How To Sell Custom T-Shirts From Home

by | May 22, 2018 | Business, Making Money

introduction

Everyone loves their T-Shirts, so why not make money from them? People are looking for new brands and designs every day to make them stand out, why can’t your custom T-Shirt be what they’re looking for?

Ecommerce sales amounted to £506.6 billion in 2018, meaning that fashion still has a very stable place in the eCommerce world, especially T-Shirts.

In this article, we’re going to cover the best places you can source your T-Shirts from, how they all work, and how you can get started with them.

3 ways to source t-shirts

Yeah ok, we both know that there’s serious money to be made selling custom T-Shirts, but which method is the best and how do you do it? Well, this is what this section of the article covers.

Selling custom T-Shirts can be a very competitive marketplace, but it’s a brilliant way to break out of the rat race and become self-employed. If you manage to break into this industry and do it properly, then it can be very profitable.

Here are 3 different methods you can choose from:

Print on demand is one of the most safest and popular methods of selling custom clothing. This is because you don’t have to buy in bulk. This means that you only pay for a T-Shirt once you make a sale.

What is print on demand?

Print on demand is very simple and effective. This means using a third-party manufacturer to design and ship your product for you after the sale has been made. All’s you need to do is provide the logo design. This is a brilliant way to test different ideas to see which ones work.

how does it work?

Print and demand are extremely beginner-friendly. You’re taking all the shipping and designing out of your hands, but for a small cost. If you’ve got a design idea in mind, but no experience in designing clothing, then print on demand is a very good idea.

Once a sale has been made, whether than be on your website or elsewhere, you send the invoice to the supplier, then they handle the rest. They’ll charge a fee, but it’s not much at all. If you start getting a lot more sales in, you and your supplier could come up with a package deal to lower the pricing.

Print-on-demand services:

There are plenty of different services out there that offer print on demand, Here are a few of the best ones:

Printify

Printify is a Shopify app that offers the usual selection of hoodies and T-shirts.

The first thing to note about Printify is that it offers an international service, and allows you to use a number of white label products that you won’t find elsewhere, such as bottles. clocks, jewelry, and shoes.

If you’ve created a Shopify store, Printify is free to use. Although, they do offer a premium membership which gives you 20% off all products for only £29 per month. If you start receiving large amounts of orders, then you should consider this upgrade.

merch by amazon

We’ve all heard of Amazon, well as of 2015, they now offer their own POD (print on demand) services. Focusing on clothes, especially T-Shirts.

The only problem with Amazon is that there’s no integration feature available. This means that you can only sell directly on Amazon. This obviously has its pros and cons. A benefit of this is that you’ll have access to all Amazon’s potential customers, which is a lot… A con would be that you’re limited to Amazon, which means you’ll be trapped on their site instead of putting the T-Shirts on your own.

2. Buying wholesale

Buying wholesale just means buying in bulk. You would buy in bulk because it normally works out a lot cheaper compared to buying individually or in small quantities. You’d only buy in bulk if you were expecting large sales.

What is Buying wholesale?

The main difference between buying wholesale and buying on print and demand is that you have to ship the T-Shirts off yourself. Of course, by doing this, you won’t have to pay a third party to ship them off.

This will add more responsibility to your plate, but may also make you more money. Countries such as China are very popular for wholesale purchases as they’re reliable and very affordable. Some would say that buying wholesale is very similar to dropshipping, and they’re right. It’s a similar process.

how does it work?

Buying wholesale is pretty simple. Once you’ve got a T-Shirt in design in mind, you design it with your wholesale company, order them in bulk, and sell them from your warehouse or at home. From here, you can advertise them anywhere you want, and charge whatever you want for shipping.

Wholesale services

Wholesale services can be a brilliant way to break into the fashion world. It’s sometimes overwhelming when you’re trying to look for the best services to go with. Here are a few to help you choose:

Printsome

Printsome is a UK-based wholesale company that ships internationally. Printsome specializes in wholesale T-Shirts and is a well-trusted wholesale company that offers the highest quality. They also offer workwear, sweats, jumpers, and hoodies.

