It’s highly recommenced you bookmark this page about how to start a t-shirt business because it’s rich with information that you’ll use time and time again. Bookmark this page now by clicking on this [pic]icon. Have you ever seen a great design on a t-shirt and thought “I could have designed that!”? A T-shirt business can be a very easy way to generate extra income without too much upfront investment or difficulty. With a little preparation and marketing, you can turn your ideas into a unique and profitable business.
T-shirts have certainly gone through the fashion world at various points in time. In the sixties you could spot someone’s identity by the tie-dyed t-Shirts he or she was wearing. Surfers and skaters buy t-shirts that will identify who they are. In the 80’s, t-shirts were being printed with all sorts of rock stars and more recently t-shirts have become unique according to design ideas and slogans; especially in terms of ‘nerdcore’ fashion in the vein of Jinx, Think Geek, and Nerdy Shirts. In 2009-2010, the t-shirt most popular designs are those with rhinestones, lace, and other embellishments, along with different types of fabric besides traditional cotton. Today, t-shirts range in many design types and it’s easy for even teenagers to come up with their own for part-time income.
Successfully breaking into this heavily-saturated market is with an established exclusive license on a brand or franchise that only your line will process. There are five common methods of printing t-shirts; transfer printing, vinyl transfers, silkscreening, airbrushing, and sublimation printing. These methods are best for a small scale t-shirt printing business because they do not require costly machinery and extensive skilled labor. In fact, with silkscreen printing, you can make your own ‘box’ printer. You can also open an online shop with one of the print on demand services, (Usually for free or low setup cost) upload your designs, sell them and keep the rewards. And it’ s not just t-Shirts, either; most of these services allow you to sell other gift items such as mugs, caps, keyrings etc.. all with your designs on them. A t-shirt business will never go out of style as long as you know how to package and reinvent your products. And the business startup requirement of a t-shirt business is considerably small, especially when you compare it to other business opportunities.
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Product sales can even be done online, saving you a lot of money on business startup costs. A good t-shirt never goes out of style, so a great t-shirt business has the opportunity to expand for many, many years. How to Start A T-Shirt Business – Tasks And Skills Needed: Business Specific Tasks: If you are planning to do all the business tasks or hiring or subcontracting tasks, here’s a list of tasks that need to be attended to when it comes to the business side of running a t-shirt business: Bookkeeping Advertising/Marketing Ordering Printing Computer literacy Answering machine Industry Specific Tasks: Same as above if you plan to do everything yourself or get help, here are some of the tasks necessary to operate a t-shirt business: Handle the necessary equipment adequately Understand and use printing techniques Experience in design is a plus Calculate estimates Ordering of supplies such as blank t-shirts, transfer equipment, etc. Packaging Shipping Retail sales Online sales Website design and maintenance E-commerce transactions Approximate Daily Hours Needed To Run a T-Shirt Business: General Hours of Operation: – When your business is open – If you have a storefront, expect to spend eight to ten hours at your shop. If you have an online t-shirt business, you can work many, variable hours per day.
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If you are doing your own printing, add additional hours, along with packaging. Hours Needed to Prepare – Before Opening and After Hours Activities – Generally speaking, a t-shirt business takes about 1-2 hours to prepare and display your t-shirt items. After hours include closing up and/or packing up: about an hour. How to Start A T-Shirt Business – Number of Employees Needed: Minimum Number of Employees – During the Start Up Phase: You can start this business yourself on a full- or part-time basis. Number of Employees – Once Your Business is Up and Running Successfully: Website maintenance Printing Inventory Supply (t-shirts) Ordering of printing supplies Equipment upkeep and cleaning Customer service Retail sales Order fulfillment (online and/or offline) Skilled Job Trades: Here some of the skills necessary to run this type of business other than the necessary business skills: Familiarity with printing and transfer processes Fabric care Color and design experience Retail sales Marketing/PR/Advertising Clothing design Licenses: Check licensing requirements in your state and locality. You will likely be required to purchase a general business license.
You will have to pay a fee, which will vary based on where you start your t-shirt business. Get a state tax ID number from your state’s tax or revenue department. This is necessary for paying the sales tax you collect to the right authority. Also, many companies will not offer wholesale pricing to businesses or individuals who lack tax ID numbers. One major thing that many small scale t-shirt companies overlook is the ensured protection of their designs and outlays. Larger companies trademark their designs but that adds a huge deficit in their budget. This does not mean that small scale t-shirt companies shouldn’t protect their hard work and efforts; at least copyright unique and custom designs. If you find out that somebody is copying your style and designs, you can legally send him or her a copy of C & D (Cease and Desist).
