Starting a T-Shirt Business

T-shirts have a long history, dating back to the early 19th century. Starting out as a one-piece slip-on undergarment, the t-shirt eventually separated into a top and bottom that was still worn underneath the outer clothing. Eventually, the t-shirt became the shirt of choice for doing farm or ranch chores, and, following World War II, the t-shirt had evolved into one that could be seen worn with pants as a type of casual clothing.

In recent years, t-shirts have become a staple of most people’s wardrobes due to their comfort, their versatility, and their durability. While some still opt for the plain T, many use t-shirts as a form of self-expression and advertising, utilizing a combination of words, graphics, and photographs. With the recent rise of online shopping, ecommerce businesses have experienced an increase of interest in t-shirts as a popular choice in clothing.

With the rise of popularity in t-shirts as streetwear, there is no time like the present to think about starting an online t-shirt business! If you’re looking to do just that, here are a few helpful tips.


Find a Niche

A niche is a term that you hear a great deal in ecommerce, but nowhere is this more important than in the t-shirt industry. With the many types of t-shirts available today, building a successful business will mean finding a way to set yourself apart from the many competitors out there. One way to ensure a loyal following is to choose and cater to a specific demographic.

Generally speaking, there are many categories of t-shirt designs, and the important thing is to be sure not to choose something that is too broad. Shirts with funny slogans might be a big seller, but it would be very difficult to hone in on a particular market if you didn’t target something and something more specific. Maybe you want to focus on musicians or nurses, or maybe you want to make a political statement. Keep in mind that it’s easier find your consumers if you know who you’re looking for and where they can be found.


Create a design

Designs don’t have to be complicated to be noteworthy. In fact, some of the best selling graphic tees are very simple. The most important aspect is to ensure that the text and the visual connect with your audience and make a statement your consumers want to hear and wear.

Remember that your design is not just about the actual t-shirt artwork. When it comes to your t-shirts, think about the quality of your tees, the customization options, the price, the packaging, and the payment options. Online consumers are looking for the full shopping experience.

Choosing from the many options for design production can also set you apart. Your t-shirt niche may be very popular in screen printing, one of the oldest and most complicated methods of t-shirt printing, but not be as readily available in digital printing or heat transfer printing.  There is so much more to setting yourself apart and carving out a piece of the pie for yourself than just the actual graphic itself.


Maintain quality

An important factor in the success and sustainability of an online t-shirt business is quality. While you may get away with a low-quality product one time, you will not inspire the kind of trust that is required for long-term customer satisfaction and repeat clientele. If your graphic fades or cracks or a t-shirt fails to maintain its shape during the washing process, you won’t create a community of enthusiastic consumers who will positively review your product or your company. Look at some of the best t-shirts available for printing before committing to a supplier.


Develop your brand

An interesting, strong brand is key to making it in the t-shirt industry. Your brand is your promise to your consumers that you have chosen the best in design and quality. Building that brand over time will inspire consumers to return for repurchase and will help to grow your business.

From capturing a distinctive online presence through social media outlets to using unique online t-shirt templates that show what your product will look like when worn, there are many ways to inspire your consumer community to grow. Find ways to connect would-be customers to your product.

If you’re not sure where to start, you might want to look the many ways you can find an untapped t-shirt niche. Starting with your interest and passion is one way, but there are others.

What are some ideas you have for starting a t-shirt business?