How to Start a Custom Pillow Printing Business

How to Start a Custom Pillow Printing Business

Aug 28th, 2020

A few years back, digital technology wasn’t advanced and easily accessible. As it evolved with path-breaking innovations, a plethora of trends saw the daylight.

One such sector that witnessed a flood of advancements was eCommerce. One of the trends that became the talk of the town was product personalization.

Unlike earlier when only a few big businesses were aware about product personalization, it has become “inevitably” popular today.

Rising to the occasion, a number of online businesses started offering customization of products.

If you have a knack for creativity, a pillow cover business can be a good choice for you. In fact, the global pillow market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 4.0% during 2021-2026.

To stand out among competitors, you can also include making customizable pillows as a part of your pillow cover business plan.

Custom pillows won’t only add an edge to your business but also make you stand out. However, selling customization requires creativity and technology both.

So, let’s walk you through the guide to kickstart your custom pillow cover business and soar heights of success.

Here’s what we’ve covered in this post:

Create a Business Plan

A robust and well-thought business plan is a must for success. Therefore, before you venture into the pillow cover business, you should consider a few points.

To start with, decide whether you want this pillow cover business to be full-fledged, part-time, or just as a hobby. You may also need to think how much you can invest to start your pillow cover business and afford losses (if any).

Also consider designs, sizes, and price ranges that you would offer as your business expands. Alternatively, you can go for only a fixed design or two but make yourself the “masters” of those designs.

Also speculate about the possibilities in the future. For instance, if you succeed in maintaining good ROI over a few years, what would you do? Would you still sell only custom pillows or expand your pillow cover business to include other items like blankets, mats, etc.?

All these considerations together will help you have a success-driven business plan.

Understand the Market

When out in a battle, you must be watchful of your competition!

Though metaphorically, this statement applies in any business – the pillow business too! There may be several competitors out there selling hand-made or readymade decorative pillows. Let’s see how.

Hence, observing them, checking out their offerings, designs, prices, and marketing strategies is of utmost importance. Only when you have a full idea of what your competitors have to offer and how they cater to customers’ current demands and expectations; you can get the hang of the market trends.

Pillow Market Key Trends

1. Rise in demand for smart pillows

There is an increase in demand for smart pillows owing to rising sleeping disorders. The global smart pillow market size is expected to reach USD 4.3 billion by 2025.

These pillows help improve the quality of sleep by eliminating snoring and also personalizing sleep playlists. Like smartwatches, a smart pillow can track, record, and rate your sleep quality.

Example: A French start-up called Moona created a machine learning smart pillow pad that can always stay cold. Customers can enjoy the cool side of the pillow without having to wake up and flip it.

demand for smart pillows

(Image Source)

2. Ergonomic pillow designs

There is a rising demand for seat cushions and neck pillows that help when sitting for long hours at a work desk. Ergonomic seat cushion designs offer support and thus help in sitting in a better posture.

Example: This U-shaped ergonomic cushion offers comfort and improves sitting posture. If you want to start a pillow business, such office seat cushions can be a great product idea.

Ergonomic pillow designs

(Image Source)

3. Outdoor and Family Throw Pillows

Family throw pillows are custom pillows with family quotes, images, etc. Outdoor pillows are specifically for patio and outdoor sitting. Both these types have a growing popularity.

Both outdoor and family throw pillows have high competition. For higher profits, consider choosing a niche like pillows only for porch swings, pillows made of recycled materials, etc.

Family Throw Pillows

(Outdoor pillows and Custom Pillows in Trend Right Now)

4. Bohemian decorative pillows

Boho style originated some 40-50 years ago but is still predominant in today’s homes. Boho design is all about combining new and old design elements and adding loud colors. Boho decorative pillows are in vogue these days. Starting a business in this space is sure to get you the attention of thousands of vintage boho fans out there.

Bohemian decorative pillows

(Image Source)

5. Customizable Pillows

Allowing your shoppers to add a personal touch to your products will surely make you their favorite. You can sell pillows with an added USP of product customization. Just the way companies like Shutterfly enable their customers to design their pillows, you can, too, using a product designer tool.

