issues, Printify will arrange a replacement. Even so, there’s no need to return the original product. If issues persist, Printify will give you a refund as a credit to your Printify account.
What makes them stand out. Printify has created a vast network of merchants and print providers. You might find it useful later on if you want to expand your print-on-demand product offerings beyond face masks.
How to get started. If you’re starting a business, you can create a free account with Printify and don’t have to pay monthly fees. With the free account, you can already integrate five eCommerce stores and offer unlimited product designs. Like Printful, that’s the downside if you don’t have an eCommerce store yet.
If you’re scaling your business, you can upgrade to a premium account for $29 per month. You can integrate up to 10 eCommerce stores, and you’ll enjoy up to 20% discount on all products, which means more profits for you. There’s also an Enterprise plan with custom pricing for merchants that receive more than 10,000 orders a day.
SPOD (Shopify Print-on-Demand) is owned by Spreadshirt, which has more than 16 years of experience and expertise in print-on-demand. It has two production facilities in the US and is launching soon in Europe.
How to design your products. You can create and upload your own designs on SPOD and add them to the platform’s Customizer. With that, your customers can also personalize their orders or create their own designs.
Alternatively, you can choose from 50,000 free designs from SPOD that are available on the app and use them on your products. Now, isn’t that an excellent way to boost the number of your offerings immediately?
Quality of products. Compared to other products from other vendors, SPOD’s face mask leans more towards comfortability. It’s actually a good selling point because we know how uncomfortable it can be to wear face masks for extended periods.
SPOD’s face mask is made of two-ply 100% ring-spun cotton designed for all-day use and comfort, with ribbed binding and reinforced hem. You can wash the mask, let it dry completely, and reuse it.
SPOD boasts of top-quality products, with attention to detail and quality control. Its less than 0.8% return rate for every 100,000 products shipped is proof of that. Other vendors don’t have disclosure about their return rates, so SPOD looks even more confident with the quality of its products.
Pricing. SPOD’s fulfillment services are free, including downloading and using the app. What you have to pay is the base price for the product and one print area. Every print area you added in the design costs $5 more.
SPOD’s face mask costs $8, excluding the shipping fees, which is relatively higher than what other vendors offer. It’s up to you to set your retail price; you only have to pay SPOD that $8, and whatever the difference is your profit. SPOD charges for shipping cost, which you must take into consideration when calculating your prices. Its shipping fees are based on the total order value, ranging from $3.57 to $60.
Shipping and fulfillment time. SPOD guarantees that your product is ready for shipment within 48 hours, and that’s the fastest in the industry. Your customers can receive their orders between 3 and 8 days using the standard shipping in the US, but it can take 3 to 18 days outside the US. Premium shipping can take 2 to 7 days in the US. Express shipping is also available, taking 2 to 3 days in the US and 2 to 5 days in other locations.
The seller support. You can reach out to SPOD’s seller support team through email and hotline, or using the app for order-related concerns. SPOD has no direct contact with your end customers, so you’re responsible for providing them support. That includes coordinating the need for refunds, replacements, and returns. It’s what most providers do, so it’s pretty normal.
Refund and return policies. SPOD won’t issue a refund or replacement when customers are unsatisfied for any reason or when the shipping provider was late with the delivery. SPOD may issue a refund, replace the product, or credit your account when the problem is with the fulfillment of the order, such as incorrect printing, damaged items, or mismatched fulfillment information (e.g., wrong color, size, or type). Fair enough.
What makes them stand out. To use SPOD services, you need to download the SPOD app. It also has a free customization tool that allows you to create your own design and your customers to personalize their orders by choosing your designs and colors and adding texts. You can also order samples with a 20% discount so that you can experience your products first-hand. It also promises a fast turnaround of 48 hours.
How to get started. To create an account on SPOD, you must download the app, which is integrated with Shopify. It’s free to use, and there are no recurring fees, except for the product base price and shipping costs. On the downside, you can’t use SPOD without a Shopify store.
