Building an audience through YouTube

The story of one Printed Minter's YouTube and Print on Demand journey

Cinquanta Cox-Smith hopped on the print on demand train long before the industry boomed in 2020.

In 2009, Cinquanta created her first t-shirt design after she witnessed Kanye West’s infamous VMA incident with Taylor Swift. She wore her shirt out, and from there, the creator said her tees went viral in her hometown.

“All I knew at that time was transfer paper and an iron,” Cinquanta said. “I didn’t know much about selling, but that was really my introduction to ‘people want this, I can make money, and now I have to figure out how to get it to them.’”

That’s how she discovered print on demand. 

Cinquanta began testing tees from dozens of companies, and in a stroke of genius, she recorded the entire process for YouTube.

“My channel was stagnant, it was at a standstill,” Cinquanta said. “But then all of a sudden, I started getting so many comments, and I was like ‘okay, this is what people want to see.”


Cinquanta’s channel is now littered with raw, honest reviews of POD companies. She also shows her audience how to sign up for accounts and design products through simple tutorials.

“For my channel, I really hone in on creating the content I wished was there for me when I first started,” she said.

Cinquanta now churns out twice-weekly videos for 10,000+ loyal subscribers. These videos ultimately draw customers to her business, and have helped her find success in a highly competitive POD market.

How to start-- and maintain-- your YouTube channel

1. Define your audience- who are you making videos for? Are they similar to those your brand sells to? Figure out who they are and what type of content they’ll respond to.
2. Make that first video- Even if your initial video is terrible, just start. You’ll learn from your mistakes and improve daily, but you need a launch pad. Plus, the older your channel is, the more credibility you’ll build.
3. Try different niches until something sticks- Cinquanta dabbled in vlogs, hair tutorials, and dance videos before she landed on her print on demand niche.  It takes time to feel out your audience's preferences! Be patient.
4. Stay consistent- Post regularly and often. According to Restream, Channels that post consistently, on a regular schedule, do better on YouTube than those that don’t. 
5. Design custom Thumbnails- After you verify your channel, upload custom thumbnails for each video. Thumbnails are the face of your videos! Design them to have bright colors, large text, and intriguing visuals.
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