How to Start a Tote Bag Business With POD: A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Start a Tote Bag Business With POD: A Step-By-Step Guide

Starting a tote bag business with Print on Demand (POD) is a profitable and fun venture for everyone. Combining a popular accessory like tote bags with POD’s ease and scalability makes for a profitable business model.

This comprehensive guide explains how to start a tote bag business, from market research and niche selection to branding, design, and marketing strategies.

Why Choose Print on Demand?

A man looking and a laptop screen and thinking.

Print on Demand (POD)  is a game-changing business model for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a business with minimal overhead costs or the hassle of holding inventory.

With POD, products are only produced and printed once a customer places an order. The POD companies handle production and shipping, freeing business owners of those responsibilities.  It’s an excellent option for anyone starting a tote bag business. 

Here’s why people choose POD to start their entrepreneurial journey:

  • Minimal Overhead Costs:  Forget about the hefty upfront costs of traditional inventory-based businesses. With POD, you don’t need to invest in bulk stock, pay for storage space, or worry about unsold product listings, minimizing financial risk.
  • Focus on Your Passion:  POD frees you from manufacturing, warehousing, and fulfillment responsibilities. This lets you channel your energy into what you love – creating eye-catching tote bags with unique designs. 
  • Effortless Order Fulfillment:  Once a customer places an order, your POD provider handles printing, packaging, and shipping, freeing you from all logistical worries. The provider can handle as many orders as you receive, eliminating scalability concerns. 
  • Design Flexibility and Experimentation:  With POD, you don’t need to handle inventory. Easily add new tote bag designs to your online store, experiment with different styles and colors, and test market trends without the risk of overstock. 

Start With Market Research and Choosing a Niche

Performing market research and analyzing trends are key to identifying your target audience’s preferences and boosting profits. 

Targeting a specific niche within the tote bag market lets you cater to a more defined audience,  strengthen your brand identity, and ultimately increase your chances of success.

Choosing a niche helps:

  • Target a Specific Audience. Speak directly to your ideal customer’s interests and passions.
  • Develop a Strong Brand Identity. Build a trustworthy brand and company that creates a sense of community and has a good reputation.
  • Reduce Competition. Cater your product line to a specific need or interest to stand out from competitors.
  • Increase Profitability. Offering unique, high-value products lets you set a higher price point. 

Examples of Tote Bag Niches:

  • Eco-Conscious Consumers. Offer organic cotton totes with nature-inspired designs or sustainability-focused messages.
  • Artsy Souls. Cater to artists and creative minds with stylish tote bags featuring unique designs, abstract prints, or inspirational quotes.
  • Pop Culture Enthusiasts. Create tote bags with themes from popular movies, TV shows, or video games, appealing to dedicated fanbases.
  • Pet Parents. Design adorable tote bags featuring playful illustrations or personalized messages celebrating their love for furry companions. 


Check out our YouTube channel for a visual – and fun – exploration of niche selection.

Brand Your Tote Bag Business

A designer creating branding elements.

Your brand is more than just a fancy logo. It’s your values, personality, and the message you want to convey to potential customers. Building a solid brand with a good reputation boosts your tote bags’ visibility in a crowded market and cultivates a loyal following.

The four Vs of brandingValue, Voice, Visuals, and Vision – can guide you in establishing a strong brand presence:

  1. Define Your Values.  What core principles does your business represent? Do you prioritize eco-friendly production, ethical suppliers, or celebrating artistic expression?
  2. Find Your Voice.  How do you want to communicate with your audience? Will your brand voice be playful and informal or sophisticated and professional?
  3. Craft Your Visual Identity.  Develop a unique aesthetic that reflects your brand values and resonates with your target audience. Choose your logo, color scheme, typography, and overall design style.
  4. Envision Your Future.  Where do you see your tote bags business in the long run? Setting clear goals guides your brand strategy and keeps you focused on your goals.

Choose Tote Bags

The Printify Catalog has many different tote bags, guaranteeing you’ll find the right size, style, and fabric for your shop. 

Browsing through our selection of tote bags made from quality materials to decide which type best aligns with your designs and customer preferences:

Make It Happen Today!

Time to Get Crafty

Bringing your tote bag designs to life has never been easier, thanks to Printify’s Product Creator. This tool simplifies the design process, allowing creative freedom and the ability to visualize your product before it goes to print. 

Whether you’re an experienced designer or just getting started, the Product Creator helps you create stunning tote bags that your target audience will love with features like AI Image Generator, Pattern Tool, free Graphics Library, and more. 

Decide Where to Sell Your Tote Bags

A woman sitting on a couch and working on a laptop.

Choosing the right sales channel to sell your tote bags is crucial for your business’s success. Printify offers various integrations with the top eCommerce sites so you can reach potential customers effortlessly. Choose one that best suits your business’s identity, needs, target audience, and marketing strategy.

Marketplaces (Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Walmart)

  • Existing traffic and a lower initial cost.
  • Limited customization and control over branding.
  • Subject to marketplace policies and fees.

Specialized eCommerce Platforms (Shopify, BigCommerce)

  • Professional design and user experience.
  • Extensive eCommerce features.
  • Monthly subscriptions and additional app fees.

All-in-One Solutions (Wix, Squarespace)

  • User-friendly interface with good blogging and SEO options.
  • Subscription fees and costs for additional features.

Open-Source Platforms, CMS, Printify API, and Plugins (WordPress and WooCommerce, PrestaShop)

  • Highest level of customization and control.
  • Requires technical knowledge or professional developer assistance.
  • Low annual costs (domain & hosting) with plugin fees.