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Read Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives Exclusive licenses to established brands within the niche you are looking to sell to, along with your own creative custom designs, is the only way to truly be successful in the heavily saturated and already dominated market of online or offline t-shirt designs and sales.
Approximate Minimum Startup Cost: Bare essential: – The t-shirt business can be easily started as a small scale operation since it does not require a huge sum of capital to start up. It would cost under $100 to buy the materials to screen print t-shirts, for example. The absolute minimum stuff you would need would be a frame, photo emulsion, a cheap light, ink, a squeegee, masking tape, and t-shirts. For another hundred, you could buy a single shirt screen printing press, or you can build your own press. You can upgrade your equipment as your business grows. Screen printing a t-shirt only takes pennies worth of ink for each shirt. You can get blank shirts on sale at Michaels for $3-4 each. Or you can buy them in quantity for less. You can buy box lots of t-shirts on eBay. You can run a screen printing business out of your garage, or the basement of your home. If you run a small shop, you will probably be okay. It costs nothing to start a t-shirt business when using an online service; $500-1,000 without a store-front operation can often be sufficient. Minimal exposure – This should prompt you to use all the resources possible to market your products for free. Internet shops do not necessarily have it easy, but at least they don’t have to spend much on marketing.
One of the concerns of an online t-shirt business is, naturally, their website. Getting traffic is one thing; getting the visitors to purchase is another. Here, you can choose to use three techniques that also apply to physical stores: great products, easy checkout, amazing service. Great products help you attract customers, easy checkout (or easy purchasing) provides customers with few chances to change their mind about the purchase, and amazing service entices them to come back for more. With online stores, the layout of the online store has to be easy to navigate. Technically, everything else about this is already in the realms of online marketing and search engine optimization. You have to work on those as well. Negotiate with local business to display your work. Also, search for local fairs and craft shows for other opportunities to sell your work. Necessary Equipment Necessary to Run this Business: Necessary Start-Up Equipment & Supplies: Work space, ample table room Computer Screen printing (silk screen) press Squeegees Screen printing ink Regular screens (silk) Screen exposure unit 4-6 color manual press Spot dryer Small conveyor dryer Emulsion T-shirts Supplementary Equipment: – Equipment or helpful products that you can acquire to once your business is off and running: Trademarks/copyrights Design software Finance software Camera Airbrush gun Embellishments: rhinestones, lace, etc. Monthly Expenses To Consider:
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Answering and/or cell phone service Warehouse or other storage rent Wages Any equipment rental Printing supplies Water Packaging Advertising/Marketing Electricity Shipping T-shirts Transfer supplies Development/emulsion tools and products Special Requirements and Considerations For This Business: Many first time t-shirt business owners overlook their target demographic. If you want to sell a lot of t-shirts, you better know who you are selling too and what they like! Check out what other stores are selling to your demographic to help give you inspiration. Don’t try to design in too many different styles. It’s better to stick to one style to start so that you can build your style and business branding. T-shirts come in different styles, cuts, sizes, men’s tees, women’s tees, kids tees and so on. Based on your budget and target audience you need to figure out what exactly you are going to focus on and sell so you don’t go over-budget right off the bat. What you can sell can be very limited to the company you are using to create and or fulfill orders. Sites like CafePress have a limited selection of shirts available that you can sell so you need to pick a fulfillment service carefully, IF you are even going to use a fulfillment service. The fabrics and color schemes should be chosen wisely. The selected raw material has to compliment the printing methods and ensure durability and quality. For small scale t-shirt printing businesses, it is advisable to maintain the level of quality to attract bulk orders—which will be more profitable in the long run.
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Rather than dealing with inventory, payment, shipping, and printing, it is often easiest to use a printing fulfillment service. A printing fulfillment can provide you with your own online t-shirt store, and using them is as easy as signing up for an account at their website. These services often provide your store website and space, a customizable store website template, t-shirt production, t-shirt shipping, payment handling, return handling, inventory, and other services. Screen printing produces a much nicer t-Shirt (colors are more vibrant).
These machines can be had for pretty cheap, but the effort is much greater to produce them. Choose a subject or theme carefully: This is very important in the t-shirt industry. For example, you might want to do a line of arty t-shirts that showcase original works by artists from a specific community, city or country. Do your research! Find out ahead of time what the trends are and what people in your target audience group are gravitating to. Stay current on your theme once you’ve set one because trends and interests within a certain category will evolve with new trends and styles.
