As an artist looking to make lithographs and prints available to my customers, I found myself searching online for drop ship vendors who can deliver quality, cost-effective products. In the past I used RedBubble, but deemed it inadequate as they do not share customer order information with the artists. This is an issue as I want to engage my audience as new works are made available. I turned to Printful.com as they integrate nicely with WooCommerce and allow me to see the contact information of the customers who purchased my products. Win-win! Not so much.
Printful allows you to create sample orders at a deep discount. This allows the artist to get an idea of how their customers would receive their orders. This is a fantastic idea, but the quality of the product shipped was another story. Mind you, I am only focusing on the heavy paper prints and canvas reproduction available on their site.
First off, the heavy paper prints are nice and meet my overall quality standards. My biggest gripe is that the larger prints are all rolled, meaning when they are delivered to my customer they will have to unroll the print for framing. Not a huge deal if they decide to have a professional art house frame the art, but may be frustrating to those who are geared to a DIY approach.
Second, the canvas prints are atrocious, in my opinion. The biggest issue I have with them is that you must provide full bleed in order to fill the entire canvas surface. My initial goal was to have the artwork be properly represented by showing the art on the front surface of the canvas. I used their sizing tool to place the work to fit perfectly in their 16″ x 16″ product. When it arrived I noticed there was a white border around the art and my measurements show the canvas itself is slightly larger than the intended surface size. I contacted support and their response was that the artwork should have a bleed over the edges. However, the bleed effect will carry over to the sides of the canvas, making an unsightly edge where part of the image is seen.
The canvas prints are also not pulled tight. The sagging and drooping canvas is quite disappointing and would actually remedy my ‘bleed issue’ noted above if the person responsible for stretching the canvas actually pulled the canvas tight. It would seem the folks who work in the Printful warehouse are not well equipped to stretch canvas for artists, leaving us with a half-baked, low quality product.
Terrible Customer Service
If you have read through the terms of service for Printful you already know they will not provide customer support for your customers directly. It appears their customer support will not support you, the artist, either. I had a shipment of five prints that were being delivered to the wrong address. I called Printful support and spoke to Renata, who said she would try to track down the package and stop it from being shipped. She assured me I would be called back as soon as possible. That phone call never happened and the shipment was picked up by FedEx to be delivered. I called again and spoke to Jeremiah who assured me that FedEx was to change the shipping address on my behalf. This proved to be flat-out false as the prints are still being delivered to the wrong address. My experience with their customer service leaves much to be desired as not only was I lied to, but I was lied to twice by two different agents.
Printful CEO: Now it makes sense
Out of desperation I decided to contact the CEO of Printful, Davis Siksnans. Explaining my circumstances and asking for an appropriate remedy, I pleaded that as an artist I cannot have my art represented by poor customer service and low quality product. I do like the heavy paper product they offer and the fact that it integrates with my website seamlessly. However, their customer service and canvas print product quality leaves much to be desired. After several days I still await his response. But now it makes sense. Printful is a startup with glaring leadership issues. As you can see 51% would recommend working their to friends and only 61% approve of their CEO. It is clear to me that their corporate culture affects their customer service (or lack thereof). If a CEO cannot respond to a valid customer complain (or at least delegate a response) who can he expect his employees to take pride in their work?
If you are an artist looking for a good drop ship company to handle your printed artwork, look elsewhere. My experiences with this company is nothing short of a failure. Customer support does not take pride in assisting their customers, appearing to flat out lie to us in order to achieve a ‘resolution’. Their CEO does not appear to be engaged enough to even offer an explanation or acknowledge gaps in their products and support. Do yourself a favor and try somewhere else if you want your artwork to be properly represented.
In the interim I will be looking for another local giclee printer and start to build a relationship with them. Sure it will be a bit more work on my part, but the love I put into my art deserves better than what Printful can do.
I just left a scathing 1 star review, but all reviews are subject to approval. Let’s give them a few days to see if their 5 star rating remains or if they approve my review.
It appears Printful didn’t like my review, as it has been removed. If find these types of edits quite deceiving. How many other negative reviews were removed?