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The allure of creating and selling your own custom merchandise has never been stronger. With the rise of print-on-demand (POD), artists, designers, and entrepreneurs can bring their unique ideas to life on t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, and a plethora of other products. But with a dizzying array of POD platforms vying for your attention, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Two of the most popular contenders are Redbubble and Teespring (now known as Spring), each offering a distinct approach to POD selling.

This in-depth comparison dives into the nuances of Redbubble and Teespring, exploring their unique features, pricing models, marketing strategies, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned creator or just starting your POD journey, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to choose the platform that best aligns with your business goals and creative vision.

I. Introduction

Print-on-demand has revolutionized the way creators monetize their designs. Gone are the days of hefty upfront investments, risky inventory stockpiles, and the logistical headaches of shipping. POD platforms handle all the backend complexities, allowing you to focus on what you do best—creating captivating designs.

Redbubble and Teespring stand out as two of the most popular POD services, both offering a free and intuitive way to design and sell custom products. But despite their shared core functionality, they differ significantly in their platform structure, pricing models, marketing approaches, and overall philosophy. This comparison aims to shed light on these key distinctions, empowering you to make an informed decision for your creative business.

II. Redbubble vs Teespring: A Head-to-Head Comparison

Let’s delve into the specific categories where Redbubble and Teespring diverge, providing a clear picture of their strengths and weaknesses.

A. Business Model & Platform Structure


  • Marketplace Platform: Redbubble operates as a bustling marketplace where millions of creators showcase their designs on a wide array of products. This established marketplace attracts substantial organic traffic, offering creators immediate exposure to a vast customer base.
  • Limited Branding: While Redbubble allows for basic profile customization, branding options for individual creators are limited. Your storefront exists within the larger marketplace, making it challenging to cultivate a distinct brand identity.
  • Passive Selling: Redbubble is an ideal platform for creators who prefer a more passive approach to selling. You upload your designs, set your profit margins, and rely on Redbubble’s marketplace and SEO to drive traffic and sales.

Teespring (Spring):

  • Independent Stores: Teespring, rebranded as Spring, has shifted its focus towards empowering creators to build independent, branded storefronts. You can create a custom domain, design a unique storefront, and cultivate a stronger brand identity.
  • Strong Branding: Spring provides numerous tools for branding and customization, allowing you to create a more personalized shopping experience for your audience. You can control the look and feel of your store, integrate social media, and curate product collections.
  • Active Selling: Spring is geared towards creators who are willing to invest time and effort in actively marketing their products. You’ll need to drive traffic to your store through social media, content creation, influencer partnerships, and other marketing strategies.

B. Product Catalog & Customization

Product Variety:

  • Redbubble: Redbubble boasts a wider product range compared to Teespring, encompassing apparel, home decor, stationery, stickers, gifts, and more. You’ll find unique and niche items that cater to a diverse range of interests.
  • Teespring (Spring): Teespring, while offering a smaller overall catalog, excels in apparel and wearable items. They offer a diverse range of t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, leggings, and socks. Notably, Teespring also allows for the sale of digital products, a feature absent on Redbubble.

Design Control:

  • Teespring (Spring): Teespring provides creators with greater design control, allowing you to fine-tune your product offerings. You can choose specific colors, sizes, and product variations for each design, ensuring optimal visual appeal and accurate representation.
  • Redbubble: Redbubble’s design customization is more streamlined, offering a simpler but less granular experience. One notable limitation is the lack of control over color options. You can’t deselect specific colors for products, which can be problematic for designs with transparent backgrounds.

C. Pricing & Profit Margins

Pricing Structure:

  • Redbubble: Redbubble utilizes a base price and markup percentage system. They set a fixed base price for each product, and you determine your profit margin as a percentage of that base price. This system provides a simple way to calculate earnings but limits control over retail pricing.
  • Teespring (Spring): Teespring offers a flat price per product model, with volume-based pricing discounts available. You determine the retail price for your products, and your profit is the difference between the retail price and Teespring’s base price for the item.

Profit Potential:

  • Teespring (Spring): Generally, Teespring allows for higher profit margins due to lower base prices and the ability to set your own retail prices. You have more control over maximizing your earnings per sale.
  • Redbubble: Redbubble’s profit margins can be lower because they control the base price of products. However, the platform’s vast marketplace and organic traffic can potentially lead to higher sales volume, offsetting lower individual margins.

D. Marketing & Sales

Organic Traffic:

  • Redbubble: Redbubble’s strength lies in its organic traffic generation. The platform’s vast marketplace, extensive product tagging system, and strong SEO performance attract a significant volume of organic visitors, increasing the chances of design discovery.
  • Teespring (Spring): Spring requires a more proactive approach to marketing. With independent storefronts, you’re responsible for driving traffic to your store through social media marketing, content creation, email marketing, influencer collaborations, and paid advertising campaigns.

Sales Channels:

  • Redbubble: Sales on Redbubble primarily occur within the confines of the marketplace. You rely on Redbubble’s internal traffic and algorithms to surface your designs to potential customers.
  • Teespring (Spring): Spring’s independent store model opens up opportunities for broader sales channels. The integrations with YouTube and Twitch allow creators with large followings on these platforms to sell directly to their audience. Additionally, you can promote your Spring store through your website, social media profiles, and other online marketing channels.

E. Shipping & Fulfillment

Shipping Costs:

  • Both Redbubble and Teespring face the challenge of high shipping costs, a common drawback of POD platforms. This is due to their decentralized production and fulfillment network, where products are often printed and shipped from different locations, resulting in individual shipping fees for each item in an order.

