How to start a home-based T-shirt business

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John Jacobs and Bert were traveling to college to sell their T-shirts. They had little success. After a long drive, they talked about the media’s tendency to focus on negative stories and created Life is Good T-shirts. It is now a $100 million company.

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A solid idea is all that is required to get started in the T-shirt business, which is where producing, selling, and creating your product is easy. It’s also much more affordable than it used to. Legend has it that Catesby Jones, a 1985 graduate of college, maxed his credit cards to launch the T-shirt company Peace Frogs.

It is now easier than ever to start a T-shirt company with digital printing, online marketing tools, and large distribution networks. Drop shipping and print-on-demand eliminate the need to store inventory. However, it takes more than a great idea to create a T-shirt that appeals to the masses. It requires a plan.

This is how to start your T-shirt company from home

  • Your Concept

Your concept should be refined and created first. While you may only be creating a T-shirt for your business, it is also creating a brand and a company identity.

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Although the Jacobs brothers had a road trip epiphany, they struggled with their T-shirts until finally they came up with a basic concept–Life Is Good.1 Jones chose to use the frog symbolizing peace and good fortune. These entrepreneurs went beyond their initial ideas to create full themes, concepts and characters.

Spend some time brainstorming to expand your ideas. You may need several versions of a design or slogan to be able to tell if it will be popular.

  • You can design, test, and tweak your T-Shirts

When designing your T-shirts, be sure to focus on the practical aspects. You should create a design that is high-quality and high-resolution, which can be used in different sizes. You might find images that look great on your computer but look very different on cloth. Consider hiring a designer who is experienced in these matters.

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Market research is essential before you spend time or money to find out if your T-shirts are popular enough to sell. First identify your ideal buyer and then reach out to members of the market for feedback. It is important to find out if they would buy your T-shirts and what they would pay.

  • Plan Your Business

Selling T-shirts may sound simple, but without a plan, you will end up wasting your time and money. Your business plan will outline your product, ideal market, financial projections, sales goals, and other details.

Although you can easily create and sell T-shirts online, if you want to make a profit, it is best to form an official company. First, choose a name. Names should be reminiscent of your T-shirts, but not restrict your ability to grow. You should take the same care when selecting a domain name to your website.

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  • Trademarks and Licenses

You will need to decide on your business structure (e.g. sole proprietorship or LLC) and get any licenses and permits. You may be required to apply for a sales permit from your state’s comptroller if you plan on selling T-shirts online or in person, such as at fairs and markets.

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