Starting a t-shirt brand sounds easier said than done. While designing a t-shirt doesn't require professional design skills, it does involve technical skills. Whether you’d like your brand to become your full-time business or just a side hustle, you can find everything you need to get started in this blog.
1. Create a Plan
Make a plan for yourself and your business. Figuring out and writing down all the technicalities of starting a t-shirt company will help keep you organized and you reach your goals in a timely manner. Here's a list of things you should plan out:
- Your budget
- A timeline of when you want to release your clothing
- Who your ideal customer is
2. Create a Shirt Concept
There are more than 20 different types of t-shirt designs to choose from. Narrow down your options and pick one to two. You don't want to overwhelm yourself or your customers.
Remember, not only are you selling t-shirts, you are creating a brand. Keep this in mind when you're designing how the t-shirts will look. Are you going to use bold printed graphics or will it have simple wording or embroidery? Whatever direction you decide to go with, make sure you stay consistent. Consistency will establish brand recognition and a long lasting brand aesthetic.
3. Design Your T-Shirts
Now it’s time for the fun part –choose your shirt colors and if you don't know how to design graphics, but you have a great idea for one, you have a couple different options to choose from:
- Hire a freelance designer
- Use an online service, such as Printful
- Collaborate with a local artist you admire
4. Find a T-shirt Source or Supplier
Due to a high demand in t-shirt making, typically you can find a local t-shirt company in your area to make your shirts. You can find these by searching “t-shirt printing near me” in a Google search.
However, if you want to go with something more professional and higher quality you may want to search for a fashion manufacturer. If you're looking for a manufacturer, look back at your budget and get to researching the market. Decide if you want your shirts to be locally made or come from overseas. When it comes to manufacturing, you get what you pay for. Places with a robust and skilled garment industry, like Italy, are going to produce some of the highest quality clothing. When searching make sure you specify where you want your manufacturer to be based.
Most manufacturing companies will have their policies and information on their website. These include, minimum orders, pricing, materials, etc.
5. Price Your Clothing
After you’ve established where you plan to source your t-shirts, it’s time to set your prices. Don’t sell yourself short. You put time and effort into designing and manufacturing your t-shirts. Think about how much time it cost you to get everything running, how much you spent getting your designs made, and the quality of your t-shirt. If you need a little help, click here to figure out how to price your design.
6. Make Your Online Presence Known
Decide where you want to sell your clothing. You can use web tools such as Shopify or Wix to easily create a website for your brand with e-commerce capabilities. These websites will connect to your bank account, track your funds, and are easy to set up. They have themes to choose from, but you can also insert your own designs, logos, and colors. They are very user-friendly and perfect for an emerging designer starting their first clothing project.
Creating your own brand can be challenging, but by following these steps, you will find yourself ready to launch your first t-shirt brand.