I recently received an email from a reader asking which is easier, Spoonflower or Zazzle. She wanted to know what the differences are between the platforms and what my experiences has been. I thought they were such great questions that they warranted a full article to run through the key differences, and my thoughts on selling on each platform.
I currently sell on both platforms, I started on Zazzle in Spring of 2019 and I started to sell on Spoonflower in Spring of 2022. My experience on each platform has been quite different, but my strategy behind each shop has been different as well. But we’ll dive into that a bit later.
First let’s take a look at how each platform differs and a few things they have in common.
Barrier to Entry
One of the big differences that people notice first between Zazzle and Spoonflower is that Spoonflower has a financial barrier to entry and Zazzle does not.
On Zazzle you can upload as many products as you want and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Whereas, on Spoonflower you need to proof your designs before you can mark them for sale.
On Spoonflower you can upload as many designs as you want but you need to buy a sample of your designs before you can mark them for sale publicly. It’s relatively cheap to proof your designs, you can proof a Fill-A-Yard (FAY), which is 42 designs, for around $18 to $24USD including shipping. It just depends if there is a sale happening or not.
(That price includes the shipping to Canada, I’m not sure what shipping costs in the US or throughout the rest of the world are for Spoonflower.)
The only way around proofing your designs is if you come in the top 50 in their weekly design competition, in which case, Spoonflower will mark your winning design for sale without needing to proof it.
One nice thing that Spoonflower does that sets it apart from any of the other platforms (that I’m aware of) is they have a weekly design competition. They give you a brief and you can submit one pattern and everyone votes on the winners.
The competition is fierce, but it’s a great way to get eyeballs and engagement on your design which helps your design rank higher in the marketplace.
Uploading Once Vs Multiple Times
Another nice thing about Spoonflower is that you only need to upload your design once and then it is put onto all of their products. Whereas with Zazzle, you need to create each product and mark it for sale individually which takes a lot more time on the sellers end.
However this means that you can find products that have less competition within the marketplace so there are some pros and cons to that.
Spoonflower is still a relatively small company in comparison and Zazzle has a way bigger product range. Zazzle has well over 1500 products to choose from, and Spoonflower only has a few dozen.
This isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing, it really just depends on what products you want to sell.
One of the nice things about Zazzle is that they’re constantly updating their product catalog and consistently bringing us new products to design. Whereas with Spoonflower they are quite a bit slower with getting new products to the platform.
By the way, if you want to get updated when new products hit the marketplace on Zazzle be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter below!
The audience on Zazzle and Spoonflower are quite different in size. Zazzle has about 9 million people coming to their website every month whereas Spoonflower has around 2 million monthly visitors. so that is quite a significant difference. That’s more than quadruple the customer potential.
However you can’t take that number at face value. You have to factor in your niche and what you’re selling.
For example if you want to sell fabric you should probably be on Spoonflower. However, if you want to see stationary, Zazzle is your best bet.
Fabric & Wallpaper VS Stationary
One of the really big differences between Zazzle and Spoonflower is not just the product range but the products that they excel in.
What I mean that by that is that Spoonflower is known for its Fabric and more recently is becoming known for its wallpaper.
On Zazzle, at least in my experience, fabric doesn’t sell very well and they don’t offer wallpaper. But Zazzle sells a lot of stationery and paper products such as wedding and party invitations and small business supplies.
So when deciding which platform is right for you, you really want to be thinking about what products you want to be selling.
Both platforms market your products for you off site but they do that in different ways.
They both payd for display ads on other websites, so there is good opportunity there. Usually if a customer looks at your product on the platform they will get an ad for it later on… although that might be going out the window when 3rd party cookies finally bite the dust.
Zazzle also pays a lot for their products to be marketed in Google search. And if you have keyword rich description you can show up in Google search organically.
That is possible on Spoonflower, but so far in my experience, I haven’t had as much luck with that.
However, Spoonflower also sells on a few different marketplaces. They have shops on Amazon, Etsy, Wayfair, and I believe a couple other places. If your designs are selected to be in one of their 3rd party shops it means more discoverability and likely more sales for you.
Both platforms are very proud of their sellers and designers and each platform is regularly looking for designers to showcase.
So there’s opportunity for everybody on both of these marketplaces, Spoonflower and Zazzle approach how they discover and feature their artists differently but they both make the effort to do so.
Zazzle will often announce feature opportunities in their community feed, whereas Spoonflower, from what I can tell, usually reaches out directly to sellers.
One of the big things (that I have mentioned multiple times throughout this website) that Zazzle has over most of the other print on demand platforms is the ability for customers to customize their products.
Which is why Zazzle is so big into weddings, parties, and small businesses because people can customize the products to suit their needs.
Customization is not an option on Zazzle.
Saturation is always a big topic with print on demand platforms. I think the reality at this point is that every site is “saturated.”
