Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home step by step guide.
It seems these days everybody’s selling t-shirts and, if you haven’t started already…you might be next. Before you jump into the t-shirt business, you need to understand the whole concept.
T-shirts are an essential part of wardrobes across the globe. Clever entrepreneurs, like yourself, have tapped into the status of this product and started their own online T-shirt businesses. Starting an online T-shirt business is a popular choice for both beginner and advance e-commerce entrepreneurs. T-shirts are cheap to source, have universal appeal, and are comparatively simple to customize.
If you’ve been thinking about starting your own online T-shirt business, it’s important that you’re aware that it’s a competitive field in e-commerce. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to make sure that your store stands out from the crowd. To ensure this, it’s important that you source high-quality products, create appealing designs, and build a strong brand image.
Many people, even talented designers, find it hard to start and run a t-shirt business and quite quickly. Others have the idea but don’t start the business, out of fears like, “I don’t know how to start a t-shirt printing business”, “I don’t know where to sell them”, and so on. That stops today. Here is the ultimate step by step guide to setting up your online t-shirt printing business.
Here are steps to Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home.
- Create A Business Plan
- Decide e-commerce platform for your web store.
- Purchase an online product designer tool.
- What types of T-shirt printing are possible.
- Finding the right T-shirt Supplier.
- Set up the printing infrastructure.
- Set up logistics infrastructure.
- Getting your T-shirt Design Business to Succeed.
- Protecting Your T-shirt Design.
- Getting advice on your T-shirt Design Business.
Step 1. Create A Business Plan
Before you get started, get all the info you can on how to start a t-shirt business and have a clear idea of what you plan on doing. Try to decide things like what kind of t-shirts you plan on selling, who your target market is, whether your t-shirts will be available online only or if you’ll eventually be aiming to sell in stores.
To become successful in any business, it is important to have a strong business plan. Now when it comes to t-shirt printing industry, you must remember that it has a wide range of audience based on their choice of quality, design, and style.
Either you decide to print the existing design of customers on T-shirts and sell them or create your own design and then print and sell to your niche. You more than eligible to do both printings with this setup. In my experience, I will suggest you do both, we will talk about it in more details later in this blog.
Printing customize T-shirts is quite easy and simple because you don’t need to design and market it. As you are simply providing the service of printing. However, creating the design and branding it is the totally different level of business. Thereafter, you need to follow these steps:
Identify the market niche
You heard this term quite a lot in any e-commerce business but is it important to choose the niche in the T-shirts industry. I will say one of the most important factors in building a successful t-shirt business is choosing the right niche. It helps you to stand out from the many competitors.
There are two major ways to sector the market
- Based on the needs of the customers
- Based on the age of the customers
To identify the market niche, make sure you ask yourself the following questions:
- Will you sell printed t-shirts to infants and toddlers or youth, teen and adults?
- Will your customers have the right to design their own t-shirts or you will have a fixed range of designs to choose from?
- Will you be targeting a niche within different age groups? For e.g. Printed rock band t-shirts for teens or printed sports t-shirts for adults.
- The mission of your company – which can involve offering high quality printed t-shirts at cost-effective prices
- Know where you will obtain your raw materials from. Will you have a fixed vendor, or you will be buying plain t-shirts from a brand?
- Create marketing ideas based on marketing analysis by making use of events, social media, fairs, conventions etc
- Analyse the competition and know how you will make your brand stand out from other t-shirt companies
Consider the financial aspects
Before starting a business like this, it is very important to have an idea as to what everything will cost you. If you are a businessperson who thinks in a long run, your financial strategy should include the following:
- Projected expenses and assumptions of fixed and varying costs
- Costs of investment
- Projected revenues and revenue resources
- Monthly profit or loss figures
- Annual gross margin
You can get printing quotes from different t-shirt printing firms so that you can compare prices and give the best deal, without compromising on the quality. Once you start printing and producing t-shirts, start noting down all your expenses including bagging, tagging, labeling and other finishing methods. Also, include the costs incurred in shipping boxes and storing products. Once you work out on these aspects, it will help you to decide about the prices you should quote for your t-shirts. You also need to know how long you can endure with your t-shirt printing business in case it doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to.
