Not only are t-shirts a must for casual attire, but they also serve as clothing pieces that frequently express our identities, hobbies, and personalities.

As a result, selling t-shirts online has grown in popularity, especially among business owners and creatives searching for a low-cost learning opportunity.

Selling t-shirts is becoming more and more popular, so you’ll undoubtedly face fierce competition. However, you can achieve your own success by developing a brand for a particular target market and designing t-shirt designs that appeal to your target market.

We’ll walk you through every stage of starting an online shirt business that generates extra cash every month in this tutorial.

A step-by-step guide to starting an online t-shirt business

  • Choose a niche
  • Source quality material and t-shirt printing options
  • Create your own t-shirt designs
  • Mock up your t-shirts
  • Validate your designs
  • Set up your online store

Select a market niche for your internet t-shirt company.

Without going beyond your budget, a niche will make your online shirt seller business stand out and better attract the proper target audience.

Although the word “niche” is frequently used, it’s crucial to pick one when attempting to figure out how to start an internet t-shirt company. Being able to stand out is a crucial component of any successful online t-shirt company plan, and one of the greatest ways to achieve this is by serving a particular target market or interest group.

In a highly developed market, classifications such as “t-shirts for people who like funny slogans” are usually too broad to be detected. It will need to be tightened up a bit further. T-shirts with humorous sayings related to healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses or dog lovers are an example of a more specialized market. See the image below.

If you’re wondering how to launch an online t-shirt business, there are numerous approaches to identify and assess a niche. These are a handful:

  • Check out the subreddits in your potential niche to see how many people are following them and how involved they are.
  • Assess the size of your Facebook niche with the Audience Insights tool.
  • Look through Wikipedia’s list of well-liked hobbies to get some ideas.
  • Think about your personal interests and the groups you are a part of; occasionally, it’s okay to follow your instincts.

After focusing on a certain niche, draft a business plan including your objectives and potential sales channels for personalized t-shirts, and then decide how to carry it out.

Locate high-quality materials and solutions for t-shirt printing

Locating suppliers is the next stage in starting an online t-shirt business. Not every print job and not every t-shirt are the same. Quality is crucial to your brand and its success, as we’ve already discussed, so do your research and pick your blank shirts carefully.

When you first launch an online shirt business, it could be alluring to forgo quality in favor of larger profit margins. However, you must take into account how the caliber may influence a customer’s choice to recommend you and make additional purchases.

Selecting a high-quality t-shirt involves a number of considerations, such as weight, fit, sizing, material, and softness. T-Shirt Magazine’s evaluation of some of the most well-liked blank t-shirts for printing is a wonderful place to start when deciding which blank t-shirt to use.

Ordering samples is highly advised once you’ve narrowed down your options so you can make an informed choice.

Create your own t-shirt designs

Creating the designs is the next step in starting your own online t-shirt business. Here are some strategies to help you get started on designing t-shirts for your business.

Find the best selling designs and niches

Looking at other popular and well-selling items is a wonderful place to start if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas or designs for t-shirt niches.

A list of some of the most popular graphic t-shirt markets can be found below. They can be used to search the “most popular” and “best sellers” areas, which can provide you further inspiration for your next t-shirt design or specialty.

  • Zazzle
  • Redbubble
  • SnorgTees
  • Kickstarter t-shirt campaigns

For ideas for your t-shirt internet business, you might also want to look at Google Trends to see what subjects people are currently interested in.

Hire a designer

You will need to actually develop the t-shirt designs after you have a concept for them. You can probably create some very amazing designs on your own if you have access to Adobe Photoshop or a comparable tool. But if you’re anything like most others, you’ll require assistance.

You can use a wide range of resources and marketplaces to locate a qualified graphic designer that can assist you.

Design communities

Dribbble:  A community of talented designers with a lot of original work. aesthetic for the aesthetic you like and send a message to the designers you like to find out if they are taking on freelancing work.

Behance: Check out this interesting platform. You can view the portfolios of many artists from around the globe who focus on illustration, various niches, various styles, and more. You can get in touch with a designer you like to receive a quote on your custom t-shirt designs.

Buy t-shirt designs

One option if you’re having trouble finding a designer for your online t-shirt business is to buy pre-made designs. Remember that if you decide to go this path, it’s very likely that other individuals are already selling the design you chose, which will make it more difficult for you to stand out with your online shirt selling business.

Take a look at these marketplaces for t-shirt graphics:

  • Designious: offers PNG t-shirt designs, vector packs, and clip art for you to make your own items.

  • Tshirt Factory provides a range of vector pictures for t-shirt printing companies, ranging from punk rave and urban styles to old school.
  • Creative Market offers more than 3 million original typefaces, graphics, themes, photographs, and templates created by independent artists worldwide. It doesn’t just sell t-shirts.
  • Graphic River is a place where you can purchase and sell Photoshop files, vectors, and icon sets that are royalty-free for your t-shirt designs.

Remember that you might need to get a commercial license if you’re interested in learning how to start an online t-shirt business. 

