How To Start An Online T-Shirt Business


T-shirts are one of the essential elements of every wardrobe. Chosen by men and women all over the world, this irreplaceable component of your look has seen a dramatic increase in popularity recently.

At the same time, T-shirts are not only an element of the casual look but also a canvas for creativity. Artists and entrepreneurs in many countries have found their passion in creating and selling unique T-shirts.

Nowadays, the profitability of T-shirts can hardly be overestimated. It is a simple and comparatively inexpensive way to become an entrepreneur. At the same time, it is a nice option for those who already own one or more businesses to extend the horizons.

What matters the most here? In most cases, the customers pay attention to design and quality of the product. We are going to provide the most essential details about starting a T-shirt business and guide you through all the processes. So, let us discover what steps you need to take in order to succeed in this business.

T-Shirt Business: Two Sides of the Coin

We believe this topic attracts both those people who see it is a profitable business and those who think it is a type of eCommerce game. No doubt, there are always 2 points of view. And in this chapter, we will show you how simple (or difficult) this business is.

Starting a T-Shirt Business Is a Piece of Cake

Yes, as we mentioned above, there is nothing complicated about diving into this task. It is cheap, and it is quick. Besides that, if you have a lot of design ideas, you can get your business up and running in just a few days. Myriads of eCommerce platforms like Shopify can help you with that. Cooperating with a printing agency and drop shippers will help you concentrate on improving your business. Sounds good, does it not? Is it really true, though?

Starting a T-Shirt Business is Extremely Hard

Everything has its dark side, and no business is an exception. It seems like with the variety of tools for design and printing you have it all. But you also need to develop your brand, attract the customers and prove that you are better than your competitors. It is quite a challenge, if you take into account the number of T-shirt businesses on the market.

The first steps require attention and dedication. Each right decision will get you closer to the goal. And each of our tips will help you get to the top.

Key Elements to Be Aware of

The road to success is a thorny path. But if you make the right decision on 4 crucial things, you will reach your aim with no hassle.

Profitable Narrow Niche

Your uniqueness is your advantage. Your potential customers are used to advertising and tons of one-of-a-kind offers. This is why you need to actually prove your uniqueness.

Choosing your niche properly would be your engine for further movement. And if your idea revolves around printing funny slogans on the T-shirts, you should think over it once again. There are dozens of stores offering the same kind of products. At the same time, only a few of them focus, for example, on IT jokes. If you turn your attention towards this topic, there is a considerable chance to profit.

Design That Appeals

Our era provides every opportunity for self-expression. Every person you meet on the street either has already found or is still looking for their particular style and things that would emphasize it.

Try to meet the needs of your target audience. Implement the ideas they want to see on the T-shirts you offer. They don’t need to be complicated or weird. Now, minimalism rocks, but the idea needs to be stylish and attractive. You could even take a special course in T-shirt design to extend your vision.

Sky-High Quality

What products do you prefer? What essential features attract your attention? Is product quality among the most important factors? We believe it is. And the same can be said about your potential customers. Besides exceptional design, they are interested in high quality.

The T-shirt quality includes such factors as fit, sizing, and material. From the moment the T-shirt is delivered, the customer starts analyzing these 3 features, so they are the first thing to be mindful of.

Colors that fade and patterns that crack may cause negative reviews and lead to huge losses. Complains spread fast, and as the result, your business could fail. Do not let it happen.

A Brand To Be Proud of

Your branding is vital. It is the one thing that connects all the above-mentioned elements. It needs to describe the niche you represent, and to be associated with the lovely design and great quality you provide. So the whole brand development campaign needs to be well-planned. With its help, you can distinguish yourself from competitors and tell the world about your business. There are also special courses devoted to this topic, so find some time to take a look at them.

Printing as the Essential Part of the T-Shirt Business

When a couple significant decisions have been made, it is time to conduct your research on types of printing. We have collected some information about the most popular types you need to know about. Each of them has its specifics, advantages and disadvantages, so take a look at the brief reviews to research the most suitable one further.

Screen Printing

This is one of the oldest techniques. T-shirts created using this method have good quality, and the print is long-lasting. An important thing here is that this method is only profitable for bulk orders. Also, it is hard to realize complex designs using this method.