Customizable Pillows

(Let Your Customers Design Their Pillows)


Calculate Estimated Budget

Money is a primary deciding factor in any business performance. Get a full picture of all the investments you would need to make in advance. It will save unprecedented issues in the future after you launch your pillow business.

For pillow printing, you need to consider a number of things to calculate the estimated costs.

1. Mode of Business

The very first factor to consider is the mode of your pillow business. Would you keep your business online, offline, or hybrid? I suggest going for an online store first to minimize overhead costs and expanding to offline mode later as per needs. Most of the start-ups generally follow this practice as it is cost-friendly and safer.

2. Cost of Materials, Equipment, and Supplies

Calculate the cost of raw materials you would need for manufacturing like blank pillows, printing equipment, packaging material, etc. Your printing equipment will also depend on the printing methods you will use to print on pillows.

Some printing methods like dye sublimation may need special equipment and cost more than some others. Contact your nearby wholesale suppliers who deal in these raw materials and settle for a reasonable bulk price.

3. Shipment Costs

Coming to shipment of final products, choose a popular shipment partner worth relying upon to ensure streamlined deliveries. There are a few popular names like FedEx, AusPost, Royal Mail, etc. that you can consider for shipment.

You can also pick a local delivery partner in the initial phase when you don’t ship internationally. However, before you choose a shipment partner, ensure that it has a good and proven track record of its delivery services.

4. Cost of Resources and Promotion

Consider the costs of labor and resources you employ for various operations while calculating your estimated budget. Also estimate the marketing and advertising budget you would set aside for promotion of your pillow business.

Advertising and marketing budget to promote your pillow business is a must to estimate in advance as you need it on a regular basis. To start with, you can focus on organic SEM strategies ideally.

As your traffic and sales start growing, you can expand to the other capital-intensive marketing strategies. They can be paid advertising, display advertising, influencer marketing, etc.

Sum up all these costs to arrive at your total estimated start-up budget. To help you better understand your start-up costs for various aspects, we are right there for you.

Our strategy consultants who can help you segregate your start-up costs based on your investment potential. This way, you can get the best store set up for you at the best feasible costs to suit you.

So, why wait? Get in touch with our industry experts right away to get the best advice for your business.


Decide on Places to Sell Your Products

Where to sell is a valuable consideration to make. This is because it influences other aspects like business licenses you need and products you can offer.

You have a lot of options when it comes to deciding on the places to sell. You can sell your decorative pillows and cushions directly to customers from your online store (your own print website).

There are some other ways too that you can use in addition to your website. You can also partner with local interior designers to create tailored pieces specifically for their projects.

One more option is associating with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, to sell your products on their sites and grow your pillow business.

While you can think of a place or two to sell your pillows; you can diversify your places to sell further. For instance, you can also collaborate with local boutiques, showrooms and garments stores. There, you can display the best samples to a larger audience and get their traction.

You can also go for community events where you can rent a booth and put your samples on display. When people find them good and attractive, they can buy them from you. So, think well before you do that!

However, taking these steps can be a bit costlier. The reason is the high charges a boutique owner may ask for to allow for your product display. Similarly, you may need a good amount to rent a booth in such community events.

While building a website from scratch may be cumbersome and costly for startups, you can always go for a web-to-print storefront. A web-to-print storefront can help you launch your site at minimal costs and you can start making profits in a short span.

Our Brush Your Ideas team has developed a SaaS-based W2P storefront solution that can help start your print business in no time. You can get all front-end, back-end, payment and security features, and domain and hosting services on top.

Here’s a glimpse of a product page form our web-to-print storefront demo link. Claim your free demo to explore more features.

web-to-print storefront demo


Types and Designs to Sell

Types and Designs to Sell

Deciding on the types of cushion designs plays a great role in hitting the right chord with customers. Before starting your pillow business, analyze your competitors’ types and designs. Research the in-trend pillow designs. Accordingly, you can decide what to sell. With the right cushion material with the right design, you can hit the mark easily and speedily.

