Dreamship on eliminating barriers to creation for Vietnamese print-on-demand entrepreneurs

Dreamship is a print-on-demand (POD) platform founded in 2018. Headquartered in the US with operations in Vietnam, it offers an expansive network of vetted on-demand fulfilment partners for global growth and helps e-commerce businesses eliminate the need to source for third-party suppliers, procure new products, manage vendors, and implement quality control. Instead, e-commerce businesses can quickly tap into hundreds of products, offer speedy one- to two-day fulfilment, and enjoy zero inventory costs.

We spoke with Bill Bricker, CEO and cofounder of Dreamship, about the state of POD in Vietnam and how Dreamship looks to advance its technology and fulfilment services for businesses and brands through its partnership with Stripe.

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You founded Dreamship in 2018. What inspired you to launch a POD platform?

My co-founders, Bo Nguyen and Eli McNutt, and I saw a significant opportunity in the Vietnamese POD market. It was brimming with entrepreneurial energy but needed a clear direction forward. Without that direction, entrepreneurs were starting their businesses with whatever e-commerce tools were available, and the market was rife with IP infringement, trademark conflicts, and fraudulent practices.

We saw demand for a more ethical approach to e-commerce and decided to provide an alternative solution that enabled these entrepreneurs to deliver a great customer experience, high-quality products, and original designs. We’ve learned a lot ourselves over the past five years and have distilled those learnings into our partnership growth playbook, which offers Vietnamese entrepreneurs access to enterprise benefits and tech companies like Stripe. We believe that we can help the best businesses rise to the top and build great brands.

What types of businesses do you support, and who are their customers?

We support two primary markets by helping businesses create new revenue streams with no inventory risk. We cater to high-volume Vietnamese e-commerce businesses with large teams, often numbering around 50 to 100 people. The minimum order could be one, and the maximum limitless. Our role is to act as a middle layer to facilitate selling digital prints across channels and ensure delivery to the end customer through our US supply network.

Second, we service the corporate gifting space, which could be for companies wanting to order swag merchandise for an off-site event or client gifts. Looking forward to the future, we see potential in supporting digital creators or artists who want to bring digital art to life, any brand – from large enterprise to solopreneur – can use our core infrastructure to expand their community reach.

Why is the Vietnamese market so important to Dreamship, and how are you supporting the growth of Vietnamese e-commerce brands?

Considerations like rising costs and market saturation can make e-commerce a competitive and costly endeavour, particularly in international shipping and advertising. The opportunity cost of not having access to essential e-commerce tools can be high in this growing sector, which is further complicated by risks like chargebacks and maintaining good standing with financial institutions.

The Vietnamese market has so much untapped potential and entrepreneurial energy, but it needs help in two areas: product availability and price. A product is not just a physical item but a combination of technology, processes, and people that together achieve a goal. The advancement of technology and platforms like Stripe help to make it more readily accessible, but these tools can be challenging for those in less developed countries. This is where we can step in to offer a roadmap to expedite their adoption.

What challenges do Vietnamese businesses face when launching and scaling a cross-border business, and how does your partnership with Stripe help these businesses?

The evolution of e-commerce tools in the last decade has flattened the world, enabling anyone to create a business regardless of geographical location. This has led to a borderless business environment, and this trend is only accelerating. In the future, anyone can be a creator, even if they don’t necessarily run a venture-backed startup or an e-commerce brand.

Dreamship’s core mission is to eliminate barriers to creation for Vietnamese e-commerce entrepreneurs with this future in view. Our customers can evolve with us when we do this, marking a full circle in their entrepreneurial journey. We aim to be more than just an e-commerce tool provider; we want to support these entrepreneurs throughout their journey in many ways

The collaboration between Dreamship and Stripe began in 2022, bringing 25 top Dreamship businesses into a pilot programme. How are things evolving and what results are you seeing?

With this pilot program, we’ve helped 25 customers accelerate payment stack optimisation towards more cost savings, faster access to funds due to less reserve, more money for ad expenditure, and reduced account blocks and chargebacks. This, in turn, reduces the instances of these customers being categorised as high-risk businesses. Moreover, Stripe’s regular business reviews or annual planning sessions have been instrumental, particularly for our large businesses, who can do more once they see the bigger picture.

This partnership is projected to save one of our major businesses over $100,000 annually. An optimised business payment stack creates more fulfilment opportunities for Dreamship and higher earnings for our businesses because of increased product availability. The net result is an expanded pie for all the stakeholders.

What are your future aspirations and vision for Dreamship, and how do you envision Stripe playing a role?

At Dreamship, we envision ourselves as the Stripe for merchandise fulfilment, standardising physical production for digital platforms just as Stripe simplifies payments. We aim to provide white-label, on-demand merchandise and continue growing our digital and real-life brand presence. We plan to capture new transactional revenue streams wherever customers engage, whether on Twitter, Patreon, or elsewhere.

We’re striving to increase automation and have learned much from Stripe’s business model. While we’ve seen success with our current pilot, our ultimate goal is to scale what we’ve learned in the pilot to many more businesses. Looking forward, we’re exploring the idea of working on advances like geo-tax planning or prepayments for discounts to deepen our relationship with enterprise businesses.

Sign up for the Dreamship-Stripe POD program

E-commerce companies that are building sustainable print-on-demand businesses, care about high-quality products, and are looking to work closely with an account manager from Stripe to help expand internationally with the right payment strategy can reach out to:

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