Finding a niche is usually the first step for any new print on demand entrepreneur. Many moms and parents think that print on demand baby products is a good fit because they ‘know the market’.
While it can give you some insights, it’s not always a good idea to get involved in a ‘niche’ that you know too intimately.
The reason is simple: you filter everything through your own experience. You think that because you won’t buy it nobody else will. This assumption is almost always wrong.
It most certainly is true that baby products are a huge market filled with irrational buyers.
The problem is that most print on demand entrepreneurs miss the mark because they do not understand the nuances of selling print on demand products to some of the most discerning customers on the internet (moms).
While almost any print on demand product can be sold to moms and babies, I want to focus here on more specific products that are for babies.
When it comes to dropshipping products from China, I made a firm decision to never sell baby products.
The risks are just too high.
Being responsible for a toy that a baby can put in their mouth…not for me!
Print on demand baby products are very safe though. Since we are mostly dealing with apparel products there are no products that carry any obvious risks.
There certainly are some great print on demand products that you can source from CJ Dropshipping – and I have been tempted.
For now, just be aware that there are risks involved because most of these products will not be subject to the rigorous testing that baby products in the USA go through.
With print on demand products we are mostly selling unique and novel products. It is our designs and marketing more than the product itself that will make or break its success.
Understanding The Market For Baby Products
The baby market is huge. Within this market are many niche markets that are billion dollar niches. Newborns, baby sleep devices and programs, baby food and even baby shoes are all very obvious and very lucrative niches.
The baby market is a very tough nut to crack.
I’ve been there and done that.
While there is no doubt that there is a lot of money being spent, it is a market unlike any other.
If you want to sell print on demand baby products then you really need to have a good understanding of the market – otherwise you will get burned.
Many gurus will tell you to ‘get into baby stuff’ because moms are irrational and will spend thousands on baby products.
Most moms are NOT irrational buyers when it comes to buying baby products. They will double and triple check the prices. They hunt for bargains.
For important or high-ticket purchases, they will do vigorous product research. They read the reviews and most of the time they will only buy whatever other moms recommend.
I have first hand experience with this. I spent about 9 months building out a print on demand store aimed at moms and selling baby products only to see the store do very little in sales.
There was a tough lesson to be learned and I think once you understand it you will have a massive advantage.
When you assess a market you need to really think about who will buy your stuff and WHY they will buy your stuff.
When you understand the why – or the motive behind the buyer’s psychology you can cater not only your products but also your marketing much better and more effectively.
There are essentially 3 groups of buyers in the baby market:
1. Moms and Dads
I’ve already alluded to this but moms really are the toughest group of buyers in this market.
Most newbies try and sell print on demand baby products to moms but that is a huge mistake. This is mostly because it is easy to target on Facebook Ads.
Moms (and to a lesser extent dads) are incredibly discerning when it comes to baby products. Most products that moms buy will be vigorously researched and or based on a friend’s recommendation.
Most new families with small kids are also on a tight budget. Moms will rarely make impulse purchases for cute things – unless it is super cheap.
This is why Target is the go-to shop for moms looking to buy baby apparel.
Selling a $25 baby onesie to a mom on a budget is not easy. She can probably find something just as cute at Target for less than $10. She can also see it first hand, feel the fabric and make sure it fits before she buys.
It is true that moms like to buy cute stuff and that they do spend money on their kids. Most of what they spend money on however will be on necessities.
The luxury purchases that parents do make will usually be on bigger ‘baby investments’ like prams, cots and things like sleep aids.
One exception with print on demand products and moms/dads is when they are buying gifts. Gifts to aunts, uncles, grandma’s and grandpa’s is certainly one opportunity where you can pounce in print on demand.
Gifts to new grandma’s or new aunts is a huge market. It is a way for new moms to spread the love and this is certainly one indirect way to target moms with print on demand baby products.
Because they are not shopping for their own baby (or for themselves) they tend to let their guard down and they spend more freely with a lot less analysis.
The best way to sell print on demand baby products is to target family. When you try and sell print on demand baby products to moms and dads you really are up against it.
Not only do they price check vigorously but they are incredibly discerning about what they will buy for their own kids.
Apart from that, moms are bombarded with ads of every single baby product you can think of.
Grandmas, Grandpas, aunts and uncles on the other hand will not only spend more on (your) baby clothing but they have much more incentive to buy cute stuff.
Family members are the perfect customers for unique baby products because they have the emotional attachment to the baby without the need to price-check or research the products.
They impulse buy all the time.
They often also have disposable income – unlike new parents. Grandmas and grandpas in particular will not hold back at giving their grandkids something special.
On an emotional level, buying stuff for their grandkids gives them satisfaction.
Aunts and uncles often don’t have their own kids or their kids are much older. Being able to buy stuff for their niece or nephew satisfies their own desire to have small kids in some way.
What this all comes down to is that if you target family members and make them your primary audience then selling your print on demand baby products will be far easier than trying to target moms or dads directly.
They have an emotional connection. They have disposable income and are more than willing to make impulse purchases and irrational buying decisions.