Redbubble is a popular print-on-demand service established in Australia. It has given over 700,000 artists worldwide a new way to sell their creations.
How to design your products. Redbubble is a marketplace for artists, so you will use your own creations. You can design face masks with patterns, animals, funny images, anime, cute elements, trendy, music, and movies. Feeling creative? This is your chance to make extra bucks using your talent!
Quality of products. Redbubble’s face mask is made of two-layer 100% brushed polyester fabric, with elastic earloops to keep it snug over the mouth and nose. It’s washable and reusable, but they’re not meant for medical use. They’re available in kids, teens, and adult sizes, and it’s great to have those options. Other vendors only have one universal size, so you don’t have much of a choice.
Pricing. Creating a store on Redbubble is completely free, which means no monthly recurring fees to pay. You pay for the base price of the product and set your artist margin, which gives you control of your pricing. Shipping costs are added to the price of the product, and they vary depending on the shipping method, location, packaging used, and orders with multiple items produced at different facilities.
Shipping and fulfillment time. Redbubble works with third-party printers worldwide, so shipping and delivery vary depending on the type of products customers ordered and their shipping location. Some products may arrive later than the others. But if your customer wants their order to arrive faster, Redbubble offers Express shipping for some items and locations for an added cost. These days, however, shipping face masks may take longer than normal due to high demand.
The seller support. Redbubble has a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate Help Center on its platform. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can also submit a request through the site.
What’s even great is that Redbubble handles end customer support for you, so all you have to focus on is creating your artworks and promoting your store.
Refund and return policies. Redbubble allows returns for masks within 14 days after receipt. Customers would have to contact the customer support service to process the return.
What makes them stand out. Many consumers care about businesses’ social responsibility, and this pandemic is a difficult time for all of us. If you’re feeling extra kind, Redbubble is a good place to be.
For every face mask sold on Redbubble, it donates one blank face mask. It’s in partnership with Heart to Heart International, which advocates for more accessible healthcare. They give the donated masks to people who are in line for drive-through COVID-19 testing and non-front line workers in hospitals and clinics.
How to get started. You can open a Redbubble account at no cost at all. You just have to upload your designs (five designs at first), set up your store, and when you make a sale, Redbubble handles everything from production to shipment to customer service. You’ll get paid every month, as long as you reach the threshold of $20.
Redbubble doesn’t have eCommerce platform integration, so you can only sell through its platform. Among the vendors on this list, this is the only site where you can start selling print-on-demand masks without spending anything but your time and creativity!
CustomCat is a print-on-demand service located in the heart of Detroit. It has created a proprietary, web-to-product manufacturing system and fulfillment solution that enables it to offer mass customization.
How to design your products. You can create your designs following CustomCat’s artwork guidelines and upload them to the platform. Your customers personalize their orders by adding texts and changing the color.
Quality of products. CustomCat’s face mask is made of an outer layer of micro-knit polyester treated with an antimicrobial agent. The inner layer is nylon spandex that’s soft and moisture-absorbent. It has received a rating of 95% moisture resistance from a third party. After 25 washes, the moisture rating is 90%, which is good because that means customers can use the mask for a long time. Plus, it’s lightweight and breathable, with black elastic black earloops.
Pricing. CustomCat’s face mask costs $5.95, then you can set your margin. CustomCat suggests a price point of $14.95 up to $20. Its shipping fees vary depending on the shipping method and the weight category of the products and the number of items. The fee for face masks starts at $4.99 per product and $1.50 for every additional item.
Shipping and fulfillment time. It takes an average of 2 to 3 days for CustomCat to prepare the products for shipment, and that’s relatively faster than other vendors. Delivery time can take 1 to 8 days in the US and 1 to 4 weeks internationally.
The seller support. You can reach CustomCat’s customer service through email or its hotline, which other vendors don’t have, during business hours. However, you will handle end customer service for your store.
