Starting A Tshirt Business Tips

Starting a tshirt business can be confusing at first, but it’s not that complicated. I have a number of t-shirt companies and all of them are paying very good monthly income. Some types of t-shirts have better sales than others, but a lot of it depends on the type of advertisement used, the niche of t-shirts, demand for the t-shirts, and more. Just like anything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to start a t-shirt business.

1. Know What Type Of A T-shirt Business  You Are Starting

Before you start creating t-shirts for your business, know which type of a business you would like to have. Are you going to be printing t-shirts yourself, or will you be utilizing a company that which prints it for you. There are pros and cons to both of these methods.

Printing your own t-shirts


Starting A Tshirt Business


If you decide to print your own t-shirts, then you have to take a look at the costs. You will need to buy printing materials such as screen printing ink, heat transfer vinyl, or ink for your t-shirt printing machine (depending on which type of printing you do.)

You will also need to have some tools such as mesh screens, squeegees, vinyl cutters, heat press machines, t-shirt printing machine and more (depending on which type of printing you choose to do).

You will need to come up with designs that can be screen printed, or cut out by the equipment. Using the t-shirt printer is the easiest way to get any design on a t-shirt because it simply uses ink to print and it doesn’t require layering techniques like screen printing or heat press machine does.

As you see, a lot of work goes into printing your own merchandise. Although it can be time consuming, the best part is that you get full amount of money from your sales. If you decide to sell a shirt for $30, then you get to keep all of it.

Using printing companies to print your t-shirt designs


There are many companies out there that will print your designs on different merchandise. You can print your design on things like t-shirts, mugs, buttons, iPhone covers, etc. If you are just starting a tshirt business, then this may be the easiest way to go without purchasing all of the start up equipment.

This method is pretty much hands off after you submit your design. Companies such as Zazzle and Redbubble will print, ship, take care of payments (while you use your time to work on new designs to add to your store). Most companies allow you to open up a free storefront, so it’s completely free to start.

You won’t get the full commission of the shirts (or other items) sold, but you can set a commission. Recommended commission is 5-20%. This means that you will get about $3-7 per shirt.

Although you won’t get the full commission, you are not manually creating all of the t-shirts, thus, you can actually make a great residual income in the long run.

2. Pick The Right Niche For Your Tshirts

Before starting a tshirt business, you should pick a tshirt niche. This simply means that your tees will be focused on one particular idea. Example of niches are pets (you can break it down more into dog lovers, cat lovers, etc.), professionals (such as nurses, paramedics, military, etc.), abstract design (people love abstract beautiful images on their tshirts; a good example is ImaginaryFoundation.)

The reason you are picking a niche is so that you know exactly what type of audience you will market to. Although sometimes these can overlap, most people who are in the military may not want to buy a cat t-shirt. Focusing on one subject matter in your new tshirt business is the best way to make profit. Once you have established one niche and are making good earnings, you can extend into other niches.

3. Use The Right Marketing Avenues For Your Tshirt Business

Creating a business is not enough to succeed, you have to spread the word, so people who are looking for your products know where to find them. Marketing is likely to take even more time than creating your designs, in the earliest stages of starting a tshirt business, you may even want to hire someone to do the marketing for you.

There are many ways to market tshirt business:

  • Your Personal Social Media Profiles (since people on your profiles already know and trust you, they are likely to buy from you.)
  • Create a business profile on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Twitter, and Pinterest to showcase your shirts
  • Create a blog to showcase your work
  • Book a booth at a local festival
  • Create business cards and leave them around town on bulletin boards at different stores and cafes. Make sure to ask for permission. A lot of business have bulletin boards just for that.

Note: Every business should have a blog. A blog serves as a main place where you send all of your customers and followers. You can link to your blog from all of the social media profiles, you can add your website to you business cards, or just tell people where they can find your shirts.

You can utilize your blog not to only sell shirts, but also to engage with your audience by answering questions, entertaining, etc. People love to engage and know the companies they buy from.


4. Keep Track Of Your Expenses

This is one of the most important steps a lot of new business owners completely dismiss. Especially if you chose the 1st option and will be printing manually, you will have a lot of expenses. You should keep track to the penny. Not keeping track can result in estimate cost that can run a business into the ground as you take a loss on your investment.

Besides losing money on a business, you also need to track your expenses and income for income tax purposes. Did you know that you can write off a lot of expenses? Not only can you write off supplies like inks, t-shirt blanks, etc., but also if you are printing from home you can write off partial rent, internet, phone, utility bill, and so on (because they are all being used for your business.) You may even pay someone to create a design for you, or build a website for you; all of those expenses can lower your income tax.


5. Stop Doing Things That Don’t Work

Some people say that persistence is the key to success. This may be true in many situations, but sometimes in home business doing the same thing over and over that you know doesn’t work can lead to loss of income.

For example, let’s say that you picked a niche, you’ve followed all of the steps, you’ve advertised, but people are still not buying. Instead of focusing on the same exact niche, try something different. Try a different approach. Do not quit the whole tshirt business all together, but change something to progress.

Things To Change Up: 

  • Create different types of designs
  • Market your shirts in a different social media (for example: Pinterest Vs Tumblr)
  • Get a different brand of shirts (maybe people don’t like the way the shirts feel)
  • Get different inks for your shirts
  • Change up color combinations
  • Pay someone to make a design instead of making it yourself
  • Switch your niche

When you change things up, make sure to track it, this way you will know what works and what doesn’t work.

To learn more, check out the following books on Starting A Tshirt Business: