How to Start a T-Shirt Business Online

start t shirt business online

If you have a love for fashion and would like to make money working in this industry, starting a t-shirt business might be up your alley. It is a perfect introduction to e-commerce and if you can learn the most important parts of this business, you will be able to accomplish a lot of great things in the future. 

There are quite a few stores out there already, having the lion’s share of the market. Nevertheless, competition is not something that you should fear. It is something which makes everything more interesting.

But what are the most important points you should focus on if you have not had any previous experience? Well, there are certainly some basic things, and this article covers the majority of them. 

The Type of Store

Print-on-demand and more specifically t-shirt printing businesses operate in two ways – you either do everything yourself or get on a platform which automates most of the process.

For instance, if you were to focus on how to start an online store without inventory with Printify, you would not have to deal with stuff like unsold inventory, order fulfilling, etc. Also, having to buy printing equipment is expensive, and to most, it’s just too much risk involved.

Having the Idea

Even if you have decided that you want to pursue this idea, it does not start and end with that. There is still plenty of work ahead, such as marketing and finding that perfect design which makes or breaks the whole business.

Market Research

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There are a lot of effective strategies for marketing, but everything starts with research. Going into it blindly will more than likely end up as being a complete disaster.

Plenty of free sources are available for those who are willing to put in time and effort. Google Trends is one of the best of the lot, as it shows what the world’s population is thinking about.

Potential competition is also worth your attention. It is easy to copy their best ideas and apply them yourself, and improve their shortcomings. Also, it helps when you can gather information about prices and figure out the potential returns before you start.


People will not purchase plain t-shirts. You need to put something on them, and that is the whole point of print on demand.

Having no designing experience is not something to worry about. You can easily find someone to partner up with on freelancer websites like UpWork and Fiverr. Plenty of designers will work for low fees because they are desperate to add to their portfolio and get real work experience.

Finding Your Audience

Focusing on a broad audience is not something worth your while. Instead, you should try to target a very specific group of people, one which shares the same interests as you.

For example, if you love animals, putting cute cats or dogs is a good example. Or maybe you could create a t-shirt line with quotes from proud pet owners.

The bottom line is that you need a niche which has potential and is of interest to you at the same time.


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The fun starts when you have a website and some merchandise to offer. The marketing comes down to your budget and willingness to go that extra mile.

Search engine optimization is a must, even if you have a low budget for it. Again, consider hiring someone as a freelancer if you have no idea how to do this yourself.

Social media, especially Facebook and Instagram, are one of the main sources of traffic for plenty of stores. Increase your presence there as well by organizing contests and growing the number of your followers.

Related: T-Shirt Mockup Templates to Showcase your Design


Any industry does not remain static for a very long time. Especially when it comes to the internet. You need to make sure that you are able to keep up with the most recent trends and adjust accordingly. Otherwise, it will only be a matter of time before your competitors overtake you.

The Future of Your Business

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When you see that you are making a decent amount of money from your store, do not end up in a comfort zone. There are a lot of ways to strengthen your brand and ensure that the store will continue to do wonderfully.

Try other marketplaces, send out free t-shirt samples to the most loyal customers, give out t-shirts at live events, grow an email list from subscriptions, start a YouTube channel, a Patreon campaign, and so on.

In summary, it becomes clear that t-shirt business is not that different from any other similar online venture. All you need is some money to invest, a good idea, and perseverance to overcome the tough times. If you have these three, you should be perfectly fine.

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