Meet Printify – a leading print-on-demand company with a mission to empower entrepreneurs to build their own businesses, independently.
James Berdigans, CEO & Founder of Printify, talks for our Names With Stories series about the original source of inspiration for starting the company, what’s the meaning behind the brand name, and what’s new and interesting in their future plans.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how Printify got started?
Printify is a technology platform that makes it possible for anyone and anywhere to sell customized merchandise without the hassle and risks of having to hold inventory, negotiate contracts, or fulfill orders around the world. Because Printify works on an on-demand basis, sellers are not charged until an order is made, meaning anyone can become an overnight entrepreneur and start selling with minimal risk. So far, more than 3 million people have signed up to build businesses by putting their designs on the 680+ customizable, high-quality products in the Printify catalog. This has generated tens of millions of orders that are fulfilled by the 70+ world-leading print houses in Printify’s trusted global network. With offices in Riga and Tallinn, and a team of over 650 people spread around the globe, Printify is a customer-obsessed company helping to make entrepreneurship a reality for millions.
Over the years before Printify was founded, I tried and also failed at creating a number of businesses. And I learned a lot during this process. In particular, I was frustrated by the high costs and risks of producing large amounts of products that I couldn’t guarantee I would be able to sell. So, I decided to solve my own challenge and teamed up with engineers to build a platform that connected buyer to producer and automate all the steps in-between to make it possible to only produce products when a customer had committed to buying it. That turned out to be useful to many people other than myself and our team, and so Printify was eventually born.
How did you get the Printify.com domain name? Was there an “aha” moment when you knew it was the one?
Printify’s name is created after the names of several of the world’s leading Internet giants, such as the music streaming platform Spotify and the online marketplace provider Shopify. We have been working with the e-commerce platform Shopify from the beginning and simply added our main functionality – printing – to the name.
James Berdigans, CEO & Founder of Printify
We wanted something that clearly represented the industry we operate in and was also available in the States. And that’s how we came up with the company name.
What was the vision and purpose of your company when it first started and how has Printify evolved as a brand since?
Our long-term vision is to change the world of mass manufacturing to one of on-demand production. That has been our focus since the very beginning in 2015 when Printify was founded. We want to enable manufacturers around the world to produce orders only when a customer has committed to a purchase.
Mass manufacturing has been around for hundreds of years, but it is ineffective, as you never know how much of something you will sell. You either end up with unsold inventory that damages your profitability and creates environmental waste, or you produce less than customers want to buy and you leave money on the table.
Print on demand is the future of more sustainable manufacturing, and our vision is to transform e-commerce, eliminating excess stock and reducing environmental waste. This industry is still in its infancy today, but it just makes sense that, in the future, most products will be produced only after someone has paid for them. Every year, technologies improve and on-demand printing becomes cheaper and provides better quality. And even though the e-commerce market is growing and becoming more saturated each year, there is a lot of potential still to be realized. Our goal is to provide a platform for millions of entrepreneurs around the world to build and grow their businesses, risk-free. We want to do that by using technology to connect aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses that are looking to grow with the very best products and print houses in the world.
What do you do to make sure your marketing is effective?
We try to keep up with the latest POD and e-commerce industry trends and always listen to our customers. We like to say that Printify is a customer-obsessed company — “Customer is our compass” is one of our key values. We’re confident that if we focus on that and continue to deliver value for our customers, success in marketing and other areas of our business will follow.
What would your advice be to entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Our advice is to try to solve the problems you have encountered yourself. Initially, with as little investment as possible to test how it works. And later on you will be able to see how many people might want to solve the same problem.
Be passionate about your business idea and just get started or else someone else will eventually.
James Berdigans, CEO & Founder of Printify
What is next for Printify?
We have big plans for this year and we are constantly following the industry trends in order to give our merchants the best platform for their own business growth. One of our focus areas for 2022 is more presence in the European market. While the US has seen the majority of entrepreneurs on our platform, our partner base continues to expand also geographically and we aim to cover more new regions, thus providing our customers with even more high quality products to choose from. We currently have 73 print providers in over 100 locations across the world and additionally we are adding whole new product categories to our catalog. And just last week we officially opened our second office, located in Tallinn, Estonia.
Customer needs have always been our top priorityand focus user experience is a clear guide for us to constantly improve our services.We choose to focus our time and effort on that and we are constantly investing in developing the Printify platform. Of course, we will also continue to grow our international team and add new job positions to be a step closer to become the leading print-on-demand marketplace in the world with the most to offer to our merchants.