Over the years when I’ve heard someone say something funny, someone else inevitably says, “That should be on a T-shirt.”
It doesn’t take long for the person to stop and think about how much work goes into buying T-shirt equipment that costs about $10,000, then printing the shirts with all that messy ink, then marketing and distributing them. By the time they’ve visualized all that, the idea that seemed clever a few minutes ago usually leaves that person as fast as it came to them.
Can you imagine if the yellow smiley-face guy wouldn’t have followed through on his T-shirt idea? He wouldn’t have made millions, we wouldn’t have that reference in our pop-culture and millions of people wouldn’t be expressing themselves through emojis 25 years after the fad.
I’m going to give you a couple of ways that you can start your t-shirt business today. The second one of these ways literally costs no money. All you have to do is get the word out.
The first reference is this article HERE . This was written by a guy who used to work at Shopify. There is a learning curve when dealing with Shopify and setting up a domain name and server. If you’re wanting to have your own store, this article will get you started. However, if you’re not tech-savvy, you’ll want to go on to the next paragraph before clicking over to read the article.
The next site is perfect for the beginner. Teespring.com is a site where you can upload your own designs, or just type right on a template and start selling your shirts in about 15 minutes.
Teespring sets a price that you’ll pay them if your shirt sells. Usually it’s around $10 to $15 depending if you have printing on the front and back. You can price your shirt anywhere you want to above that. Teespring recommends that you set the price at $25.00. (I’d say $24.99) And if you sell any shirts, you get all of the profit over the base price of what they are charging you. They collect the money for you AND they ship it out to your customers. The shirt’s shopping cart is housed on their website and you can share the link to it on all your Socials and be selling in minutes.
There is a “3 Day Printing Period,” and Teespring has a countdown clock when someone sees the shirt for the first time. This creates a sense of urgency and makes people want to buy. What they don’t tell consumers is the “3 Day Printing Period” starts over after 3 days. And you don’t have to go in and reset it, they do it automatically.
What’s really good about Teespring is it allows you to create a product with no equipment, inventory, employees, shopping carts, websites and anything else you can think of that you need to start a business.
The best part to me is you can test out ideas and see if they sell without investing a dollar. My daughter and I both tested out a T-shirt design. Neither one of them sold, but it was a fun project to teach her about entrepreneurship, design and marketing. The lesson was, “Sometimes ideas work, sometimes they don’t. But it’s better to be able to try them out when they are free than when you have to pay a lot of money.”
One last thing about Teespring, if you want to design a custom shirt just for yourself, you can do that too. You don’t have to sell any, which is cool if you’re into custom t-shirts.
Obviously the t-shirt market is a tough business. You really need to think about who your audience is and what message you want to get across to them. Often times the smaller niche you can make, the more you’ll sell.
Here’s an example: “Aussie Mum’s are #1!” could be a better idea than, “Mom’s are #1.”
Why might this be a better idea? The word Aussie narrows the target down to Australian moms. In Australia they say Mum, not Mom…so there’s two things that make this shirt more specific to mom’s in Australia. Now you just have to make sure you’re marketing it to Australian moms–Facebook can easily help you with that.
If you ever thought about trying to get into the T-shirt business, I hope this helps get you started. As always, do some research before investing any of your own money. Watch a few videos on Youtube about t-shirt design and marketing. It’s really easy to get started and writing this just gave me a new idea for my daughter’s initial project.
Now go design something.
(P.S. Don’t forget to do a grammar check. Nothing like writing an article or printing 100 T-shirts and then having the Grammar Police hit you up to say, “It should be Moms not Mom’s…”)