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GuidesMay 12, 2021

How to Grow Your Business with Print on Demand Drinkware

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Jacob Adner talks about print on demand drinkware, and how adding this popular product offering can help grow your print on demand business.


John Maher: Hey, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Jacob Adner, Founder and Head of Business Development at Digital on Demand, a leading on demand printing fulfillment service. Today, our topic is how to grow your business with print on demand drinkware. Welcome, Jacob.

Jacob Adner: Hey, John. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

Types of Businesses That Use Print on Demand Services

John: Sure. Jacob, what types of businesses use print on demand services?

Jacob: Yeah, so it is interesting, because we live in the e-commerce world today, where everyone wants everything now as fast as possible, and so when they go online, and they order from any of these e-commerce companies to try to figure out, “Okay, what’s the best way to get your product to you as fast as possible.” Companies like Shopify made it extremely easy for the regular consumer to go open up their own store, customize product, and they’ll facilitate the connection with fulfillers, like Digital on Demand, who then print and ship product, anybody who’s looking to customize drinkware, or any kind of product online to then grow their own business and pursue their own entrepreneurial endeavors. But yeah, as far as companies go, Shopify is huge, Etsy, Amazon of course, Printify, you got Spring as well. Plenty of these companies that use products of all shapes, sizes, and materials, give regular people the opportunity to build and grow their own business online, which is pretty cool.

Alternatives & Advantages to Using a Print on Demand Service

John: What’s the alternative to using a print on demand service and, compared to those alternatives, what are the advantages of using print on demand?

Jacob:  Right. In contrast, with print on demand, you have contract printing. Typically, in the promotional product industry, you would do is you would go online, and you’d order drinkware, for example, custom pint glasses for a function. If your function was your end of the year Christmas party, and it was your company, you’d have your company’s name and the year. But you couldn’t just order 10. They have minimum order quantities, because when you’re doing certain types of printing, for example, screen printing, it takes a while to set the print up. That makes it extremely difficult for them, and not profitable for them to run it below a certain order quantity. So, you have minimum order quantities, which entails bulk ordering and inventory management for various companies, so there’s a lot more logistical coordination that has to go on to make sure that it’s in the company’s best interest to actually do those fulfillments.

Whereas print on demand enables a company to say, “Okay. Hey, we’ll take as few as one product, and we’ll customize it for you.” If you want your drinkware with your name on it, and you only want one, totally fine. It’s still within our realm of possibility. You have no inventory management. You’re allowed to try artworks out, and see.

If you’re someone who’s starting your own business you can try different artworks to see if it takes, and you can basically play the field. But as consumer, if you only want one, it makes it very easy. The alternative would be contract printing, which you have limitations on what you can do, and how you can do it, and even full color is different between digital, and another style of printing, like screen printing, or pad printing, or laser etching. You’re very limited with what you can do. Whereas digital printing enables you to access a full color spectrum for customization of products of all shapes and sizes.

John: Right. Would you say that in terms of the consumer and what type of company they’re interfacing with, are they really more like a design company, where maybe they’re the ones who are coming up with all the designs that get printed on, say your drinkware, and they don’t have to deal with either having printing devices in house, and doing all the shipping themselves, and all of those things that maybe they’re not very good at? Now, they can just focus on doing their design work, and know that a company like Digital on Demand is handling all of the work in terms of the printing, and shipping, and things like that.

Jacob:  Exactly. It takes all of the logistics out of their hands, and gives them the ability to customize products with no strings attached. It’s extremely agile. It’s extremely light for the consumer, and/or for the entrepreneur who partners with Shopify or Etsy, who wants to start their own business. It’s extremely easy for them to be able to just add products, and customize it, and see if the market likes it.

Print on Demand Drinkware

John: In terms of drinkware that you offer, what print on demand drinkware is available?

Jacob: We’re expanding our product line constantly, but currently we offer anything from water bottles, to stemless wine tumblers, to 20 ounce coffee tumblers, to acrylic coffee cups, to pint glasses. You have a wide variety of vessels to choose from, and they’re all different types of substrates, so you’ve got acrylic, you’ve got glass, you’ve got stainless steel, you’ve got powder coat, so a bunch of different styles and aesthetics that you can choose from. When you go and customize a product, you want to make sure that you’re choosing something that’ll make your artwork and your expression pop, and we give you a wide variety of options to choose from. Then our helix machine gives us the ability to customize that without limitation.


