Last updated: April 29, 2019
These are my personal recommendations for getting merch produced and printed! (Please note that since I’m based in the U.S, these will primarily apply to U.S. sellers.)
🌸 = My personal overall recommendation
🌱 = Conscientious or environmentally friendly company
Top simple online stores for anime artists – My detailed comparison of Big Cartel, Storenvy, Gumroad, etc on the Studio Theophilus blog.
General Pricing for Arist Alley Merch – An extremely useful Facebook note from AANI. Don’t know how to price your merch? This lists accurate market prices for merch like charms, prints, buttons, stickers, and more.
Business Cards and Postcards
Moo — Luxurious and premium, but expensive. The Apple of business cards.
Overnight Prints🌱 — [Will test]
Printrunner🌸 — Most affordable option if you’re ordering in bulk (500 or more units). Free U.S. shipping on orders over $39.
Vistaprint — Affordable; great prices without sacrificing printing quality. Often have sales and great for basic cards.
Lulu — Print-on-demand service. Good for short-run books or selling just a few copies.
ZingPrint — [Production in progress]
I have heard of but not tested: PrintNinja
Acorn Press — High-quality and crisp printing with a friendly staff, but slow and prone to delays.
Chilly Pig — High-quality and crisp printing. Prompt, friendly staff, and great products. A little on the pricier end.
Vograce🌸 — A high-quality company from China. Cheap prices, fast and decent printing, and the greatest variety of options. The only option that assembles charms for you (with straps, keychains, etc).
I have heard of but not tested: Zap Creatives, Ink It Labs
Catprint🌸🌱 — Vivid and gorgeous printing with a variety of beautiful stocks. Pricey for business cards, but good price for prints.
Clear Bags🌱 — Huge variety of clear poly bags, including an eco-friendly option.
EcoEnclose🌱 — Focuses on environmentally-friendly packaging and shipping supplies. They specialize in boxes and mailers. More on the pricey side.
PaperMart — Offers some poly bags, padded mailers, boxes, tissue paper, and more. Big variety of shipping supplies with good prices and products.
ULINE — Made for bulk orders or big companies, but they’re great if you need a lot of one product.
Stik2it — Great for bulk sticky notes (500+ units).
Websites and Services
Carbonmade🌸 — Beautiful and affordable option for those who want a more dedicated portfolio site. Very easy to maintain, with great customer service. Paid plans starting at $6/mo.
Carrd.co🌸 — Most affordable option. Great for a simple, clean, affordable portfolio. Free, or paid plans starting at $9/yr.
Portfoliobox — Good, affordable option for a portfolio. They also offer online shops and blogs. Paid plans starting at $6.90/mo.
Squarespace — Beautiful aesthetics. Tons of features. Great for artists who want a fully-featured website. Paid plans starting at $12/mo.
Tumblr — Free, large variety of themes, and a wide range of flexibility. As a blogging-style platform, it’s difficult to organize things.
Weebly — Nice aesthetics. Like Squarespace, it’s a website builder, great for artists who want a fully-featured website. Paid plans starting at $12/mo.
AND CO — A robust tool for full-time freelancers. Manage proposals, contracts, time-tracking, invoices, tasks, and expenses. Free plan, and paid plans starting at $18/mo.
Bonsai — A robust tool for full-time freelancers. Track time, create and send legal contracts easily, draft professional proposals, manage projects and expenses, and send invoices. Paid plans starting at $16/mo.
Commiss.io🌸 — An all-in-one slot organizing system, messaging system, and invoicing system for handling commissions. Free with 5% transaction fee or paid at $10/mo to remove transaction fees.
Cushion — A tool for full-time freelancers. Track time, forecast your workload, plan financial goals, and send invoices. Paid plans starting at $8/mo.
Big Cartel🌸 — A beautiful, simple option for when you want to get your store up and running with as little work as possible. No transaction fees. Free for stores less than 5 products, then paid plans starting at $9.99/mo.
Ecwid🌸 — A fully-featured online store solution. You can embed your store in your own domain. No transaction fees. Free for stores less than 10 products, then paid plans starting at $15/mo.
Gumroad — A simple online option that’s great for small shops, digital products, and simple purchases. Free with transaction fees, or a premium plan at $10/mo to eliminate transaction fees.
Shopify — A fully-featured online store solution. Expensive, but has everything you’d want in an online store. Paid plans only, starting at $29/mo.
Storenvy — Lots of features and affordable pricing. Personally, I’m not a fan since they have a lot of hidden fees for both artists and customers, but if you do your research then they can be a great option. Free with transaction fees.
Squarespace — Beautiful option for those looking for a full site. Expensive, but comes with custom pages, blog features, and more. Paid plans only, starting at $18/mo.
Weebly — Like Squarespace. More affordable, but I personally enjoy the Squarespace aesthetics more.
WooCommerce — If you have your own web hosting, you can use this extension for Wordpress to form your own online store. It’s flexible and you don’t have to pay any fees, but you will be responsible for customers’ online financial security.