How to Sell Tote Bags

Why sell tote bags?

Future Market Insights recently indicated that the tote bag market is growing1. This, along with the increase in states and cities adopting plastic bag taxes, means that it’s the perfect time to start selling them. Scalable Press has started both full-color DTG printing and screen printing tote bags, and with low base costs for each, there is an opportunity for large profit margins.

Online sales

Tote bags are incredibly lucrative. They are normally sold between $15 and $20 on e-commerce sites. As is shown for the $15 price point in the table below, the profit margin with Scalable Press is quite large. You could sell below this retail price and still be quite profitable.

Number of Sales Sale Price Base Price2 Your Profit
1 $15.00 $7.51 $7.49
10 $15.00 $7.51 $74.90
20 $15.00 $6.56 $168.80
50 $15.00 $4.51 $524.50
100 $15.00 $3.56 $1144.00

For successful designs, you can consider adding tote bags as an upsell to purchases made in your store. Even with a sizeable coupon to encourage an upsell purchase, with Scalable Press’ low base costs there is still a lot of margin for profit. A 15% off coupon still nets you $5.24 of profit!

As seen in the chart of the potential for profit and in the previous example, upsells provide an awesome opportunity to get more from every transaction.

Selling tote bags allows you to expand your online business to new retail frontiers. As more and more products become available, you’ll be able to expand your brand and scale your business even further.


While an experienced seller can certainly just sell existing designs on tote bags, there are a couple of questions to consider beforehand:

  1. Does my design satisfy the specific parameters for tote bag designs?
  2. Will designs that sell effectively on other items will be successful on tote bags?

Let’s explore each of these questions.

Implementing old designs

Reusing your old designs to print on totes is incredibly easy on Scalable Press. Keep in mind however, that the print size for totes is 10”x12”, which is smaller than the normal t-shirt size. Before you advertise these designs for tote bags, make sure to consider whether your design’s target audience would be interested in tote bags.

Creating new designs

Creating new designs directly targeted toward audiences predisposed to carrying totes is a great way to immediately scale your business and expand your product options. Not only does it give you the opportunity to reach out to unexplored niches, but adding another product to your catalog increases the diversity of your offerings.


Since tote bags are used in different types of settings from t-shirts, the messaging in your designs may need to be different.


  • Designs about causes and awareness

    One of tote bags’ largest market positions is as an environmentally friendly alternative to other bags. Designs about humanitarian and environmental causes match well with this tote bag purchasing incentive. Since the design and the bag utility resonate with each other, expect these designs to sell well.

  • Offensive designs

    Designs using curse words are often quite popular on t-shirts. However, tote bags are often used to carry things to and from work. Many people who wear these offensive designs in the comfort of their home may not be interested in displaying them in the workplace. As such, it is reasonable to expect that offensive designs will not perform as well on tote bags.

  • Designs about laziness and multitasking

    Tote bags are used by people who need to carry a lot of stuff - a trait often reserved for multitaskers. Naturally, one would suspect that designs about laziness would not be top sellers on tote bags, but designs about the ability to juggle multiple tasks might generate a large amount of revenue.


The market for tote bags is growing extensively, and now is the perfect time to start designing and selling. Keep in mind the types of audiences that are more inclined to buy tote bags and you will be well on your way to success. Check out the Scalable Press integrations for more information on how to get started today.

2. Base prices from a white and gray sample design