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Guide: Starting a T-Shirt Business on Shopify


Photo by Francesco Paggiaro:

T-shirts are a wardrobe essential. But they've progressed to the point where they're no longer just closet staples, but rather articles of clothing that allow people to show their individuality. Because of this, selling t-shirts online is typically a great choice for budding entrepreneurs and artists seeking a reasonably affordable way to learn how to establish a business. In addition, the custom t-shirt printing business is predicted to surpass $10 billion in worldwide revenue by 2025.

You may have heard of, which is an online store hosting platform that allows you to sell your designs on a very slick and professional-looking online store. Most entrepreneurs choose it for its simple and clean themes and easy customization options. Blogs, customer account area, customer order history — they're all there.

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own online store, you should know that it’s a competitive field in eCommerce. To be successful you’ll need to make sure that your store stands out from the crowd. Fortunately, if you follow these simple steps, you’ll have a guideline that can lead you to success.

How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business on Shopify

To get your online T-shirt business off to a flying start, follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Find Your Niche and Do Your Research

Photo by Startup Stock Photos:

While you can choose to set up an online T-shirt business with a general focus, the more successful approach is to target a specific niche market and develop products that will appeal to those customers. It's always best to find a niche that hasn’t been too over-saturated with similar websites. This will greatly increase your chances of success, as well as help you stand out from the rest of the crowd.

The first step in finding an ideal niche is to look at other sites in the same field of work. What features do they have that make them successful? Do they have an attractive website? Is the brand image clear? Are they selling products that are unique or different from what anyone else is selling? After you’ve spent some time looking at other online T-shirt stores, take some time to think about how you can make yours better.

If you think there’s a market for it, consider starting an online store that sells shirts based on a specific fandom. For example, let’s say you love Harry Potter and want to start your own online store. You could start an online store that sells official Harry Potter T-shirts. This is an excellent way to get noticed by people who would otherwise ignore you if your shop was more generic.

  1. Sell Original Designs

Photo by Katya Wolf:

If you’re looking for tips on how to make a great shirt, look no further than the best stores around you. What do they all have in common? Incredible designs! Invest in great designs, and your products will sell themselves. It’s much easier to market products that are already good by themselves.

Don’t be afraid to be creative. Make sure to try out various design ideas that relate to your brand, and see which ones fit best with your audience. Just make sure that they are high quality and that they fit the audience that you want to reach. Don’t forget to get feedback from both people you know and those you don’t! This is so you can take note of comments without bias.

If you want to try making your own shirts, there are many design websites out there. Or, you could hire a local designer. Check out platforms like Upwork and Fiverr, or Craigslist. You might find an amazing artist that’s totally up to your speed.

What’s important is that you sell original designs so either you get to work or collaborate with an artist! Nobody likes a plagiarist and once your audience finds out you’ve taken somebody else’s work, you might as well shut your store down.

  1. Get Feedback On Your Design

Photo by Moose Photos:

As we mentioned earlier, it’s so important to get feedback. Why? Because then you’ll know if there’s actually a viable market for your designs. It’s a given that you like what you sell but you aren’t selling to yourself. Don’t forget that you’re trying to get people to buy your product.

When you’ve been working hard on your product for weeks and you finally think it’s ready, it can be tempting to jump right into the store and start selling. 

Unfortunately, however, a lot of errors can slip through the cracks—and as we all know, a t-shirt design that looks awesome to you might not look so hot to customers. It’s important to get some feedback from your target market—people who will actually buy your shirts.

Try posting your designs or mockups on Facebook Groups and online forums but make sure that you watermark your designs so nobody can steal them. You can also try doing polls on Instagram and Twitter. This should get you immediate feedback from real people. If you want professional feedback, you can contact local consultants.

If the reactions are positive, however, now is the time to reach out to those potential customers and ask if they would like to become early testers for your product!

  1. Start Looking for Suppliers

When you're starting a t-shirt business, one of the first things you'll have to decide is where you'll be getting your shirts from. The most common option for budding entrepreneurs is to use print-on-demand apps. But if you're looking for top-quality shirts, there are also other options to consider.

For example, if your brand is just starting out and isn't that big yet, it would be easier to go with print-on-demand apps. These cost-effective products will allow you to focus on creating the kind of designs that will get your business off the ground without having to worry about finding the right supplier. Plus, they'll handle everything from printing and delivering your shirts right to the customer's doorsteps.

If you want a more personal touch, though, using a local supplier can help amp up your brand's credibility. Having an established relationship with someone who knows what they're doing behind the scenes can help streamline the entire process and make sure everything goes well every step of the way.

No matter what kind of supplier you choose, make sure to get samples first so that you can check the quality of their work before committing any time or money to a product line. You don't want customers leaving bad reviews because their shirts started to shrink or the prints started to fade. By having amazing quality shirts, great prices, and good customer service, you’ll already be at a headstart.

  1. Think About Your Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy will be the most difficult thing to figure out when you're starting a t-shirt printing business. It's an aspect of starting a business that requires careful consideration. As you set your prices, you'll need to consider things like cost, demand, and competition, among other factors.

Not only do you have to consider how much your designs cost to produce, but also how much they’re worth to you and your customers. This is why it’s important not to go overboard with low pricing—it may seem like a good idea at first, but it can turn into a hassle later on as well as drive away customers who are looking for higher-quality products.

