Many entrepreneurs choose to sell t-shirts as a way to learn how to start a business. That’s because t-shirts are inexpensive to produce, making the risk involved pretty low.
T-shirts are a staple of casual wear, and they never go out of style. For this reason, they’re an item that you can always sell as long as you have the right design and niche.
Shopify makes it easier than ever to start selling t-shirts online.
The platform allows you to build and customize an online store. With the help of exclusive apps, you can start a print-on-demand service to sell shirts and other merch.
If you choose the right niche and have appealing designs, you can start a profitable t-shirt business online. Read on if you want to learn how to sell t-shirts on Shopify.
Selecting a Profitable Niche
Choosing a niche to focus on is always a wise business decision. A niche is a specialized segment of the market for specific products and services. A few examples of t-shirt niches would be:
- Pet lover t-shirts
- Funny slogans for doctors
- Classic rock band t-shirts
To set yourself apart from the competition, you should get very specific with your niche. Something like ‘funny slogan t-shirts’ is too broad. Instead, focus on humorous shirts for a particular group of people, like doctors.
If you can stand out as the ‘funny medical industry shirt’ store, you’ll appeal to medical workers. All of a sudden, your store will have a dedicated audience that appreciates your shirts.
That’s how you can target a particular niche to find a market for your t-shirts. Here are some other tips for evaluating a niche to focus on:
- Visit subreddit pages related to your niche to see how many subscribers there are
- Use Facebook Audience Insights to gauze the size of the audience for your niche
- Look up some of the most popular hobbies in the country right now
- Consider your passion in life
It’s essential to find a niche that’s not only specific but has a large audience. If the niche you select is too small, you won’t be able to achieve consistent sales.
Once you select the niche you want to focus on; it’s time to go all-in with it. Create a detailed business plan containing your ultimate goal for your store. Make sure to include all the opportunities you can use to sell t-shirts to your target audience. That will help you come up with strategies for executing your plan and achieving your goal.
Create Original T-shirt Designs
When a t-shirt has no design, it’s indistinguishable from any other shirt. The design is what makes your shirt unique and expressive for whoever wears it. People wear t-shirts to express parts of their personalities. They wear shirts showing off their favorite bands, their career, and more. Others love to wear shirts that have funny slogans or quotes to attract attention.
It’s for this reason that your designs will make your break your t-shirt company.
They’re the single most crucial factor that will determine if you’re a success or not. Of course, the quality of the fabric, comfort, and style of the shirt matters too. Yet, customers won’t even order your shirt to experience those other factors if they aren’t attracted to the design.
Let’s go with the example of funny slogans for healthcare workers from before. When creating your designs, the jokes need to resonate with real doctors and nurses. Being authentic will matter most here, so take to some messaging boards to do some research.
Does your target audience appreciate suggestive humor? Would they be receptive to jokes about partying and drinking?
Those are important questions to ask yourself when coming up with your slogans. You can take things a step further by reaching out to some healthcare workers to see what they think. Go with the designs that get a sincere laugh out of them.
Hiring a Designer
If you’re not savvy with design at all, then you can hire a designer. That doesn’t mean you can’t still provide your designer with some ideas and sketches. They’ll simply be the ones making your vision a reality through creating your designs.
If you have no idea what you want for your shirts, hiring a designer is necessary. They will provide you with attractive original designs as long as you hire a professional.
The good news is that hiring graphic designers is easier now than ever.
Platforms such as Fiverr make it effortless to find freelancers specializing in what you need. That includes graphic designers that are savvy with designing t-shirts.
Fiverr makes it easy to stay within your budget as well. One search will yield thousands of freelancer profiles. You can view their portfolio, read reviews, and compare prices. That way, you make sure that you hire the right freelancer for your needs. Fiverr is among the most affordable ways to hire a freelancer. There are no additional fees involved other than paying the professional doing the work for you.
Once you find a designer that does a fantastic job, you can save them for future use. You can even consider hiring them full-time to be your dedicated t-shirt designer. To hire a top freelancer check out Fiverr at this link here.
Buying T-Shirt Designs
If you’re looking for a quicker option, you can buy pre-made designs. Some websites will allow you to purchase pre-made t-shirt designs. We don’t recommend going this route for your best-selling shirts. Instead, focus on originals. If you need a few more shirts to sell for more revenue, you can buy pre-made designs.
Bear in mind that there are probably other stores out there selling whatever design you choose.
That’s why we only recommend going this route for extreme cases. Yet, it is a way to obtain designs for your t-shirts if you have no other options. Some pre-made designs may require a commercial license to sell them on your shirts.
Do Detailed Mock-ups
Once you have some finalized designs, the next step is to make some mock-up images. That will let your customers see what the final design will look like on a shirt. It’ll also give you the chance to make any last-minute changes if you need them.
