How to Start a Mug Printing Business

There is hardly anyone who doesn’t prefer drinking a beverage at least once a day. And what if you get to see a beautiful quote, an image, or your old photo on your mug every morning you pick it up?

Demand for mugs is perennial, and that’s what makes it a lucrative business. If you are also looking to starat an online business, mug printing can be the best idea for you.

However, many first-time entrepreneurs find it challenging to get people to buy mugs from them, as mugs are everywhere, from Amazon to local stores.

Hence, if you want to start a mug printing business, you need to develop a strategy that helps your business reach the right customers and grow.

To assist you with your mug printing business plan, we have prepared this detailed guide covering everything from choosing a print method to ways to sell more.

How to start a mug printing business – A quick outline

Selling Personalized Mugs: A Profitable Idea That Works

One of the most significant factors contributing to the increase of personalized mugs is the growth of the personalized gift industry. The industry is evolving every day owing to the ever-advancing digital technology.

The personalized gifts market size in the world is expected to reach a value of USD 44580 million, at a CAGR of 6.7% by 2028.

This implies that personalized mug printing can open up a lot of business opportunities for you. Custom printed mugs can be used as:

  • Corporate gifts for employees and vendors
  • Birthday gifts for friends and family members
  • Wedding gifts, etc.

Further, you can enable your customers to design their mugs by adding logos, taglines, images, etc. This won’t only keep your customers engaged but also contribute to increasing your brand awareness. Another helpful strategy is to use UCAAS platform to ensure active customer engagement.

An example of a company doing great with customizable mugs is 365Canvas. The company provides a wide range of photo gifts, including canvas prints, mugs, pillows, etc. What sets them apart from competitors is a personalization tool. Because of this, they were able to build a successful customer base of 2,00,000 people.

Using the tool, shoppers can add a personal touch to their gifts by adding names, images, messages, etc.

Differentiate Your Brand

(Product Customization to Differentiate Your Brand from The Rest)

Now, let’s start with how you can launch your mug printing business successfully.

Define Your Goals with a Business Plan

Define Your Goals with a Business Plan

No matter what business you want to start, proper planning is the first and foremost requirement. You must understand and define your goals clearly and consider your spending limits. Properly defined goals and a clear budget estimate are the two cornerstones of a well-thought plan.

The easiest way to get started to pen your business plan is:

  1. Make a list of things you are good at. For example, marketing, managing finances of the business, etc. Once you are clear about what you know, it will help you understand how many people you will need to hire for your business. The reason is simple: Without a well-versed team, you can’t build a business.
  2. The second step is to decide whether you want a physical store, or an online store.Pro tip: It can be easy to launch your business online because you do not have to manage physical spaces, etc.
  3. The next step is to finalize all the legal formalities (something that you will have to figure out on your own).

So, this was just a small checklist of how you can plan to start a mug printing business.

If you are still not clear on whether to start your business online/offline or both, you can review how people love to buy a LOT of mugs when they are personalized.

So, meanwhile, you prepare your business plan, review what’s trending in the Mug printing industry right now!


Choose the Right Type of Mug

Choose the Right Type of Mug

There are several varieties available in the market you can choose from.

  • Coffee Mug – In the entire mug printing industry, a coffee mug is the most prominent and demanded one. You can always sell custom printed coffee mugs without a second thought.
  • Ceramic Mug – A ceramic mug is resistant to high temperatures and easy-to-clean. As it retains heat better, it is very suitable for hot beverages like coffee, tea, or even hot chocolate, etc.
  • Transparent Mug – Generally made of glass, a transparent mug is highly innovative and very suitable for cold beverages like juice, soft drinks, cold coffee, etc. and people love putting designs on transparent surfaces.
  • Pottery Mug – People who love handmade items often prefer pottery or earthen mugs. They not only look beautiful but are also environment-friendly due to being easily decomposable.
  • Sport Mug – A sport-themed mug is a great choice for people who love sports.
  • Travel Mug – A travel mug is suitable for long-distance travelers like bikers who prefer carrying hot or cold beverages along.
  • Stainless Steel Mug – A stainless steel mug, as the name suggests, is resistant to corrosion and rusting and ideal for carrying beverages in humid climates.
  • Magic Mugs– As the name suggests, when a hot liquid is poured into the mug, the color of the mug changes. This is because they are designed using thermochromic ink – a heat-sensitive paint.

You can pick one, two, or more variants as per your target customers and budget estimation.