Mock up your t-shirts

Getting some mockup photos is the next stage in starting an online t-shirt business after you have some final designs. Mockups are useful for showing your consumers how the final design will seem when it is printed on a t-shirt.

You can order samples and take your own product photos, or you can use the many t-shirt mockups and templates available online to make a fully digital mockup like the one below. These are the two options you have for getting pictures of your final designs on t-shirts.

The most popular kinds of mockup files are t-shirt templates made with Adobe Photoshop. They let you see exactly how your ideas will appear when printed on a t-shirt in a hurry. The majority of Photoshop templates include many layers, allowing you to alter the shirt’s color and add your own artwork that will fit in with its folds, creases, and shapes.

The following resources can assist you in locating the ideal mockup file for your t-shirt business:

If you’re not comfortable using Adobe Photoshop, you can accomplish the same task without downloading and learning how to use Photoshop by using web-based mockup software.

Verify the designs for your online t-shirt company.

Make sure there is a market and interest in your designs before investing a significant amount of money in your new venture. There are numerous approaches you may take to sell t-shirts online and validate the market.

The following are a few of the more well-liked and typical techniques for confirming your design concepts:

private social media platforms. Share a few of your designs on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook groups that are specific to your industry, and other social media sites that your friends and possible clients use. Asking friends and relatives, however, should be done with caution because they tend to have kind opinions.

Rdito. Reddit is still one of the greatest venues to obtain frank input on your ideas, even with the community’s typical dislike of marketing (which can even translate into sales after you debut). With so many subreddits, it’s simple to identify a highly specific group of prospective clients and obtain their feedback on your ideas before releasing them.

Crowdsourcing. The process of testing, validating, and raising initial capital for a new business idea has been greatly simplified by crowdfunding websites. Getting started with a crowdsourcing campaign takes a lot of planning and work. The advantages, though, can be enormous, such as fully funding your project before you begin work on it. Crowdfunding could be a good option if you have an especially creative idea for a t-shirt business (like matching t-shirts for dogs and dog owners).

Publish as needed. Ultimately, it’s now simpler than ever to validate your business idea in a matter of hours by setting up a fully functional online store (domain name included) with an e-commerce platform.

Set up your online store

It’s time to construct your store now that you have your mockups completed, your t-shirt designs in hand, and your idea approved. If you’re looking for information on how to launch an online t-shirt business, this is particularly crucial.

You may quickly begin accepting orders using a few t-shirt print-on-demand businesses that interface directly with your store. Every time you receive an order, these providers will print and send your t-shirts to your consumers on your behalf.

Because there’s no upfront inventory to buy or maintain, it’s an excellent way to get started. The best part is that you also have the opportunity to apply your design on additional printed products, like tote bags and mugs.

The following print-on-demand businesses provide a selection of t-shirts:

  • Printful
  • Teelaunch
  • Printify
  • Gooten

You’ll be all set to go online with your t-shirt sales once your business is setup.

Considerations for starting a t-shirt business

Building a brand to differentiate yourself from the competition is challenging, despite the fact that the tools and technology available for designing, printing, and distributing custom t-shirts make starting up quite simple. Building an online t-shirt business gets trickier than it might seem when you combine competition with thin profit margins.

Making wise choices early on is essential if you want to design and market t-shirts online.

Starting a profitable online shirt business requires a number of essential components. Before proceeding, each of these components needs to be carefully considered:

methods for printing t-shirts. A t-shirt can be printed with designs in a variety of ways. Selecting the appropriate one can enable you to make more informed business decisions and save money. 

Create. When buying graphic tees, most customers are searching for patterns, images, and phrases that resonate with them and accurately represent their beliefs and personalities.

Goodness. To establish a long-lasting company, the shirts you utilize and the print work must be of the highest caliber.

Name, In the t-shirt business, having a compelling brand is essential.

Countdown, Will you employ a print-on-demand service to save time and work, or will you manage your own inventory to benefit from volume discounts?

Let’s examine each one in more detail.

T-shirt printing techniques

When it comes to starting an online t-shirt business, there are three common printing techniques. The approach you choose to utilize will largely rely on how much time you want to devote to the product production process and which printing partner you select. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

For your convenience, we have described each of the three t-shirt printing options below. It is important to understand how each printing method functions, regardless of whether you purchase your own printer or use a nearby supplier.

Screen printing

source: Printful

For entrepreneurs that create and market t-shirts both online and in-person, screen printing is an age-old method that continues to be effective.

Screen printing is one of the most often used techniques for printing on t-shirts, and it may yield results that are strong and persistent. If you’d like to diversify your product line, it also allows you to print on items such as canvas items, mugs, hats, and other items to produce and sell. 

However, screen printing is most economical when done in large quantities due to the labor-intensive initial setup. Complex designs or designs with more than four or five colors present additional challenges for screen printing because each additional color raises manufacturing costs and delays.

Pros

  • Cost effective for large batches
  • Volume discounts

Cons

  • Not cost effective for multiple colors
  • Can only print simple images and designs

Heat transfer

Additionally, heat transfers have been known for a while and can take many different forms. Basic heat-transfer paper might be available at your neighborhood office supply store.

