Gina Van De Voorde’s Pro Tips to Make $100,000 With Printify

Gina Van De Voorde’s Pro Tips to Make $100,000 With Printify

As Etsy grows, it becomes harder for print-on-demand beginners to carve out a niche in such a crowded marketplace and make $100K with Printify in the first year.

The site has also undergone plenty of updates, making it even more challenging to stand out from the competition.

Luckily, in today’s Success Story, we’re talking to someone who can help you overcome those issues and conquer the Etsy algorithm.

Meet Gina Van De Voorde, an Etsy veteran who quickly built a profitable POD business and has since duplicated her success via Shopify.

Gina shares a wealth of POD knowledge on her TikTok channel, and she joins us today with plenty more tips to help you succeed.

Hi Gina, Tell Us a Little About Yourself

I’m originally from New Jersey but now live in Colorado with my 14 and 10-year-old daughters, husband, and our two dogs. We’ve always managed to make ends meet with me being a stay-at-home mom, but in recent years, I took on a full-time remote job working nine to five. 

The rest of my story is pretty typical. My job was draining my soul, and I literally couldn’t take it any longer. I began looking for a way out, which led me to POD.

Two years ago, I began searching YouTube for business ideas, but nothing clicked. I looked into the usual niches like dropshipping, but it was a POD tutorial that really got me excited. I watched a video of a girl explaining the POD process step by step and decided – alright, this is what I’m going to be doing.

Gina Van De Voorde’s Pro Tips to Make $100,000 With Printify 1

Did You Have Any Previous Experience Selling Online?

I had no experience selling online and zero design skills. However, I hated my job and was desperate, so I knew I had to make it work. There was little content online about POD back when I was starting, but I found a tutorial of someone making simple text-based t-shirts and got to work.

I uploaded designs to Etsy every day for eight hours while still working my main job. All the items I created were terrible, but that’s how everyone starts with POD. Understanding what customers are looking for takes time and a lot of trial and error. The only way to figure things out is to commit fully and get stuck in.

How Did You Decide What to Design?

I didn’t do any research. I simply tested lots of different ideas and niches. One day, I uploaded a Western-themed t-shirt, which proved to be a big hit. 

Being from New Jersey, I had no clue about Western-style clothing or country music, but I figured people seemed to like my design, so I uploaded more, and my shop exploded.

Initially, creating and listing each item took a very long time. I uploaded over 100 designs before I made my first sale. After six weeks, I think I had made around sixteen sales. 

We all love instant gratification, but the reality is that you can’t simply open a store and sell a million items. It takes time to discover what’s in demand and trending on Etsy.

Gina Van De Voorde’s Pro Tips to Make $100,000 With Printify 2

When Did Your Etsy Shop Start Gaining Traction?

It took me around three months to understand why the Western stuff was selling well and what my next listings should be. However, I ended up timing things perfectly for the arrival of Q4 and the holiday season, so my sales grew considerably after five months.

By the end of that first Q4 season, I had made $80,000. Two years later, I now own a $500,000 shop.

I must say, though, that it wasn’t easy in the beginning. Every day was a struggle, and I wanted to quit. Luckily, I kept persisting and managed to make it work.

Have You Tried Other Platforms Other Than Etsy?

I’m still on Etsy, but I recently created a Shopify store that now performs even better. I was battling a change in the Etsy algorithms, so I decided it would be wise to have a backup plan in case anything went wrong. Ultimately, Etsy has complete control over your shop and can shut you down at any moment, which is a little scary.

The downside of using Shopify is that, unlike Etsy, there’s no built-in traffic, so you need to use social media to promote your store. I’ve had to learn all about the TikTok algorithm, how to create successful Facebook ads, and all those kinds of things. It’s annoying, but at least I’m not working a nine-to-five job.

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What Major Challenges Does One Have to Beat Using Etsy?

When I started out, Etsy was fantastic because you didn’t need to spend on ads. I simply used SEO (search engine optimization) and the platform’s huge traffic volumes, and my listings were found organically. Today, that’s increasingly not the case.

Many experts believe the site’s search engine is adjusted every October, and this year’s updates have been particularly aggressive.

The platform seems to be moving away from showing items related to what a shopper types into the search. Instead, they’re mixing in a bunch of unrelated products into the results, as they believe people are getting overwhelmed. That means a lot of listings simply won’t be shown, resulting in lost sales.

Etsy itself seems to be encouraging sellers to drive external traffic to their shops using ads. The company even offers discount codes and gives users a percentage off of sales if they use certain links to bring in traffic. That tells me something is changing with the site.

With all of that being said, it’s still possible to do well on Etsy. You just need to ensure you approach it correctly.

