It takes more than a head full of ideas and a computer full of designs to start a successful T-shirt business. There are certain things you need to know, and certain steps you need to follow. Don’t worry – it’s actually easier than you might think. We’ll walk you through some of the major steps in the process.
Step One: Getting Started
FIrst thing’s first, even if you’ve got some awesome designed planned out, you’re going to have to do some legwork before you actually start shipping and selling. Here are the questions you’ll want to answer with your initial research:
- What kind of shirts do I want to sell, and what sort of printing method do I want to use?
- What’s my niche? Who would be interested in buying my designs?
- What does the market look like for my target demographic? Do I have any major competitors? If so, who?
- Where and how am I going to sell my shirts?
- How am I going to get the word out about my brand? How will I generate interest?
- How much capital do I have available? Is it possible for me to seek investors?
- What’s involved in obtaining a business license in my State? Note that the answers to this question are most often found on your state government’s website.
Step Two: Your Sales Platform
Once you’ve moved past initial research, it’s time to decide on a sales platform. A well-designed, mobile-friendly, professional looking website is a must here. Whether you use WordPress, Shopify, Amazon, or some other platform is up to you.
The only thing that matters is that your storefront looks good. If it resembles something you haphazardly slapped together in a single weekend or is incredibly complicated to navigate, people aren’t going to want to use it. They’ll go to a website made by a competitor; one that’s better-designed.
Step Three: Shipping & Logistics
Next, you need to think of how you’ll deliver your shirts to your customers, as well as how you’ll manage your stock. While you may have the capital further down the road for a warehouse, I’d highly recommend using drop-shipping when you’re starting out. How it works is pretty simple – you purchase the product from a third-party vendor like BlueCotton, who handles the manufacturing costs. The product is then shipped directly to the customer.
Drop shipping’s low overhead and ease of setup allows you to readily test the market for new designs without putting forth too much capital on a bunch of stuff that might not sell. This approach does have its disadvantages, mind you, especially for larger companies. It can be difficult to keep track of items you have in and out of stock, shipping costs can be somewhat complex to deal with, and it increases the likelihood that you’ll run into supply errors.
At the same time, it’s a perfect way to get started – and as an added bonus, many of the vendors you rely on for drop-shipping can transition rather easily to manufacturers as your business grows larger.
Starting a T-shirt company isn’t easy. But with passion, creativity, and a willingness to work hard, you can soldier through. Now get out there, and get your business on the road!