This approach works well for printing designs from your home computer and transferring them with an iron, but it is insufficient for managing a small business. Professional printers use special, premium heat-transfer paper to generate “plastisol transfers,” a more sophisticated type of heat transfer. 

The benefit of heat transfers is that you may use a commercial heat press equipment to transfer a stack of prints from your neighborhood printer to your t-shirts as orders come in.

Full-color graphics may be quickly and simply transferred onto t-shirts with heat transfers.

Pros

  • You can “print” each shirt on demand
  • More affordable for small batches
  • You can use as many colors as you want in a print.

Cons

  • less robust and of lower quality than screen and direct-to-garment printing
  • Large initial outlay of funds (from several hundred to several thousand dollars) for a heat press machine
  • The do-it-yourself method requires more time from you.

Direct-to-garment (DTG)

source: Anajet

The method of printing directly onto clothing functions similarly to a home inkjet printer. Due to its ability to accurately produce full-color graphics and print ink directly onto t-shirts, this sort of t-shirt printing equipment is frequently used in businesses.

Compared to screen printing, direct-to-garment printing yields higher-quality prints than heat transfers. Unlike screen printing, there are no setup fees because it functions similarly to an ink-jet printer.

Since each shirt takes the same amount of time to print, the main drawback of the direct-to-garment printing online t-shirt business model is the absence of a volume discount for large orders.

Pros

  • Unlimited color options
  • High detail accuracy in printed design
  • Great for small orders or one-offs
  • No set-up costs

Cons

  • Not cost effective for large production runs
  • Generally no volume discounts

Design

Source : Vapor95

A visitor would not want to see a copy of a t-shirt design they could get somewhere else in your catalog. It’s not necessary for your designs to be complicated; in fact, a lot of the most popular graphic tees are really straightforward. They must, though, make an impression on your audience and be unique.

Your design files should ideally be large enough to fill the actual print area of the t-shirt, have a translucent backdrop, and be at least 300 pixels per inch (dpi or ppi) to ensure great printing for your shirt selling business. Please be aware that the printer you use and the printing method you choose will affect your exact specs (more on that later).

Quality

Quality is the second most crucial element in starting an online t-shirt business that will succeed over the long run. They won’t allow you to let them down twice, even if you let them down once. A t-shirt that tears and shrinks or a pattern that fades and cracks won’t make devoted customers who return and make more purchases.

Although they may cost more to make, t-shirts of greater quality can fetch higher prices. The blank t-shirt’s material, the printing method, and the accuracy of your design file preparation will all affect the final quality of your t-shirt.

Brand

When starting an online shirt business, having a compelling brand is essential. Your brand is a promise that will unify all of your decisions, such as designs, quality, and niche. In a market where competition is fierce, creating a distinctive and appealing brand is crucial, starting with your t-shirt business name and ending with your logo.

An e-commerce company needs to stand out from the competition in order to draw in clients in an era where they have more options.

As seen by Imouri’s anime/streetwear example below, you can use your selected niche—which represents a particular lifestyle—in your marketing and website to connect with potential clients.

Inventory

Most people who are studying how to start an online t-shirt business choose to either employ a print-on-demand service to eliminate the need for inventory management and shipping

Print-on-demand reduces risk significantly, but if you own your own inventory for your online shirt business, you can sell in person more easily and possibly increase your profit margins. Before you begin, balance the benefits and drawbacks. Print-on-demand is consistently among the greatest small company ideas, even if you’re not convinced.

For small business owners, drop shipping is a simple online t-shirt business concept to understand. It’s really simple to get started and test your t-shirt designs using services like Printful.

Of course, you may also buy your own printer and set up a base of operations if you have the funds available.

Online t-shirt business success stories

Many business owners have found success when they first start selling shirts. One such person is Ryan McCarthy, who founded Impure (previously known as Sugoi Shirts) and has been using Shopify since 2016 to manage his anime-inspired t-shirt printing company. 

When Ryan could not locate anime-type apparel that suited his particular style, he made the decision to start his own t-shirt company. He secretly started what he initially intended to be a modest clothes company, but it has since grown into a six-figure print-on-demand clothing company that sells streetwear with anime and pop culture references from Japan. What’s his key to launching your own clothes line successfully? Reddit and paid advertisements are used to test items and identify winning designs early on.

Start your t-shirt business today

Selling t-shirts online and expressing your creativity has never been simpler. A t-shirt store is a fantastic first internet business for novice entrepreneurs, regardless of the niche they want to service or how ambitious they want to be with their quality and designs.

The good news is that creating and establishing a new t-shirt company on Shopify or other ecommerce platforms can be done quickly and affordably. You may get started in a matter of hours if you already have designs that you wish to sell.

Conclusion

By following these steps and staying adaptable to changing market dynamics, you can establish a successful online T-shirt business in 2024. It’s a dynamic industry with immense potential for creativity and growth.

If you’re looking for an Ecommerce development Company that can help you with developing a mobile app, you should also look into Appic Softwares. We have a talented development team available to help you with any and all of your requirements.

So why are you hesitating?

Give us a call right now!