are often in a position where they work from a home office or would like to work from home to bring in income with a more flexible schedule. Fortunately, there are many creative business ideas that you can do right from your own home office that you can start in 2017. Believe it or not, t-shirt design is one that is becoming extremely popular.
In short, starting an online t-shirt business is becoming popular in the e-commerce world as well as the homeschooling-world and has become a popular choice for bothalike! Below outlines 7 steps to start an online t-shirt business in the New Year:
1. Setting up Your E-commerce Site
Nowadays setting up a website is incredibly easy, and there are a lot of options for ecommerce sites and apps available, you just need to do a little research! Setting up your website is really step one, because you can’t start selling, advertising, and promoting until this is up and fully functioning. Visit here to learn how to get started.
2. Figure Out Designing, Printing and Shipping
Once you have a good site that is ready to launch products, you are going to want to figure out how you will design shirts (more on that in step 3), how you are going to get your product printed, and what kind of shipping you can offer. This will involve calling different vendors in your area who can offer these services, so although it’s a straightforward process, you will definitely have to make some decisions. Most importantly you want these decisions to be made and your system to be established before you start promoting your company or products to make for smooth sailing, so the sooner you can lock this down and understand the costs associated, the better.
3. Establish Branding and Voice
Who is your target audience? What is unique about your t-shirt business compared to the rest? How do you want to brand yourself? What will be your niche or specialty? These questions are going to help you out specific aspects, such as the quality material you are going to offer (more on that in 4). Ultimately deciding who your consumer base is going to be and how you are going to reach out to them specifically with your branding and voice is a critical aspect of starting a t-shirt business.
4. Determine Material Quality
It is always tempting to go with the cheapest material to have the highest profit margin possible, but remember that quality is especially important in this business. Depending on who your target audience is (kids, high-end retail, hipsters, etc.), you will want to determine what quality is necessary to not only target the audience with designs, but also give you repeat customers. For example, if you are printing children’s shirts (for camps, schools, clubs, etc.) it might be key to go with a slightly lower quality material because you know they are going to want to order in bulk and get the most for their money.
5. Figure Out Your Printing Method
There are really three methods for t-shirt printing, and they all have their own unique pros and cons. We will go over them briefly here, but you will want to do some additional research to figure out what the best option really is for the cost/outcome that you want to have:
Screen Printing. Probably one of the most well known techniques that is favorable for t-shit company start ups, as it is cost-effective for printing in bulk. However, it can be challenging to print multiple colors and complex designs. Screen printers have a difficult initial set up, but after it is ready to go, it could be a really good starting point if your designs are pretty simple in color and graphics.
Heat Transfer. Advanced heat transfer systems that are business/industrial quality are called “plastisol transfers” which allow you to print on to special heat transferring paper (to then transfer to the material). Basically you can order large quantities of heat-transfer ready prints and then transfer at home with an industrial heat press as you receive orders. The downside? Heat transfer machines can be costly and the quality is inferior to both screen-printing and direct-to-garment methods.
Direct-To-Garment. This option basically works like a regular printer as it transfers ink directly to the shirt and can handle complex designs and multiple colors. The set up costs are low because it functions like a printer, and the quality is on par with screen printing (and better than heat-transfer). This is great for small orders, but unfortunately, does not really have any cost benefits for printing in bulk.
6. Determining and Sourcing the T-Shirt Designs
So, what if you are not an artist? There are several ways that you can get designs for your t-shirts without having to be crafty yourself. For one, you can always reach out to art forums and communities and see if any artists would like to contribute art for exposure (you can also offer them a percentage of the sales as an incentive to work with you). You can also hire a graphic designer to work on certain designs as a freelancer, or try tapping into your own skills as an artist with the many tools and resources out there, such as the Shopify T-Shirt design tool. You, of course, can also offer to print company logos or anything custom that people want printed. Once you source and determine how you are going to get your t-shirt designs you will want to do some mock up shirts, and have professional photos taken for your website and social media accounts.
7. Promote, Market, and Get Selling!
Once you are all set up, you can get to the digital marketing. Promoting and advertising on social media platforms, email, Google AdWords, and other digital channels is a great way to drive business and orders to your site. Pay attention to the feedback you get on these channels from returning and prospective clients so that you can be sure to adjust your business plan and approach as need be. There is of course quite a bit that goes into marketing, so I recommend this article for beginners.
This is a simple breakdown of how you might go about starting a t-shirt printing business as a homeschooling mom. Remember to do a little more research into each step, especially the materials and design sourcing aspects, before you firmly commit to anything. There are a lot of forums and articles available for you to learn more, so don’t miss out on the knowledge others have learned by rushing into it. Starting a t-shit site can be a great way to make money in the coming year as you work from home, and can be fantastic for flexible work hours as you homeschool kids or otherwise structure your days!