However, I think that there’s room on every platform, you just need to be a little creative and a lot persistent. You need to be willing to power through as it’s a bit of a numbers game in the end, and it’s just going to take time to grow.
Another key difference between Zazzle and Spoonflower is going to be the types of designs that you upload.
On Spoonflower the majority of designs that you upload are going to be seamless patterns, also known as repeat patterns.
On Zazzle, you can absolutely do seamless patterns and I even have an article of what products work well with seamless patterns here, but seamless patterns aren’t the bread and butter of Zazzle. Invitations and stationary are.
So the two platforms require very different designs skills and this is something you should take into consideration when deciding which platform is right for you.
Royalties is always something we want to take into consideration when choosing a platform to sell on.
Spoonflower offers a 10% royalty across the board and an opportunity to earn 1% to 5% extra in volume bonuses.
Zazzle, on the other hand, lets you choose your royalty rate. It needs to be a minimum of 5% and they recommend a maximum of 14.9%. You can go over that 14.9% but anything 15% or higher will get charged a service fee so it’s best to stick between the five and 14.9% on Zazzle.
Both platforms allow you to create a shop banner, a profile picture, an about section, and add some links. The basics…
Other than that, Spoonflower does not offer a lot of shop customization and it’s both a good thing and a bad thing.
It’s a good thing because it’s just not something that you have to put your time into and fuss about, but it’s a bad thing because we don’t have control over how our shop looks.
On Zazzle, we have almost too much control. The time and effort that needs to go into creating a beautiful shop on Zazzle can be a bit overwhelming, as they want us to customize our shops with mockups for every product and beautiful, well thought out collections with both photos and video.
So far, I haven’t found much of a sense of community on Zazzle. I poke around in the Zazzle Community forum regularly but I don’t love it. And I haven’t really found a way to connect with the community in a meaningful way elsewhere… which is part of what lead me to creating this website.
On Spoonflower there is a bit more of a sense of community. People will like and comment on your designs, there’s a couple great Facebook groups, and the weekly design competition also fosters a sense of community. I find it to be a bit more warm and inviting.
– My Recommended Tools –
Below are my personal favorite tools that I use regularly in my POD business.
The below links are affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission for anything purchased through these links at no extra cost to you.
Creative Fabrica – My favorite place to get graphics with a straightforward commercial license for print on demand use.
- Get Creative Fabrica’s All Access Free Trial for one week here ($9.00 a month after that.)
- Get Creative Fabrica’s Yearly All Access Subscription for $59.88 here.
Adobe Illustrator – I use Adobe Illustrator for at least half of my design creations. It’s pricey but so worth it when you choose to take the business seriously. Get a free trial to Adobe Illustrator here.
Graphics Tablet – My partner got me this exact tablet as a Christmas gift when I was just starting out with creating my own designs. It has served me well now for several years and it was a very low cost investment that made a big impact in my POD business.
Ergonomic Mouse – If you spend long hours at the computer like me I highly recommend investing in a good ergonomic mouse. Over the years, I have caused an injury in my hand/wrist from being at the computer so much, but my pain has gotten significantly better since getting this ergonomic mouse on Amazon.
Is it Easier to Make Money on Zazzle or on Spoonflower?
Unfortunately, I don’t really have a good answer for you, because it really depends.
I started on Zazzle in 2019 and it’s taken me a really long time to wrap my head around the platform. It’s only been since late 2022 or so that I’ve felt I’ve got a handle on it. That’s almost 4 full years! Mind you, I worked a day job that was 12 hour days for a good chunk of that time and I’ve had a few other projects in that time.
I started on Spoonflower in the Spring of 2022 with the knowledge gained from my time on Zazzle which was a huge leg up. And with every set of designs that I have proofed and every sale that I make I take it as an opportunity to learn something about my shop and what my customers are looking for.
Currently, Zazzle makes more money for me than Spoonflower. And I’m curious to see if it will stay that way…
Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m having an easier time gaining traction on Spoonflower. But that’s because I already had three years of experience on Zazzle to get me going.
But I’ve also been implementing something new in a couple of my Zazzle shops over the last 2 months, so I’m quite excited to see how it’s going to play out over the next few months. If these shops start generating sales like I think they will… well I’d have to say Zazzle is easier.
Conclusion: Zazzle VS Spoonflower – Which is Easier?
I’m sorry I can’t give you a definite answer on which platform is better or easier to build your income on. But I hope I have given you enough information to make that decision for you. As it should be a personal choice.
Some things you may want to consider when deciding which platform is going to be easier for you include:
- Who is your target audience?
- What kind of designs do you like to create?
- What type of products do you want to create?
- Are you willing to pay to proof your designs?
- Do you want control over your royalty rate?
I hope this article was helpful! Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for weekly POD updates below.