Gone are the times when people would take their attire as something that is just a means to cover their skin. Now, with the increase in fashion markets and with an increasing urge to look and feel good, people have started putting in more and more effort in their clothing. From formal suiting to casual tees and even sleepwear, people are more and more conscious about making the right fashion choices and this give a lot of room to the clothing and fashion businesses to flourish and bloom.
One of the most important aspects of this increasing fashions craze is the tee shirt business. The world we are all living in has great reverence for Tees with almost everyone preferring this kind of clothing for comfort and style. The customization businesses, that turn your simple tees into something that reflects your class and style are now all the buzz. It is because of all these factors that the T-shirts are not more just a piece of clothing, rather are now used as a means to reflect of one’s personality, likes, dislikes, beliefs, and much more.
Now, the type of T-shirt a person wears is considered to be depending on his or her personality. Some people love going with simple T-shirts, while others prefer to adorn funky tees with a cool caption written on them. Also, wearing customized and themed tees that reflect one’s love for a specific TV show, music band, anime, fictional character, or a superhero is also in vogue.
People spend a lot of time deciding what type of t-shirt to opt for different events. On an average, around 60 to 70 percent of a person’s wardrobe consists of a collection of tee shirts. This is probably the major reason behind the high profit ratio of tee shirt businesses. It is observed that out of all the businesses, those that deal with shirts, especially tee shirts, are growing at a very fast rate with a lot of sales and great profits margins each year. This leaves us with no reason to not start a tee shirt business. If you are looking forward to start your own business but are confused regarding the type you should go for, then going for a tee shirt business would be a great idea for you.
Now if you have made up your mind about starting a tee shirt business then the question that must haunt you would be on how to start a t shirt business. Well, it is very simple to set up a t-shirt business either digitally i.e., online or even traditionally. In this article, I am going to tell you about some of the easiest, yet efficient, ways that will help you in understanding how to start a tee shirt business and will give you a lot of clarity if you have just started it and looking forward to some help.
I have tried keeping things simple and the steps given below are sure to help you. These are all simple to follow and will also make your business profitable enough to bring in some definite increase in the revenue. So, without wasting any further time, let us get into this step to step guide on starting a t-shirt business:
#1. CHOOSE A NICHE
The first thing you need to do to ensure full-fledged success for any business is to decide a purpose for it. You are starting a tee shirt business, alright. There are millions of different tee shirt styles that you can go for. Which ones exactly are you opting for? Would there be any specific material? Are you going to stick with a few known character inspired tees or would they be simple random ones? Is there any customization process that you can allow your customers? And many other questions like these are sure to haunt later if you don’t plan for them in the first step.
Thus, your first step to start a t-shirt business is to choose a well-defined niche for it. Make sure to define the type of tees you will be making and also the age group or the gender that you want to serve more.
Your niche could be any one or a combination of these:
- Simple (one colored) basic t-shirts
- Shirts with inspirational of fun quotes
- Tied and dyed t-shirts
- Customized t-shirts of all kinds
- Fictional character inspired t-shirts
- T-shirts with funny slogans
- Embellished -shirts
- Profession themed tees
It is better to carry out an extensive research on all the niches that exists in the market where you are going to work and then decide the niche you want to go with. To choose the best niches you need to check the following things:
- The profitability ratio of all niches. (Select the one that offers the highest profit rate)
- Your major competitors and suppliers
- The cost and investment margins associated with each niche
- People’s reaction and preference of niches
It is advised to first select the niche and then the target audience. In case you face some difficulty in deciding the niche, then first select the customers you want to target. Suppose you want to target boys from the age groups between 16 and 24 years. You must know how the members of this age group are all crazy about games, memes, and fun things. Then, for such an audience, there is nothing better than going for the tees that have a fun side to them. For teenage girls, tie and dye is the best niche.
You can also select multiple categories for your t-shirt business, but this will require more effort. Once you have a clear niche, here comes the next (and probably the harder) step of starting a t-shirt business.
Source: Tee space
#2. CHOOSE MATERIAL AND THE SUPPLIERS
The next step is to decide on the material that you will be using in your tees manufacture. Also, you need to find out the suppliers that will supply you with the required material at an affordable price and for a long term since this can never be a one-time thing. Not all tee shirts have the same material while some are soft cotton; others might be too breezy or extra fluffy made in fleece. You need to select the material of the shirt smartly too.
You also need to decide the level of softness, quality of material, weight, and other such aspects of the tee shirt material. It is advised to go for a range of materials if your budget allows you to keep on producing tees that people can buy and wear all around the year. Also, try never to choose a material that most people are allergic to or are reluctant to wear (For example, Polyester).