Don’t make these mistakes while Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home.
If you have a healthy business plan, you will undergo each step of the planning process. There are times when start-ups or entrepreneurs handling one-man business think that there is no need to have a business plan. However, this is not a right approach. Make sure you do not make the following mistakes.
- Not indulging in market research or having a profit and loss projection.
- Not establishing a professional brand image with logo, theme, and mission.
- Opening an online store without integrating a product designer software.
Here is some recommended product designer software which will allow your user to create their design or customize the various range of products on your website, which will smooth the customer journey and increase your orders.
- Not having enough t-shirt design templates, color options, and clipart’s.
- Not checking the quality of final output (printed t-shirts).
Step 2. Decide e-commerce platform for your web store
The second most important thing to do is to know about the e-commerce platforms you will be using for your t-shirt printing e-store. Here, you have two options:
Choosing a hosted platform to Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home.
Shopify and BigCommerce are the biggest examples of hosted platforms. The biggest benefit of using these platforms is that they have a very low start-up cost. You can purchase a store, upload the logo of your brand, pick the theme you like and start selling printed t-shirts on the platform. Hosted platforms are ideal for start-ups and will get you up and be running. The only drawback with these platforms is that you can’t have an individual design of your choice and cannot add other customized elements to your store. However, you can choose out of different plans and have a great looking store.
Having a self-hosted platform to Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home.
You can also have a custom developed E-commerce solution for your business. It will let you have your own design, provide with the liberty of making custom edits, give limitless options pertaining to Search Engine Optimization and will enable you to add products and set prices at your convenience. The expensive start-up cost is a drawback here. So, if you have enough funds and are confident about your business’s bright future, you can consider having a self-hosted platform. Basically, you need to design your own website which is very simple with responsive WooCommerce WordPress theme. Here is few recommended WooCommerce theme which is easy to design and upload products for Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home.
Corona – Clothing & Fashion Model Responsive WooCommerce WordPress Theme
Corona theme is great WordPress Theme, checks all the features below – $ 59 for Regular License and full support – For more information please click here.
Step 3. Purchase an online product designer tool
There is nothing better than investing into an advanced product designer tool when you are in the business of selling customized t-shirts. Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home you can make your online store stand out from others and add a dash of personal touch by allowing your customers to design their own t-shirt.
Initially, you can purchase an online t-shirt design tool that fulfills the basic requirements of your customers. Thereafter, if your business is doing well, you can enhance your web-to-print software and add new features to it. As your loyal customer base would be established by then, adding new features will help you to boost your revenues. There are several companies from which you can buy a product designer tool and integrate with your e-commerce store. Here are few best providers to Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home.
Lumise Product Designer | WooCommerce WordPress
Lumise – $ 50 for Regular License for more information click here.
Brush your Ideas – $ 29 per month for the standard package for more information click here.
Fancy Product Designer | WooCommerce WordPress
Fancy product designer – $ 50 for Regular License for more information click here.
Step 4. What types of T-shirt printing are possible
There are several methods of T-shirt printing to be considered as you evaluate your business strategy. Each has its benefits, and each is preferred for certain circumstances. Choosing the right printing method for online t-shirts printing Business from home is crucial.
There are four commonly followed ways of printing t-shirts. All the 4 methods have their benefits and pitfalls. So, the success of production depends on the amount of time you are willing to spend on the production and the printing method you use in setup online t-shirts printing Business from home. Let us study the 4 popular printing methods in detail along with their drawbacks.
When it comes to printing t-shirts, screen printing is one of the most popularly used methods. It also provides consistent printing and long-lasting imprints. Screen Printing is the most effective printing technique when it comes to bulk production. When there are more than four or five colors involved, it gets a little complicated for screen printing machines. So, in such a scenario, it might take more time to print.
Advantages of Screen Printing
- Long lasting – Due to the composition and thickness of inks used in screen printing, designs placed with this method can withstand far more stress than others without losing the quality of the print.