Opening a print-on-demand t-shirt shop is one of the easiest ways to start an online business with virtually no startup cost and no risk. Companies like Cafepress, Printfection and Zazzle allow you to open your own shop for free or cheap, and they take care of all the customer service, manufacturing and shipping. All you have to do is put up a few designs, set your markup and collect your monthly paycheck. If you are really serious about succeeding with an online t-shirt shop the best thing you can do is contact your local community college and ask if they offer any courses in the graphic design department that focus on using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. These programs can have a steep learning curve but they will prove invaluable for their flexibility. If you don’t want to take classes, there are a huge number of tutorials available online, and forums with others willing to help you learn. Pros And Cons: The Pros of Running a T-Shirt Business: A t-shirt business is one of the easiest to start. You have the advantage of being your own boss and setting your own hours. Great part-time business that can grow to full-time. Startup costs are relatively low. This business is completely expandable.
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The return on the investment can be quite high. T-shirts sell in any economic climate. The Cons of Running a T-Shirt Business: Coming up with a unique and marketable idea can take some time. There is a lot of competition. As trends emerge, your designs will need to change accordingly. Depending on the services you provide, you may have to handle substances that may be toxic or you are allergic to. Trademarks, copyrights and exclusive licensing can be very costly. You may have to work on weekends and holidays. Types of Customers You Need to Attract: Your family and friends may be your first customers but if they like what you sell, they will certainly bring future sales and referrals your way. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they know anyone who might like your t-shirt designs. Some screen printing business opportunities would be local rock bands, baseball teams, family reunions, etc. If you know someone who needs t-shirts, offer your services and make a small profit. It is important that you do a good quality job.
After you have done some jobs, you will likely get referred business by word of mouth. You can always get some business cards printed up, and post them on bulletin boards in your area advertising custom printed t-shirts. Try designing and printing t-shirts, and then sell them on eBay. Find what kind of shirts people are buying. Are they buying dog shirts, cat shirts, karate t-shirts, etc. Figure out what types of t-shirts are selling. Most students have drawers containing — if not overflowing with — t-shirts from some on-campus organization. These t-shirts often promote good causes or are used as a way to raise money for a deserving non-profit organization. T-Shirt Business Statistics: The silkscreen t-shirt business has grown quickly over the past few decades, and it is often referred to as the Imprinted Sportswear Industry. It is possible to start a custom silk screen T-Shirt shop with a relatively small amount of capital. With attention to the details of silk screening (also known as screen printing), a good marketing plan, and a keen eye on the bottom line, a hard working individual can create a successful t-shirt business. Revenue: Most screen printers charge in the $10-$40 range for every different color you use. It can get really expensive for someone (Example: music bands) to get several t-Shirts printed.
They then have to sell the fans $36-dollar t-shirts just to cover the costs and make some profit. Resources: Industry-Specific Websites: Top 10 T-Shirt Design Websites Monkey in a Dryer Go2Tshirts SpreadShirt Threadless Tee Biz T-Shirt Factory Courses: How to Create Vintage-Style Zombie T-Shirts How to Start Your Own T-Shirt Printing Business An Extensive Guide to T-Shirt Affiliate Marketing How to Break into T-Shirt Design The Learning Annex: How to Start Your Own T-Shirt Line Equipment and Supplies: BestBlanks Zazzle imachinegroup BrandBookTees Wholesale Polo Shirts Silkscreening Supplies ProWorld AlphaSupply QTag TransferExpress Forums: T-Shirt Business Blog Starting an Online T-Shirt Company IdeaCafe’ YouDesignIt T-Shirt Line Captain Cynic MySpace T-Shirt Forum MindTrix Franchises: PrintMojo SilkScreenBiz CustomInk Printa SWF East Instant Imprints Associations: IACDE. International Association of Clothing Designers and Executives Books: How to Start a T-Shirt Business Guide T-Shirt: One small item, one giant impact (Trigger Issues) [Paperback]
How to Print T-Shirts for Fun and Profit [Paperback] Generation T: Beyond Fashion: 120 New Ways to Transform a T-shirt [Paperback] T-Shirt Makeovers: 20 Transformations for Fabulous Fashions [Hardcover] The T-Shirt Revolution: Building Your Business Using a Digital Apparel Printer [Paperback] T-shirt Riches Fuel for Design Other: The Not-So-Tiny Little T-Shirt Company (article) Teens’ T-shirt business promotes positive messages (article) From T-Shirt Salesman to TV Icon (article) Build your own t-shirt printing press Business.com Screenprinting From Home (DIY) T-Shirt Magazine Related Businesses: Retail clothing sales Art sales Printing and silkscreening Marketing and Promotion Event planning Custom product sales Photography Screenprinting 12 Steps To Starting a T-Shirt Business [pic] Before You consider a T-Shirt Business, see 16 Questions to Consider Before Starting a Business 1. Ensure a T-Shirt Business is for You! You have a choice as to what business you’re going to start, so start one that’s right for you. Getting into the right business can dramatically increase your success. Get into the wrong business and your success rate drops.