Production & Shipping Times:

  • Redbubble: Redbubble generally has faster production times than Teespring (Spring), with products typically taking 2-3 days to print.
  • Teespring (Spring): Spring’s minimum sales goal system can impact production and shipping timelines. Products are only printed and shipped once the goal is met, which can potentially lead to longer wait times for customers, especially if a campaign progresses slowly.

F. Customer Service & Support

Both Redbubble and Teespring offer customer service to assist creators and customers, but both platforms receive frequent criticism for slow response times and limited support options.

III. Unique Features & Considerations

While the previous sections compared the core aspects of Redbubble and Teespring, it’s essential to consider the unique features that differentiate each platform and might be particularly relevant to your business model.

Teespring (Spring):

  • Minimum Sales Goal: Teespring’s (Spring’s) minimum sales goal system is a defining characteristic that sets it apart from most other POD platforms. You determine the number of sales required to initiate production and fulfillment for a particular design. This system mitigates financial risk for creators, as products are only produced when there’s guaranteed demand. However, it can result in longer fulfillment times for customers if a campaign struggles to reach its goal.
  • Buyer Messaging: Spring offers a valuable feature that allows creators to message buyers who have previously purchased products featuring a specific design. This provides a direct line of communication to your existing audience within a particular niche, making it an effective tool for promoting new product releases, offering exclusive deals, and building deeper customer relationships.


  • Artist Following: Redbubble fosters a vibrant artist community within its platform, allowing creators to gain followers who appreciate their work. This built-in audience can provide consistent organic traffic to your storefront, increasing the likelihood of sales.
  • Product Tagging: Redbubble’s robust product tagging system is crucial for discoverability within its vast marketplace. By adding relevant and specific tags to your products, you increase the chances of your designs appearing in search results when customers browse for specific themes, interests, or keywords.

IV. Choosing the Right Platform for You

With a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Redbubble and Teespring, the decision ultimately hinges on your individual priorities and business goals. The following decision matrix summarizes the key points of comparison, providing a visual guide to help you assess which platform aligns best with your needs:

FeatureRedbubbleTeespring (Spring)
Business ModelMarketplaceIndependent Stores
Selling StylePassiveActive
Product VarietyBroader, unique itemsStrong in apparel, digital products
Design ControlSimpler, limited color controlGranular, full color control
Pricing StructureBase price + markup percentageFlat price + volume discounts
Profit MarginsPotentially lowerPotentially higher
Organic TrafficHighRequires marketing efforts
Sales ChannelsPrimarily marketplaceBroader, integrations possible
Shipping CostsHigh, per itemHigh, per item
Production TimesGenerally fasterPotentially slower
Customer ServiceLimited, slow response timesLimited, slow response times
Unique FeaturesArtist Following, Product TaggingMinimum Sales Goal, Buyer Messaging

V. Alternatives to Consider

While Redbubble and Teespring (Spring) are two of the most recognized POD platforms, other options might better suit your needs. Printful and Printify are particularly noteworthy for their extensive product catalogs, robust customization features, and integrations with popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Etsy. It’s always worthwhile to explore multiple platforms and compare their offerings to find the perfect fit for your creative business.

VI. FAQ Section

Q: Does Teespring (Spring) take a cut of my profits?

A: No, Teespring (Spring) doesn’t take a percentage cut of your profits. They have a set base price for each product, which covers their production and fulfillment costs. You determine the retail price for your products, and your profit is the difference between your selling price and Spring’s base price. For example, if a t-shirt’s base price is $10 and you sell it for $20, your profit is $10.

Q: Can I sell on both Redbubble and Teespring (Spring)?

A: Absolutely! You can create accounts and sell your designs on both Redbubble and Teespring (Spring) simultaneously. This allows you to leverage the strengths of each platform and potentially reach a wider audience.

Q: What types of designs sell best on Redbubble?

A: Designs that cater to specific fandoms, niche interests, and trending topics tend to perform well on Redbubble. Think about popular movies, TV shows, video games, books, hobbies, and cultural movements. Researching trending keywords and hashtags can help you identify popular design themes.

Q: Does Teespring (Spring) offer free shipping?

A: While Teespring (Spring) doesn’t offer free shipping by default, creators can run promotional campaigns offering free shipping as an incentive to customers. This can be a powerful marketing tool, especially when combined with other discounts or limited-time offers.

Q: Does the quality of the products differ between Redbubble and Teespring (Spring)?

A: Both platforms offer a range of product quality options, and individual experiences can vary. Redbubble is generally known for its higher-quality printing that appears more integrated with the fabric. Teespring (Spring) offers both screen printing and direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, with the latter typically providing softer, more comfortable apparel.

VII. Conclusion

The choice between Redbubble and Teespring (Spring) isn’t about crowning a definitive winner. Both platforms offer valuable tools for creators to launch and grow their POD businesses. The ideal platform for you will depend on your individual preferences, marketing strategies, and brand-building goals.

Redbubble, with its vast marketplace and strong organic traffic, provides a quick and easy way to tap into a large customer base, making it ideal for passive sellers. Teespring (Spring), on the other hand, empowers creators to build independent, branded stores, offering more control over customization, pricing, and sales channels.

Ultimately, the best way to determine your perfect match is to experiment with both platforms. Create accounts, upload a few designs, and explore the interfaces, features, and marketing options each platform provides. By actively testing and comparing, you can confidently choose the POD service that aligns best with your unique creative vision and entrepreneurial spirit.