Gina's Tips for Etsy Success

  • Never go into a highly saturated niche with basic designs or poor mockups. Attempting to sell a Christmas tree sweater at the height of the holiday season will not make you a million sales with such strong competition.
  • Don’t copy what the big successful shops are selling, but do study what they’re doing and pay close attention to their SEO, marketing techniques, and the trends they’ve capitalized on. You should be aiming to have the same vibe as those big stores that are killing it. 
  • Good mockups are essential and can make or break a listing. A seller could have created a fantastic design, but it won’t do well without a decent mockup.
  • Try to find a niche that is highly searched but less saturated. Just because you’ve found a niche, it doesn’t mean that people are searching for those items.
  • Never use guesswork. Spend time researching trends. Don’t look for anything specific in the beginning or get too stressed. Simply browse the site, looking for opportunities. After a time, your subconscious will begin to spot patterns.
  • Bring proven design trends and popular styles to less saturated niches. If a particular text style or color palette is trending, use it in a niche that has few well-designed products.
  • When it comes to Black Friday and other big weekends in the holiday calendar, run a 20% discount on your items. Think carefully before discounting at such high rates, as you still need to be making a profit.
  • If you decide to go down the route of external traffic, try Facebook ads and social media marketing. I post two to three TikTok and Instagram videos daily to drive organic traffic to my store. Consistency is essential, although you can post the same video on multiple platforms.

What Are Your Thoughts on Designing Best-Selling POD Items?

For me, the beauty of POD is that you can make simple text-based designs that sell really well. You don’t need to be an amazing graphic designer. You might just need a couple of custom elements to make a design more attractive.

I’m a testament to the fact that you don’t need to be a great artist to succeed with POD. I still don’t have professional design skills and use resources like Creative Fabrica and clipart within Canva. I certainly don’t create my designs from scratch, which would be extremely difficult.

Looking at Etsy, you’ll see stores making thousands of sales using simple text-based designs. Those shops are successful because their owners are highly skilled at uncovering current trends.

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Walk Us Through Uncovering Trends When Choosing a Niche

Start by typing in a broad keyword, such as women’s t-shirt, and look at the results. As you scroll, you’ll eventually notice best-sellers popping up in different niches. 

Next, run another search in one of the niches you’ve found. For example, you might have noticed a few Western-themed t-shirts, so run a search for those. Once in the Western niche, you’ll spot all sorts of sub-niches, such as country-music-concert t-shirts and the like. 

Once you’ve drilled down into the sub-niches, you can begin figuring out how to improve the designs you find or create items that don’t exist.

As a beginner, you don’t need to use paid SEO tools like eRank. From simple Etsy searches, you can see what is ranking and selling in different niches and how people are wording their listings using specific keywords.

Any Specific Products You Prefer to Sell?

I sell sweatshirts, t-shirts, and hoodies. Since people are searching for high-quality brands like Gildan and Comfort Colors, I mainly use those for my designs. I’ve tried mugs and other items, but many niches are saturated with those kinds of products.

What Made You Choose Printify as Your POD Provider?

I love the variety of items Printify offers and the ease with which I can chat if I need help. When it comes to the service or the products on offer, I honestly don’t think there is a better POD partner than Printify.

Mostly, though, I just love that I don’t need to hold any inventory. If I want to travel or work from a different location, I don’t have to lug a business around with me. I can do everything on a laptop. 

Any Downsides to Running a POD Business?

Running any business can be stressful. There are plenty of ups and downs, and it’s very different from working a nine-to-five job with a regular paycheck. 

When you see a YouTuber or a TikTok influencer who has made a million dollars, just remember they’ve experienced plenty of low points and struggles along the way. They also didn’t make a million dollars overnight and experienced plenty of slow periods with low or zero sales.

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But Do You Still Think Your Journey Was Worthwhile?

As I mentioned, I’ve now passed half a million dollars in revenue, and when I started, I didn’t even know if I’d make a single sale. I believe that if someone has the drive to succeed, they’ll make it happen. That’s the only difference between success and failure – successful people never give up.

Today, if you’d told me I’d also be on TikTok teaching other people how to get started with POD, I would never have believed you. Life takes you to all kinds of different places, I suppose.

Any Final Words of Encouragement for Beginners?

Honestly, it’s still unbelievable to me that you can simply start a business by designing t-shirts, and someone takes care of the entire process. 

You need little to no money and can get started right now. Could you name another business model that’s so easy?

I know there’s more competition these days, but you don’t need to sell on Etsy. You could choose Amazon, eBay, or build a Shopify or Squarespace website. Just get started and make it happen.

Make It Happen Today!

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  1. cloudface
    June 20

    This is the third article about her I’ve read that doesn’t mention her brand name or Etsy/Shopify store so it’s conceivable this is made up.

    1. Ariel Summers
      June 26

      Hi Cloudface,

      This information isn’t shared due to privacy reasons.

  2. John
    January 29

    Where is her etsy shop?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 7
  3. jenny
    November 25

    would love to see her etsy shop! i feel like a lot of success stories now are just promoting their own courses on how to do what they did, but would love to see what got them there


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