The next best group of buyers of baby products is friends. There are two great reasons why friends make for great customers.
Friends who do not have kids themselves or friends who have older kids usually have no idea what baby products to buy as gifts. They are very susceptible to buying personalized products as it is seen as a ‘thoughtful’ gift.
Some friends are part of the family. When your best friend gets a baby, it’s almost more emotional than a family member having a baby.
Apart from friends who have an emotional attachment to the mom and/or baby there are friends who give gifts out of politeness.
All up, friends and acquaintances make up a big chunk of the market of people who will buy print on demand baby products.
They are probably the least ‘educated’ customers and will do the least amount of product research and price comparisons.
They are most likely to buy random cute or novel baby products.
The 7 Best Print On Demand Baby Products
Now that you know who to really target with your baby products you can be far more effective in how you create and market your print on demand products.
We now know that targeting moms or dads is probably our worst option since they are the least likely to buy novel products.
There are a number of key exceptions and we will cover that later as it depends largely on the types of products.
There are 7 main product types that are proven to work as baby products. Not all of them are specifically baby products.
Like most print on demand products you have to get creative and often you can breathe new life into a product by taking an old design and placing it on a new product type.
With print on demand, design is still incredibly important.
The right designs, on the right product to the right customer equals success. Price is a factor but it is rarely a determining factor.
As long as your prices are in the same ballpark as everyone else then it will rarely be a big enough barrier to prevent customers from buying.
Here are the 7 most popular print on demand baby products with some insights on how to best use them and which print on demand provider you can use.
1. Baby Onesies
Baby onesies is a staple product in any online store that sells baby products. Just like t-shirts it relies on funny and quirky sayings with a cute design.
I also want to point out that the term ‘onesie’ is copyrighted so we should be talking about baby bodysuits instead.
They come in either short sleeve or long sleeve and fit ages newborn up to 24 months.
Most print on demand providers offer baby onesies/bodysuits but not all of them are a good fit for your business.
Printful has them but the cost makes it nearly impossible to squeeze out any profit. Realistically you can not charge more than $24.95 for a baby bodysuit. For a long sleeve you can push it to $29.95 but that will be at the upper end.
Printify and Gooten are my two recommended partners for baby products in general. Gooten has a great range of products but I really don’t like their lack of mockups since it creates a lot of extra work.
Printify has a spectacular range of print partners to choose from for baby bodysuits. Both Printify and Gooten have one big issue I dislike and that is print areas.
The print area on their baby onesies is very small. Not only does it limit your designs but customers notice this and many dislike it.
For this reason, I use SPOD for baby onesies. They have great prices and their print areas cover the entire front of the garment.
In terms of designs, it follows the same psychology as t-shirts. Funny and quirky sayings and designs tend to perform best. Designs that make fun of parents also make for great gifts.
Matching mom and baby or dad and baby shirts also make for great gifts. These combo shirts are one exception where parents will actually splash out and be your best customers.
Matching outfits is not so much something that a mom buys for her child but rather something she buys for herself.
The psychology is different.
Matching outfits can be great because you can easily target almost any niche.
2. Baby Blankets
Baby blankets have always been a popular baby gift. I can remember us getting multiple baby blankets as gifts when our kids were born.
Many of them were never even unwrapped and became the ideal re-gifting gifts.
Baby blankets are practical and babies need a lot of them depending on the season and the occasion. It is a safe gift because it almost always has some use.
Blankets have become a staple print on demand product and with sublimation printing it gives you a massive blank canvas to fill with beautiful designs and full colour.
Most of the smaller blankets on offer by the majority of print on demand partners can be used and sold as ‘baby blankets’.
Offering personalization is a must.
Giving customers the option to print a baby’s name (or other personal details) on the blanket gives it a really nice personal touch and adds a lot of value to the product.
With an endless amount of themes and designs you can target specific niches, genders or even nationalities with your design.
3. Crib Sheets
Crib sheets is not your everyday print on demand product and certainly a product that is flying under the radar to some extent.
As a product type it is similar to bed sheets which has become a very popular print on demand product.
The reason why I love crib sheets is because many moms obsess over their baby nurseries. Crib sheets allow you to tap into popular baby nursery themes and if you offer personalization on top of that you have a winner.
Crib sheets are only offered by Gooten. It’s a standard size that fits most cribs. It takes away all the guesswork with sizing and greatly limits returns.
On top of that, it is a sublimation product that covers the entire sheet in full colour.
While Gooten does not offer an integrated personalization feature you can easily do this manually and offer your customers the option to have their own baby name printed on the sheet.
There are so many popular nursery themes that you can tap into. This makes your design work much easier and Pinterest is full of great ideas for potential themes.
You can also target niches that parents are interested in. This makes for great gifts because it makes it easier for friends and family to decide what to buy – just buy something that the parents already love!
4. Baby Bibs
Baby bibs is yet another very popular and very practical baby product that has been around in print on demand for some time.
This most certainly is not a product that parents will buy. It is almost exclusively a gift and with the right design this really can make for a great gift.
