If you enjoy fashion and are looking to break into the clothing industry, starting a T-shirt printing business might be a lucrative career move for you. After all, the humble T-shirt is a wardrobe staple that never goes out of fashion.
With a T-shirt printing business, you’ll get to design custom merchandise for a variety of clients on a daily basis. You can create graphic tees for everyday casual wear, or produce tees that speak to the masses — think branded shirts for companies, schools, sports teams, non-profit organisations, and special events. Over time, you can build your customer base and turn your talents into a flourishing business venture that generates stable income.
To get started, there are a couple of tips you need to follow. Some are basic business due-diligence checks such as securing funding, registering your business, hiring employees, and setting up your location. Others, which we’ll explore in this post, are relevant to your specific T-shirt production needs.
Read on for insights into getting your business off the ground. In this guide we’ll cover:
Selecting high-quality materials
Creating your designs
Testing your designs
Investing in a direct-to-garment printer
Setting up a business website
Promoting your business
Select high-quality materials
The material you choose can make or break the quality of your product. It affects the way your garment looks, feels, falls, and flows. Fabric that shrinks and shreds or a print that fades and cracks isn’t going to bring in return customers. Your T-shirts need to be affordable and easy to produce, so do some online research for suppliers of blank T-shirts and choose the one that offers the best deals for premium quality.
Create your designs
For orders that are not on-demand, you will need to come up with your own artwork. If you’re going to sell pre-designed T-shirts with slogans and graphics, you should be able to produce great designs on software like Adobe Photoshop. The design files must be at least 300 dots per inch (dpi), be created on a transparent background, and be able to fit on the T-shirt area you want to print on.
If you don’t feel confident in designing your own artwork, you can always hire a graphic designer at an affordable price.
Test your designs
You may think your designs are perfect the way they are, but it’s wise to test them before you spend time and money printing your T-shirts. There are several ways to gather feedback on your designs — talk to fashion influencers, present your work to the people you think are the most likely to buy your shirts, or even post your prospective designs onto online forums. This way you can ensure that you end with a product that is in your target market’s taste.
Next, you’ll need to get equipment that is efficient in terms of both quality and performance. In any T-shirt printing business, a direct-to-garment (dtg) printing machine will be the powerhouse of your workshop, so you should definitely prioritise investing in one.
A T-shirt printer is simple to operate. You just send your designs from the computer software to the print driver, which tells the printer what and where to print. Using inkjet technology, the printer applies water-based ink directly to the garment where it is absorbed by the fabric to create your printed design.
Set up a business website
Potential customers will likely first visit your website to get a feel for the types of T-shirts you produce and sell before making any bulk purchasing. A website, therefore, is an essential part of winning over customers. Make sure that your site makes it easy for customers to view product samples and place orders. Order forms should include specifications such as shirt quantity, colour, and size, as well as the option to upload a custom design and view cost estimates.
Promote your business
Promoting a business is not just a crucial step when you start out — it should be an ongoing effort to get your name in front of potential customers. There’s a wide range of marketing channels you can tap: print, radio, search engine marketing, display ads, social media, and content marketing. Your marketing spend will vary depending on the type and volume of marketing you choose.
If you’re looking for a business opportunity that’s easy to start, flexible, and income-generating, then opening a T-shirt printing business might be the right fit for you. Nashua can help you get started with sophisticated, efficient, and cost effective direct-to-garment printers that will enable you to provide a quality service to your customers.