Start Your T-Shirt Business in 5 Basic Steps

Start Your T-Shirt Business in 5 Basic Steps

While it takes some planning and work to become a successful clothing seller, it’s entirely possible to turn your fantastic idea into reality. It’s not complicated to start a clothing business especially selling t-shirts, so it’s available to anyone. That can make it very competitive, but it might be encouraging to learn that in the past few years, people have entered the market and successfully built million dollar businesses.

Finding Your Niche

Selling t-shirts is a specific type of apparel like jeans or business suits, but it’s not specific enough to be successful. While there’s no guarantee that a certain kind of apparel will ever sell, you have a better chance if you do your research.


You can do a simple search on Google Trends to find out what people are searching for on a daily basis. Since Google is the biggest search engine in the world, it has other tools that will make research easier like Google Keyword Planner to find how many times people searched for a certain word or phrase. For example, if you were thinking about selling sneakers or personalized woven clothing labels, you could find out the most popular brands in the keyword planner.

You have to find your target audience. It’s not enough to call teenagers your audience. You’ll need to narrow it down even further to teenagers 13 to 17 who like skateboarding and motorcycles. Once you’ve narrowed down your niche, you’ll have figured out your ideal customer. There’s less competition when you narrow down your niche to a specific type of audience.

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Choosing Your Designs

If you are choosing to start a t-shirt company, you’ll need to figure out the designs you’ll place on the t-shirts. You might have your own ideas, but unless you’re an artist, it would be a good idea to have a professional designer mock up the prototype.There are plenty of places online where you can hire designers from very cheap to mid-priced and above.

Fiverr – This is one of the cheapest options available. It’s also one that might not be successful. For five dollars, you are not getting the best designers in the world. It can be a good option for someone who wants to start off with a simple design to test the waters.

Upwork – This option ranges from especially cheap to a middle price point. You can find experienced designers who are venturing out on their own, which can lower the price significantly. You might have to hire a few before you find the right designer for your project, but you can work with them in the future too.

99Designs – Designers will provide you with quite a few options and you will choose the best one and award that person with the prize, which is your money. You’ll need a few hundred dollars for each design at the minimum.

Dribbble – This is where professional designers hang out and show off their work. You can skim through the designers to find one that fits with your style. You’ll be paying thousands to hire a good designer with this option.

Friend, Yourself or Acquaintance – With the right software, you can start with your own designs or hire a friend who has some experience with the software.

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Where Will You Sell?

Cafepress – This platform has an established community as well as the option to turn your designs into other products too. They’ll take care of production and fulfillment of orders.

Teespring – One of the biggest distributors of t-shirts, and it already has an audience willing to buy products. They even have a place to create your own designs. It’s print on demand, which means you’ll have no control of the quality.

Merch by Amazon – Everyone knows Amazon, and millions shop there. Low cost to start selling on Merch, but there are high fees taken from the sales.

Shopify – You sell your products on your own platform. You fulfill orders yourself, which means great control of the quality.

How to Make the Shirts?

Before you can start selling on a platform, you have to find the best heat press machine to print on t-shirts and a print method. You have to learn the process if you’re going to do it yourself, or be able to offer good, quality shirts to customers with a great printer. Outsourcing with one of the above platforms might be a better solution in the long run.

Screen Printing – The industry standard is screen printing, and it provides the best quality with bright colors and sharp details. It’s more cost-effective if done in bulk at least 10 at a time. It can be a little messy since it involves inks.

Heat Transfer – This is a good alternative for a company that isn’t printing as many shirts at one time. It can be used on white or light colored shirts.

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Marketing Your Wares

Once you’ve come up with the platform you’re using to sell as well as the method for creating the shirts, you will need to plan for your marketing.

Facebook Ads – If your audience is on Facebook, this is a great way to advertise. You can reach thousands of potential customers with your ads, but you have to have the money for this option.

Outreach with Bloggers – This type of marketing only costs your time and a few t-shirts as samples. Provide a few for review purposes, and you could get some traffic heading over to your site almost immediately.

You can start your clothing business with an idea and a little bit of money to turn it into a wonderful business on the side or a way to make money for your entire family depending on the effort you put into it. Check out this amazing infographics by Wunderlabel which will visually guide you to the basic steps for starting a T-Shirt business.

Infographics t-shirt Wunder label

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