- Big Order Friendly – Since this is a method that requires the fabrication of screens for every color used in an artwork, it is best reserved for large orders. The more garments placed in an order then the cheaper the cost per unit will be.
- Great Finish – Screen printing produces vibrant colors that are hard to replicate by other printing techniques.
- More Ink – Screen printing allows for the greater thickness of the ink than other techniques, which result in greater possibilities when it comes to the finish of the piece
- Versatility – It is hard to find a printing method as versatile as screen printing. It can be done on almost any surface if it is flat, fabric, wood, plastic and even metal, among many others.
- Straightforward – It is a basic process that does not change regardless if it’s automated or done by hand. The tools are not hard to replace and won’t become outdated as fast as other technologies.
Disadvantages of Screen Printing
- Not practical for small orders – As we already mentioned, screen printing needs more prep than other techniques before going into production. This doesn’t make it suitable for “on-demand” printing, which is the creation of a garment as soon as it is ordered.
- The more colors, the more expensive it is – Turns out that having to create a screen for each color can be a bit of a hassle. Colorful designs complicate the process and make it more expensive, that is why it is better to keep designs for screen printing with a few tones as possible.
- It’s not environmentally friendly – While efforts have been made to create eco-friendly inks and screens, it is still a reality that screen printing wastes a lot of water. Water is used to mix up inks and clean the screens, which may not seem like much at first, but manufacturers produce hundreds of garments a day (if not thousands) and when we start to add up, it can get scary.
- Relative Complexity – It might sound like a contradiction, but screen printing can be quite complex depending on the design and project because it has more steps than other methods.
Heat transfer printing
Heat Press Machine or Heat Transfer Printing is the modern, no-fuss way of printing artwork onto t-shirts. It is a great alternative to the classic screen printing. Of course, when it comes to quality and longevity, screen printing still wins the game. But for the regular customers’ point of view, they can’t tell the difference between a screen-printed tee and a heat pressed tee. This is a good thing for t-shirt entrepreneurs because not only is heat press printing easy and affordable to do, it also makes custom t-shirt printing possible. With screen printing, the customers must order in large quantities or else it would be too expensive per piece, but with heat press machine, it’s still affordable even if they order one or one thousand. No wonder heat press is a favorite of many t-shirt entrepreneurs. If you just bought your heat press machine, here is a basic guide on how to use the machine.
Press click here to learn more in detail about Heat Transfer Printing (Coming soon).
The advantage of Heat transfer Printing
- Cheaper to print – If you had other kinds of shirt printing equipment, your customer would need to order a huge bulk of t-shirts to be printed so that it would be cost-effective to print their designs. However, with a heat transfer press, they would not have to order a huge bulk of t-shirts. A heat transfer press could solve that problem. You can purchase a heat press and then accept small orders and still make a profit of those small orders. You would not have to accept only large bulk orders for t-shirt printing. And since it is much cheaper to print using a heat press, you could potentially get a lot more customers.
- Faster printing – If you use a heat press machine, it will print at a much faster rate than other kinds of shirt printing equipment. There are fewer steps that must be taken to prepare the machine to print onto a shirt. And since there are also fewer steps, it is also much easier to print using a heat press. You would not have so much trouble using a heat press since you can complete shirt printing orders much faster.
- Longer-lasting – The custom designs on the shirts that you have printed using a heat press, would also last for a much longer time. The heat transfer process, that this press uses, will yield much better results. The ink will stay on for a much longer period. And it will not fade so much. This would mean that customers may keep coming back to you because they know that your shirt’s designs will stay on for a much longer time.
- Better printing quality – The printing quality that you can get out of your best heat press reviews, would also be superior to that of other kinds of printing equipment. Since the designs that you print will look better, you could also get more return customers as well.
Direct-to-garment printing (DTG Printing)
This printer works like an inkjet printer and that is why there are no additional costs involved. It can print multiple colored images directly on the t-shirts with perfection. The results obtained from direct-to-garment printing are as good as the ones obtained from screen printing. It is way better than the quality produced by heat transfers.
