The T-shirt is one of the many indispensable casual wears that has been universally accepted by both the genders, popular among all generation groups and is a typical outfit for both the entrepreneurs and rock stars. T-shirts are a great piece of clothing that can be worn for a variety of reasons and seasons and can be paired up with different wears.
So, coming to the topic at hand, we have given you enough reasons to keep your thought of selling t-shirts unrelenting. Tees can be a remarkably inexpensive way for entrepreneurs to start a clothing store online.
Warm-Up to the Idea
Although breaking through this already popular business is tough, a well-established plan will no doubt take you through the meandering path of the business and place you higher. We believe there are 4 major elements that you should consider when planning the business – t-shirt designs, branding, variety, and price.
In our guide, we will take you through the 6 main steps to start a t-shirt business. Our guide is simplified for beginners so they know where to begin and where to end. However, only when you land into the industry, totally, will you understand the entire cycle and process of selling, branding and marketing t-shirts.
The Good News…
Setting up an online t-shirt store is easy, inexpensive and quick. All you need is a solid range of design ideas and that’s it. You can start printing them in a few hours and sell them. You can connect your store to a t-shirt printer or a drop shipper and establish a fully operating store – get orders, print tees and ship to your customers.
And the Bad…
The difficult part of the t-shirt business is not designing, printing and shipping the product part, but the difficult part is establishing a brand and beating the competition. You have to make the right decisions at the right time to get going. Also, we think, bringing in more varieties than it is already available in the market could be a wise choice.
Steps Towards Your Online T-Shirt Business
Step 1: Four Elements to Consider
- Niche: You should have the ability to stand out and for that, you need to cater to a specific niche. Funny slogans and quotes are one of the trending niches in 2018. However, you can further narrow it down and come up with funny slogan tees for couples and married.
- Design: Don’t make a catalog that can be found everywhere. Target simple, weird, uncomplicated and unique. Use all emotions to its best to design your t-shirts.
- Quality: If you want your customers to come back to you, you really need to up your quality. The sustenance of an online t-shirt store highly depends upon the product quality, in terms of material, fitting, design, color, and T-shirts are one of the most frequently purchased clothing. You don’t wanna lose your customers, do you?
- Brand: Your brand will speak a promise to the customers on behalf of you. Your brand will tie you and your customers together. It is very important to build a unique and likable brand, and have a distinctive presence in the market. Your brand name plays a huge role in determining your brand value; choose it wisely, keep it short and easily pronounceable.
Step 2: Your Design Ideas and Creating Them
Here is where many people get stuck. Sometimes, our brains stop thinking creatively. But never mind, we are digitally empowered and the internet is our mascot. If you are feeling stuck and aren’t able to generate an idea about designs and niches, look at other popular and currently trending brand designs, and get inspired by them.
T-shirt selling is a huge marketplace and there are umpteen numbers of brands that sell fabulous designs. Pinterest has more than 10,000 t-shirt design ideas. Nevertheless, you can check brands like Treeview, Zazzle Bestsellers & Zazzle Popular, Redbubble Popular, Skreened Trending Shirts and Kickstarter T-Shirt Campaigns and go through their collection for creativeness.
Once you have an exclusive list of ideas for t-shirt designs, hire a designer. A designer will get your idea into a printable format. If you know to use Adobe Photoshop, you can create your own designs. However, a professional designer will do this work accurately and quickly.
You can find and hire freelance designers from Dribble, Balance or Upwork. Dribble is a massive designer community, bursting with amazing talents. You can contact directly via message and hire talents on a freelance basis.
Or… the Next Best Option
Or you can purchase pre-made designs from designers in bulk and sell them. However, remember that your competitors can also access these pre-made designs. We suggest that you tweak and remodify the designs to make it your brand-centric if you must purchase pre-made designs.
Mock-up for Sure
Once your designs are graphically ready, you’ll have to mock-up your designs on actual t-shirts. This is for your customers to see how the designs look actually. You can do the mock-up in a few ways, such as order samples and do a product photoshoot or use a t-shirt template and create a digital mock-up using Adobe Photoshop.
Step 3: Validate a Market for Your Design
Before you start printing a particular design in hundreds, ensure that there are customers who are interested in buying them. You have to validate the designs to earn profits. Now, again there are several ways to validate markets for designs. Some of them are:
- Your Social Network: Post your designs to your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Accounts and other social networking messengers where you connect with your friends, family and Ask for a genuine and un-tainted opinion.
- Kickstarter: Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that you can use to test, verify and collect funds for your new business venture.
The website and its similar counterparts help you to launch a crowdfunding campaign. Although the benefits can be great, like funding for your entire project, it can be time-consuming, exhausting and may lead to dead ends.
- Reddit: Reddit is a creative platform that has answers to all your questions. You can easily find your target niche of potential customers on the site and ask their opinions and suggestions about your designs. Since random people are more likely, to be honest with their thoughts, we suggest that you consider using Reddit for your pre-launch debacles.
- An Online Store: E-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, and eBay, it has never been easier to launch your test store in a matter of a few hours. A test store on Shopify can get you the validations you need for your designs. You can sign-up for trial packages and join as a seller to check how your designs are being accepted.
Setting-Up Your Shop
Now that you have everything in your fist, you will have to begin planning the launch of your shop. You have designs ready, your mock-ups ready, validated your products and got your social media presence is chattering.
You can either sell your products on Amazon or on Shopify. Both e-commerce platforms provide immense opportunities for the seller to grow and earn a marginal profit from their sales. Fulfilled by Amazon or FBA is a great initiative by the platform where Amazon takes the responsibility of storing, packaging and shipping the tees on your behalf.
You can also collaborate with printers and drop shippers and make your business even more concentrated and lucrative.
Dropshipping is a huge way to begin as an entrepreneur. The drop shipping concept is pretty clean. Associate with a drop shipper and integrate the company with your online store or Amazon/ Shopify store. The drop shipper will print the design requested in the order and ship the t-shirt to your customer directly. Your every order will technically be processed by the drop shipper, while you will be responsible for the commercial aspects, such as marketing, costing and accounting. Drop shippers are the manufacturers of the ultimate product but they sell under your brand name.
The benefits are huge by the way. For instance, you won’t have to deal with the materials manufactured, the inventory and or the packaging and shipping. 70% of your worries will be taken over by the drop shipper. All you’ll have to manage is the marketing, branding, and promotion of the business. The customers will directly contact you for payments, returns, and complaints.
A dropshipping t-shirt business is a streamlined process, which gives you the advantage of managing your business from anywhere in the world, even if you are honeymooning in Bali or sky-diving in Spain.
Okay, All Said and Done…
We repeat the two important elements that you really should be taking care of are “t-shirt quality and t-shirt printing quality”. Both can define the success or the failure of your business. Educate yourself and choose your material wisely. Also, learn about the types of printing methods and their pros and cons, such as Screen Printing, Heat Transfer and DTG(Direct to Garment) method.
One of the best ways to express your creativity is by starting an online t-shirt business. Do the steps right and achieve your success in manifolds.