Sell More Customizable Mugs with Product Designer Tool

No matter what type of mug you sell, you can cater to each shopper’s individual needs with an online product design software. Brush Your Ideas Product Design Software can be an ideal option for you as it has:

Customizable Mugs

(Sell More Customizable Mugs with Brush Your Ideas Designer Tool)

  • Text features including custom font manager, add quotes option, customizable text, and messages, etc.
  • Image features including image edit effects, personal image upload, and more.
  • Clipart Manager including 10,000+ customizable clipart, smart search, SVG support, etc.
  • Object Handling including object Handlers, object Grouping and positioning, etc.
  • Image Preview for shoppers to see their designs before placing an order.

And other cutting-edge features like these make our online design tool highly valuable.

How to print on a mug in the lowest turnaround time using the Product Design Tool

  1. Users can select a Mug from the Product Analog and start designing by either selecting a template already available in the tool or making it from scratch.
  2. They can customize the mug using creative and easy-to-use features. They can also upload any image or font of their choice.
  3. After customizing, they can preview the final design or share it on social media to get feedback. With the dynamic pricing feature, they get the live pricing for the Mug to place an order. As they place the order, you will instantly receive a print-ready pdf.
  4. Then you have to print the artwork on a transfer paper sized for common mug sizes. The size 3.5″ x 9.125″ is mostly used for 11 oz mugs and 4″ x 9.5″ for 15 oz mugs. You can use special Dye-Sublimation inks for better printing quality.
  5. Before wrapping the paper around the mug, make sure to preheat the mug for a consistent transfer. Now place the paper tightly against the mug surface.
  6. Put the mug inside the heat press and set the right temperature. For example, to print on a ceramic mug, medium press the mug for 150-210 seconds at a temperature of 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. As the heat is applied, the image becomes part of the mug.
  7. Put the mug in a cooling rack for a few minutes and done. It is ready to deliver.

Why don’t you try for yourself and see how the tool works!


Choose the Right Printing Method

Choose the Right Printing Method

Apart from these, you will also need additional equipment. However, their selection depends on the method of printing you select. Below are various printing methods available and their processes.

1. Direct Screen Coffee Mug Printing

In this method, the ink passes through a screen or a mesh. The printer applies a stencil to the stretched mesh. The little holes present in the stencil shape the final image on the mug.

If you are thinking of creating simple designs on earthenware or bone china mugs, direct screen printing can be a suitable option. It is also suitable for smaller designs and those who don’t want too many overlapping colors or an extensive image.

It creates simplistic designs making it a great option for a low-budget business.

2. Transfer or Litho Printing Custom Mug Printing

Transfer printing, also referred to as litho printing, is an age-old printing method. It is mainly useful for putting a print on ceramic or bone china mugs. Basically, a printer paints an image or design on a special paper and cover-coats it on the mug. Post coating, the print is transferred into a water slide transfer. The printer applies it manually on the drinkware. Though slower and more labor-intensive than direct screen printing, it supports a wide range of colors. It is suitable for promotional mugs with average to large surface areas to print on.

3. Digital Photo Mug Printing

Digital printing is a process where a printer prints an image or design directly on a specially coated paper. It also uses a waterslide transfer to apply the image to the substrate. It helps create the full-colour and permanent look and it is this feature that makes it an excellent method for high-quality texts or images.

This technique is generally ideal for printing a photo or cartoon image on earthenware, pottery, or bone china mugs.

4. Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye Sublimation Printing is one of the best methods that offers crystal-clear images with vibrant colors. The reason behind it is that it uses organic color dyes and uses heat transfer to ink the desired artwork on the mug. This makes the design look brand new for prolonged periods.

More suitable for promotional mugs that need accurate color photographic reproduction, it also results in shiny output and is environment-friendly as it doesn’t require harmful substances like Cadmium or Lead.

Next, you also need to decide on mug printing equipment. Though the equipment you need to print on mugs depends on the printing method you pick, a few common equipment that you will need in almost all types of mug printing business are as below.

  • A computer (PC or Mac)
  • Design Program
  • Heat Press
  • Readymade/Handmade Mugs
  • Heat transfer paper

Build an Online Store at Minimum Cost

Before you take your business online, you need to get your business registered to not face any legal problems in the future. You can get in touch with your lawyer to get the details about permits and licenses you need

To take your business online, first, you need to choose an ecommerce platform that fits your needs and budget. Consider factors such as pricing and customization options.

Creating your online store on your own can be challenging, so why not get expert help?

At Brush Your Ideas, we have over a decade of experience helping startups go online.

With our expertise, we can create a tailor-made store that’s not only easy on the eyes but also performs like a champ.

We’ll make sure it works like a charm on any device (this also helps with SEO, by the way), so your business gets the visibility it deserves.

We can also integrate various payment methods, let you decide on a theme, provide multilingual support, and let you personalize it to your heart’s content. And with our constant maintenance and support, your magic mug sales will be smooth sailing all the way!

Let’s stir things up together and make your mug business a sip-cess!

