The everyday t shirt is something you will find in closets all across the globe. Crafty entrepreneurs are taking hold of this daily essential by working towards building their own T-Shirt business with witty slogans and stunning designs that make their brand one of a kind. Luckily, this business is pretty cheap to source and easy to get started.
If you're one of the people out there who have been considering starting up your own T-Shirt business, whether in store, online or in person, you definitely need a starting point where you can learn and grow from. So let's jump right in and get you going!
First, understand that this is a competitive business so it's important to make your brand stand out from the crowd. This is much easier said than done, but knowing that you really need to find a great niche and pushing for that will keep you focused enough to keep your brand moving towards individuality.
I know this ma sound like a lot to process, but worry not, this is why this article is here and it'll definitely help you to get your business branded and off of the ground.
Ready? Let's go!
1. Getting Started
Since you've made it this far, we know that you have already started digging into the things you'll need to open your store and start making money. With that said, we know that you can get setup really quickly and inexpensively with just a few steps.
The first thing you need to do is choose a name and a venue to showcase your products. Your name should be something catchy and something that showcases YOU. Next, choose your venue.
If you want to start selling online, it's pretty simple to get setup with Shopify and the great thing about it is, they're great with customer service, help tools, and easy customization to get everything going and get you online within 30 minutes.
If getting started without an online store is what you want, then you can easily start with family and friends and by setting up social media accounts for your business. Try starting a Facebook business page and an Instagram business page and be sure to link them so that when you post on Instagram, your post can show on Facebook with one click.
Next, you want to find your Niche. It's been said that this is a competitive business and that much is true. So, finding a niche can really help your brand stand out from the rest and become truly successful. The more unique your items, the higher your chances for success.
This is the stage where you really do your due diligence and research current trends. Brainstorming really helps to get things down on paper and then narrowed down to create a product line you can be proud of. If you come across an untapped market, take advantage and make it your own.
2. Create Your Own Designs
Up until now, it's really been about foundation, but now is the fun stuff. Let's work on your designs, where they will be created or purchased from and how to create them depending upon the types of designs you want.
Since marketing great products is the most simple thing you'll do in this business, having a great design is critical to your success. The best advice you'll hear in this stage is BE CREATIVE. Yes some designs are trendy and catch on quickly across many businesses, but those designs are temporary and you really want your designs to be timeless.
If you feel confident in being able to make your own designs, then there are some really great software platforms and cutters to make custom templates for your business. Most rhinestone designers use Silhouette machines with the machine's custom software. A Silhouette machine can be purchased online or from your local stores such as Walmart.
The Silhouette is a great machine to get started making custom rhinestone T-Shirts as well as custom graphic T-Shirts so this machine is at the top of the list. However, there are other machines and software on the market that are pretty cool to use also. Visit USCutter to explore other suites of cutters and software and choose that one the best suits your space and design capability needs.
Once you've chosen the software and the cutter, then you'll definitely need to grab a heat press. There are tons upon tons of these on the market and choosing one isn't easy. However, it is best to grab a swing away heat press with a digital display. Check out US Cutter for these as well.
Next, you'll need rhinestones, vinyl, template material and hotfix transfer tape. You can purchase kits from various sources, but check out Blings and Things for hotfix rhinestones and I hear vinyl is soon to come. One of the best brands of vinyl to use is Siser, so definitely grab some common colors from there for graphic shirts.
Now, some of you may be thinking, "HEY! I'm no one's designer!" That is perfectly okay because there are places that will design for you and send you pre-made designs ready for pressing. If this is your lane, skip the software and cutter and head on down to one of our preferred designers!
If you're looking for rhinestone designs that are ready for pressing, check out CrystallizedbySparkle as any and all designs here can be crafted as a ready to press transfer or you can request to have a custom design made. If you're in the market for graphic designs, check out Fiverr as there are truly amazing graphic designers here that will help you customize your brand the way you want it.
3. Get Some Feedback on Your Designs
Once you've gotten a design base for your shirts, then ask a few family members and friends about how it looks to them and if they would wear it. Most often, designers design what they would like and miss things that consumers are looking for so it is always best to solicit unbiased opinions of your designs before actually putting them onto a shirt. Some of our preferred designers allow for use of their product pictures by their wholesale or drop ship clients. If you've created your own designs, use a service such as PlaceIt can help to mock up your shirts before having to spend time, money and resources to make the actual product.
4. Source Your Blanks
Once you've completed steps 1 though 3, you'll need to find a great place to source high quality but low priced blanks. Then you'll need to determine what you need to keep on hand for once those orders start rolling in.
This is where you'll need to do a bit more research in finding a great supplier and a preferred brand. There are many cheap shirts on the market, and they are just that; cheap. There are great brands to work with that range in price, but some of the best are Next Level, LAT Apparel and Bella + Canvas.
Once you've chosen the brand or brands you'll use, be sure to give your clients full access to the size charts and any advisories for each shirt/style you'll be using. For example, if you're using Next Level unisex shirts for ladies style designs, let your customers know that these shirts are unisex and typically run one size larger for ladies, but the size chart is ___. Giving full transparency is the best thing to let your customers know your brand is trustworthy and that, "what you see, is what you get".
5. Get Your Designs In Your Hands
This is where you should whip out your cutter, open your software and pull out your materials. If you're running your own rhinestone templates, load your template material into your cutter, and cut your design. Net, you'll clear out the circles and get ready to brush your rhinestones in place, pick it up with your transfer tape and head to the heat press to pressing.
If you're running graphic designs, load up your cutter with your chosen vinyl color, and run your design. Once that's done, take your time weeding the design and be sure to get all of the portions that not are a part of the design weeded out, then head to your heat press for pressing.
6. Get Your Completed Products To Your Customers
If you are not selling online, you can probably just hand deliver your products to your customers and you'll need some eye catching packaging to do this. UPakNShip is a great place to source packing materials and poly mailers for shipment of your products. If you're shipping, be sure to sign up for a USPS, UPS and FedEx account so that you can take advantage of shipping discounts to help maximize your profits.
But, if you're working with a company that drop ships, you don't need to do any of this. All you'll need to do is make stunning designs, market your products and smile!
Hopefully, this article has helped you in your journey to creating your own T-Shirt brand and moving towards a happier you! If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to speak out!