8 Tips You Need to Know to Start a Successful T-Shirt Company
You might wonder if it’s still possible to start a successful t-shirt business. Recent financial statistics would suggest that it is. The t-shirt printing market was valued at 1.16 billion dollars in 2016. By 2025, it’s expected to rise to a value of 3.1 billion dollars. If you’re considering starting a custom t-shirt business, follow these important tips to give yourself the best chance of success.
- Decide what niche t-shirts you’re selling
The first step is deciding what kind of niche t-shirts you want to be selling to people. A niche t-shirt is one that appeals to a small, passionate group of people. It’s important to avoid niches that are overcrowded. Instead, choose one that isn’t as crowded and still has a good number of people interested in it. Put together a list of potential niches, and for each one, note the total search volume, the number of sellers, the quality of the shirts, and the online communities for the niche. You can include any other criteria you think would be important to know. When you’ve researched all of your niche ideas, you’ll be able to better decide which one you think gives you the best chance to succeed.
- Design some t-shirts
Figuring out the best way for your t-shirt to look will take some time. Be patient as you work through the trial and error of designing a shirt that your customers like. Fortunately, you don’t have to sit around and wait for a creative idea to pop into your head. You can figure out the best design that will attract your target market by just observing what your customers like. Study the designs that your target demographic typically wears. Make a note of the colors, the patterns, and anything else that stands out to you. Observe whether the fit of the shirt is tight or loose.
When you begin to notice a theme or a pattern in the kind of shirts being worn, you’ll be better able to design something that reflects what your selected demographic likes. Using the notes you’ve written down, start coming up with designs that fit with what you’ve researched. You’ll likely have to come up with a lot of different ideas before you get an idea of what your customers like. The image or art design you use for your shirt should always be of high quality. The design should be sized to display well on the t-shirt.
There are websites you can use, such as Canva, to design your t-shirts. You can also try using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. If you’re unsure how to create a design in this way, feel free to consult with a designer in creating a high-quality image. You can find a freelance graphic designer through freelancing websites like Upwork or Fiverr. Be sure to carefully consider a designer based on relevant testimonials, past experience, pricing, turnaround time, and communication.
- Test your design
After you’ve put together a design, you need to test it before you put any further investment. Show your design to the customers that you believe would be most interested in buying it. As an example, let’s say you created a t-shirt for people who love poodles. Show your t-shirt to people who own poodles and see if they would be interested in buying the shirt. If more people say they would than not, then you might be on to something. If it’s the case that most of the people you ask who like poodles don’t like the shirt, then you need to make some adjustments to your design. You can ask the people that don’t like the shirt what they don’t like about it and what changes they would make that would make them more interested in buying it. Once you figure out the design that really attracts the customers you’re marketing to, be sure to copyright your design so no one can profit off of your work.
- Make a business plan
It’s essential to have a business plan in place before you start selling any t-shirts. Putting together a plan will help you stay organized and keep track of the progress you’re making. Some of the basics you should outline in your business plan are what your product is, what sales goals you have, the market you’re planning to sell to, and your financial projections. Other information you should also include is how you’ll get your customers; how much you’ll sell your product and many other details. In general, your business is designed to help you to know how you’ll start your business and stay on track with the tasks you need to fulfill to make your business successful.
- Set your business up legally
You may need a permit or license in order to start your own t-shirt business. Be sure to look at local business laws in your area before you start selling any of your products. The last thing you need if you become profitable is to have to pay any fines or penalties for running your business illegally, or worst yet, have your business shut down. Once you’ve figured out any necessary documents you may need to file, you should also register the business name of your t-shirt company. The registration can be done by filing the necessary paperwork to your local secretary of state.
You’ll need to file a DBA if you’re planning on conducting business under a fictitious name. DBA stands for “doing business as.” Lastly, you’ll need to determine the kind of business entity you plan to operate as. You could decide to operate as an LLC, a sole proprietorship, partnership, S-corporation, or C-corporation. Take time to research what each one will mean for your business legally and financially and decide which one is best for your business.
- Build your brand
Once you’ve got a name for your t-shirt business, you need to create a good story for it that inspires people to buy from you. In the story of your brand, you can tell people the motivation behind starting it, the causes that your company supports, the people who are behind the company, and any other important detail you want customers to know. Keep in mind that you’re going to be in competition with many other t-shirt companies in your niche. Building a strong brand will help you stand out more and give you a better chance of getting a purchase from a new customer.
- Price your t-shirt
One factor you can consider when determining a price is how much people say they’d be willing to pay for your shirt. You can find people within your target audience and ask them how much they’d pay for your products. The feedback you get will give you an idea of a price you want to strive for that’s affordable for your customer base. While giving your customers an affordable price will be important, you have to ensure that the price you set will allow you to make a profit. Determining a price that you’ll profit from involves measuring all of the costs you’ll be paying to run your business. Some of the costs may be how much it’ll take to print your t-shirts, deliver them, and any other costs that may be involved. Once you know the cost, then you can set a price that will allow you to make more than what you’re spending to operate your business.
- Market your t-shirt business
Marketing is one of the most important steps to creating a successful business. There are a variety of ways this can be done. You can go to craft shows, get your brand on social media, or pay for advertising. You can choose to try all of these methods, see which one works best, and choose to put most of your time and money into that method. All of the research you’ve done in learning the demographic that would be most interested in your t-shirts will be important here. For example, with online advertising, you’re able to set your advertisements to target specific groups of people. The more you know about the demographic you’re targeting, the more you can narrow your advertising to reach the people who might buy your t-shirts.
- Study other t-shirt businesses
Making your t-shirt business successful will be a continual process of learning. The best lessons you can learn are from seeing what other t-shirt businesses have done to be successful. In particular, study the ones that are currently getting the most sales in your niche. Think about things such as the story they put behind their brand, the colors they use for their designs, and other elements that stand out to you. Find a way to implement similar techniques and strategies they’re using with your t-shirt business.
Keeping all of these tips in mind will help you get a successful t-shirt business started. In addition to these tips, it’s important to know how to print your t-shirts. Learn about wholesale screen printing as an option for getting your t-shirts printed.