Refund and return policies. CustomCat doesn’t refund orders. It also doesn’t accept returns and replacements due to order errors, except when the items are damaged or defective. In that case, CustomCat will replace the item at no cost.
What makes them stand out. CustomCat boasts of having the only digital printing technology that can print 1200 dpi resolution on apparel. That ensures that your designs are vividly printed.
How to get started. You can use CustomCat’s app on your Shopify store with a 14-day free trial, then the monthly fee is $30. Again, that’s a downside for people who are just starting out and still exploring.
Alternatively, you can use CustomCat Lite, which doesn’t have a monthly fee but the products cost $2 more. You can also integrate CustomCat with your WooCommerce store with no subscription fees. It’s also available for API and CSV integrations.
Our Verdict on the Best POD Service for Masks
Do you have your pick? Among these five print-on-demand services, we can say that Redbubble is the best option for newbies in the eCommerce industry who want to start selling face masks.
It’s free to create a store on Redbubble, so you can start an eCommerce business with practically zero capital. That’s what we really like about Redbubble from the perspective of someone who wants to start a print-on-demand mask business but lacks money. With Redbubble, you only need your creativity and artistic skills to design products, and Redbubble will take care of the rest, including customer service.
Redbubble has a beginner-friendly process of setting up a store, so you won’t feel lost. We like that it has a checklist you can follow, and then you can start selling once you’ve accomplished all the necessities.
SPOD is our runner-up. It’s easy to create a free account on SPOD with no subscription fees, so you’d only have to pay for the product base price, plus your Shopify store. For us, what’s great about SPOD is that the product quality is excellent, and you can use over 50,000 free designs from the platform. Plus, the turnaround time is the fastest in the industry.
So, if you have the budget to set up a Shopify store, SPOD is great to kick off your print-on-demand masks business.
The Differences Between Print-on-Demand Masks and Surgical and N95 Masks
Face masks come in different types and purposes. Reusable cloth masks can help us stop the spread of the coronavirus, but surgical and N95 masks are what’s for medical use.
Print-on-demand masks are made of cloth. The outer layer is typically made of microfiber polyester, while the inner layer could be cotton, nylon spandex, polyester, or a blend of fabric types.
The outer fabric is treated with antibacterial or antimicrobial agents to prevent odors, discoloration, and deterioration. These fabrics are breathable and don’t shrink, making them the right materials to keep the masks’ integrity. While print-on-demand masks aren’t meant for medical use, they can reduce your chances of getting infected. They can stand multiple washes and long-term use.
Surgical masks, meanwhile, are made of non-woven fabric from plastics, such as polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene, or polyester. These materials have air permeability and filtration characteristics that are ideal in filtering or blocking bacteria. But their filtration effectiveness depends on how the masks are manufactured. Plus, it’s important to note that surgical masks are not designed to filter viruses, which are smaller than germs.
How You Can Start Making Print-on-demand Face Masks
If you want to try your hands at selling print-on-demand face masks, the good thing is you don’t have to start from scratch to set up a website and design and print your products. You can choose from an array of print-on-demand services available online—no sweat! All you need to do is set up an account, and they can take care of the rest, from the designs to the printing and shipping of the products.
Of course, you can do your own designs and allow your customers to customize their orders. You can use Photoshop, Canva, PowerPoint, and other software to design print-on-demand face masks and upload them on your chosen platform.
The cost of print-on-demand masks varies depending on the materials used. On average, though, you can sell a face mask at around $5 per piece. It can be as low as $2.5 per piece for bulk orders.
The health crisis that we experience has paralyzed many businesses across the industries, but it has also opened opportunities for many people, such as selling face masks. Reusable and customizable masks have become a necessity, as well as a fashion accessory for many people. The demand for face masks as protection against the coronavirus and a personality statement is high, and this is one of the best times to jump in and join the growing eCommerce industry. Are you ready?