If you intend to sell ready-made pillows as a base and create only decorative covers, you may face certain limitations of sizes and shapes available. may face a restriction in the sizes and shapes available for you. But it can save your time as you don’t have to sew them manually.

Instead, if you think you intend to sell hand-made pillows – you can get virtually any size and shape you want. As you only are manufacturing them! Further, you can also try out selling eco-friendly covers filled with plastic beads, bamboo, organic cotton, etc. The only thing is – you may need to spend more on manufacturing hand-made pillows.

Why Custom Covers Are an Ideal Choice

If you can’t spend much and want to start with minimum investment, selling a factory-made pillow with custom covers can be an ideal choice. Moreover, you can take your business to the next level by giving the customers freedom to customize their pillows themselves. Surprised? Well – it is possible today.

Through an online product designer tool that you can integrate with your store.

There are a number of online product design tools available today that you can choose from.

Our Brush Your Ideas Product Design Software is also an online product design tool that you can integrate. Talking of text features, it offers font manager, quotes, custom text and messages, Coming to image features, it offers edit effects, personal image upload, watermarking, etc.

Moreover, it offers a clipart manager, including a free clipart library, clipart customization, smart search, SVG support, and object handling features that include object handlers, layer management, object grouping, positioning, etc.

Pillows With Product Customization

(Sell More Pillows With Product Customization)

Summing up, it’s got all the cutting-edge text features you seek to offer varied engaging customization options. As a business owner, you get a powerful backend where you can modify the tool’s functionalities as per your needs.

Tell us your project requirements, and we will conduct a personalized demo for your pillow business.


Tips to Choose Material (Fabric)

When starting a pillow business, choosing the right fabric is a must. Not all fabrics can suit pillow printing. So, the very first thing to consider is the strength of the fabric. Choose the fabric that can withstand the pressure of someone sitting on it and doesn’t tear apart.

Next comes the fade resistance. Ensure that your fabric is resistant to fading over time. Otherwise, the design on the pillow will fade over several washings and the beauty of the printed design will go away. In general, woven acrylic fabrics are more resistant to fading and have high longevity.

The third factor is water resistance or repellence. If you include selling pillows and cushions for outside purposes, use outdoor fabrics for your pillows. Outdoor fabrics come with protective coating that makes the pillow resist water, moisture, mold, and mildew.

Also consider cleanability code. Some fabrics come with Microban that guards the fibers against stain and odor-causing bacteria. Pick these fabrics – especially for outdoor-purpose cushions and pillows.

Choose Printing Methods

There are several common printing methods for custom pillow cover business. Here are a few common ones.

1. Stamp Printing

Stamp printing uses a stamp to imprint onto the pillow fabric. First, you cut the design into the stamp and dip it into the ink. Following it, you’ll need to apply even pressure to transfer your design onto the textile.

It is a traditional method that you can use for small print runs and without machines. The major drawback is that it doesn’t suit more intricate designs and the quality is inconsistent.

2. Transfer Printing

Transfer printing uses a transfer paper to print your design onto it and transfer it the fabric using a conventional, household steam iron. While this method is great for short runs and requires no special equipment, it has some downsides too. First, you cannot get high-resolution prints with it. Second, it is more prone to cracks, peels, and fades.


Related Read: Why Digital Textile Printing + Web-to-print is Perfect for Printing Businesses


3. Screen Printing

Screen printing is a more professional printing method that uses a stencil and nylon mesh to print designs. A waterproof material blocks out the spaces to print the design on and then you flood those blocked out spaces with ink.

Though you can use only color per screen, it still produces fantastic replications. Feasible only for large runs, it produces long-lasting designs.

4. Dye Sublimation

Dye Sublimation employs a thermal transfer paper you print designs on. You use this paper then to transfer the design onto the fabric. Under both heat and pressure, ink changes into gas and bonds permanently with the fabric.

It helps in producing amazing replications, is eco-friendly, and ideal for all size print runs. The drawback is its high cost due to special equipment and sublimation dyes and non-usability on natural fabrics.

