## What Is Print-on-Demand?

Print-on-demand (POD) is an order fulfillment method where merchandise is printed, created, or designed immediately after an order is placed. This method allows for bespoke orders and merchandise with custom designs. Software developments allow the creation of more products on demand with print-cut-sew or knitting production innovation technologies.

## Production Waste in the Fashion Industry

It is not a secret; humans are wasteful creatures. Automobile exhaust, burning fossil fuels for energy, constant paper usage – we create endless amounts of waste every day, but the fashion industry may be one of the biggest culprits. In recent years, there has been an uptick in corporate social responsibility (CSR), with companies conducting more programs to recycle, repurpose, and upcycle, but it is still not enough.

The fashion industry accounts for 2% of the world’s GDP. The global textile industry is worth nearly $3 trillion, with overall production doubling between 2000 and 2014. 

According to EcoFriendlyHabits, “The average consumer is believed to buy 60% more pieces of garments than they did 15 years ago.” One out of every two people (50%) throws unwanted clothing in the trash rather than donating or recycling. According to Earth.org, roughly 100 million tonnes (one tonne = 1000 kilograms/2204.6 pounds) of textiles are produced each year, and 92 million tonnes of it ends up in landfills. After ending in a landfill, clothing/textiles take years to degrade and emit greenhouse gases during the degradation process. Clothing/production waste is wasteful and harmful to the environment.

## Inventory Issues

Another issue in the fashion industry that contributes to production waste is overproduction. Clothing factories often implement minimum order quantities (MOQs). MOQs can vary from 50 units (minimum/per one order) to 1000 units (minimum/per one order) based on what the customer orders.

Factories use MOQs for two main reasons:

1. The factory also must order minimums from elsewhere. Most clothing factories do not keep every fabric in stock at all times. They must purchase more/less as necessary to fulfill orders and profit, resulting in MOQs for everyone.

2. Other productions may halt. When factories accept customer orders, they may stop production on other orders until finishing the job. This includes creating/grading patterns and changing any necessary machinery, which involves the strength of their staff from start to finish. If the order is not large enough, the profit margin may not warrant the amount of work required. 

A small independent t-shirt company will order between 50-100 units for each SKU (per color/per size/per design) the company plans to release. 

This is already a significant inventory investment only to test the market. Outside of t-shirts, the apparel sampling process could take a few weeks or several months, and launching a new product could take longer if you count the product photo shoots and packaging production time. Additionally, the company still needs to manage the supply chain for online stores (including potential warehousing and shipping issues), which may bring charges and headaches.

## E-Commerce Growth in a Post-Pandemic World

Everyone was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. COVID-19 forced everyone to adopt new habits, and many industries suffered, but e-commerce increased its overall sales worldwide. The e-commerce share of global retail sales was 13.8% in 2019. The share percentage increased to 19.6% in 2021, growing roughly 6% in two years. 

Additionally, COVID-19, mass closures, and social distancing contributed to the emergence of social-commerce and the popularization of dropshipping. This new business model allows influencers, individual sellers, and independent parties to build online businesses without managing product sourcing and supply chain.

## What Is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a form of retail business where the seller accepts customer orders without keeping any physical stock on hand. Instead, as a form of supply chain management, the seller transfers customers’ orders and shipment details directly to the manufacturer, a wholesaler, another retailer, or a fulfillment house and ships the goods directly to the customer. The retailer is still responsible for marketing and selling the product but does not control any product storage, inventory management, or shipping. As a result, dropshipping eliminates the costs of maintaining a warehouse, a brick-and-mortar store, purchasing and storing inventory, and employing almost any staff.

## Print-on-Demand Can Help Companies of All Sizes Launch New Products Faster

The print-on-demand industry grew by 12% from 2017-2020. Since all print-on-demand products are made-to-order, interest in print-on-demand is gaining popularity. Users searched the phrase – print-on-demand – a minimum of 10,000 times per day on Google between March 2020 and August 2020 (and it has not dropped since). According to ComCap, 36% of consumers expect some kind of personalization (on e-commerce websites), and 48% are willing to wait longer for customized products. 

Print-on-demand products can fulfill orders of any size – from a local club soccer team that needs 20-25 jerseys to a regional streetwear brand that needs 1000 t-shirts. Traditional design shops may opt for CAD files and in-person design meetings, but print-on-demand shops often offer online design systems, allowing customers to go from design to production and delivery quickly.

## Print-on-Demand with NovaTomato

NovaTomato and its print-on-demand services address all of the issues mentioned above. NovaTomato is an on-demand fashion platform enabling creators and designers to build their own fashion brands in a sustainable way. NovaTomato offers a range of products, including t-shirts, polo shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets, dresses, skirts, bras, tanks, leggings, pants, shorts, and accessories.

- Sustainability: NovaTomato aims to build premium, sustainable, eco-friendly, made-to-order fashion to reduce production waste and overall impact, using as much recycled fabric and materials as possible throughout its garments and packaging. 

- Faster Time-to-Market: NovaTomato has no minimum order quantities (MOQs). They will fulfill orders for one t-shirt or hoodie if requested. Next, after your customer places an order, NovaTomato handles the production and dropshipping directly to the customer (using your company’s branding). There are no upfront/hidden costs. You do not have to worry about logistics, warehousing, and storing excessive inventory.

- Unique, Premium Apparel: NovaTomato offers a wide range of highly designed activewear, casualwear, and fashion products designed in cooperation with talented fashion designers. Creators can design unique apparel and merchandise using NovaTomato’s online Design Lab by submitting original images/designs, choosing from a vast library of free pre-existing patterns, or using smart designs from the AI pattern generator. NovaTomato guarantees premium products through leading manufacturers working for large retail brands.

- Build Your Brand: NovaTomato’s level of customization on made-to-order apparel (mainly all-over-print and print-cut-sew) is unique to the market, including branding services to add customized wash labels and hang tags for free. NovaTomato has helped sports teams, business people, team building event planners, social media influencers, and more create customized apparel and merchandise for any scenario.

Create, launch, and sell new collections with sustainability, premium quality, creativity, and faster time-to-market with NovaTomato!