So, use screen printing for your large batches, and opt for something else if you deal with complex multicolor designs.

Heat Transfer

This one is quite a simple way to start your business. You can literary print the designs on special paper and transfer the image onto a T-shirt using an iron. There are several subtypes of this method. One of the more advanced ones is plastisol transfer. It requires the usage of professional printer and special paper.

Heat transfer is fast, easy and enables full-color image producing.

Try this method if each T-shirt is printed on demand, but be ready for the relatively lower quality and the necessity to spend more time on printing. Another disadvantage is the need to purchase special devices like a heat press machine, which may cost you up to a few thousand dollars.

Direct-To-Garment Method (DTG)

In this method, the process looks like an ink-jet printer. DTG uses ink to draw the designs for the T-shirts. The print quality is better than heat transfer. Also, it does not require any additional setup costs so it is more cost-effective than screen printing.

Use it to work with an unlimited number of colors and small orders. It is not good, however, for global productions.

How to Create the Best T-Shirt Design

If your dedication to the T-shirt business is serious enough, you have definitely thought about how to build a great design. No doubt, if you are a creative person, there is nothing difficult for you in dedicating some time to creating your designs. And if you have experience with tools like Photoshop, we believe you can produce some great designs. All you need is a bit of time and a pinch of inspiration.

But if you have little to no experience with this type of tasks, some competent help is required. This is when you should hire a designer. There are several ways to get this task done, and we will tell you about the most effective ones:

Browse the Design Communities

There are a lot of websites skilled designers hang out on. For example, you can visit Dribble. This is a community where you can find thousands of great designs and drop a line to the creators of the catchiest masterpieces. Behance is a website with designers’ portfolios.

Check out the Freelance Platforms

The biggest of those are Freelancer and Upwork. Here, you can also read reviews on the specialist’s works.

Visit the Graphic Marketplaces

There is another way to find your perfect designs. Just buy them at Designious or T-Shirt Factory. Take note that you may need the commercial license for this.

Starting a T-Shirt Business: Briefly About the Further Steps

So, you have found your perfect co-worker or the best designs. Now it is time to get to the next stage.

1. Create a Mockup

The point is not to have a picture on a white blanket representing your T-shirt design, but to show how it actually looks on a real product. There are 2 options for that:

  • you can either print the chosen designs on sample T-shirts and take photos of them;

  • or order T-shirt templates online and show only the digital version of a T-shirt.

There are different ways to create a mockup, but once again, Adobe Photoshop would be useful here. Also, the Shopify platform offers its special free mockup generator.

2. Validate Your Perfect Designs

Before starting bulk printings and worrying about where to sell all these T-shirts you’ve made, you have to make sure the audience will embrace themi. Fortunately, the IT era provides us with lots of opportunities for idea validation.

  • Ask your social network

Post some of the pictures of your products on your Facebook or Instagram profiles. Create some polls and find out what potential buyers think of your products.

  • Try Reddit

Reddit is a huge platform. This is why it would be really useful to ask its readers about their opinion concerning your products before the launch.

  • Register at crowdfunding web channels

Websites like Kickstarter provide a lot of opportunities to test your idea. And even more, they may help you to collect some money to start. A crowdfunding campaign can help you to promote your future business, collect some feedback and make sure you are doing this right.

3. Launch Your Webstore

There are two good ways to fulfil this task:

  • Building an eCommerce project from scratch

This is a great idea, as it allows you to get exactly what you want. Custom design of the web pages, great UX and powerful functionality would be a reliable support on your way to the top.

  • Using an eCommerce platform

This option is slightly easier. Essentially, you can launch a web store by yourself, but a fee for using the platform is required. Also, the features and design elements would be limited by the platform’s functionality.

After the online store has been launched, you need to promote your business, improve your skills and products and keep on working.

Final Thoughts

In our era of the IT, the essence of every businesses’ success is creating a really good website. The right software solution will help you to be unique, different, special, and closer to the potential customer. Contact the Roobykon team to get a brilliant solution for your business. We have many years of experience building great eCommerce solutions, and we are the ones who can turn your efforts and ideas into solid business profit.

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