Printsome offers different package deals from 20-50 items, 50-250, 250-1000, and 1000+. The bigger the package deal you go with, the cheaper it is per item.

plain t-shirts

Plain T-Shirts are another UK-based. Plain T-Shirts, of course, specialize in T-Shirts. Their T-Shirts are made with 100% cotton yarn. They offer more than 16 different T-Shirt colors, which a lot of companies don’t.

3. Designing from home

Designing T-Shirts from home has the opportunity to be the most profitable, but the most time-consuming. This is a mixture between buying wholesale and buying a sewing machine.

What is designing from home?

Designing T-Shirts from home has been around since the beginning of time when people used to knit their own clothes. In the modern world, people are no designing T-Shirts from home and selling them. This usually takes a first initial investment, then a lot of your time and patience to sell all of the T-Shirts.

how does it work?

Designing T-Shirts from home has to sound like the hardest out of the 3, that’s because it probably is. You’ve got few options here.

The most popular option is to buy bulk plain T-Shirts from a wholesale company, buy some sort of knitting machine, and sew your design onto the plain Shirts. Another option is to sew the entire T-Shirts and design, which will take a lot longer and probably won’t be worth your time and effort.

how can I get started?

To do this, you’d need to find a wholesale company where you can purchase bulk plain T-Shirts and a T-shirt sewing machine. You can find a good T-Shirt sewing machine on Amazon, and you can find a good wholesale company by googling one near your area.

From here, you’ll need storage space to craft these Shirts and then store them after. Once you’ve got all this, you’ll need an eCommerce store to sell your T-Shirts on. Shopify is the easiest. From here, you’ll need to advertise your store. Continue reading to find out the best ways to market your product.

How to start selling custom t-shirts online

Selling custom T-Shirts online shouldn’t be left to the digital professionals and the wealthy, anyone can do it with the right tools, including you.

Amateurs have been setting up eCommerce T-Shirt stores for years, and so have professionals. The only difference between the two is that one will know how to market their products, and the other won’t, and it’s not always the professional. The two things you need to make sure is that:

  1. Your store looks professional and trustworthy.
  2. You properly advertise your products.

Providing you’ve got a good product, these 2 are KEY. If you manage to nail these, you’ll be certain to make some money. Here are 4 steps on what you need to do to create your online business:

1. Discover your target audience and niche

Discovering your target audience and niche is critical when you’re entering the fashion world. If you think that all boys or all girls will be interested in your T-Shirts, then you’re far from correct.

You’re entering a very competitive world. Because of this, you need to have a sniper target audience. This means not targeting a broad audience such as “boys” or “girls”. This is way too broad and if you’re just starting out, you’ll really struggle to make any sales.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, “who is going to buy my T-Shirts”. Don’t say everyone, you need to be specific.

Follow these 3 steps on how to discover your target audience and niche:

  1. Define your passions and interests
  2. Do your research
  3. Identify a problem you can solve with your product

Define your passions and interests:

If you’re looking for what niche to get into, don’t make it too hard on yourself. Go with a niche that you have an interest in, and know something about. For example, if you enjoy fitness, making gym Shirts isn’t a bad idea. If you enjoy walking, then making comfortable casual wear targeted at nature walkers isn’t a bad idea.

Just by knowing about the product and not having to do research from scratch, you already have an advantage over your competitors.

Do your research:

Now you’ve got your niche, it’s time to go away and do some deep research on your niche either locally or globally. Use platforms such as google trends or Ahrefs to try and find a gap in the market that you could fill.

Identify and solve a problem:

You’ve heard it before, and now you’re about to hear it again. “Every product has to solve a problem no matter how big or small it is”. Don’t just focus on making a beautifully designed T-Shirt, solve a problem too. This is also a good marketing point to go from.

For example, it’s easier to sell a T-Shirt that looks nice and helps you stop sweating than just a really well-designed T-Shirt.

2. set up an online store

The next step is to create your online store where you can sell your T-Shirts from. This is not very hard whatsoever, so don’t worry. Creating an eCommerce store through a platform such as Shopify is probably the easiest way to do so.

