So, you want to start your own t-shirt line.
Here at Fantasy T-Shirts, we see many t-shirt lines come and go. Although the heart of what we do is screen printing, we often get a lot of questions about starting a t-shirt line. While we are no experts when it comes to starting a t-shirt company, there are definitely things you should know before starting a line. Here are some tips:
1. It's easy to have high expectations. Many dream of the financial rewards of successfully selling t-shirts, but in reality, this is a labor of love. Most people who have a t-shirt line also work a full time job.
2. It takes a lot more than just an idea in your head to be successful. The idea is a great starting point, but without the execution, it means nothing. This requires you to have the ability to create brilliant designs, or finding someone who can. When your design is finalized, then it is time to talk to your printers. (Hopefully it is with us!)
3. You may expect to make money off your first run, but competition in a overly saturated industry means that you need to be giving out your shirts to your friends or people of high visibility in order to get exposure. You may pay out of pocket for your first run, but do not be discouraged.
4. Since getting t-shirts printed is an investment, we recommend choosing a design that you are most confident in and printing a small run. What you think may sell, may not sell in the real world. A cool way of testing the waters (which is free) is to put up a virtual mock up of the design on Facebook to see how people react to it.
I know many of the points above sound discouraging, but these are realistic expectations. So now that you know what to expect, where do you go from here?
It's time to spring into action and do research. Start a business plan. Find your niche and get to know your competition. Learn about the industry and the financial aspect of it. Reaching out and understanding your target audience will go a long way to helping you sell your shirts!
Find a printer that suits your needs. Are you a graphic designer, or do you know someone that is? If not, you can find graphic artists on sites such Guru or Elance. If you don't want to pay for design work, then learn how to design. Take art classes, learn how to use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Create a website.
Build your empire by learning, working smart, and staying inspired. Your success will come from your failures. It may be a long road, but there is something very satisfying and rewarding about creating something from nothing.
Remember to have fun through this process!
Here are some articles on this topic: