How to Start a T-Shirt Business

| Read Time: 6 minutes
Share This Post

Starting a business can be a rewarding way to take control of your financial future, but what business should you start ? Typically, you want to stick to something you know or that you can learn fairly easily. Well, when it comes to starting a new business, you might want to consider a t-shirt business. T-shirts are fun, creative, and a necessary item in most markets. With our article, learn how to make a new t-shirt business something fun and profitable!

Why a T-Shirt Printing Business?

When it comes to creating a business, t-shirt businesses are easy and low risk.

Low Monetary Risk

Starting a t-shirt business is a small investing risk when it comes to starting a business. This is true for a couple of reasons. Primarily, it’s because the materials for a t-shirt printing press are reasonably low cost. Ink and t-shirts themselves are inexpensive, and the methods of transferring the ink to the shirt are reasonably priced as well. You don’t need large, expensive machinery to print t-shirts; you can buy the materials for a silkscreen t-shirt printing process for less than $300, allowing for four prints at a time.


T-shirt printing is a popular business. They allow for customization in terms of colors, material, and the messages or designs printed on the shirts. People like to have options, and most t-shirt printing businesses offer that to them. Additionally, finding a niche market for t-shirt printing businesses can make you popular in specific circles. Popularity doesn’t have to be widespread if the group you are appealing to enjoys your material.


With low monetary investment comes a higher opportunity for profits. The low-cost nature of t-shirt printing businesses allows for a profit to be made quickly. To maximize profits, once the business has started becoming popular to maximize profits, you can increase the profit margins by purchasing bulk quantities of your materials.

How to Start Your Business

If you’re ready to dive into the t-shirt making industry , follow our steps on how to start your business today.

1. Find Your Market

As mentioned before, finding a market for your t-shirts is important. It’s difficult to start a business that caters to everyone, so finding your niche is one of the keys to success. In business, planning is everything. That’s why deciding on your niche is our first step. Look at the market, and think about the options when deciding on your focus. Brainstorm ideas, jot them down and start to narrow what community you’d like to appeal to. Keep in mind that while your interests may be what you know best, they may not bode well for the t-shirt making market. Choose something that you see needs to be filled.

2. Start Designing

You’ve found your niche, and you’ve brainstormed ideas. Now it’s time to get to the drawing board. Take those ideas and put them on paper. If you can do this yourself, that’s great. If you can't, you may need to consider hiring a graphic designer. This can be of cost to you, but it doesn’t have to be something too expensive. Some communities and platforms provide graphic design services for reasonable costs. Once the designs have been created part of your design process should be to put feelers out for the designs. The reception of your designs can help you hone in on perfecting them and then will allow you to perfect them before investing in the materials or the capital to have them created.

3. Source Your Materials

You have to decide on how to get your t-shirts made. You’ve got a couple of options here, and they’ll determine what business model you’ll pursue, as well. First, you can choose to take your design to a printer specializing in creating printed t-shirts already. These third-party printers are not the most cost-effective option, but they make the process much easier overall, allowing for you to focus on the steps to come. This route of product creation lends itself to a dropshipping business model, which some of these third-party printers help you set up. If you’d rather be more hands-on with the process, you can purchase the materials and the equipment to print your shirts on your own. A four-screen printer for shirts can be sourced for less than $300 normally, and shirts and inks are normally very inexpensive. When printing yourself, it’s more applicable to set up your own online store. Once you’ve chosen one of the above options, you can start printing.

4. Get Your Business Off the Ground

Now that you’ve got your products, it’s important to get your business going! This is going to take a few steps on its own, but they all go together hand-in-hand. Depending on how much you’ve spent on your shirts, you’re going to need to set a price for them. Remember that while you want to turn a profit, you also have to keep your shirts at a reasonable price. If the price is too high, you won’t gain any traction with your customers. If they’re too low, you won’t make your money back. Part of getting your business off the ground is also about getting an online presence going. You’re going to need to set up an online store, as well as start marketing it. Marketing a t-shirt making business is going to be all about appealing to your audience. The audience that you pitched your designs to is a good place to start. Continue researching and making your product known to the communities that your niche is geared towards.

5. Continue to Innovate

If your t-shirt printing business starts faring well, it’s important to remember that innovation is important. While you can tend to lean on one design or a few core designs, continuing the marketing you did initially and coming up with new designs is incredibly important. Part of being in this business, which will most likely be fairly competitive, is going to mean keeping with the times. In the age of the internet, marketing and change are everything. You’ll have to stay on top of the trends that your niche is going through and create designs that reflect those. Eventually, you can hopefully stay ahead of the curve and continue to innovate, making your business a cornerstone in the clothing market in your chosen niche.

Is A T-Shirt Business Profitable?

Yes, the t-shirt business is very profitable. Keep in mind that nearly everyone in the country owns a t-shirt of some kind. Graphic t-shirts, and t-shirts with designs targeted at specific audiences, are incredibly popular. Because of the low startup costs, t-shirt businesses are easy to turn a profit on. There are still a few things to keep in mind regarding the t-shirts you create.

Methods of Printing

There are a number of methods when printing t-shirts and they all have their place. The most popular method is screen printing, and for a good reason. It’s been around for a long time and allows for a lot of customization. There are also heat transfers and direct-to-garment, both a bit more costly than screen printing but can allow for more variety than screen printing.

T-Shirt Quality

As in everything else, there are varying levels of quality when it comes to t-shirts. Your quality may be lower when just starting out, but as your business gains traction, consider using more premium materials. They’re nicer to wear, and you can charge more for them, increasing your profits. A range of product quality is ideal.


No matter how great your idea is, be realistic about your inventory when starting. Start with less, and order more when need be if you sell out. The best way to curb this issue is to take preorders, then order some extras for further stock. This will keep your inventory in check!

Time to Start!

If you’ve gotten this far, chances are you’re going to be starting a t-shirt business . Remember to keep in mind your niche, your designs, as well as your marketing. Do adequate research before having anything printed, and get your designs validated by the community you’re targeting. If handled with care, a t-shirt business is a great start to a profitable clothing venture! If it takes off, you can consider going further with branding and other clothing options. Sources:

Did You Know?
We've funded over $400 million for small business owners since 2015