How to Start a Successful Online T-Shirt Business

What we wear daily says a lot about us. It can reflect our personalities, character, and identity. Selling t-shirts online has become a lucrative way to make money, especially for artists and entrepreneurs.

If you want to start an online business, selling t-shirts online is a good choice. This industry is expected to grow to $10 Billion by 2025.

So then, it means it is going to be a competitive market. To ensure that your t-shirts beat the others, be creative, and ambitious, and sell what is unique. Also, find the right target audience for your product.

This article will take you through a step-by-step process of starting a successful online t-shirt business that will earn you extra cash.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

This will ensure that you reach out to the right customers and also save you from losing your money all because you had a good idea but the wrong audience.

We have all heard of the word “niche” being used here and there. What does it mean? It is a specialized area of the market that a business serves specifically.

For your business to boom, you have to stand out. And you can only do that by picking out your niche. 

We have a variety of markets when it comes to online t-shirt selling. How do you ensure that your brand is successful? Instead of making them just funny, you can throw in a few memes that target a specific group like nurses, doctors, or dog owners.

Here are ways you can find and narrow down your niche:

  • Think about your interest and passion. Going with your instincts can work out. Ask yourself these questions. Is there a particular design that your fans like? Or what are your expectations? These questions will assist you in identifying your niche.
  • Single out problems surrounding your niche. Every business has its challenges the question is; can you solve them? You need to understand your audience to solve their problems.

2. Sell Quality T-Shirts

No one wants to buy anything that is of bad quality. From clothing to services we all want the best of everything. Find suppliers that will provide quality materials and printing services. 

Visit different t-shirt manufacturers and ensure you choose your blank t-shirt wisely or check out reviews from magazines on the best blank t-shirts.

Starting any business from scratch can be tedious and costly. This can make anyone want to sacrifice the quality of a product for profits. You need to think of the image it will reflect on your customers. 

If you want them to be good brand ambassadors, then the quality of the t-shirt has to be on point. Choosing the best does not just mean quality, it means the material, size, fitting, and weight. 

3. Design Your T-Shirts

Another step in starting an online t-shirt business is finding the best designs. You can do this by first researching what is trending. That way, you will be a step closer to finding what is marketable.

Here is a list you can use to search for the “top sellers” and “most popular” categories which will assist you in finding a viable niche in the online t-shirt business:

  • Zazzle
  • SnorgTees
  • Kickstarter t-shirt campaigns
  • Redbubble

Google Trends is also another site you can find new ideas for your business. The question remains. How do you ensure your designs are unique and the best? Simple

Get Yourself a Designer 

For a designer, your expertise will come in handy. All you need is an idea and the rest is easy. However, most people are not, and that is where a designer comes in.

You can give them some points on how you want your t-shirts based on the research that you have conducted.

There are many platforms where you can find quality designers. All you need is to find the necessary tools to help you.

Design Communities

Currently, there are thousands of communities, the design market also has its community. You can learn a few things from these communities like your fan’s preferences. One such community is Dribbble.

This site provides a wide range of ideas and styles you can choose from. It also provides the option of hiring a designer if they are open to freelance work.

Another site to check out is Behance. If you are looking for creators who specialize in illustrations, niches, and styles Behance got you covered! 

Consider Freelancers

Today there are many platforms where you can find designers. Upwork and Freelancer are good examples. Go through the profiles of different creators and identify the one best suited for the job.

Once you have identified them, you can reach out and hire them on the spot. Easy right?

Buy Ready-Made T-Shirt Designs

You can always decide to go the opposite direction by buying ready-made t-shirts. However, there may be a drawback to this option. Whatever you have picked might already be on the market. This can lower your profits since what you are selling does not stand out.

4. Mockup Your T-Shirts

After identifying the designs, do a mockup or a replica of the t-shirts. This lets your customers see how the actual t-shirt will turn out.

You can do this by taking an image of the product, ordering a sample from the designer, or by purchasing t-shirt templates online.

A site like Adobe Photoshop is the most common platform of all. It has features that will create the final result of your branded t-shirt. In addition, these sites have features that let you choose the color and design of the mockup.

5. Ensure There is a Ready Market.

The last step is to ensure you have a market. For any business to succeed, this is the most important aspect that needs to be taken into consideration.

You don’t want to blow up your money for something that will collapse. And how do you ensure this never happens?

Use your own social media Network

Upload some of your designs on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Here you will find out whether you have something going on.

Be vigilant of friends and family members who want to spare your feelings rather than be open. 


Instead of using your social media platforms where you might not get honest feedback, try Reddit. This is a place where the chances of getting honest reviews are high.

Its subreddits make it easier to find a niche and an audience who you can ask for a sincere review of your design.


These sites provide services such as testing, validating, and they can also buy your business idea. First, you will have to start a campaign based on the design. Which is not an easy task to accomplish.

You have to be willing to go an extra mile to make it a success. If you are thinking of selling matching t-shirts to a pet and a pet owner, crowdfunding can be a good way to kick-start the business.


It is never easy to start a successful online business. But with sites like Shopify, it is now a smooth ride. With Shopify, you can start a fully functional online store in a matter of hours.

Use this store to validate your business and also make some money by dropshipping other products to your customers.

6. Create an Online Store

Once you have gone through all the processes of identifying the target audience, selecting the design, and mocking it up, set up an online store. This will come in handy if you are looking forward to opening an online t-shirt business.

Currently, there are several platforms that offer print-on-demand services. Services such as printing and shipping the orders to clients on your behalf.

One cool feature of print-on-demand is that no inventory is needed. So the headache of looking for a warehouse to store goods is off the table.

Below is a list of Print-On-Demand Companies:

  • Gooten
  • Printify
  • Teelaunch
  • Printful

Lastly, you can use your designs for so much more. If you want to exhaust all the options, consider using the designs on coffee mugs, bags, and also pens. That way, you can earn more from your idea.

To Wrap This Up!

Starting a business from the ground up is not easy. You have to be creative, determined and have an idea. You also have to monetize that idea. If you are a new entrepreneur looking for a way to make a living, think of selling t-shirts online. With apps like Shopify, this business can be a success for you. So, start your online t-shirt business today and begin making millions!

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