Printify Pop-Up Store

  • 100% free.
  • Setup in minutes.
  • No need for professional developer or design skills.

Create a Marketing Strategy and Promote Your Tote Bag Business

A man looking at a laptop screen and smiling.

Put together a well-defined marketing strategy to attract customers and gain a loyal following.

Email Marketing: Building Relationships Through Personalized Communication

Email marketing helps you connect with customers directly. Build an email list and send engaging newsletters featuring new designs and product listings, discounts, promotions, and exclusive content. 

A personalized email with recommendations based on past purchases can develop customer relationships and encourage repeat business.

Content Marketing & SEO: Attract Organic Traffic with Valuable Content

Content marketing is a powerful long-term strategy. To attract potential customers, create engaging blog articles about tote bags, design trends, or sustainable efforts (if you offer eco-friendly options). 

By strategically incorporating relevant keywords, you will improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages, attracting organic traffic from potential customers searching for “tote bag designs” or similar phrases.

Social Media: Engage Your Audience

Creative social media posts are an excellent way to showcase your tote bag designs and connect with your target audience. Try your marketing efforts on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, or Facebook to interact with your existing and potential customers.

Share high-quality images and videos of your products, run contests or giveaways, and interact with potential customers by responding to comments and messages. Use relevant hashtags to expand your reach and attract new followers.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Paid Advertising for a Wider Reach

Investing in paid SEM campaigns can boost your website higher in search results for specific keywords. Tools like Google Ads allow you to target users actively searching for tote bags, driving traffic to your store. Paid advertising can be particularly effective for launching new designs or promoting special offers.

Remember: Don’t try to conquer every marketing channel at once. Start with one or two that align best with your target audience and budget. As you gain experience and resources, you can expand your strategies for optimal results.

Tips for Successfully Selling Tote Bags

A woman looking at a laptop screen and smiling.

The tote bag business is booming, but with so many options available, how can you make yours stand out? 

Here are some key strategies to consider when starting your print-on-demand business.

Quality First: Order Samples Before You Launch

Order tote bag samples to evaluate the quality of the materials and the overall look before publishing the product to your store or investing in bulk inventory.

Printify makes this easy, ensuring quality materials and a final product that meets your standards and customers’ expectations.

Be Customer-Centric: Listen, Learn, and Adapt

Customer feedback is a goldmine.  Provide top-notch customer service and actively seek reviews and feedback on your tote bags (in your emails, social media posts, and website). 

This can reveal design preferences, desired features, various customer inquiries, and potential areas for improvement. Use this information to continuously refine your products and ensure they appeal to your target audience.

Price for Profitability and Affordability

You need to find the sweet spot between maximizing profits and pricing affordably. Research competitor pricing strategies while considering your production costs and desired profit margin.

Quick Tip

Read our tips on pricing strategies in the How to Price a Product blog post.

Embrace Sustainability: Offer Eco-Friendly Tote Bags

Consumers are increasingly eco-conscious, so cater to this growing demand by offering sustainable tote bag options. Printify offers eco-friendly tote bags made from organic cotton, recycled materials, and natural fibers. Selling these products aligns your company with a positive environmental message.

How to Sell Tote Bags With Printify!

Starting your tote bag business with Printify is straightforward. Our platform provides all the tools and support needed to launch and scale your business.

From creating designs to listing your products on various platforms, Printify simplifies the process, allowing you to focus on what you do best — creating and marketing your tote bags.


Here’s a roadmap:

  • Market Research. Study current tote bag trends and analyze competitor offerings to identify potential niches within the market. 
  • Find Your Niche. Do you cater to fashion-conscious millennials with quirky designs or the sustainability-focused crowd? Defining your niche helps target the right audience.
  • Brand Yourself. Create a strong brand identity that reflects your unique products. This includes your logo, brand name, and overall aesthetic.
  • Create a Design. This is where your creativity shines. Create designs for eye-catching tote bags with user-friendly tools like Printify’s Product Creator. 
  • Choose Your Platform. Select an eCommerce platform like Shopify to set up your online store and showcase your tote bags to the world.
  • Market Like a Pro. Craft a winning marketing strategy (see previous section) to reach potential customers and build a loyal following. Be active on social media platforms to boost your presence.

Absolutely. Tote bags are a trendy and practical solution for everyday use. The rising awareness of environmental issues has also fueled the demand for reusable bags, making tote bags a popular eco-friendly alternative to single-use bags.

Use a POD service like Printify to streamline the process. No need to worry about manufacturing or holding inventory.

  1. Pick Your Canvas. Create an account and browse Printify’s extensive Catalog to find the perfect tote bags for your product line.
  2. Design Time. Unleash your creative vision with Printify’s user-friendly Product Creator. Upload your artwork, experiment with placements, and personalize stylish, one-of-a-kind tote bags.
  3. Selling Platform Power. Integrate your Printify account with your chosen eCommerce site (like Shopify, Etsy, or Wix) to list your tote bag designs and manage orders. Printify handles production and fulfillment, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

To Summarize

We’ve covered everything you need to know about starting a tote bag business, from market research and niche selection to design, marketing, and the advantages of POD. 

Remember – success takes time. Be patient, learn from customer feedback, and explore resources to refine your approach. With dedication, creativity, and POD by your side, your tote bag designs can blossom into a thriving online business, spreading joy and practicality one tote at a time.

Unleash your inner entrepreneur and embark on your entrepreneurial journey today with Printify.

Make It Happen Today!

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