Inkthreadable Review: A UK Print On Demand Company
Having sold online for many years both on my own online store and on marketplaces like Etsy, I have used many different POD suppliers from all around the world.
In this Inkthreadable review, I will give you a worst and all view of what the POD supplier is really like based on my experience using them.
Before we go any further if you are US based or predominantly sell to the US market, Inkthreadable is not for you and there are far better choices out there as Inkthreadable’s fulfillment center is in the UK.
Check out my article on the Best print on demand companies for alternative international options.
Who Are Inkthreadable
Inkthreadable is a print on demand company founded and run by Alex and Amy Cunliffe in 2013 and based in Darwin, Blackburn in the north west of the United Kingdom.
The company has been on quite a journey over the last few years having moved to a new warehouse complex in July 2020 enabling them to hold far more stock and increase their production capacity significantly.
At 9 years old Inkthreadable are one of the more established UK print on demand companies having fulfilled over 1.2m order, in a country (UK) where POD is still in its infancy when compared to the US.
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Inkthreadable offer different printing methods across a good range of products which include Direct to Garment (DTG) Printing and Dye Sublimation Printing.
Alongside DTG and sublimation, one of the things that stands Inkthreadable apart from a lot of print on demand suppliers is that they also offer an embroidery option which is something offered by only a few printing companies in the UK.
Embroidery is very popular on marketplaces like Etsy and could help a small business stand out in a competitive marketplace or on your own online store.
Inkthreadable enables you to apply branding in a number of ways.
- A packing slip – Upload your logo, text and color scheme for the packing slip included in with the order the customer receives.
- Printing labels – On certain t-shirts Inkthreadable offer a service where they will remove the standard label and print a custom branded label that you provide. A nice little touch if you are going for a premium feel.
- Stickers – Upload a graphic and Inkthreadable will print it as a sticker and place it on the outside of the packaging. A great little touch that helps grow brand recognition.
Catalog / Product Range
Inkthreadable offer over 250 products most of which you will find at most POD suppliers. The staple brands of t shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies etc.
However they do offer some products that are more difficult to find elsewhere like their new active wear range and their wide range of eco-friendly products.
The software that Inkthreadable use is also used by a number of other UK POD companies, so if you are a seasons POD seller you may be familiar with it.
The individual product page enables you to upload your design, see what it looks like on the product and from an apparel perspective, it shows both flat lay human mock-ups.
The platform and printing process used does allow for a larger print area than many POD providers which is a bit of a bonus and can help you create designs that differentiate you from the crowd.
Once you’ve created the product you can either add it to your basket and purchase if it was for a manual or sample order, or you click to create a product and you’re taken through to the page shown below that allows you to select your colors and sizes and publish your item to any of your stores.
Manual Orders and Product Imports
The Inkthreadable platform provides two extra features that a lot of other platforms do not and both of them can be life savers.
The ability to go to the Inkthreadable site and place an order that has not come via an integration can be a lifesaver if using another supplier and they are out of stock of an item or if you want to order samples. This is possible without the need for an eCommerce platform. Many competitors require you to create a manual order through Shopify and push the order through to your print on demand supplier, but this is not the case with Inkthreadable.
Over the years I have changed print on demand supplier for certain products due to repeated issues, price increases, and or poor service. This can be a very painful experience.
If you’re selling on a platform like Etsy, the one thing you don’t want to do is to touch a listing if it is selling as it could impact it’s momentum. That becomes problematic if you want to change the print on demand supplier for that product.
However, with Inkthreadable you can import the product into their platform meaning that you can swap suppliers, have the product automatically fulfilled by Inkthreadable, and not have to touch the listing.
Inkthreadable integrates with a good number of eCommerce platforms and online marketplaces and should meet the needs of most sellers. They also offer a CSV upload option as well as providing access to an API so you can connect yourself (if you have the techy skills).
As of July 2022 Inkthreadable integrates with the following eCommerce platforms and online marketplaces
I’ve used both the Shopify and Etsy shop integrations in my online business and found that both work well enough. There are a couple of know issues with the Etsy integration though that are a little frustrating:
- You can not publish items to your Etsy store as draft which means they are visible to customers straight away even before you’ve added better mockups, titles, tags, descriptions etc
- You are limited to RM24 from a shipping perspective. For some this is fine however I prefer to use RM48 to keep the costs down and offer RM48 as an upgrade.
If you sell on other platforms for example eBay stores whilst Inkthreadable do not offer an integration with eBay, they do offer the ability to manually place an order.
Production Times & Print Quality
The stated turnaround time for an item is 3 to 5 business days which is fairly standard for UK print on demand companies and always stated as just estimates.
Inkthreadable have been on a bit of a journey with regards production times. The massive spike in demand and supply chain issues during the pandemic seemed to affect them more than most which damaged the businesses good reputation.
I think they learned a hell of a lot during that time and with the move to a new warehouse facility, they are far more capacity and storage space to ensure a more consistent service is delivered.
Inkthreadable introduced a concept of Core Product, which are products that are high selling e.g. a Black t shirt, sweatshirts etc that they keep in stock to ensure that there isnt a delay of getting the items in from their suppliers.
