Do you want to start your own t-shirt business? Where do you start? We’ll cover a few things to help you get started. We won't be going into LLC creation, as all of that should be a given. You'll also want to get insurance and figure out how you will obtain your tees. This can apply to any T-shirt business, not just Christian t-shirt companies like ours. So feel free to use this knowledge to start your custom dog t-shirt business.
Like with any business, it is essential to choose a niche. This next-level thinking will apply across the board. Once you have selected your niche for your business you must understand your target market and create unique designs that will resonate with your target audience as well as separate you from the competition.
The next thing you need to decide is how your t-shirts will be produced. Will you print your designs on your shirts yourself or will you outsource to a local company? Will you buy in bulk, or will you use a print-on-demand service? This will largely be dependent on how much money you have to invest. Whatever you choose, be sure to do your research up front as there are pros and cons to each.
We chose a hybrid approach. To do so we started with a print on demand service. They are a reputable vendor that does the heavy lifting of printing and shipping our products. We focus on design and marketing. That sounds great except for the fact that it really eats up our margins, meaning that our profit is less than it could be if we did it ourselves. We see this as a scalable business that can bring Jesus to millions and provide jobs for our local community. To do that we are leveraging the vendor as a way to determine which of our designs sell in volume. Once determined we will bring some printing and shipping in-house. We understand the manufacturing and shipping process well thanks to our other brand, Copper Mountain Candle. Our motto is we will grow in scale as we grow in sales.
Determining the sales platform and distribution method that is right for you will be important too. You can sell online through sites like Etsy, Zazzle or Tee-spring. Or you can sell them out of the trunk of your car like Daymond John with FUBU did. If that doesn't strike your fancy you can sell them at local maker fairs and farmers markets. We chose to design our own website on Shopify and use that as our primary channel for selling our products. The benefit is that the only competition on the site is ourself versus sites like Etsy where you compete with others that may have similar designs at lower price points. This is why creating your unique value proposition is so important. Focus on what sets you apart and make that your advantage. Buyers need to have a compelling reason to purchase. T-shirts like with many other markets are saturated, finding that niche is key to successfully launching your t-shirt business.
Creating a good logo is important too as you want people to be able to recognize your brand. The logo will also set the tone for the rest of your product design. Logos are the first and maybe last impression of your business. In my opinion a logo should be clean, simple and easy to read. Design is king! Good designs will attract customers and hopefully create conversations as your customers wear your tees. You will need to spend some time thinking about how to design the products. Some websites like Zazzle or Printify let you use a design-maker to bring your ideas to life. That is another thing, make sure they are your original ideas. Being original will help you to avoid complicated legal issues, for example don’t create a Disney t-shirt using Disney Characters. So no Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse or Moana for you!
These are just a few tips to get you started with your online t-shirt business. We will post more helpful tips in the future so subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Instagram or Facebook: @wearontherock.
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