Stand Out with Customization

There is an additional advantage you can get while selling custom mugs online. That advantage is – offering customers the freedom to create designs of their own choice through a mug design tool that you can integrate into your store.

Stand Out with Customization

Because, as per Invesp, 59% of marketers are getting a good ROI after offering the product personalization facility.

With this tool, your customers can add their name, photos, clipart, and even pick their favorite colors.

And don’t worry, even non-tech-savvy folks can design their perfect mug with our pre-designed templates and thousands of options!

There is something for you (as well).

As a business owner, you get complete control over the backend of the tool.

Set custom pricing, manage printing methods, and more. We understand your business needs and offer complete customization of our tool to match your requirements.

Give your business an extra boost with customized mugs! Stand out from the crowd and create the ultimate personalized mug experience for your customers.

Decide Your Business Model

If you have a huge capital reserve, you can follow the traditional way of starting an eCommerce business. Here, you carry out all your operations – from procuring raw materials, to manufacturing, packaging, and dispatching products. However, if you don’t have a huge capital reserve, you can arrange cost-effective alternative methods.

For instance, if you start a dropshipping business.

Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping will help you save on delivery expenses and handle all order return or replacement requests.

Market Your Mug Printing Business

Before discussing marketing strategies, it is important to highlight the need for having a good website design and functionality to create the best first impression.

Your site is the first interface between you and your customers. You would want it to be user-friendly and as interactive as possible. You can do so by adding high-quality product visuals, a seamless checkout, fast page loading speed, easy navigation, and more. You can also promote your discounts and offers on your site.

To market mug printing business, consider the following digital marketing channels.

Digital Marketing Channels

1. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is all about promoting your business on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. through your official pages.

Pro Tip – If you are not sure which social media platform(s) to start with, you can always research more about your business type and which social media platform(s) would suit it.

For example, your mug printing business is a business that can attract individual customers looking for artistic mugs or companies looking for corporate custom mugs for gifts to their clients or employees. This makes this business suitable for platforms that have both types of audiences – formal and casual.

In the case of your mug printing business, Instagram and Facebook can work as they have both – formal and informal audiences, unlike LinkedIn which is more suitable for only formal audiences. If you would like to promote your product on Instagram and Facebook you can create social media posts with eye-catching images and videos using an online video editor like or Video Editor by Movavi. This tool offers a wide range of customization options to help you create engaging content that resonates with your target audience.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Your website is like your ‘customer representative’. Without ensuring that your mug printing business shows up in search results, you can’t think of gaining much from your website/store. To show your online presence to a wider range of audience, you must focus on SEO techniques to rank your site high.

You can try out a combination of SEO techniques and find out which ones work best for you.

A few general SEO strategies include

  • Optimizing your site content with proper keywords,
  • Ensuring your website loading speed is optimum,
  • Ensuring your website is fully responsive across all devices and screen sizes, etc.

3. Paid Marketing

Search engine marketing is always a go-to option for better results in longer durations. If you think you can afford to invest in paid ads, you can go for it and increase awareness about your brand faster and more easily.

4. Email Marketing

Though conventional, email marketing is always a great option to connect with individual customers on a personal level and customize your products as per their preferences and needs.

Surveys like a post-purchase survey, satisfaction survey, or post-complaint resolution survey in emails don’t only help engage your customers but also know what they think. Accordingly, you can re-strategize your business plans or products or strengthen your revenue generation strategies.

At Brush Your Ideas, we assist businesses in building and growing their online stores with ready-to-launch Web to Print Store. Know more about the features and functionality of the solution by clicking the link below!


Ready to Print and Sell Custom Print Mugs?

If you have that flair for creativity and want to strike gold with a business, a mug printing business can be a good idea. With a few well-thought steps, you can easily launch your mug printing business and start making profits speedily.

Looking for an online web-to-print storefront solution with a product customization tool for your online mug printing business? Brush Your Ideas is the one-stop solution. For 14+ years, we have been helping businesses in the print and eCommerce industry with our web-to-print solutions. It includes a designer tool and various print ERP solutions that help you streamline your business operations.

Let’s assist you in building a successful mug printing business with Web to Print Solution. Get your store ready in very less time! Drop us a message, and our team will be in touch with you with a personalized tour of our solution

All product and company names are trademarks™, registered® or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Hiral Thaker

Hiral Thaker

Hiral is an Art of Living volunteer, IamRemarkable Facilitator, tech community enthusiast and loves talking about Google. Coming from an engineering background, she took up writing because she wants to contribute to making “Technology an Equalizer”. Hiral likes reading self-help books to know about other people’s stories and this gives her insight into creating stories about tech. You can often find her grooving to Taylor Swift or Kpop music. Her best writing is done on waffle energy! 

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