Whilst this approach doesn’t necessarily reduce order fulfillment times, it does prevent delays due to out of stock t shirts for example.
Having placed a good number of orders with Inkthreadable I’ve been impressed with the print quality of the t shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies I’ve ordered as samples as well as the products I’ve sold to customers.
I did have one order with print issues, but Inkthreadable were quick to get a replacement issued as quickly as possible, reinforcing my view that they are a very good company.
Feedback from my customers has always been positive and I’ve not received any negative reviews about Inkthreadable print quality.
Product costs are really competitive and cheaper than most UK print-on-demand providers. A medium black Gildan 64000 Softstyle t-shirt is £8.62 (my go to t shirt) at the time I am writing this post which by way of comparison is cheaper than Printful which charges £9.07 for the same t-shirt.
Recently Inkthreadable introduced a Reward Pricing that provides a discount on prices based on achieving a level of monthly sales. The first threshold is £500 which equates to 30 to 50 products so achievable even with a fairly new Etsy store for example.
For domestic shipping, Inkthreadable is competitive as they use Royal Mail for the bulk of their fulfillment with delivery time scales estimated at 2 to 5 days depending on which option you choose.
Shipping to the US or Europe can be very expensive so I would recommend having alternative suppliers lined up if you get foreign orders. This is what I do for my own businesses.
On the Inkthreadable site, there is a knowledgebase / support how with nearly a hundred articles on how to use the platform, create print files correctly and manage integrations amongst many other topics. I’ve found this really helpful when first getting used to the platform.
They have a fairly active Facebook group run by the team with over 2000 members who also help answer questions. If you’re going to start using Inkthreadable I strongly recommend joining the group.
Whenever I have needed to contact customer services for my own store they have been swift to reply with helpful responses that lead to resolution of my query or issue.
The founders of Inkthreadable are passionate about sustainability and have added an extensive collection of Stanley/Stella organic clothing, which when partnered with their vegan-friendly printing provides a great option and USP for your print on demand business.
For those that don’t know, Stanley/Stella clothing is produced using organic or recycled fabrics using environmentally friendly manufacturing practices.
Inkthreadable use vegan inks ensuring that the actual print on the t shirt is as eco friendly as the product itself.
Also of note is Inkthreadable’s use of plastic free packaging. Since April 2019 every apparel order has been shipped in 100% paper (plastic free) sustainable packaging.
Here is the environmental promise they made on their site:
Pro’s and Con’s of Inkthreadable
Is Inkthreadable Right For You?
In this Inkthreadable review we have outlined a number of pro’s and con’s about Inkthreadable but to know if they are the right print on demand company for you then it comes down to the following: If the following describes you and your business then we believe Inkthreadable are a great choice:
- Sell predominantly in the UK
- Sell using an ecommerce platform or marketplace that Inkthreadable integrate with
- Want to offer embroidered items
If you value sustainability Inkthreadable’s offering is hard to beat could really help you stand out in a crowded and saturated market.
If you are looking for an alternative United Kingdom based print on demand company I would recommend either Printful or APO+. Check out our article on the Best Print On Demand Companies in the UK for more information.
Inkthreadbale Vs Printful
Inkthreadable and Printful are both well established print on demand companies. Which is right for you depends on a number of considerations. What you want to sell, the platform you are using to sell on, and where your target market is.
Inkthreadable is significantly cheaper than Printful across the board if you are selling to a UK audience. If you are targeting the US or other parts of Europe then Printful could be cheaper due to lower shipping costs.
If you are selling on Etsy or Shopify, targeting UK customers and Inkthreadable stock the products you want to sell, then Inkthreadable is the better choice.
If you are selling on a platform Inkthreadable do not integrate with, like Launch Cart and you’re targeting the US or mainland Europe, then Printful could be the better option.
I strongly recommend Inkthreadable to any print on demand based business that focuses on the UK market. They are reliable, competitively priced and integrate with the key eCommerce platforms and online marketplaces so you shouldnt have trouble finding a platform to use.
With their sustainability focus, eco-friendly product range, vegan friendly printing Inkthreadable is enabling small businesses and online store owners to build environmentally friendly businesses which could be a great USP.
Is Inkthreadable Good Value
Inkthreadable is free to use and their product range is competitively priced and is cheaper on a lot of products than their main competitors. If you get to the point where you are selling more than £500 a month then the extra 5% off product prices makes them really hard to beat.
Is Inkthreadable a good Print On Demand Company?
Yes. They are a well-established business with 9 years of experience in the POD industry with a good business reputation as a POD supplier.
Does Inkthreadable Integrate With eBay?
No, they do not. However, you could list products manually on eBay and place orders manually through Inkthreadable’s site. Alternatively, you could set up a Shopify store and download an app that integrates Shopify with eBay, which whilst complicated would give an eBay to Inkthreadable integration, albeit via Shopify.
Does Inkthreadable Integrate with Shopify?
Yes, Inkthreadable has a Shopify app that enables products to be easily listed on your site and automates the receiving and syncing of orders.