Shopify even gives you tedious pre-made pages such as tax pages, privacy, etc which every online store needs. This is key because not many people would know how to write a 2000 word page talking about tax or store privacy. They also offer international currency options, tax at checkout, and shipping options. It’s pretty much a walk in the park when you use Shopify.

3. Add products to your store

Right so you’ve got your product, you’ve got your store, now it’s time to integrate them both. With Shopify, this is made very simple. If you follow our complete Shopify guide, then you’ll see how to add products to your store. But if you want a quick few steps, follow these:

  • Go to products, then all products
  • From there, click add product
  • Fill out the product details
  • click save

Advertising is the most important aspect of selling T-Shirts. If no one knows your clothing brand exists, then how would you expect to make any sales? To market your product, you don’t need to be a social media marketer, or even a google professional, you can just learn the basics, and improve your skills along the journey.

There are two main methods of advertising, you either pay for your advertising, or you advertise organically. Organically means unpaid advertising. Paid advertising will get you a lot faster results, but will obviously cost you.

organic advertising

The first method is more of a budget-free strategy, and that is organic advertising. When we say organic, it just means unpaid traffic. Unpaid traffic can be a slow but steady journey. If you’re planning on keeping your store for the foreseeable future, then we recommend trying to generate organic traffic, as well as paid. There are a few ways of generating unpaid traffic. The two main ways are:

  1. Learning SEO
  2. Using social media

SEO (search engine optimization)

SEO has been used since the beginning of the computer world. A good SEO has the ability to rank websites using various different methods. The beauty of ranking a website is that if anyone searches for your keywords, for example, “white gym vest”, your website will come up first. With around 95% of internet users clicking on the first website link when they search, this has the possibility of generating large amounts of sales.

Ranking websites can take a lot of time, but if you plan on keeping your store for long periods of time, it’s definitely worth learning SEO, then slowly ranking your website as you go.

Using social media:

It’s free to sign up for social media apps, and it’s free for people to follow your page. This meaning, it’s free for people to read your posts, right? Well if you manage to grow your following, this is essentially FREE advertising! Social media marketing is such a powerful tool to learn.

Whatever your post will appear on your follower’s feed. The key to advertising on social media is to ensure you learn how to use hashtags properly. Hashtags can get you free exposure to thousands of people. Many people overlook this because they think it’s hard to grow their social media, well it’s not. You just need to be consistent and post good, quality content. Growing social media accounts organically can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to grow multiple.

If you stick to one or two social media accounts, then you won’t overdo yourself. Instagram is a brilliant platform to advertise clothing on. Ironically, Instagram is also one of the easiest platforms to grow organically too! If you’d like to grow your Instagram page organically, click here.

Paid advertising

The second method of getting your product out there is, of course, paid advertising. This method is a lot faster, but will obviously cost you. Paid advertising can get your product in front of thousands of potential customers in a matter of hours.

Paid advertising can range from paying a person/company for a promotion, running paid ads through social media or google, or anything else that gets you exposure through paying. If you could learn basic SEM (search engine marketing), you could increase sales drastically.

One of the most popular methods of paid advertising is running ads through social media or Google. Since we’re focusing on T-Shirts, we recommend focusing your ads on either Instagram or Facebook, but we aren’t saying you shouldn’t test others.

After you’ve run ads targeting your specific audience, it’s always best to send retargeting ads to those who have taken action, such as clicking on your link, adding to cart, etc. When you do this, you’ll be targeting your ads at an already warm audience.

Click below if you’d like to learn how to create an ad through these social media:

How to create a t-shirt design from scratch

T-Shirts are the most popular clothing item and are worn by men and women. The T-Shirt industry can be extremely competitive as mentioned, as you need to find a way to break out of the noise. Standing out from the crowd can be very hard, this is why you need a clear plan, and a creative mind, and a lot of discipline to do research.

Here are 3 steps on how you can create a T-Shirt design from scratch:

Define your niche

We’ve already spoken about discovering your niche, if you haven’t already, you need to do so. The question you need to ask yourself is, “who is going to be buying my T-Shirts”? This question can help you zone into your niche and target audience. Anything can become a niche market from hobbies, groups, social events, sports, and much more.