A good rule of thumb for pricing is that the price should be about twice the cost of creating the product for sale. This is the case because you want to make a profit, but also want to sell your items at about half the retail price so that you can find customers who will purchase them regularly.

You’ll also have to consider how much time it takes to design your shirt and how much time it takes to actually print them.

A great way to approach pricing is to consider what competitors are charging for similar products. If they’re all close together, then you don’t have much room to maneuver. On the other hand, if you find a lot of variety, you can price your products somewhere in the middle (or lower) and still draw customers from both ends of the spectrum.

  1. Set Up Your Shopify Store

Setting up your store on Shopify is easy! It’s the other steps that make it a bit tedious–uploading products, writing product descriptions, pricing, and figuring out shipping options. Here are a few steps you can follow to set up your store:

  • Make an account

Visit the Shopify website and sign up. Simply follow the steps on the website to set up an account. The process should be straightforward and shouldn’t take too long. If you already have an account, great! If not, no problem! Just follow their instructions and get started.

  • Select a domain name for your store.

Choose a short, memorable domain name to attract customers. This will help consumers remember your shop and return when they need additional shirts or more information.

  • Select a theme for your store and customize it.

Choose a theme that fits your brand, values, and messaging. When selecting a Shopify theme for your eCommerce store, there are several variables to consider. While it may be tempting to select the first one you like, you should analyze each theme to determine whether it matches your needs.

Start by looking at some of Shopify's free themes. That means you don't have to worry about building your own website from scratch or getting someone to do it for you. There are also many other styles to choose from, so you can choose a theme that is suitable for your brand.

You can continue to customize your online store as your business grows. If you're much better with plants than computers, Shopify Experts like the ones we have here at Webinopoly can help you optimize the aesthetics (design and layout) and performance of your business.

  • Set up key pages

Your online store should provide more than just products for sale. It should enable customers to understand your company, give them reasons to trust you, and make other important information available to customers who are seeking it.

You do not need to have all of your pages ready for launch, but the following are key:

  • About page: An About page connects personally with customers, explains your business model, and/or shares the reason you started your business. A persuasive About page can go a long way in earning trust for new online stores.
  • FAQ page. A frequently asked questions page helps alleviate some of the more common customer support inquiries. 
  • Policy pages. There are certain legal pages customers expect which can help protect you as well as them in case of disputes, such as your return policy and privacy policy, that you can set up under Settings > Legal.
  • Add high-quality images (and videos!) of your products

Now you have to upload your product photos. This is very important because it makes it easier for buyers to picture the product. It’s best to also include a few lifestyle shots if you can to allow customers to see the product in use. A short video often helps too! It gives customers a different perspective than they would otherwise not get from a still photo.

  • Provide a detailed description of each product

Customers may have worries before buying. This is why people constantly visit product sites to learn more about the product and perform research before purchasing. Details matter, and conveying the proper message can make all the difference.

Make sure your product title accurately describes the item. This will help customers find what they are looking for as they browse your store. Use your product description to provide benefits or advantages, how to use it, and product variations such as colors and sizes.

  1. Build An Online Presence

Photo by cottonbro:

When you're starting a business, it can be difficult to know which platforms you need to be on and where your ideal customer hangs out. It's hard to decide whether to focus on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or some other social network—and if so, how to effectively use them. The answer is a little bit of everything.

The first step is figuring out who your audience is and where they spend their time online. Then you can focus on the platforms that will help you reach your consumers. Taking the time to undertake market research can help you identify your audience before you start selling. It will also guarantee that you are visible on the correct platforms so that your consumers can discover your products easily. 

If you're a new e-commerce merchant on Shopify, there are three main places where you should start: social media websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest; niche communities like Reddit or Tumblr; and industry websites. Social media is a good way to get in contact with potential buyers because people tend to follow brands on social media, especially fashion brands.

You can also use social media to get input from your audience—you may ask your followers what they think about new items or their thoughts on color schemes, styles, and other design features. Engaging with consumers and getting feedback will help create relationships with potential customers, making them more inclined to buy from your shop.

  1. Launch Your Store!

Photo by Liza Summer:

You’ve done the hard part, now comes the exciting part. It’s time to launch! Here’s where you’ll officially introduce your brand and let people see what it’s all about.

The way you launch your brand provides the perfect chance to jumpstart brand awareness and generate website visitors quickly.

There are a lot of things to think about when you're launching a new product or service. When will it launch? How will you hype it up? What's your first step? It's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the alternatives, but when you consider your own objectives and how they'll affect your business, it's easier to develop a successful approach. If you want to establish an engaged community of followers who know and trust your brand, put out frequent material so when you launch, there's already buzz.

For example, months before the launch of Everlane's new collection, the company gave out teasers. They got people talking about their upcoming collection by hosting parties for fashion influencers. Everlane was able to quickly increase the number of visitors to its website by holding a few of these events.

You could also create webinars or digital events that your customers can attend and learn more about your products while they're there, or you could even do an opening promo that entices potential customers to make their first purchase.


We hope you will find this guide useful, as we have done our best to make it as easy to follow as possible.

If you're still trying to figure out how to create an online presence for your business, or if you're unsure of the best ways to grow your brand, your Shopify Experts here at Webinopoly can provide assistance in these areas.


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