John: You’re able to print 360 degrees all around the bottle, and have it be in full color. That sort of thing.

Jacob: Yep. Full color, full varnish, spot varnish, really durable, really good tip-to-tip, full wrap, 360 degree, as you said. It gives you no limitations as to customization. It gives you full range of creative liberty.

John: What do you think the most popular drinkware products are right now? I know that my whole family uses the stainless steel water bottles in part to try to avoid using throw away plastic bottles, and things. That seems to be really popular now to have everybody have their own water bottle that they bring to work, or school, or something like that. Is that the most popular type of product, or what are you seeing?

Jacob: Yeah, absolutely. Our water bottle is definitely one of our higher runners. It keeps drinks both hot and cold, which is nice if you want to use it for water or coffee in the morning. But yeah, I mean, especially in the day and age we’re living in, you want to make sure you keep track of your bottle. It’s important that you don’t overstep your boundaries, and you don’t lose your water bottle, or don’t share with people, especially with kids going back to school. Yeah, our water bottle is one of our higher runners. The 20 ounce coffee tumbler as well, especially for hot drinks, it keeps it really nice… Double insulated, keeps drinks hot all day long.

What’s also very popular is our wine tumblers. They’re a little bit more stylistic, a little bit more fashionable, but they have the same type of functionality as both our water bottle, and our 20 ounce tumbler, in that they’re sustainable. That you don’t have to go buy a new wine glass. They don’t break when you drop them. You can wander around the yard with them, keep them cold, keep them hot, so it’s good whether you’re in New England, or in the South. It doesn’t matter where you are, it’s a good product to have to keep your drink regulated, and keep you on the move. But yeah, it’s certainly a product that keeps with the push for sustainability. You’re eliminating the need for plastic glasses and/or plastic water bottles that, of course, are very wasteful and harmful for the environment, both from a biological perspective and from a production perspective.

Tips for Growing Your Business With Print on Demand Drinkware

John: Right. In terms of a design company, what are some tips that you might have to help them grow their business by selling print on demand drinkware?

Jacob: It’s a really great canvas for expression, and it gives you the ability to show the world what you think about a variety of topics. The nature of print on demand, and the beauty of it is that we have our finger on the beat of society, which is interesting. For example, when the inauguration happened, and the picture of Bernie Sanders went viral, sitting in his chair, we got a ton of submissions with variations on that single picture.

John:  Funny.

Jacob:  Another example was when, unfortunately when Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, you had this outpouring of feminist artwork, and awareness, and promotion, which was great, and it’s a perfect vessel for that type of expression. It creates awareness on really important topics, even as far as the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s a really important way for people to express what they think, and what they believe to be important, and it provides people the opportunity to express who they are, and how they’re feeling about the world that they’re living in. It’s an amazing ability to give people the capacity to respond in real time.

John: Right. I know my wife and my daughters all have Ruth Bader Ginsburg t-shirts, I think, and I think my wife has a mask, a COVID mask, that has that sort of lacy thing on it that Ruth Bader Ginsburg always wore. Yeah, I think that one of the things that you’re getting at here is that with these design companies you can really help to grow your business by just, like you said, being right on the pulse of whatever is happening, whether it’s a meme kind of thing, like Bernie Sanders, or whether it’s something like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or whatever the most recent topic is, you have the ability to just design something, and get it out to the market right away while it’s hot. And that can really help to grow your business by being maybe one of the first people to put out a water bottle that has a RBG symbol on it, or something along those lines. Is that what you’re getting at?

Jacob: Yeah, absolutely. What it does is it also helps promote awareness for topics that you feel are important. Not only does it give you the ability to help grow your own business, but at the same time, it allows you to express what you feel is important, and it lets the world know that they should be thinking about those topics too. So, it’s a win-win.

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Jacob. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Jacob: Thank you. I appreciate it, John.

John: For more information about print on demand services, visit the website at, or call (978) 224-7900.

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