By: Andrew Roach April 12, 2017 Topic: How to Start a Business

T-shirts are integral to the wardrobes of men and women across the globe as they’re the perfect attire for casual situations. Clever ecommerce entrepreneurs, like yourself, have tapped into the popularity of these products and started their own online T-shirt businesses. Starting an online T-shirt business is a popular choice for both beginner and veteran ecommerce entrepreneurs as T-shirts are cheap to source, have universal appeal, and are simple to customize. They’re ideal products for an online store

If you’re considering starting your own online T-shirt business then you’ll need to make sure that your store stands out from the crowd, as you’ll be entering a competitive field of ecommerce. To do so you’ll need to ensure that your products are high quality, have an appealing design, and that you build a strong image for your brand.

This may sound like a daunting process, especially if it’s your first time starting an ecommerce business, but don’t worry– we’re here to help you. We’ve put this article together so you’ll know exactly what you need to do to start your own online T-shirt business. Let’s get started.

Starting Your Online T-Shirt Business

How to start a online T-shirt business

When you’re starting your ecommerce journey and you’re learning how to start an online t-shirt business you’ll notice that it’s actually relatively cheap and simple to get your store up and running. In fact, we’ve already wrote an article explaining how ecommerce entrepreneurs can launch their own ecommerce store in less than 30 minutes with Shopify, one of the world’s most popular ecommerce platforms. Getting started with Shopify is super easy, and you’ll have continuous support from their side, both when you’re starting your store and throughout the process of you running your store. It’s the ideal ecommerce solution for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

Finding a Niche For Your Online T-Shirt Business

As an ecommerce entrepreneur who’s looking to start a successful online t-shirt business, it’s critical that you find a niche for your store. Ecommerce is a competitive field, so finding a niche will help to make your online store stand out from the crowd. This is one of the most difficult steps which you’ll take towards creating a successful online T-shirt business, so take your time and make sure that you nail this part.

Take a look through other online T-shirt stores which you like and use them to brainstorm ideas for your own business. Note down anything which you think is impressive and then take some time to think about how you can make your online T-shirt business even better. Ultimately, you can target any niche which you want to. If you think that there is an untapped market, take advantage of it. It’s easier to stand out when there’s little competition.

Designing Your Products

How to start a online T-shirt business

The design of your products is critical. If your products have great designs then you’ll already have a strong foundation for your store’s success. It’s much easier to market great products, so try to nail this part. Be creative. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside the box. Try out various different designs which relate back to your niche and see which designs work best.

If you don’t feel confident in your own ability to design your products then you can always seek professional help. You can get in touch with local designers, who’ll be more than willing to help you out. There are also online freelancer platforms, like Upwork and Fiverr, which you can use to source high-quality design work at an affordable price point.

Validating Your Designs

When you’ve come up with a few solid design examples you’ll need to seek validation from others. You may think that the designs which you’ve come up with are ready for printing, but others may point out some vital improvements that will improve your products in the long run. It’s also important that the feedback which you receive for your designs is unbiased. You can achieve this by getting in contact with some local consultants who can give their opinion.

Online discussion platforms, like Reddit, can also be a vital tool when you’re gauging the success of your designs. If you post your prospective designs onto the relevant sub-reddits then you’ll receive honest feedback from people who are interested in your niche. If you receive some positive reactions from the users then you’ll also be armed with some potential customers who you can reach out to when you launch your products.  

Sourcing Your Products

How to start a online T-shirt business

When you’ve validated the designs for your online t-shirt business you’ll need to take some time to consider where you’ll be sourcing your T-shirts from. You’ll also need to take note of the best ways to print your designs onto your inventory of T-shirts.

Sourcing Your T-Shirts

Running an online T-shirt business is highly competitive, so you’ll need to stand out in any way that you can. One way you can do this is by sourcing the highest quality products which your business can afford. If your customers find that your products are shrinking or ripping after a couple of wears, then it’ll build a bad reputation for your ecommerce store. This will dramatically decrease the chances of these customers purchasing from your store again, which is clearly something that you want to avoid. If your online T-shirt business is stocked with high-quality products which are built to last then your store will gain a great reputation that will help your business grow.

Printing Your Designs

Having high-quality prints on your T-shirts is essential. If your customers find that your designs are cracking or fading after a few washes then this will undoubtedly leave a bad impression of your business. Thankfully, there are multiple options which you can take advantage of to print your designs. You can get in contact with local printing businesses, which will allow you to check the quality of your prints before you ship them to customers. However, this may be an expensive process, especially when your ecommerce business grows and the demand for prints increases.

At Oberlo we believe that online T-shirt businesses will benefit greatly from using a dropshipping business model. It’s simple, cheap, and you can run it from anywhere in the world. We’ll show you exactly how:

How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business With Dropshipping

How to start a online T-shirt business

When you’re researching how to start an online T-shirt business you should consider dropshipping and the possibilities which this business models brings to ecommerce entrepreneurs. If you choose to use a T-shirts dropshipping business model you’ll never need to carry your store’s inventory. Forget about having piles of t-shirts littered around your house, or having to waste valuable resources renting a storage space. Instead, you’ll simply receive orders from your customers and ship the product straight from your supplier’s warehouse to their door. It’s a streamlined process and will allow you to manage your online T-shirt business from anywhere in the world.

If you’re dropshipping you can take full advantage of ecommerce platforms like AliExpress, which allow you to source high-quality products at an affordable price. You’ll also be instantly connected with a wide network of reliable suppliers who are always open to collaboration. You can use AliExpress to source great products for your ecommerce store which already have your designs printed onto the.

If you decide that AliExpress dropshipping is the best option for your ecommerce business then you should try out Oberlo. With Oberlo you can easily import products from AliExpress directly into your ecommerce store with just a few clicks. You can also manage all of your orders easily on Oberlo’s platform. Try out Oberlo for free and start dropshipping today.

Online T-Shirt Business Success Stories

Many successful ecommerce entrepreneurs created their online T-Shirt businesses with a dropshipping business model. One of Oberlo’s users, Melvin Chee, 22,  started off his own ecommerce store as an experiment and ended up making $100K+ in just 3 months.

Tag someone who you’d chill with now on Friday night ? Shop now ?@apparels_co?(link in bio)

A photo posted by ?@APPAREL ? (@apparel) on

Melvin decided that he wanted to start an online T-shirt business when he stumbled across Oberlo in a Facebook group. He knew that he would need to find a niche which would enable his ecommerce store to succeed. He settled on a bank of core products which were basic T-shirts with funny slogans printed onto them. It was these products, incorporated with his marketing efforts, which transformed this experiment into an ecommerce success story. You can check out our full article on Melvin’s story here.

Start Your Online T-Shirt Business Today

Now that you’ve read through this post you’ll know exactly how to start an online T-shirt business and create your own success story. Remember, starting an ecommerce business in this niche will be competitive, so be sure to make use of the tips which we’ve mentioned in this article.

If you have any further questions about starting an online T-shirt business, or ecommerce in general, then let us know in the comments section– we’re more than happy to help.

  • Sally Howard

    I have recently been considering a tee shirt niche which seems to be largely ignored, namely very tall men and women. There are so many cool tees put there but NONE for those who are unusually tall. I, in particular, am very sensitive to and interested in, this segment, as I have three family members who fall into this category – one female over 6′ tall and two males over 6’7″. Tees on the market hit them at about waist height, so no cute, funny, unique tees for them. Suggestions about the viability of
    marketing tees to this niche would be greatly appreciated!

  • Dennis

    How do you go about ordering t-shirts with a custom design through AliExpress? Not seeing how via their website. Thanks!