The t-shirt is a staple in casual wear and has been universally accepted by both men and women the last few decades. Not only are they a classic piece of casual wear, but t-shirts are a blank canvas for artists and entrepreneurs alike. Because of this, selling t-shirts online has become a popular business choice. For many entrepreneurs, starting an online t-shirt brand is a great and inexpensive way to start an online business, whether it’s your first, second, or tenth business.
With the growth in popularity of t-shirts businesses, there’s no doubt you’ll be facing some stiff competition. To break through, you’ll need to have designs people love, a brand people cherish and quality people trust. In this guide we will go through the creation process for starting your own t-shirt line and online store. We will look at each of the steps involved and the keys to success to help you get started as a t-shirt entrepreneur.
Let’s dive in.
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Setting Up An Online T-Shirt Store Is Easy…
Here’s the good news. Building and launching a new t-shirt brand is relatively inexpensive and quick. If you already have ideas for the types of designs you want to sell, you can be up and running in as little as a few hours. With the abundance of apps and integrations in the Shopify App store, you can also connect your store to a t-shirt printer/dropshipper in minutes and have a fully functioning store, ready to print and ship to your customers.
But It’s Also Really Hard Work
Although the tools and technology available nowadays for designing, printing and shipping your own t-shirts makes getting going extremely simple, the difficult part is building a brand to stand out from the competition. Combine competition with slim margins and building an online t-shirt company becomes a little harder than it might first appear.
To be successful with your new t-shirt brand, you have to make the right decisions from the get-go.
The Keys To Success
In the online t-shirt industry, there are several critical elements to being successful as a t-shirt entrepreneur. Each of these elements need to be considered closely before moving forward:
You hear this term get tossed around a lot, but nowhere is it more important to choose a niche than in the graphic t-shirt industry. One of the most important factors in building a successful t-shirt business is the ability to stand out from the many competitors and one of the best ways to do that is by choosing and catering to a specific niche.
In general, categories like t-shirts with funny slogans are going to be too broad to attack in a very developed market. You’re going to want to tighten it up a little more. An example of a more specific niche would be t-shirts with funny slogans that relate to doctors and nurses.
Being more specific will help you stand out as well as better attract and market to the right audience without blowing your budget.
The majority of people that are purchasing graphic tees are looking for design, graphics and slogans that connect with them and reflect their opinions and personality.
The last thing a visitor would want is to see in your catalogue is a copy of t-shirt design found elsewhere. Your designs don’t necessarily need to be complex, in fact many of the best selling graphic tees and very simple, however, they do need to connect with your audience and stand out.
Recommended Course on T-Shirt Design: Hey, Cool Shirt: Designing Effective T-shirt Graphics by Chris Delorenzo, Lead Designer for Johnny Cupcakes.
The next most important factor in the success and sustainability of an online t-shirt business is quality. You can fool someone once, but you can’t fool them twice. The quality of the shirts you use and the prints needs to be top notch. A pattern that fades and cracks or a t-shirt that shrinks and rips won’t create raving fans that come back and repurchase.
A strong, interesting brand is vital in the t-shirt industry. Your brand is a promise that will tie together all your choices including your niche, designs and quality. Building a unique and likeable brand is important for businesses in a high competition industry. When customers have more choices, it becomes extremely important for an ecommerce business to have a distinctive presence to capture customers’ attention.
Recommended Course on Clothing and Apparel Branding: A Staple of Branding: How to Start Your Fashion Company by Jeff Staple, Founder, Staple Design.
Not all t-shirts are the same and not all print jobs are the same. As we mentioned above, quality is paramount to your brand and its success, so it’s important to educate yourself and choose your blank shirts wisely.
It will always be tempting to sacrifice on quality for higher profit margins but you need to consider how the quality will affect customer’s decisions to share your brand and repurchase in the long run.
Quality t-shirts encompass several factors, including fit, sizing, material, softness, and weight. A great start point for determining which blank t-shirt to use is to check out T-Shirt Magazine Online’s review of some of the most popular blank t-shirts for printing.
Once you narrow down your choices, it’s strongly encouraged to order each of the t-shirts yourself to make an informed final decision