Say, for example, that your design ends up being too long for the shirt and overlapping around the back. You won’t know until you do a mock-up of it, which is why it’s a crucial step in the design process.
So how can you generate a mock-up design for your shirt? There are several ways how. There are many t-shirt mock-up templates online that you can use. They will provide realistic dimensions for your design so you can see it in action.
Most of the templates that you’ll find online are for Adobe Photoshop. These templates are not only realistic but highly customizable. You can change the color of the shirt and your design. Not only that, but you can make sure that your image meshes well with the creases and folds of the shirt. It’s imperative that you do a mock-up to ensure that your design works well printed on a shirt.
That will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. If you didn’t do a mock-up, for example, you could end up wasting thousands printing dozens of shirts with unsuitable designs. Save yourself the hassle and find a mock-up template to use.
Fiverr can come in handy here too. If you don’t have Photoshop and can’t figure out mock-ups, you can hire someone to do it for you. However you do it, it’s critical to have detailed mock-ups of your shirts.
The next step in learning how to sell t-shirts on Shopify is to validate your designs. What does that mean? It means ensuring that there is indeed a market for your t-shirt designs. There are a few ways that you can do about this. Some of the most common methods include:
- Reddit. Find a subreddit related to your niche, and then post your designs there. Ask for some honest feedback from the members. If you get a positive response, then you’ve validated your business model. If the results are less than stellar, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
- Social media. Head to Twitter and Facebook groups to show off your designs to your target audience. If they’re intrigued and entertained by what you have, then you know your idea is solid. Just like with Reddit, if you don’t get validation, it’s time to do some tweaking.
- Engaging with your target audience. If you’re designing shirts for healthcare workers, then it’s time to go to some doctor’s offices. Bring the mock-ups of your designs, and get some honest feedback on what they think. If you score a, “Oh, I’d love to wear that,” then you know that your idea is valid.
The validation phase may take you some time, but it’s important not to give up. It’s also vital not to skip this step. It would be best to validate your idea to ensure that your business doesn’t go up in flames.
By doing some research and trial and error, you’ll end up with better designs and ideas than before. Design validation will help you better understand what your target audience wants, which is a good thing. Even if your first results aren’t favorable, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add what’s missing to the mix.
Source Your Materials
Okay, so now you have validated designs for your target audience. You’ve got the green light, and now you’re ready to start selling, right? Well, there’s one step left. Now you have to source the materials that you’ll use to print your t-shirts.
That is a huge step where you’ll need to make a significant decision:
- Will you print the shirts yourself or use a print-on-demand service?
We recommend that you choose print-on-demand due to the low risk involved. That’s especially true if you’re a new entrepreneur with no experience selling t-shirts.
Print-on-demand allows you to sell t-shirts without managing your inventory. Instead, a third-party supplier will keep blank t-shirts on hand. Whenever you place an order, they will print your designs on the blank shirts.
The results are that you can sell without the cost and hassle of maintaining overhead. You won’t have to buy a printer or hire staff to print your shirts. If you want to use print-on-demand for your Shopify store, there’s no better way than Printful.
Printful: Print on Demand
Printful is a print-on-demand app that you can download from the Shopify App Store. It allows you to print far more than simply t-shirts. Printful keeps blank apparel, accessories, and homeware in its warehouse.
Printful’s staff will do all the heavy lifting for you, literally. They maintain warehouses and take care of shipping as well. All you have to do is advertise your t-shirt designs to your customers and collect payment.
Printful also has 24/7 support in case you run into any issues. Given all the advantages they provide, they’re the app to use for print-on-demand services.
You can save thousands of dollars by using Printful instead of managing your inventory. The app is affordable and will integrate seamlessly with your Shopify store. There are no hidden fees, and you have complete control over your profit. Once you set up your designs with Printful, you’ll be all set to start selling t-shirts. To start selling your designs follow this link to visit Printful.
Shopify’s Free 14-Day Trial
If you don’t have a Shopify store yet, you can create one using their 14-day trial. During that time, you don’t have to enter payment information. You also gain access to their website builder, app store, and more. In that 14 days, you can set up an online store and print-on-demand service.
That way, you can start selling t-shirts to validate your idea without having to spend a dime. If you find that you aren’t selling anything when the trial is up, you can cancel with no penalty. The chances are that if you’ve followed this guide that you’ll see some success and will stay. To get your free 14-day trial click this link to visit Shopify.
How to Sell T-Shirts On Shopify ( quick video )
That’s our guide for how to sell t-shirts on Shopify. Selling t-shirts can be a lucrative way to make money online. When you combine Shopify with Printful and a popular niche, the results can be powerful. To see our complete guide on starting a print on demand business follow this link.
If you want to see a list of our top recommended Shopify apps visit this link here.