Read Five Secrets to Getting into the Right Business for more information. 2. Understand How a T-Shirt Business Operates How can you run a T-Shirt Business if you don’t know much about the business? What if you run into an issue that you can’t or won’t deal with? Then what? You’re in a business that you hate working in and that’s a problem. See Understand How a Business Operates for more information. 3. Make Sure There Is a Profitable Market for Your Business What’s the use of starting a T-Shirt Business that is not profitable? You’ll be putting all your effort in something that can’t support itself or you. There are a variety of issues when it comes to setting the stage for profitability. See Tips for Identifying a Profitable Market. 4. Create a Business Plan For Your T-Shirt Business A business plan is a must for any size business because it helps you stay focused, see the big picture, and get funding. It’s something that you create when you start your business and then update as your T-Shirt Business evolves.
Read our free online guide on How to Write a Business Plan 5. Set up Your Business Team Setting up your team includes finding the right employees and professionals that will help you run your T-Shirt Business. You don’t need to employ everyone you work with, but you will need a team of people you can depend on, which could consist of a lawyer, accountant, banker, and consultant, as well as professionals in your industry. See Creating a Business Team for more on this subject. 6. Get a small business Loan if You Don’t Have the Money to Start If you don’t have the money to get started, then you’ll need the necessary financing or you won’t have the opportunity to start your T-Shirt Business. This can be done as a small business loan, a personal loan, or other small business financing options. For more on financing your T-Shirt Business see our guide on Financing Your Small Business 7. Legalize Your T-Shirt Business In order to run your T-Shirt Business legally you’ll need to abide by government rules and regulations on the state and local level.
You’ll need to do your research, determine what type of business (sole proprietorship, corporation LLC, etc.) to register, create and register your business name, and register your T-Shirt Business with state and local authorities. To go through the business registration process, see Chapter 6: Making Your Business Legitimate, starting with 6 Easy Steps to a Good Business Name. 8. Get Equipment for Your T-Shirt Business In order to run your T-Shirt Business successfully and efficiently you’ll need to acquire the right type of equipment. How can you run an online business without a computer? You can’t! This is an important issue. See Acquiring Equipment for more on this topic. 9. Set up Your Accounting System Running a T-Shirt Business requires you to collect taxes, and report your earnings. So it’s best to set up an accounting system in before you start your T-Shirt Business. See Setting Up Your Accounting System for more on this topic. 10. Acquire Customers for your T-Shirt Business In order to exist, every business needs customers.
Getting customers is one thing you’ll need to be good at. If you can master the tasks of getting customers, it’s just like turning on a cash machine almost any time you want. See Acquiring Customers for more on this topic 11. Prepare To Accept Money You’ll need a way to accept money, you can’t depend just on cash or checks. You’ll need to accept plastic: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. To do that you’ll need to apply for a merchant account. See Setting Up a Merchant Account for more on this topic. 12. Insure Your T-Shirt Business Make sure you have the proper insurance for your T-Shirt Business. Without the right coverage you could lose everything you’ve worked for. For tips on insuring your T-Shirt Business, see our free online guide: Insuring Your Small Business. T-Shirt Business Issues: Estimating Startup Costs – Find out if you’re forgetting something Business Location – Choosing A suitable one For Your T-Shirt Business Build or Buy A Business? – Buying an existing T-Shirt Business Business Builders For Your T-Shirt Business: Starting A Business – Free Online Guide Business cards for Your T-Shirt Business Business Plan for Your T-Shirt Business Business Insurance for Your T-Shirt Business Small Business Loans Finance Your T-Shirt Business Small Business Marketing For Your T-Shirt Business