Launch Your Online Store

If you are done with all preparations, it is time to launch your online pillow business. For that, you will need to build a site where you can sell all your products. Again, there are two ways to do that.

Go for the traditional method of buying a domain, hosting provider (or e-commerce platform), hiring a developer, and getting your site ready. This method may sound exciting but can be costly and cumbersome – especially if you have no prior experience in online pillow business.

The other way is to launch a customizable web-to-print solution. So, invest less, grow more!

If you want to know in detail how our storefront solution can help kickstart your pillow business, we’ll be pleased to guide you through.


Market Your Pillow Business Well

Once you launch your pillow business, the next important step is to market it well. You can focus on organic search engine marketing strategies, email marketing, paid marketing, display advertising, etc.

You can also sell your products outside your store on various e-commerce giants like Amazon, Etsy, eBay to make the audience notice your brand.

Instagram is a Great Platform for Pillow Business

While all the social media sites are great for marketing and engagement, Instagram marketing has emerged as a viable marketing option of late.

In fact, 39% of people admit they take more interest in a brand or product after they see it on Instagram Stories. Especially for creative businesses like a pillow business, home decor business, etc.; Instagram can go a long way towards engaging modern-day audiences.

So, set up a business page and profile on Instagram. Note that you must have an active Facebook page prior to that. Keep posting regular updates, new launches and additions, discounts and offers, etc. on your page.

Keep a balance between promotional content and non-promotional content. Apart from sharing about your products, you can post industry-relevant content like tips for home decor, the latest trends or information, etc. For instance, CoopHomeGoods keep sharing such tips and advice on their profile.

Relevant Content on Instagram

(Share Relevant Content on Instagram, and Take Advantage of #s to Reach More People)

Amidst a sea of brands marketing their products on Instagram, you would want to establish your brand as authentic and trustworthy. That’s where reviews help. Sharing customer reviews will help in building customer loyalty and increase the chances of repeat business.

Build Customer Loyalty

(Reviews to Build Customer Loyalty)

Though stories disappear after 24 hours, you can highlight them on your profile for new visitors.

Highlight Important Stories

(Highlight Important Stories on Your Profile)

You can also set up your Ads manager, choose your ad objective, target audience, ad format, and publish the ad. You can also promote your previous posts for better outreach and traffic.

If you want to get tips on how to market your pillow cover business, we can help you out. Our Brush Your Ideas has a pool of seasoned industry experts who can help set up your online pillow business in no time.

Our marketing consultants can help you choose the right promotional strategies and take off your business in no time.

You can book a consultation with our industry experts. We assure you that our consultation will give you in-depth knowledge and best industry tips for your pillow business.

So, don’t wait any further and book your consultation with us right away.


Ready to Cash In On the Creative Opportunity of Pillow Business?

To venture into pillow cover business requires the creative mindset, right technology, and marketing strategies. We have got you covered on all three fronts. Your creativity, our technology, and mutually planned marketing strategies – the trio can be a great start for you.

We, at Brush Your Ideas, have got 15+ years of experience in tech integrations. In addition to that, we have been instrumental in helping small businesses launch their stores, promote them, and offer customization to their customers for over 4 years.

With a great track record of over 80% customers retained, you can stay assured of your success. We are there with you at the beginning and ahead when your business takes off.

Our web-to-print storefront solution can grow as you grow. It is a scalable custom-made solution you can add more advanced features to as your business expands. You can launch your site with minimum investment and enhance it as your business expands. Coming to us, we are there by your side right now and will stay with you in your journey ahead.

To know more about our ready-to-launch web-to-print storefront and integrate it, book a personalized demo with us.

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.

Yesha Bhatt

Yesha Bhatt

Yesha Bhatt is a literature major who strongly believes in the mighty power of words. She recently made the jump from being a student to a professional by joining Biztech as a Content Writer. Her aim is to make tech easier for our readers to understand while she herself takes a journey into this mystic would of bits. Apart from writing and binge-reading, she is passionate about women's issues and history and mostly hangs around on Twitter making sensible points about women's issues and Indian politics.

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