Press click here to learn more in detail about Direct to Garment Printing (DTG Printing) (Coming soon)
The advantage of Direct to Garment Printing
- Great for “on demand” production, because the setup costs are the same for one garment.
- Great image quality by being able to recreate intricate details.
- Easy to use — there’s no major learning curve involved.
- It can print the full spectrum of colors.
- Simple production as it doesn’t require that many steps.
- Uses safe materials such as water-based inks.
- It is a clean process when compared to screen printing which requires considerable amounts of water and ink.
Disadvantages of Direct to Garment Printing
- DTG printers are expensive.
- Not optimal for large orders since the printing process can be slow and production costs stack up.
- Inks are delicate.
- Doesn’t work on all types of T-shirts — garments used for DTG must have at least 50% cotton, so it absorbs the pigments in the way it is supposed to.
- Not possible to give volume discounts.
It is an ancient printing technique whose origins go back to 5th century BC. Embroidered printing is one of the most unconventional ways of printing. This is because unlike other printing methods, it uses a sewing machine that sews the design in the t-shirt. Lots of polo t-shirts are printed using this method. Embroidery printing is also used to create corporate t-shirts.
This kind of printing is still preferred by many as the design looks quite original, professional and elegant when printed on the t-shirt. It also lasts quite long and doesn’t come off easily.
Step 5. Finding the right T-shirt Supplier
Put T-shirts or polo-shirts into Google and dozens of suppliers will be shown, but how do you decide who to buy from? To be successful in Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home, you must find the correct supplier for your products.
It’s best to stick to the products by tried and tested manufacturers. Companies such as Hanes, Fruit of the Loom and Gildan have all proven distribution outlets and you can view their catalogs online. However, there are lots of new suppliers who provide great quality T-shirts at the very cheap price like ClassicTops. You don’t have to take the online route to manage your suppliers. But there’s no doubt that the convenience of being able to order when it’s convenient for you, day or night, can be very useful.
Make sure that you’re working with an established wholesaler or distributor. There are plenty of websites that offer cheap T-shirts but the absence of a telephone number, hastily written content and difficult to use websites often say a great deal about the business behind the website. You’ll need a service that meets your standards on a regular basis – not a one hit wonder company.
Don’t be drawn into any snap decisions when choosing your supplier. Many dealers will offer competitive prices but expect large orders.
Buying in bulk has its advantages, but it certainly isn’t the way to go if you’re just starting your business. Try to find a supplier which offers competitive prices without the obligation to buy a minimum quantity at once. The stock that you can’t sell is stock or return, you can’t make a profit from. There’s no good in having a house full of unwanted T-shirts – no matter how good the deal looked on paper.
Step 6. Set up the printing infrastructure
Once you are done deciding the type of printing method and t-shirt printing material, you need to set up a printing infrastructure or a facility wherein printing can take place without any glitches. It is advisable to have a printing studio which is equipped with well-maintained printers along with a coating and a finishing unit. Also, the printer should be able to print n number of design on different quality of fabrics. This is because, the customers who demand printed t-shirts also might demand customized caps, bags, jerseys etc. Here’s how you should go about the printing process:
- Decide on the color schemes: If you decide on your color palette first, you can take care of the details which are overlooked by the time it is too late. When working on an apparel order from the scratch, it doesn’t matter whether you pick the garment first or the ink. But there definitely is a link between the two which will be visible in the final print. So, you can simulate different inks and check garment color combination by making mock-ups designs.
- Save a copy for yourself and another for print: Once you have received the final design from your customers, you need to save an editable file for yourself, so that changes can be made later if the need be. If there are issues with your printer due to the size or resolution of the file, you might have to go back and make changes or ask your customer to do the same. In a worst-case scenario, they might have to start from the scratch.
- Print the t-shirt: Last but not the least, you can print the t-shirt using whichever method you are comfortable with using the printer of your choice. It is better to hire professionals to do the job if you are not comfortable with the printing process. After printing the t-shirt, you must cure the garment and set the ink on the t-shirts to ensure maximum washability.
