Dreaming of being an entrepreneur and have your sights set on helping others express themselves through their clothing? As experienced by Imaging Spectrum, starting a t-shirt business is an attractive choice for beginners and veteran entrepreneurs. From an e-commerce perspective, it’s relatively cheap to source. Everyone loves t-shirts. You definitely don’t have to worry about universal appeal.
However, while making t-shirts is a great creative outlet, starting your own t-shirt business requires a focused strategy, a creative perspective, and the motivation to reach for success.
Here’s some easy-to-follow advice to guide you through the process.
Design Your Tees
Do you have a specific aesthetic you want to share with the world? Are you into motivational quotes?
Wherever your interests lie, you want to start mapping out the designs for your t-shirts. Creating designs that have a high-quality resolution and will transfer over well to your tees is an important part of garnering and retaining interested clientele.
Remember to perform your due diligence to ensure you aren’t using any trademarked or copyrighted material on your t-shirts. The last thing you want when starting a new business is to be slapped with a lawsuit or have to start from zero again.
Create a Business Plan
While printing and selling tees may sound like a fairly easy endeavor, every t-shirt printing business needs a plan. Without one, you’re putting yourself at risk of wasting both your time and money. A simple Google search will provide you with some great templates to help you establish the goals and strategy for your business.
Your business plan should include a detailed outline of your target customer/marketplace, your product, your short-term and long-term sales goals, and your financial projects. You should also do your research and start pricing out your inventory.
The business plan should also include the equipment costs that will be required in the initial investment. For such, you need to define the type of printing method you will use. Currently, direct-to-garment printing is the most advanced technologically and produces the best quality results. Although this method can be expensive, if you have the budget to invest, consider options like Epson’s SureColor F2100, considered a benchmark for print quality.
While the price of your t-shirt should be based on your cost, so you can cover your expenses, including things like overhead and marketing, you want to make sure it’s priced at a number your market is actually willing to pay.
For example, if your target audience is willing to pay $20 per shirt but you are pricing your merchandise at say $40 per shirt, you’ll most likely have trouble selling your stock.
Name Your Business
In order to create an official business, you need to have a name. It’s easier said than done, of course. This name will stick with your company for years to come and should be able to grow with your t-shirt business.
When crafting a name for your business, you’ll want to take the audience you’re targeting and your product into consideration. If you choose a name that reflects your t-shirts, make sure it’s not something that will limit you should you wish to expand your clothing line in the future.
Make It Official
After selecting a creative and catching business name, it’s time to tackle all the legal paperwork. You can obtain the permits and licenses you need to start selling. You’ll need to determine how you plan to structure your business – a.k.a. are you an LLC or a sole proprietor – and file your documents via your city or county’s business office.
If you’re planning to solely travel the e-commerce route and strictly sell your tees through online means, then you may not be required to obtain a sales tax permit.
However, should you plan on selling your t-shirts in person via local markets or community fairs, you will need to apply for a sales tax permit by submitting the proper documentation to your state’s comptroller’s office.
Protect Your T-Shirt Business
What would you do if you struck gold and your t-shirt business was an overnight success? If you don’t go through the proper channels to protect your design, anyone can take it. To avoid others from profiting off your creativity and hard work, you’ll want to protect your logo, design, and slogan (if applicable) through the trademarking or copyrighting process.
Now that you’ve gone through the proper steps of establishing your own t-shirt printing business, you’ll want to leverage social media to start marketing your tees and generate excitement surrounding your product. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different channels and messaging to see what generates the most business.