Running a T-shirt business is an easy way to earn extra income without spending too much in equipment and marketing. Of course, you need to know how to start a business first. With the right preparation and some imaginative designs, your T-shirts can even market themselves.
Here are a few tips on getting started in the T-shirt printing business.
- You can start your business as an informal one. You don't need to stress about starting a business. For example, if you plan to sell only to friends and relatives, you can run your business from your garage. But if you plan to expand or grow big, or even get corporate clients, you should already think of getting the proper business permits, certificates and licenses. You can already register your business name, too, so you can include a brand on your shirt tags.
- Source your material and equipment. Garment companies usually sell plain white and colored T-shirts, and you can use these as your base. You can even buy plain ones from your local department store or thrift shop. But you can get these cheaper if you buy them in bulk. If you plan to start a small business, you can initially use silk-screening materials. Some inkjet printers by HP and Canon also let you print out designs on clear acetate, and these can be transferred to shirts by ironing.
- Be creative with designs. Research about the latest fashion trends and come up with unique design ideas. If you can create your own designs, then it would be a perfect start to launch your brand. If you're not graphically inclined, you can hire a graphic designer to help you with basic patterns and designs.
- Think of interesting things to say on your shirts. Clothing is not only about pictures and designs. It's also about shouting out a statement.
- Market and sell your T-shirts. This is probably one of the most challenging parts. You need to market your shirts well enough to get new orders. One good way to market is to give out a few to friends and relatives, especially those who are still in school or university. Print out your company name and website address at the back of the T-shirt so they know where to contact you if they need designs. Students are particularly fond of shirts that have strong statements. You can also get in touch with local retailers, bazaars, sports teams, fraternities, and other groups that might be interested in ordering your product in bulk.
- Go online! Actually, many of the steps involved here could be done online. There are some websites that accept T-shirt designs, and they will print these for you on demand. You can even sell the items online, and the company will send you your share of the revenues regularly. You can try cafepress.com for these made-to-order online sales.
T-shirts are about making a statement. Probably the best way to market your business is to wear your designs yourself when you go out. Starting up a business doesn't have to be difficult. You can take online courses in business branding to learn other, innovative marketing ideas. It's a fun business, too, because you get to dress up other people.