Step 7. Set up logistics infrastructure
Once the t-shirt order is placed by your customers, it must be delivered to them on time. You can ensure a smooth delivery process in 3 ways: To Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home
- You can take care of your orders independently with the help of your team and labor force.
- Sell your product through the drop-shipper who can take care of your orders.
- Liaise with a logistics company that can take care of your warehousing and fulfillment.
There are several advantages of packing and shipping your own t-shirt orders as it is cost-effective and flexible. So, the companies that have just started with their business often choose to take care of their own logistics. However, if your business flourishes and you have money to outsource, you can opt for third-party warehousing. You will be able to find several companies who will take care of storage, packing, and shipping of your orders.
Step 8. Getting your T-shirt Design Business to Succeed
Where would a T-shirt printing business be if it didn’t have any customers? Nowhere, is the answer. Without selling your products, you won’t be getting anywhere too soon. So where can you focus your marketing to increase sales? This is very important steps into Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home.
A brief search will provide dozens of T-shirt trading businesses, all seeking to gain the attention of a growing audience. You can look at this in two ways. Either it’s a saturated market and already exploited, or it’s offering something rewarding and exists for a reason.
eBay, on the other hand, does just that. By creating a store on the world’s number one auction site, you can plunge yourself straight into a market where you KNOW that customers are visiting with the mind to part with their hard-earned cash. Be prepared to face competition – and eBay charges. There is a cost to advertise your products and a commission to eBay when each T-shirt is sold.
You can alternatively build your own commerce store. This provides the full creative license to present your product as you wish, but it also involves a greater depth of involvement on the site maintenance side.
Sell to friends. Hey, if they’re your friends, they better like you enough to get your aspiring enterprise off the ground!
Not every sales transaction has to be initiated by the customer. If you’re certain that your T-shirt design is a success story waiting to happen, don’t dwell on it. Approach a proper retail outlet and pitch the idea of selling them your product. In most cases, this will lead to rejection – although not necessarily down to lack of quality. Try to find an outlet which specializes in the field that your T-shirt is catered to. Maybe you could even design a shirt with a company in mind?
Don’t rule out the wonderfully profitable business of acting as a provider to T-shirt requests. It’s the one area when you can really inflate your prices and make the maximum gain. The explosion of Stag and Hen nights and weekends has created a huge demand for customized and personalized T-shirts.
Step 9. Protecting Your T-shirt Design
So, you’ve perfected your latest T-shirt through painstaking hours of endless adjustments…and somebody’s stolen it. That can’t be fair, can it? No, it can’t be.
Protecting your work is one of those steps which many businesses will completely ignore through inconvenience. But those very same businesses could eventually be left to resent the decision. How do you protect your designs?
It’s possible to trademark your designs, but ultimately, a huge deficit in your budget. A more viable option is to copyright them.
Copywriting is protective in the sense that it stops people taking your work and re-distributing it directly. But it can’t be relied on for issues where somebody has modified it significantly.
These are murky waters for your T-shirt design business, but the leniency is partly down to the fact that many designs are unknowingly similar. We all take inspiration from somewhere, and unless a design is clearly and obviously stolen, it can be very hard to prove in the legal sense – and expensive too.
Step 10. Getting advice for your T-shirt Design Business
It’s a lonely world when you start up a business and can’t get it up and running. That’s why the Internet can be so beneficial for getting useful insight from the people who are already successful.
Be sure to check out T-Shirt Forums for an active range of tips, support, and general advice.
Setup online t-shirts printing Business from home and running any business, through commercial or hobbyist intentions, is going to take a lot of hard work and a lengthy display of commitment.
If you’re setting out on the road to becoming the next T-shirt printing guru, have a look around at what your rivals are producing. Use your creative talents and ask yourself how you can do it better. With the inspiration driving you on and the determination to make a success of your hard work, there’s no reason why this writer can’t be wearing your first T-shirt sometime soon. Good luck!