Every single one of you reading this right now has a handful of T-shirts with writing on them. People love to express their witty side through a T-shirt. You’ve probably stumbled upon several T-shirts online that made you pause and chuckle.
The great thing about T-shirts is they offer up a promising revenue stream for entrepreneurs. All of those shirts that you saw were for sale by someone. Not all of them are successful, and that’s something to be expected. However, there’s plenty of money to be made in this field. That’s the reason why you see advertisements for shirts all over the place.
Here we’re going to lay out the framework to help you start your own T-shirt business. As with any business, trial and error play key roles. You’ll need to test and tweak your designs. You will also need to try out various traffic sources. Sometimes thinking outside of the box can be more profitable. You’ll be able to do that once you’ve had your shirts on the market and have sold a few.
Almost anyone can start selling T-shirts, and it’s even possible to be done on a shoestring budget. You can also do it with little to no money if you’re someone who can design your own shirts. This is an excellent method for those who are good with graphic design to cash in on their talents.
How to come up with a niche:
If you’re just starting out, you should stick with familiar niches. You don’t want to stray off too far into the unknown. You’re trying to learn the process of making and marketing your shirts. After you get the process down pat, that’s when you can move onto other niches. Everyone has a few things that there interested in.
What are a few things that you find interesting? Bowling or gardening may be one of your hobbies. If so, then go to Google Images and type in “funny bowling sayings.” You’re not going to want to copy what you see there. Instead, use it as an inspiration. Try to find something there that you can base your shirts on.
Google Images is the best thing that you can do to find shirt ideas. You’ll be able to see hundreds of designs in almost any niche quickly. The reason why you want to stick with a niche you’re familiar with is, you’ll understand the humor. You’ll also be able to add your own twist on things. Humor tends to be the best way to go when it comes to selling T-shirts. Everyone loves to show off something that’s both witty and funny. If you can achieve those two things, then you’re on your way to stardom.
Where to find designers for your shirts:
Fiverr is the best place where you can quickly and easily find designers for your shirts. You could go to other freelancing sites, but you’ll always keep coming back to Fiverr. It’s probably not the best idea to choose the cheapest seller on Fiverr.
There are some things you can skimp on in the world of business, but this isn’t one of them. You will end up paying more than five dollars for a quality design. Some designers start out charging five dollars for a very basic design, and the prices go up.
Buy from a Fiverr seller who has a lot of feedback. You should also check to see when their latest delivery was. If it wasn’t within the past 24-48 hours, then it’s best to skip them. They’re either not very busy or don’t care about finishing their gigs promptly. If you have any doubts about the cost or delivery time, send the seller a message.
It’s probably best that you send a message to them before buying in the first place. Any seller worth doing business with should get back with you quickly unless it’s bedtime where they are. Keep in mind that you will be dealing with people from all over the world on Fiverr. Some of them will be getting ready for bed when it’s morning where you are.
Where to have your shirts made:
Some people are going to tell you to order the shirts and then ship them from your house. You may not want to go that route at all for various reasons. The first being, you just want to dropship and nothing else. Also, it can be overwhelming to send shirts from your house if you’re starting out. It’s best to dropship them in the beginning. You can always ship them yourself later on.
Tee Spring, Spreadshirt, and Red Bubble are a few of the places where you can have your shirts made. They will also ship your shirts directly to the customer. All you have to do is create your design and sell shirts. They handle everything else.
You could potentially make more money by going the route of finding a local printer or someone online. But, as we said, this is probably too confusing for a beginner. Instead, use a printer who has a good reputation. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches that could’ve easily been avoided.
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How to market your shirts for free:
The free option isn’t the best when it comes to selling shirts. You’re going to have to work to get sales using any method that’s free. Though, you may not have the money to buy advertising at this point. Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr are all great avenues to find customers.
Facebook can also be, but you’ll have to wade through a sea of garbage to get any traction there. It’s possible, and some people make their entire living marketing on Facebook. The three others listed above are far more friendly when it comes to any type of marketing.
You should work hard to build a customer base to sell to. You’ll need to get followers and learn how to get your message out on all of the platforms. It’s best if you choose one social media site and master it. You shouldn’t spread yourself so thin that it’s impossible to gain traction at all.
You should think of yourself as a brand, and your shirts are an extension of it. If you first build a brand, you’ll be able to sell them more than just shirts. You’ll be able to sell them all kinds of products, and they’ll be far more profitable in the long run.
Paid advertising is where the real money is
This is the truth that most people don’t want to realize. No one wants to separate from their cold hard cash on advertising. Buying advertising can be a real money pit. It’s very easy to spend a few hundred dollars in a matter of a day or less.
You are going to want to watch plenty of videos and read about how to advertise on whatever platform you chose. Most shirt sellers prefer Facebook ads as the medium for their advertising dollars. Don’t make the mistake of going in head first without knowing anything about advertising.
There are plenty of YouTube videos that cover advertising thoroughly. You’ll want to check out a number of sites too. If you have the money, taking a course on buying Facebook ads or pay per click advertising may be a good option. You’re going to need as much information as possible before making your first deposit.
If you don’t study before buying traffic, you’re going to pay through the nose. You’ll become frustrated and think that selling shirts is nothing but a big scam. It’s not a scam; you just didn’t take the time out to learn how to buy advertising properly.
Expect plenty of failures
This isn’t meant to discourage you at all. You should expect some of your shirts to be total duds. That’s just the way business is. No person who sells anything is successful every time.
Are you old enough to remember New Coke? If you are, then you know even brilliant people make foolish decisions. New Coke was a bust, and it wasn’t long until they brought the old stuff back.
You should remember this when you fail at selling shirts. You’re going to have some failures, but they won’t be as bad as New Coke was.
Scale up once you find a winner
This is the one area that most people tend to overlook. They have a ton of designs out and pump traffic to all of them at the same time. You’re going to want to watch the sales numbers of all of your shirts.
Those that underperform will need to be gotten rid of. The shirts that take off like a rocket are the ones you’re going to want to promote hard.
If you’re buying traffic, then you’ll want to push them as much as you can afford. You may even consider stopping all other advertising and draining your budget on one shirt. You’ll notice when the shirt doesn’t do as well as it once did. When the market becomes saturated, that’s when you’ll wind down the advertising.
The great thing about selling shirts is the ability to scale quickly. You have to act while the iron is hot. If people are buying, let them gobble up as many shirts as possible. If you’re using free methods for traffic, then it’s not so easy.
You can still promote the shirt and make sure your followers are aware of it. It also wouldn’t hurt if you asked a few of your followers to repost messages with your shirts in them. You may offer to repost some of their content as well. That way everyone comes out a winner and gets more exposure in the process.
The T-shirt market is saturated right now
Did you notice we didn’t say over saturated? This is one of those markets that may never be over saturated. There’s always room for people to make plenty of money if they have new and innovative ideas.
You’ll never run out of customers who want something that is different than what everyone else is wearing. You must always work hard to come up with new ideas and to find designers who are capable of creating designs that sell.
Think outside the box
Everyone right now is focused on T-shirts, and they sell the best. But, also remember you can sell hoodies and even baby shirts. It’s entirely possible to focus on shirts just for babies and children. There’s a huge market for both of those products. Hoodies are also popular during colder months when people want to wear something warmer.
Thinking outside of the box is also needed to make the most out of your advertising money. Sometimes quirky ads convert better than those that are run of the mill. Mix things up and see where it takes you. Always keep an eye on your conversions and try your best to improve them whenever possible. Doing so will enable your business to grow and continually expand.