A Guide on Starting an Online T-Shirt Printing Business in 2020

An aspiring designer is always keen to grab the opportunity to start any business associated with the clothing industry. So, even if they get the idea of printing t-shirts, they think they’ll be able to manage everything efficiently.

Despite these obstacles being small, they can show up anytime in the course of the entire process from designing to printing. And when you are a newbie with little knowledge of t-shirt print business particulars, obstacles are inevitable.

Though every designer works in their own way and every print shop has its own set of rules, there are several steps that may help you successfully kickstart a t-shirt printing business.

A robust business plan is the first and foremost step towards success in any business. Talking of the t-shirt printing industry, there is a wide range of audience on the basis of choice of quality, design and style. After deciding what to sell, a company needs to decide whether to open their online store or partner with a large online retail company like Amazon, Etsy, etc.

A basic step is keyword research. Google Keyword Planner can help you with that. Just put some keywords related to your intended niche and targeted country, and note which phrases and words appear as suggestions. Narrow down the suggestions further by monthly search volume, competition level or suggested bids.

Go for those keywords with a minimum search volume of 1k per month. As there would probably be no room for any keyword less than this.

With competition, you get ideas about your competitors and with suggested bids, you can get the idea of a high level of commercial intent. After industry and market research, write down your plan.

The main expenses you should add are printing, bagging, tagging, labeling, packing, shipping, taxing, etc.

Obtaining printing quotes from various t-shirt printing firms to compare prices can help. They can help decide on the best deal to offer without compromising quality. And these aspects combinedly will help decide prices of your t-shirts.

For a robust business plan, undergoing each step of the planning process is indispensable. Small entrepreneurs or startups think at times that there is no need for a business plan. But that doesn’t work.

The second step is deciding on the ecommerce platform for your store. Hosted platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce have a low startup cost and are ideal for low-budget startups. But they don’t let you choose an individual choice of your design and cannot add customized elements. On the contrary, with self-hosted platforms, you can choose your own design, make custom edits, add products and set prices at your convenience. The only drawback is that they aren’t ideal for low-budget startups and one can choose them only if they have higher (capital reserve/spending ability).

Investing in an advanced online product design tool is highly recommended. To start with, you can just integrate a t-shirt design tool for website to fulfill basic customers’ requirements. This way, you can help customers design t-shirts that stand out. Once your business takes off, you can add new functionalities to your web-to-print store and enhance it further. Similarly, you can even expand features of your t-shirt design tool for Website to help people avail of ready-made quotes, clipart, texts, designs, and more.

There are 3 common ways of printing t-shirts – Screen Printing, Heat Transfer Printing, DTG Printing. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages.

While screen printing and heat transfer printing are more suitable for bulk printing, DTG printing is not. In the same way, there are a number of differences between the three. So, research well and match those features with your objective. Go for a method only after ensuring it is a perfect fit.

Choosing the right t-shirt supplier is also crucial. Look for a manufacturer who can provide you with good quality blank t-shirts for printing at nominal prices.

Make sure that your relationship with your vendor is good throughout as every single imperfect t-shirt will directly hamper your business.

Set up a printing infrastructure where printing can take place without any glitches. Printing studio with well-maintained printers accompanied by a coating and a finishing unit is recommendable. Also, ensure to have printers that can print on a variety of fabrics as customers can for customized caps, bags, jerseys, etc.

Once a customer places an order, it is a must to deliver it on time. Ensuring a smooth delivery involves three steps.

All set? Here comes the final step – store launch. Invite your customers to put their creativity to use and draw designs with a t-shirt design tool for website you offer. Make sure to keep the designer tool user-friendly and interactive to reduce cart abandonment rates.

If you are keen to start an online t-shirt printing store, you need not be tech-savvy or a highly skilled programmer. All you need is the love for art and knowledge and sense of the latest fashion trends.

Start spreading information about your upcoming business through flyers, pamphlets, and business cards. Approach nearby schools, organizations, and businesses in person as word-of-mouth promotion is one of the best promotional methods.

T-shirt printing business is indeed a great idea for fashion lovers. However, only if you come up with a strong business plan and proper steps right from choosing the right ecommerce platform, t-shirt design tool for website, to marketing your store; your business can ‘actually’ succeed.

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