Seven months ago, I reviewed a number of online print-on-demand services — websites that allow you to put your designs on products and sell them for profit. Other reviews of these print-on-demand websites focused on the ease of use or stylishness of the products being printed upon, but I took a different tack, focusing upon shopkeepers who want to sell items made in factories where workers’ rights are known to be protected. Which websites allow shopkeepers to sell products that are known to be sweat-free, and only products that are known to be sweat free?
Shirtcity. Grade: F: Unacceptable. Shirtcity is so close to being so cool. I mean, check this out: they print on Fair Trade wallets and knit baby caps. How cool is that? What a shame that, as with Zazzle, you can’t seem to limit your sales to non-sweatshop items. No, you have to sell each one of your designs on every Shirtcity product, which includes products made in countries where workers just aren’t treated right. Try again, Shirtcity.
Since then, ShirtCity has taken one big step forward and a mini-step back. With an updated design system, now Shirtcity does allow you to sell items on whatever particular product you specify. This enables shopkeepers to offer only sweatshop-free items. That’s a good development. Sadly (in that mini-step back), some sweat-free items like the Fair Trade wallet I saw before are no longer available, and nearly all the shirts are made by producers that don’t have a documented sweat-free production system. The success of Skreened shows that a profitable print-on-demand shop selling only ethically-made shirts is possible, and I hope that ShirtCity follows Skreened’s example by at least expanding its selection of shirt brands.
But returning to the positive, ShirtCity does offer a few sweat-free products that to the best of my knowledge are unique, including women’s briefs (which I frankly do not get style-wise) and baby hats. Both of these are manufactured by American Apparel. So if you want to get into the unnecessary-fly-underwear and baby hat market without losing sleep over slave wages, here’s your chance!