  • Businesses
  • Food
  • Couples
  • Sports
  • School
  • Gaming
  • Social movements

You need to set the scales just right. You don’t want to choose a niche that is too broad, such as football wear as the market will be too competitive, but you also don’t want to choose a niche that is too small, as you won’t get any sales.

Let’s say you’re passionate about going to the gym. Gym T-Shirts is a market you could break into if you could offer something unique. If you don’t feel like you could offer anything unique and different, then choose a smaller market.

Here are some questions that need answering:

  • What’s trending on social media?
  • Is there a specific area in your niche that is trending?
  • Is there a quote or phrase that would appeal to your audience?
  • What type of T-Shirts in your niche is on the market?

These questions are important because you not only need to know who your competitors are, you need to be able to stand out from the crowd. Answering these questions will help you stand out from the crowd, as well as giving you an idea of what you could offer.

Seek inspiration

Seeking inspiration is the next step you need to take once you’ve got a direction, and discovered your niche. It’s a lot easier said than done, but there are certain methods you can use to find inspiration. Inspiration is all around you.

Look at the T-Shirt you’re wearing now, look at your friend’s clothes, do they have something in common? Are they following the current season? Be as curious as you can.

There are plenty of different ways you can seek inspiration. Continue reading to find out:

Look at your competitors

Looking at your competitors for inspiration should be one of the first things you do. It’s important not to copy your competitors because there are copyright laws against this. As well as the laws, if you copy your competitors, then you still won’t make any sales because the customers will still buy from the trusted, well-known brand.

The idea here is to look at multiple competitors in your niche and analyze their different designs. For example, if you were into gym wear, look at how Nike and GymKing design their T-Shirts. When you’ve picked a few competitors out, ask yourself “what can I add that’s unique and will make me stand out?”.

It’s important to have beautifully designed T-Shirts, but you need your clothing to offer something unique over the others. Brands such as Nike don’t have to spend as much time doing this because no matter what clothing they drop, thousands of people are going to buy it.

One thing to remember is not to get discouraged by your competitors. Always keep in mind that they’ve spent years on trial and error to master their design. Even if you don’t want to spend years, you will have to go through some trial and error yourself.

Look at social media

Social media is an amazing place to find inspiration. Browsing across Instagram and Pinterest for a couple of hours will easily set your mind in a creative zone. Make sure you search related hashtags on your niche to make sure you aren’t looking at cat videos for hours. Get a pen and paper, and do some hard research.

The best part about researching on social media is that most of us know how to use the platform, and it’s full of juicy ideas. For instance, go onto Nike’s Instagram page and look at how they’ve designed their T-Shirts. and how they’ve marketed them. Do the same for any company in your niche. If you don’t know anyone in your niche, search-related hashtags as we’ve already mentioned.

look at different design types

If you’ve done your research and are still stuck, try looking at different types of designs. Designs normally are just random patterns, they’re all categorized. Again, don’t directly copy these, take inspiration, and apply it to your own design.

Some of the most popular designs are as follows:

  • The 80s and 90s patterns {INSERT IMAGE}
  • Collage design {INSERT IMAGE}
  • Typography {INSERT IMAGE}
  • Hand-drawn illustration {INSERT IMAGE}

If you’ve got your niche, you could even go as far as narrowing down what type of design you want before you make a decision. Breaking down the decision step by step might be easier for you than to just make one big decision.

Experiment

The next step is to just experiment like crazy. We highly recommend experimenting on “print on demand” as the risk is minimal. If nothing sells, you don’t design any T-Shirts, so it’s not a loss. Try designing multiple different logos, advertising in different ways, and see which ones sell best. If you aren’t getting sales, you either need to change your design or change the way you’re advertising.

You need to be testing things such as the log design, the colors you use, how big or small the design is the placement of the design, etc. When it comes to the material, I wouldn’t test too much. Find out what material your biggest competitors use and if it’s affordable, use the same. Unless you’re getting complaints about the material, it won’t be a problem.

The only thing you can really lose on print and demand is your time and effort, but if you want to become a self-employed entrepreneur, then you’ll have to be prepared to put the time and effort in.

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