Bibs get vomited on, spilled on and washed many multiple times. They rarely last long. Most parents will opt for as silicone bib that can be reused and cleaned easily.
Friends and family however can easily be persuaded to buy a cute or quirky bib design.
Gooten offers sublimation bibs that can print edge-to-edge. I like this much better than the ones from Printful and Printify who only offer a small print area on the front.
You will need to get creative with bib designs. Cute sayings and phrases can work but for the most part it is full colour designs that will perform best.
These bibs can be bought from Target for around $5. Your design needs to add the value. Selling a design that can not be bought in stores and adding personalization can make a big difference in the perceived value.
Gooten offers 3 fabric types but I always just opt for the cheapest ‘heavyweight’ fabric. We are not trying to sell the most practical baby bib with special fabric qualities.
We are essentially only selling the design and having a decent quality is good enough.
5. Baby Beanies
Baby beanies are yet another great baby gift – especially for newborns. This is another ‘safe gift’ to give as it is both practical and very cute.
Baby beanies sell year round – unlike adult beanies. In some climates, newborns wear beanies year round and most moms will have a collection.
Beanies with cute themes are always popular. Personalized beanies with names on them offers yet another great opportunity for personalization.
It is a no fuss product with one-size-fits-all. Gooten offers a sublimated beanie which allows you to print edge-to-edge with a beautiful colourful design that covers the entire beanie.
It’s not cheap, but also not a product that moms would buy themselves. It is almost exclusively a gift and the personalization is really important to help you stand out from the very crowded market.
There are also some funny and quirky designs that can do well to the right audience.
Cards is a huge print on demand product that is still flying under the radar. While you can buy standard cards from almost any shop, we are talking about very targeted and very specific cards.
I am talking about birth announcement cards. Even though the tradition of sending out birth announcement cards has faded it is still extremely popular.
These are basically cards that new parents would send out to friends and family to announce the birth of their child.
This is a very personal product. It usually includes the name and birth details along with a picture of the baby.
With a basic design you can easily offer a few different styles. The real ‘work’ lies in the fact that you will need to customize each and every design manually since there are a lot of variables in each other that require custom photoshop work for each order.
It is well worth it though.
Many of the big print on demand providers offer cards in a number of styles. Teelaunch has the best cards for this purpose.
They have multi-pack options and given the fact that most parents will buy 10 to 20 of these cards in one go, there are many bundling options.
Their designs are great. 10 Cards for $8 with envelopes. You can easily sell a 10-card pack for $24.95.
Your designs need to be on-point though. There’s a lot of competition in this space and general designs simply won’t make you competitive.
Creating designs around popular themes is an important strategy to set you apart. Remember that this is a product that WILL be purchased by moms.
Some popular themes are:
- Seasons (winter and autumn seems very popular)
- Holidays (for Easter babies and Christmas babies)
- Boho and Shabby Chic
- Watercolour designs
- Culture specific (Greek, Italian etc.)
- Unicorns and Llamas (don’t ask me why)
- Rainbow designs
- Gold leaf designs (if you can find someone who can print that)
These cards will be pinned up on the fridges of family and friends for months to come. Grandmas will carry it in their handbags and show all their friends.
If a friend or family member has not sent a gift for the newborn yet then this card will also serve as a gentle reminder.
If you are selling through Shopify then you will need an app that will help you to gather your customers’ information. This will typically be a photo or two and a few lines of text.
Product Options and Customizer is a Shopify app that can do all that for you. It allows you to request a file upload and as many text fields as you need.
You can also make it conditional to make sure your customers actually give all the information needed.
It also keeps the customer data neatly arranged in your order details to make sure you don’t get disorganized or mix up orders.
7. Pictures and Prints
Almost every print on demand partner offers canvases, posters or some sort of print. The reason is simple and that is because they are very popular.
While a canvas or a framed print is NOT a specific print on demand baby product, it most certainly can be.
If you think of the kind of pictures people put up on their walls then it almost always includes pictures of their kids.
Baby pictures serve as precious memories for parents. It is the one baby product where parents will actually spend money. Canvas prints or not cheap and printing a few canvases will set you back a few hundred dollars.
There are a lot of creative ideas you can apply to printing baby and/or family photos on to various products.
Plain canvas prints are obvious but there’s no real value you are adding through your design. Like all print on demand products you have to create the value through your design.
Getting creative with boarders, names and combining pictures with sayings is a great starting point.
Photos are not the only option though. I’ve already alluded to how nursery decoration is a massive market and this is one you can also tap into with canvases and prints.
Cute and themed designs with a personalized element or popular sayings with a personalized element makes for a great addition to any baby nursery.
This is certainly one baby product where moms do splash out and you can tap into this with your own designs. Personalization is the key though.
Customcat is one of the best options for a print on demand partner. Their Shopify app has personalization built into the app which makes it easy for you to do the personalization without additional apps.
What I really like about Customcat is that their personalization engine actually generates a preview of the finished product on the mockup in Shopify. This allows your customers to see what it will look like.
Best of all, you do not have to add any apps or mess with any integration issues.