Starting an Online T-Shirt Business

Starting your own T-Shirt business has become easier thanks to print on demand services and affordable ecommerce systems that can hook into these services.

In this guide I will be using Shopify and Printful, which integrate together to allow you to operate almost a hands-off t-shirt business.

  • No IT skills required
  • No worries about hosting, security, scripts, SSL
  • No inventory and shipping
  • No merchant account needed to accept credit cards

If you don’t like paying monthly for an ecommerce  platform like Shopify, you can use your own installation of WordPress and WooCommerce but you have to do more setup and customization. WooCommerce works with Printful, so this is a good alternative if you have time to invest in customizing WooCommerce, and if you can take care of hosting, security and SSL.

I also have WooCommerce installed on another T-Shirt store that integrates with Printful but I can tell you that setup is a bit more painful. I want to go to the market fast and be able to scale without IT headaches.

Shopify’s cheapest plan (Starter) is $14 or so, and I think this is not so expensive considering you are using their infrastructure for hosting and you don’t have to worry about upgrading scripts and dealing with IT headaches. You are allowed 25 products with the starter plan.

I have a Basic plan with them for $29 (unlimited products with phone support). You can ask me about it. Join the mailing list below so you can be updated.

If you stick with Shopify, then read on…

First register an account in Shopify and Printful

  • http://shopify.com
  • http://printful.com

Sneak peak into my Shopify plan upgrade backend:

shopify-inside

 

Follow this guide from Shopify’s blog:

  • http://www.shopify.com/blog/14515425-how-to-start-an-online-t-shirt-business-the-ultimate-guide

If you want some quick designs and vectors and just add your test to create your own twist, I recommend these (also mentioned in the :

Some pages to bookmark on Printful:

  • Mockup Generator – https://www.theprintful.com/generator
  • Tshirt Guides – https://www.theprintful.com/product/t-shirts#guidelines
  • Your Dashboard – https://www.theprintful.com/dashboard/store

Remember, you can integrate multiple stores with one Printful account.

Blogging

Running an active blog along side your store is key to getting traffic from search engines and social media. If you are using Shopify with your own custom domain, I recommend installing your own blogs using WordPress on a subdomain such as blog.yourdomain.com

Shopify has a built in blog system but I don’t like placing everthing in one basket so I am not entirely dependent on Shopify for my content. If ever Shopify shuts down, I still have my content on the subdomain and I can easily rebuild the store on the main domain with another ecommerce platform.

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T-Shirt Campaigns and Facebook Ads

If you don’t want to operate a full-time T-Shirt store, you can still make money from shirts by launching one-time T-shirt campaigns on TeeSpring,Viral Style and Fabrily. Then just drive traffic to these campaigns from Facebook or Twitter ads.

Again, here are the campaign-type T-shirt selling platforms:

  • TeeSpring
  • Viral Style
  • Fabrily (popular in markets outside the US

Video Tutorials per platform

Designs for Campaign Shirts

Here’s a set of templates for designs that worked well:

 

Updates

This guide will be updated as I gather more insight and actual data from running Shopify with Printful, and using t-shirt campaigns.

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– Gerry Lacuarta,  4-18-2015

 

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