How To Start A T-shirt Selling Business Step By Step
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Starting a t-shirt selling business can be a great idea. Today this business model is trendy and proven to work. I'm a part investor in a media/entertainment company called the 1PRCNT. One of the ways we leverage revenue is by selling merchandise through the 1PRCNT store.
Click here to see the 1PRCNT store live.
Through this model, you can sell other stuff aside from t-shirts. Here are examples of some of the things you can sell:
And anything related
Lets quickly take a look at some of the pros and cons of starting this type of business:
Pros of starting this type of business
Low start-up costs (under a $1,000)
No need to ship anything or package anything - the company we will recommend does it all for you
Easy to scale
Unlimited income potential
You can have a client the very same day
Can all be done online and from home
Cons of starting this type of business
Limited products you can make, however, there are ways to go around that when you get bigger
If you decided that this is the business for you, let's gets started.
Pick the industry that you will enjoy. For example, if you like comedy, selling funny merchandise may be an excellent fit. If you enjoy movies, you can figure out a way to build a business around that specific industry. To create your merchandise, you will visit Teesprings - click here to visit the site (more on that later).
Have an idea of your end goal. This is important because the preparation will be different, and you'll want to prepare everything accordingly. For example, understand if your end goal is to stick to one industry forever or if you're going to be selling various products down the line in multiple industries. Knowing your vision is essential, and you'll see why below.
Find a short, memorable, and easy to pronounce name for your company. Also, make sure that the name you go with is available when buying a domain. For example, when you look at all the companies, I'm part of; Sassy Egg, King of Maids, BookingKoala, Saleshangry, 1PRCNT, they all had those domains open:
Having the same domain as your name will make your company look more professional. When buying your domain or seeing if your name is open, you can use:
Also, when picking your name make sure that it fits your vision. If you're selling shirts specifically for toddlers, you may go with a name such as 'Shirts for Toddlers.' However, this becomes a problem if you decide to expand your service to kids of all ages for example.
Due to the name, everyone will automatically assume you only offer shirts for toddlers and changing your name later is a big deal. Many of those who remember your name may no longer recognize you. It's important to set everything to align with your vision.
You'll need to find a good logo for your business. Make it look professional and relevant to whatever it is that you are selling. Good logos are memorable and simple. If you need help making a logo, you can visit Fiverr.
You will need a website to sell your items online, and making a website on your own is extremely easy. All you need to do is sign up for a service that gives you all the tools you need to build your t-shirt site yourself in only a few hours. These services are also very affordable, saving you thousands of dollars by avoiding expensive developers and designers.
Teesprings is an excellent service doing over 25 million in annual revenue, meaning they are huge and credible. You can create your store quickly, and they will even feature your items on their website to help with revenue (more on this later).
Place the products you think will be the top sellers towards the top of your site. Use an educational guess, and don't worry too much about it. After several weeks you will gain a bit more data, and you can re-organize your store, placing all the top sellers on the first page of your store. As a quick example, when we first launched the store, we thought quotes would sell best. Instead, we were highly surprised; people loved the 1PRCNT brand, and a basic hoodie was our best seller - click here to see the hoodie. Today we rarely ever sell shirts with quotes on them.
Once you start to gain clients regularly, you can begin to optimize your site to increase conversions and sales. Click here to see a list of tools that will help you with that when that time comes.
When you start, make sure to register your business online.
LegalZoom is a service that will help you register your business online. Provide them with some information, and they will file in the necessary paperwork on your behalf. Once the process is complete, they will send you legal paperwork stating that you are an official business.
On top of that, LegalZoom also offers other services you may use in the future. I used them a few times when I started because they provide legal advice for a very affordable price.
Make sure that you are prepared with a desktop or a laptop. If your budget is tight, invest in a keyboard for your tablet if you have one. This doesn't have to be an expensive purchase. See what offers you can find on Amazon - click here to view offers.
Working on a larger screen is much more comfortable. I can't imagine starting out on a phone or a tablet. On top of that, a lot of the services that you will be using are not mobile compatible. Be well prepared.
Focus on establishing a brand the moment you start your t-shirt business. People trust brands and building trust in the first few years should be your primary focus. Don't stress over profits too much; focus on your online image. Get more reviews, more testimonials, more publicity for your company.
Marketing is where things usually go wrong. If you have little to no money, don't go starting with paid ads, nor should you go out and hire a marketing company that offers services for $250 a month. It will end bad nine out of ten times.
Your focus should be to build up your brand and reputation. If you're building your business by using comedy, this will be extremely easy for you. Send a free shirt to an influencer, and have them wear it while making content. Also, make sure to have them mention your company or tag it on Instagram; otherwise, you will lose out on interested buyers. If people are buying your products often, Teesprings will also feature them on their home page, which will drive in more free business. Keep repeating the same process until you see $5,000 in profit per month. Once you hit that goal, you should now start experimenting with your marketing ideas.
To find influencers, you will manually search for them. Don't pay any fees if they ask. This is a numbers game so send your product for a review to anyone who agrees. If your product is incredible, they will want it, and this will be an excellent indicator that your product will be a hot seller. If you're an influencer yourself with an engaged audience, use that to your benefit.
I'd also recommend checking out a blog post I wrote on how to sell more stuff - click here.
If you ever are thinking about hiring a marketing company, I'd also encourage you to read this post - click here.
Always remember the fundamentals
Bookmark this entire guide and come back to it whenever you are confused about something. These are the fundamentals of building a big brand on a low budget, and you will never want to forget them. Fundamentals will get you to the big leagues.
Look at it this way; in basketball, there is a proper way of shooting a basketball. If you are a shooting guard using the wrong shooting form for 20 years, you're going to miss out on a lot of awards, records, and opportunities. The same applies to business. If you don't learn the fundamentals, you will leave a lot of money on the table. Not only that, but it will take you longer to generate any sales, resulting in frustration.
Focusing on the fundamentals of the business will help you get small wins faster, which are vital to keeping you motivated, preventing you from eventually quitting. I know this is a lot to take in all at once, but if you keep working at this daily, it will start to become part of you.
Remember, every success story has a beginning.