Last Updated on May 4, 2021 by Jay Clover
Do you plan to start your own T-shirt store on Shopify? That’s a great idea, especially since the online t-shirt business is booming. However, first, you need to know how to do it and prepare well, otherwise, you will fail. It sounds disappointing but it’s true and every entrepreneur must keep that in mind.
To make sure you are ready to start your e-commerce business, we’ve prepared a short guide on the steps you need to take to do that. And, since it’s always best to learn from the experienced in the field and your competitors, we’ve also included the top 5 Shopify t-shirt stores.
Now, let’s check these things out!
How to Start an Online T-shirt Business on Shopify?
1. Choose Your Niche
The first thing is to decide the niche of your t-shirt business. Are you going to sell t-shirts with funny slogans or pets or maybe movie lines? If the niche is broad, you can narrow it further by choosing a more specific niche. For instance, if you sell t-shirts with pets, which pets you will use?
If you’re not sure which niche to choose, you can:
- Use Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to measure the size of your niche on the platform.
- Search online to see what kinds of niches are successful and which aren’t.
- Think about your interests and the interests of the communities you belong to, etc.
2. Create a Business Plan
Once you know your niche, start creating your business plan. Think about where you will start from with your t-shirt business. Consider your goals, opportunities, budget, printing partners, and plan how you will start your business/
3. Choose T-shirts of Quality Materials
If you want to be a reliable brand, you must offer high-quality products regardless of what you sell. Therefore, you must choose t-shirts of quality materials. Although those of higher quality will cost you more and will decrease your profit, you’ll rest assured that you’ve sold items of good quality. Of course, the good quality will result in positive customer feedback.
To choose good quality t-shirts, you need to consider their material, softness, fit, size, and weight. If you have no idea where to search for white blank t-shirts, you can check out the T-Shirt Magazine for reviews of the best-known blank t-shirts for printing.
4. Choose the Printing Method and Company
When looking for blank t-shirts, you can’t miss out on the printing method. Are you going to do it yourself or you will go for print on demand? If you want to do it yourself, you need to learn how to do it and buy suitable equipment. On the other hand, if you choose the print-on-demand method, you will need to find printing companies you will work with. Fortunately, Shopify integrates with a lot of print-on-demand websites which will make the printing, packing, and shipping process effortless since they do all the work.
Still, you need to choose which company you will work with. It has to be reliable and highly rated so that you don’t experience any problems while working with them. Once you narrow the companies to a few, it’s a good idea to ask for samples so you can see their work. This will help you make the right decision.
5. Create Your Own T-Shirt Design Samples
When starting a business that includes some sort of design, such as t-shirt design, logo design, writing, etc., you always need to have samples to show the audience /potential buyers. Hence, you have to create several designs to start from somewhere and show the audience what you’re selling and what kinds of designs they can expect from you in the future.
If you’re out of ideas for t-shirt designs, you can check out Zazzle, SnorgTees, and Redbubble to get inspired. Also, you can check out Google Trends to see which designs people are interested in.
Once you know which t-shirt designs you want, you need to create them. You can do this in Adobe Photoshop or a similar program. However, if you don’t know how to design, you can find designers to do the work for you. You can find one on Fiverr, Upwork, Dribble, or Behance.
There’s also an option to buy pre-made designs from sites like Tshirt Facotry and Graphic River. But you need to keep in mind that those designs are probably already being sold by other sellers. Plus, it’s not recommended to go this way if you want to sell t-shirts with unique designs.
Once you’ve created your design, it’s time to create t-shirt mock-ups. This shows your potential customers how the end product would look like. To create the mock-ups, you should use Adobe Photoshop t-shirt templates. Of course, you can also use other programs like GraphicRiver.
7. Test Your T-shirt Designs
When everything is set and done, it’s time to see whether your products will sell on the market. After all, why invest in something if it doesn’t bring any profit.
You can test your t-shirt designs in various ways, including social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), Reddit, and crowdfunding sites.
8. Set Up Your Shopify Store
After you’ve passed all the above-mentioned steps, you can set up your Shopify Store. That’s an easy process which requires setting up an account, importing your t-shirt designs, integrating with print-on-demand companies like Printful and Printify, and that’s it!
Then, you can start promoting your store via Google Ads and social media platforms to attract more customers.
Top 5 Shopify T-shirt Stores
Now that we’ve explained the process of starting a t-shirt design business on Shopify, it’s time to take a look at the best stores selling t-shirt designs. This will show you the importance of website design and how they have designed their stores, what kind of t-shirt designs sell well, and will give you ideas on how you can create your store and what kind of t-shirt designs you should sell.
So, let’s check them out!
This is probably the best t-shirt design store on Shopify. They sell t-shirt designs that combine smart wordplay with unique illustrations.
Their website is very simple, well-designed, and elegant. There are some unique animated graphics which reflect the brand and the products they sell. Other than the animations, there aren’t other vivid colors or sections on the site. This allows the products and graphics to be in the focus and speak for the brand.
Speaking of the products, they are perfectly arranged on the site. First, there are the latest products and then there’s a section with all product categories. Being divided into categories makes the products easy to search and find.
Another very important point to consider are their product photos. They are sharp and clear so that visitors can get a real image of the product and what to expect when they buy one.
This is another established brand with a store on Shopify. They sell t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and sweaters with funny designs. You can notice the brands’ humor as soon as the site opens, with those funny-looking animal faces.
In terms of the website design, it’s similar to that of Factory 43. It’s clean, divided into several product sections, and easy to navigate. There’s a section with product categories, trending designs, and the latest designs. Also, you can easily find whatever you need via the top menu. hence, the overall website design is simple, with great clear and sharp product photos, which allows visitors to focus on the products.
Now, here’s a store that, compared to the previous two, sells cheaper t-shirts, hoodies, and other types of tops. This is because their products are of lower quality. However, this doesn’t affect the brand negatively because they are very strong and people love their affordability.
Their designs are funny and allow everyone to find whatever they need.
When it comes to their website design, it’s clean and user-friendly. Although it misses the header image, it still has product sections that include best-sellers, current events (currently the holiday season), trending, and the most popular products.
Using the human’s need to laugh and have fun, the company has created a brand that will allow that to people via their designs. Combining that with the low price they’ve succeeded besides selling medium-quality products.
This brand has made it clear in their name that they sell t-shirt designs related to dogs. It’s the go-to store for dog owners.
Their website design is extremely simple. It uses a blank white background with black and orange text and numbers so that they can be easily seen without being hard for the eyes.
Unlike the previous store, this one doesn’t have product sections. Instead, their homepage features a header image on the top and a number of products. You can access their full product list via the Shop button in the top menu. And, from what can be noticed, this simplicity in the site organization is due to the low amount of products sold.
The last Shopify store on our list is Make. Their name is too short and simple but it does represent the brand since they allow customers to design their t-shirt.
In regards to their website design, it’s everything but clean. It’s full of colors, with a yellow background, a mix of images for the header, and followed by product sections featuring colorful images. Besides the colorful design, the site is easy to navigate thanks to the product sections and well-organized top menu from where you can access the product categories and subcategories.