The t-shirt business is competitive but if you have passion in arts and design then you have the skills to start up your own. You do not need much start-up capital at first so growth is as incremental as needed for you to get your business bearings. We consulted with the t-shirt gurus at Crazy Shirts to give you a three step process.
1. Step 1 – Source your base t-shirts. Note that t- shirts have been in use for many years and as such the sourcing of plain shirts has become commoditized. Buy them in small batches or in bulk to save money. Although t-shirts are commoditized, nevertheless you will have to watch out for the different quality tiers. Customers will quickly recognize if your fabric is unusually thin and abrades easily in the wash.
2. Step 2 – Note the designs of a successful competitor and buy a few shirts to see up close what they are doing right. Create new designs for your own t-shirts by analogizing or following closely the designs of a competitor. Don’t get too fancy with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop – just sketch them out first on paper. If you don’t sketch them out first, you will waste fabric. There are a number of ways to customize your products: printing, embellishment, fabric paint, embroidery, or silks screen. Decide on a single process first, master it, and then cover other niches.
3. Step 3 – After you have completed a couple of designs, think about marketing your products. Post pictures on social networks where your friends view your artistic work. Pay for ad space so that they reach a wider social circle, such as second or third degree friends, and even demographic groupings. Start a blog that relates the latest design information which t-shirt fanatics will want to read. If you have the capacity, advertise that you accept customization services as long as the customer gives you an idea of what exactly they want.
4. Step 4 – Broaden your product line to include very specific types of t-shirts. Take a look at the designs for these workout shirts that help motivate people going to the gym. The key to success is to cover your customer base both broadly and deeply.
(Photo Credit: Jordon B / Creative Commons)