T-shirts are an essential part of everyone’s wardrobe. Furthermore, the global market for the custom t-shirt printing industry is expected to exceed USD 10 billion by 2025.
Smart entrepreneurs like you have identified the popularity of this product and have started thinking about starting their own business. Starting a t-shirt business is a popular choice for both novice ecommerce entrepreneurs and professionals alike. As an ecommerce store, T-shirts are inexpensive to obtain, have universal appeal, and are relatively easy to personalize.
If you are thinking of starting your own online business, it is important that you realize that this is a competitive field of e-commerce. If you want to be successful, you will need to make sure your store stands out from the rest. To ensure this, it is important that you source quality products, have your own t-shirt designs, and learn how to mark.
This can seem like an overwhelming process, especially if it’s your first time to start an ecommerce business, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Let us begin.
Starting Your Online T-Shirt Business
If you are looking to start your own ecommerce journey and looking to open your own online business, you may have noticed that it is relatively easy to get your store up and running. In fact, we’ve already written an article that explains how ecommerce entrepreneurs can launch their own online store in less than 30 minutes using Shopify.
Starting your own t-shirt business with Shopify is a simple process. You will also have the ongoing support of Shopify, when starting your store and during the process of selling t-shirts online. It is the ideal solution for e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Is an Online T-Shirt Business Profitable?
As mentioned above, each person owns at least one shirt regardless of age, gender, etc. This is exactly why a t-shirt business can be profitable in a very short period of time. Plus, you can have low start-up costs if you properly plan your business model. Setting up your t-shirt business can be a great first step in getting your business off the ground. You can choose to go the drop shipping route or start printing on demand.
Watch this webinar to learn everything there is to know about starting a profitable print-on-demand business. Wholesale Ted and Oberlo collaborated to learn the differences between drop shipping and print on demand. For this article, we will go with drop shipping because it is the easiest to implement for a t-shirt business.
How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business
Here are some of the steps you can take to start an online t-shirt business now:
1. Find a Niche for Your Online T-Shirt Business
As an e-commerce entrepreneur looking to start a successful online business, it can be beneficial to find a suitable niche for your store. If you create a truly unique t-shirt store, both in terms of brand image and available products, your chances of success will be much higher.
Take your time and do your research if you decide to open a specialty store. Research other online stores that you like and use them to generate T-shirt ideas for your own business. Write down everything you think is impressive, and then take some time to think about how you can improve your online t-shirt business. In the end, you can target any niche that interests you. If you think there is an untapped market, take advantage of it. It’s easier to stand out when there’s less competition, and it’s a lot cheaper too!
2. Design Your Own T-Shirt
When you are trying to launch a successful online business, your design ideas are extremely important. If your shirts have great designs, you are already on top of the game. Your products will serve as a solid foundation for the success of your store.
It’s so much easier to market great products, so try pinning this part. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Try various t-shirt design ideas that relate to your brand and see which one best suits your audience. If you want to try your own t-shirt designs, there are many design websites on the internet. We explore some of them in our t-shirt templates for your online store article.
If you are unsure of your ability to design great products for your online t-shirt business, ask other people for help. You can contact local designers to get their services. You can also take advantage of freelance online platforms, such as Upwork and Fiverr, that you can use to coordinate with freelance designers. There are a variety of ways you can get quality design work at an affordable price.
3. Validate Your T-Shirt Designs
Once you’ve gathered some powerful design ideas for your online t-shirt business, you’ll need to ask others to validate them. You may think that the designs you create are print ready, but others may point out some vital improvements that will help your products in the long run. It is also important that the feedback you receive on your designs is unbiased. You can achieve this by posting your designs on a forum (be sure to watermark your designs so no one can steal them). You can also get professional feedback by contacting some local consultants; they will give you professional and unbiased opinions.
Online discussion platforms, such as Reddit, can be a vital tool when it comes to measuring the success of your t-shirt designs. You can create t-shirt mockups and post your potential designs on relevant subreddits, and you will receive honest feedback from people interested in your products. If you’re getting positive feedback from your post, you’ve already armed yourself with a few potential customers that you can reach when you launch your products.
4. Source Your Products
When you are validating your company’s t-shirt designs online, you will need to spend some time thinking about where you will get them. It’s best to get high-quality t-shirts for your store inventory as it will provide a superior customer experience that rivals your competitors.
One way to differentiate yourself from the competition is to get quality products that your business can afford. If your customers find that their shirts shrink or tear after wearing them twice, this will lead to a bad reputation for your ecommerce store. This will drastically reduce the chances of these customers buying from your store again, something you obviously want to avoid. If your online t-shirt business is filled with quality products designed to last, your store will earn a great reputation that will help your business grow.
5. Print Your Designs
Having high-quality prints on your products is essential to the success of an online t-shirt business. If your customers find that your designs are cracking or fading after a few washes, it will leave a bad impression on your business.
There are many options you can take advantage of to print your designs. You can contact local printing companies, who will allow you to check the quality of your prints before sending them to customers. However, this can be a costly process, especially as your ecommerce business grows and the demand for more prints increases.
One way to keep costs down is to order shirts in bulk. You will be surprised how much you can save by ordering 10-20 pieces. In fact, you may end up with more parts than you intended to buy for just a few dollars more than you planned to spend.
6. Set a Price
Another important aspect of starting a t-shirt business is setting prices for your products. You will need to consider the purchase price and the cost you incur when printing the designs. Assuming you want to sell at a 50% margin, you can multiply your total cost by 2 to determine your unit price.
Let’s say you buy 50 T-shirts for $ 300 and printing a monochrome design costs $ 500. In this case, I paid $ 6 for a shirt and $ 10 to have the design printed. Your unit cost will be $ 16 ($ 10 + $ 6). So it would be ideal to sell the shirt for $ 32 (16 x 2). You can also charge an extra $ 5-10 if you sell a high-quality t-shirt at retail (people are often willing to pay more for super soft materials and a better fit).
7. Choose Your Business Model
If using a local printer is too expensive, drop shipping may be the solution for you. At Oberlo, we believe that online businesses can greatly benefit from the T-shirt dropshipping business model. It is simple, inexpensive, and can be run from anywhere in the world. Connect Oberlo to your Shopify store to import products, connect with vendors to print your own t-shirt designs, and start direct shipping with ease. Check out our Shopify drop shipping guide for a detailed explanation of how to go through these steps.
8. Set Up Your Online Presence
Finally, you need to start thinking about where you want to sell and market your product. Knowing your audience is very important for the t-shirt business, as t-shirts can be versatile, inclusive, or highly specialized. At this point, you will have decided on your design and will have an idea of your audience, but what about your competition? Have you researched and discovered where to sell and market t-shirts?
Taking the time to do market research will help you identify your audience before you start selling. It will also make sure that you are on the right platforms so that your audience will find your products easily.
It may be the case that the target market is active on Instagram and Snapchat, and they don’t waste time searching for t-shirts via Google search. This means influencer marketing and advertising are your best options for success, rather than spending a lot of time and resources on search engine optimization.
Once you’ve determined where your competition is and where your ideal customers like to hang out online, you can begin to set up and develop your brand’s online presence. You are ready to start selling t-shirts online!