Thinking of starting a t-shirt business? Great!
You may have great ideas for your t-shirts but maybe you have no clue regarding everything else. I felt the same way when I was starting out. So, I did lots of research on the business both online and by talking to people that were already in the business.
Looking back now, I am glad that I didn’t go into the business blindly.
Many entrepreneurs who went into t-shirt printing at around the same time failed soon afterwards but my business prevailed. Why? Insight.
The danger in diving into commercial t-shirt printing without a proper plan is that you set yourself up for failure. It’s like shooting into the dark. So, with this post, I will be giving you valuable tips on how to come up with a great t-shirt printing strategy.
Here’s how to start the business in a way that will be cost effective and at the same time set up for success.
1. Create a marketable idea
I take it that you have already decided to go into t-shirt printing.
Now, if you haven’t done it yet, now is the time to brainstorm about possible ideas for the t-shirts.
Do you want graphics or texts on the t-shirts? Or, maybe both text and graphic?
Looking to make design t-shirts for men or women? Or, babies maybe? Or, do you want to target people across all age groups and genders?
Do you want to sell color t-shirts or black and white ones or both?
These are some of the questions that you need to have answers for. You can have a friend help you out. Don’t forget to look at consumer trends and go with the most marketable/popular options.
2. Settle on a target market
Now that you have great ideas for your t-shirts, now would be a good time to think about your ideal customer. The question to answer here is, “Who do I want to sell my t-shirts to?”
Be very specific when answering this question.
Saying “men between the age of 18 and 55” isn’t answering the question properly.Consider digging deeper and find your ideal niche.
For example, you can target skateboarders, football team fans, grandpas, first-time dads, and so on.
The truth is, the possibilities are limitless. The more specific you get when deciding on your target group, the easier it will be for you to market your t-shirts.
3. Organize your business structure
How big do you want your firm to be? Do you want it to be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC or a corporation?
This depends on your capital and knowledge. If you have limited finances, I suggest taking it slow. Start out as a sole proprietorship. As your sales grow, you can change your structure to a company.
However, if you have a huge capital, you can start a company.
After thinking of the business structure, consult with a local legal practitioner on what documents and licenses you will be needing to ensure that you’re on the right side of the law.
Another factor you might want to consider is the type of sales you’re targeting. Do you want to be a wholesaler, a retailer or both?
4. Sourcing your t-shirts
When people go into t-shirt printing for the first time, they normally purchase blank t-shirts from manufacturers rather than manufacturing their own.
This way, they are able to provide their customers with a range of colors, styles, and sizes without spending too much money in production.
Look for a good manufacturer and strike a deal with them. Fortunately, you can find many of them online; don’t hesitate to ask for quantity discounts.
5. Printing the t-shirts
Maybe you want to go into t-shirt printing because you love heat pressing or screen-printing and have all the equipment needed to do the job.
Or, maybe you have design skills but don’t want to print the t-shirts. In this case, you can just search the internet for a good t-shirt printer in your area and discuss your needs with them. You will take care of the designs while they will deal with the printing for a charge.
One of them most crucial factors you should consider when determining prices for your t-shirts is the production cost.
Be sure to include costs for:
- The blank t-shirt
- Hangtags and labels
If you’re selling them through middlemen, you might want to lower the price a bit to accommodate these middlemen’s cut.
The most important thing here is to set a price that covers all the costs and leaves some profit for you. You can look at the pricing policy of similar businesses and draft your prices from there.
Also Recommended: How Much Does a Heat Press Machine Cost?
7. Storage and shipping
When I first went into the business, I started out by storing my t-shirts in my garage. Some people store them in their basement, home office or even in the closets they don’t use.
Do you enjoy packing the t-shirts and shipping them to your customers? Operating the business from your home is the perfect way. You can ship them via post.
On the other hand, if you don’t like that or just don’t have the time or adequate storage space at home, you can hire a fulfillment house. It will take charge of the storage, packaging, and delivery for a fee.
8. Selling the t-shirts
If you’re looking to particularly sell the t-shirts directly to the consumer, the very first thing you want to do is set up a business website and social media accounts. You should also make some postcards to market your business.
Ensure your website supports e-commerce so your customers can make payments directly through the website. Also, hire a good photographer to showcase great samples on your site.
Another great way of creating awareness for your business would be target local events like fundraisings and street fairs.
If you’re setting up a wholesale business, focus on stores that sell to your target market. These stores can be boutiques, t-shirt shops, gift shops, and so on.
The first stores you should be focusing on are the ones in your local area. Visit them and strike deals with them. Don’t forget to take a few business cards and samples with you.
9. Online Marketing
Just having a website doesn’t mean that people will start flocking in there. You have got to work with an SEO expert to optimize that site in a way that people can find it easily.
Do backlinking with relevant sites. If you spot a blog or forum that is relevant to your business, take part in the discussions and throw something about your site in there. Do this intelligently and in a way that is helpful to the audience without appearing salesy.
Wear your design t-shirts as frequently as possible. This is one of the best ways of giving them some exposure. Tell the people in your circle (friends, family, colleagues) about your new business and ask them to pass the message to the people in their circles.
Did you find this information helpful? Why not share it with the people in your circle? Feel free to leave a comment.
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