After deciding on the material, you need to make another important decision. This decision is related to whether you want to make the raw material on your own or to get it from some supplier. Survey some of the suppliers that can provide you with the desired material. Evaluate the cost of buying the material from the supplier and also compare it with that induced when you are making everything out of scratch. Later, based on the cost comparison, make the best decision of either to produce or source the materials. Another good but an expensive way to ensure success is to sign deals with multiple suppliers so that you never have to worry about running out of the material. In case you want to source materials from someone else, you need to see many aspects regarding the delivery time, delivery delay, safe level of raw materials, and many other such aspects.
#3. CREATE DESIGNS FOR YOUR T-SHIRTS
The next step is to create designs for your shirts. Try something unique, trendy, and classy. Don’t copy the designs of leading t-shirt sellers. The best tee businesses in town are always those that have their uniqueness and creative aesthetic maintained in such a way that their customers can always trust in them blindly.
Deciding that you want to always ensure creative aesthetics and will never copy someone else’s designs is the first step to ensure long term success of your business. Once you have done this, you can go on to talk decide the kind of designs you would go for, who would be the designer, what specific aesthetic you want to maintain in each design to make it look like yours, what color palettes you would be using and much more. Make sure you put in all the efforts to design tees like never before.
At least for the first collection, you need to spend some extra time in making the best t-shirts. If the first collection is off fashion and disliked by people, then there are less than 10% chances for your business to succeed in future too. Apart from the design, the cloth material, printing, and stitching of all the t-shirt must also be perfect and you have to go an extra mile, deciding who you would be hiring for all such measures.
To create the best designs, make sure to find out:
- The type of designs that are trending in your target audience
- The design that got much love recently
- Five to ten bestselling shirts that are from your niche
Looking for such things can be a great way to start and draw an inspiration. On seeing the bestselling shirts you will get an idea and can implement it in your own business. Remember not to copy the design; you aim is only get an idea from them. Once you get an idea for your initial designs, you will automatically become adept at making the tees later on.
I have seen many Tee shirt business owners making their tee designs on their own. However, I am also aware that designing is not everyone’s sup of tea. If you think that you are not able to create unique designs, consider hiring a designer. Pay him or her as much as she demands if you are sure of their skill because designs matter a lot and these designers are the only people who can take your business ahead everyone’s else and ensure great success. The importance of creative designs cannot be underestimated as they help to attract people towards the brand and thus, this must be your primary goal when starting a business.
In case your niche deals with simple and plain basics in t-shirts you might be able to skip this step. However, that is a rare occurrence because I have never seen a business succeed while investing nothing in designs and selling simple solids all the time. You can, however, then consider hiring freelance designers and pay them per project rather than going for a full-time one and paying him/her every month.
#4. GET TEMPLATES MADE FOR YOUR T-SHIRTS
After deciding on the niche, material, getting some design ideas for the shirts, and making all the initial moves, you need to convert the whole idea into a virtual shirt. By this, we mean that you need to design a few digital t-shirts to get an idea of how your abstract decisions would look in reality. Doing so, you will be able to see exactly how the final product would look like and whether or not you should continue getting it printed in real. If the shirt does not seem too catchy or look exactly how you planned it, you can alter the design easily without worrying about your materials and resources going wasted. However, such an occurrence is quite rare and won’t happen unless you go on the previous steps with no sense of care.
You cannot just make piles of shirts before knowing the customers’ reactions towards the product. Make templates of the shirts and make them public, also ask for the viewer’s feedback and always give value to the feedback received.
You can create templates for your shirts online for free at Canva and many other such apps. Also, make sure to make multiple templates for one design of shirts so that the customers know what you are dealing with.
A pathetic and poor quality template can result in an unsuccessful and unprofitable business so make sure to go through this step proficiently and efficiently. Also, do not worry if you think that you are spending too much time on each step. This usually happens the same way. The amount of time you spend in planning is directly proportional to the success rates you can expect from your business.
#5. DECIDE ON THE NAME OF THE BUSINESS
Have you ever felt like trying out a business just because its name attracted you? Or have you ever ignored and online seller just because he or she has a very clichéd, common, boring, or a generic name that you have heard several times? I am sure at least one of these events must have happened with you. If yes, then you must try understanding the reasons behind such thoughts deeply that will surely lead you realizing the value of choosing the right name for your business.
Now that you are all done with the preparation and looking forward to launch your business, make sure to name it the right way. Your business’s name is not just the identity of the brand but also decides whether or not people would feel like investing in it. Keep in mind that this step will not be an easy one. You will have to go through a lot of stuff before you decide on a good name for your business. I have seen many almost giving up at this stage because finding a good name for a business is not as fun as finding a name for a baby.
