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Garry On Becoming A Printify Entrepreneur After Retirement

Garry On Becoming A Printify Entrepreneur After Retirement

As part of our Success Stories series, we’ve heard dozens of inspiring tales from people who left the 9-to-5 grind behind to create a profitable POD business.

Meet Garry from Ohio, who did exactly that. After a long stint in a very dynamic career, Garry wasn’t ready to hang up the towel during retirement and needed an outlet for his creative energy.

We’ll hear how Garry mastered POD and the Etsy platform and learn the tricks and tools he used to become a top-rated seller, including using Printify’s custom packaging inserts to build a lasting connection with his customers.

“I’m 71 years old and retired from my job in June 2019. I worked for 50 years as an athletic trainer and professor in the field of sports medicine. 

I primarily worked at a small university in Cleveland, Ohio. I was part of a team that included physicians, and throughout the academic year, we’d provide physio and take care of over 1,000 athletes competing in 25 different sports.”

Garry On Becoming a Printify Entrepreneur After Retirement 1

How’s Retirement After Such a Fast-Paced Exciting Career?

“My university job involved attending plenty of athletic events, and certainly wasn’t 9-to-5, so it was hard for me to simply put the brakes on. As soon as I retired, I tried a few part-time jobs to help me during retirement and to keep active.

I had to direct my energy into something new.

I’ve always been a keen swimmer, and so I first took a side job as a lifeguard. However, I’d had surgery on my back, and I also have a bad knee, so I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to carry on working in a physically demanding job.

At that point, I began searching for other ideas to make a little extra money and inevitably found Print on Demand via Instagram and YouTube. I took a few months to investigate whether it was a viable business idea and slowly started from there.”

What Did That Initial Etsy Journey Look Like?

“I started with an Etsy store around August 2023 but didn’t really get going until September and the holiday season around Halloween. 

I had plenty of free time, so I worked hard for around three hours most mornings, figuring out how to make the designs and what products I could sell. 

It was challenging, but as an ex-professor, I found it enjoyable to learn something new, and it was especially rewarding when my store took off.”

What was the Moment You Realized You’d Created a Business?

“I remember in the beginning, I didn’t even tell my wife what I was doing. She’d see me on the computer and ask what I was working on, and I’d reply, ‘Oh, I’m just researching how to sell t-shirts.’ 

One night, when my phone was sitting by my bedside, the Etsy cha-ching notification kept going off, meaning I’d made multiple sales and my store had really started to take off during the holidays.

At that point, I had to explain why I was getting so many notifications throughout the night. Eventually, after I had gotten so busy that I became a top seller, I had to put my phone on silent. 

As the holidays progressed, I almost couldn’t keep up with the demand.”

I Bet Your Wife Was Pretty Impressed With Your Progress

I Bet Your Wife Was Pretty Impressed With Your Progress

“Absolutely. She loved the fact that we had a lot more money over the Christmas period to spend on gifts and has since spread the word about what I’m doing to everyone we know. 

A few of my friends have now become interested in Print on Demand and have begun asking for my advice. Even my neighbor has suggested a few ideas for new t-shirt designs.”

What Other Items Do You Sell on Etsy?

“T-shirts have been my main focus, but I did sell a few ornaments over the Christmas period

I’ve also had a lot of success recently selling blankets for pets, as well as stickers and mugs

I think that I’ll be focusing more on personalized items next. I wasn’t confident I could handle that kind of product when I first started out, but I’ll definitely be ready with more designs for the next holiday season.”

Let’s Talk Packaging Inserts, How Has Your Experience Been?

“My packaging inserts typically have my store logo in a script-style font and a short message thanking the customer for supporting a small business owner

I’ll also include the URL of my Etsy store, and I’ve even tried adding discount codes to encourage repeat sales.

I think as a marketing exercise, packaging inserts have really improved my positive reviews – and because I include my name on them, it also lets people know I’m a real person, and they can reach out to me if they have a problem.”

Garry On Becoming a Printify Entrepreneur After Retirement 2

So It’s Fair To Say They’ve Been an Effective Marketing Tool?

I definitely think they’ve helped me make more sales. 

The packaging inserts are also very inexpensive for such a personable and effective piece of branding

Repeat customers are more valuable than first-time buyers, and a memorable and impactful thank-you note can go a long way toward increasing loyalty.”

Do You Sell in A Particular Niche?

“I know some people stick to a niche, but I like to try all different kinds of things. 

I simply look for opportunities. I’ve had success with patriotic hats for the upcoming presidential election, right through to personalized mugs for dental hygienists.

I’m also exploring college graduation gifts, as that will be happening during the first week of May, shortly followed by the high schools. 

Etsy is obviously very gift-focused, so I like to keep a calendar of upcoming events, such as Mother’s Day, as that’s also a great time to make sales outside of the main winter holiday period.”

Garry On Becoming a Printify Entrepreneur After Retirement 3

How Do You Research Trends and Design Ideas?

“I use eRank and EverBee to research trends. I also take advice from other successful sellers, such as Hannah Ebeling and Heather from HeatherxStudio. 

I think my use of branded and personalized packaging inserts has also helped me get repeat sales, which has been a big contributor to my success.”

Keep Going With A Lucrative Hobby

Those with life experience have endless skills and knowledge to bring to the table. 

Moreover, in a recent survey, over half of Americans said they would prefer to start their own small business rather than retire completely. 

Entrepreneurship has no age limit. While we seek different hobbies to keep us going well into our sunset years, why not jump on board POD and make it lucrative business.

Make It Happen Today!

Written by

Jana Jakobsone

Jana Jakobsone

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This originally appeared on Printify and is available here for wider discovery.
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