However, with a little thinking and with creative sense maintained, naming the business becomes as easy job. You only need to put in efforts into this process. Given are some Dos and Don’ts of naming a t-shirts business that will help you to choose a great and interesting name for your business and will guarantee much of its success:
- Choose a name that has hints on the niche of the business
How would a brand named something like “Cheery and Chocolate” make it to your head as a clothing related store? Or how would you feel like listening to a brand called “Shoom”? Obviously confused about its purpose and niche, right?
This is why you need to choose a name that matches the niche of your business. Such a step will help your business to be notable and can allow it to attract newer buyers. If the name of your business is something related to your profession, then a person, who is looking for a t-shirt that goes well with his profession, will surely consider paying a visit to your t-shirt brand.
- The name should be easy and unique
The name of the business should not be very difficult, too long, or too hard to pronounce. Businesses with very difficult names are not likely to succeed or even noticed. For Example, a brand named tees for impeccably groomed men is not likely to be remembered by the majority. However, not going for a difficult name does not mean that you choose something extremely boring or common. A brand’s name needs to be unique too. A channel with a simple name like customized tees or tees for girls is likely to get ignored, because of being too simple and general and sounds fake.
- Insert a catchy word in the name
Words that will help you attract customers to your business should be used in the name of the business. Some of the catchy words include discounted, fashion, for all, etc. Remember to use them naturally in the name.
- Select a brief name
A very long name like “Simple and all-season tees for all” is not a suitable name. Try to select a small yet powerful name for your business.
- Try not to use numerals in the name of the business, like 123 clothing is not a good name
- Don’t copy the name from other businesses. Some people just change the spellings or the initials of the leading business, to name their business. For example, names like “Mike” instead of “Nike” or “Abidas” instead of “Adidas” are not acceptable and must not be chosen no matter what.
Source: Inbound Hype
#6. LEGALIZE YOUR BUSINESS
Once you are done deciding the name of the business, it is time for you to do all the paperwork. This step is boring but is very important for the businesses. Legalizing your business makes it safe and successful. Making it legal helps you to:
- Keep you safe from legal risks
- To hire employees and to pay them in accordance with the state law
- Protect the designs from competitors
- Pay taxes according to the set rate
In case you have not registered the business, following things can happen at any time:
- The competitors can copy your design and you cannot take any legal action against them
- Also, the state can ban the business that is not legal and is unregistered
- You cannot get bank loans for a business that is not registered
Source: Susan’s shop
#7. SET UP AN ONLINE SHOP
The next step is to set an online store. You can also set up a traditional store, but for the first few years, it is advised to sell your stuff online. For setting up an online business you first need to make a website for your store. Properly organize the website according to niche and category. Make a website that is user friendly.
Consider a website like an employee that is working 24/7. After the website is properly made, make sure to include a section named queries and answers. In this section, you can answer all the frequently asked questions like delivery method, return policy, material, and other such queries that the customers have. This will save yours and the customers’ time.
Also add a feedback corner, so that the new customers get to know what the other people think of your t-shirts brand (also known as social proof). The money saved on acquiring the traditional store and the rent and other maintenance expenses can be saved by going for an online store.
Once the online store gets enough fame and success, you can decide on opening a proper store too.
#8. PROMOTE THE BUSINESS
Promoting business means making the business known to people. For the promotion of the business, you can make social media pages. If you have enough budget, you can also make additions and can on-air it on the television.
- For promotion, you can also offer giveaways or buy one get one free offer. Set the rules of the giveaway so that the people will be attracted to buy items from you.
- The luck draw also is an effective way to attract customers. You can say that the buyer’s name will be entered in a box and on a certain date three lucky winners will get coupons or some other price.
- Another trick to promote the business is to give a free item with every purchase. If someone is looking for a tee shirt and all of a sudden they see a statement “Buy only one shirt and get a surprise gift”, a person surely will be attracted towards this statement. You can opt for this technique and can make your business successful. The gift can be anyone like a bow, a tie, or a little card and can attract a lot of customers towards your store.
- Give special discounts for every occasion as this also helps to attract customers towards the business. Offers like celebrating the happy New Year with 20% off on all items helps to attract customers.
#9. IMPROVE WITH TIME
Remember one thing, you cannot make your business successful by keeping the quality standards the same. Your business should show improvement over time. The items produced in the first month should not be the same as the items produced in the twelfth month.
Material, packaging, designs, quality, and website need improvement over time. No matter how fast a business is growing in its initial stages if the business stays the same, it will start losing its value in the eyes of the customers.
Market the improvement efficiently, so that the customers get attracted towards the improved stuff. The phrase now better than before attracts the customers and the ones that already are satisfied with your quality will be more than happy.
Innovation also is important. You cannot just keep on making harry potter themed shirts, as the harry potter craze is over now. Try to stay updated with the trends and offer the best things according to the trend in the market. So to make your business keep the phrase improve and innovate in your mind.