Aspiring to have your own t-shirt brand business but have no idea how? Here’s a short guide to help you out.


How To Start A T-Shirt Brand Business

For the past few years, producing and selling t-shirts has been trendy and lucrative. Influencers love to sell them to gain their support. Companies give them away to their employees and customers through contests and promotions. And of course, people just love to have good-looking shirts.

And those are the reasons why the t-shirt business industry will never go out of fashion. In 2018, the shirt e-commerce industry reached USD$504.6 billion. In 2023, it’s expected to reach USD$735 billion. To give you some perspective, it’s one of the few industries that are performing close to the highly profitable food sector. 

If you want to enter the industry but you need help to get started, you may want to follow the steps below.

Choose a target audience or decide on a niche

You can either start by defining your target audience or deciding your niche. Of course, depending on what you select, the next step is to determine if your target consumers or niche is profitable. There are a ton of ways you can do that, thanks to the internet. With it, you can:
  • Do quick research on social media platforms. Count the number of people following certain figures and pages associated with the niche you want to target.
  • Utilize search engines to check if the keywords associated with your niche are frequently searched. Most search engines offer analytical tools to give you the information you need.
  • Scour video hosting platform sites and forums and check if there are communities built around the niche you want. The more active the participants are, and the more people there are in the communities, the better.
  • Go to review sites and see how other brands are performing in the market. For example, you can check a few American Apparel t-shirts review to see how its business model works out for them.

Establish your brand identity

When people say “establishing brand identity”, it means creating a logo, formulating your vision, determining your mission, and developing other things that can make people think about your shirts and company. Aside from those, you should also publish a website and open new social media accounts for your business.


Find a supplier

T-shirt suppliers and T-shirt printers are everywhere, but they don’t advertise themselves in the open market, as they’re primarily business-to-business (B2B) companies. Remember that B2Bs often market directly to business owners, and if you don’t have a t-shirt company yet, you’re off their radars.

Thankfully, most suppliers and printers have websites you can find on search engines. However, know that most of the companies you’ll find on the web are only distributors themselves, who sells Arizona brand clothing most of the time. Be patient and dig a bit deeper to find the actual suppliers.

Create designs for your shirts

Before you even find a supplier for blank shirts, you should ensure that you have designs for the clothes you’ll get. Make a draft of your creations as early as possible, and print them out on at least 5 t-shirts to see if they’re good.

Of course, not all people who have ideas about great shirt design have a knack or technical skills to put their ideas on shirts. If you’re one of those, don’t hesitate to hire a graphic designer that can help put your thoughts into paper—or in this case, onto clothes.

Determine your business model

Your company will rely on your business model to profit. It’s your plan for selling your products, where you’ll do it, and how you’ll make the business sustain itself. It can significantly help you get investors and run your company in the future. In a nutshell, your business model contains your core strategy, and you’ll need to identify all critical elements in your company—like the cost how to start a t-shirt brand business—before you can create one. 

Thankfully, a t-shirt company is already an established line of business, and there are many business models readily available for you to imitate. For example, do you want to be an online seller with an e-commerce shop? Are you gunning to be a dropshipper? Are Carhartt t shirts good to sell, or should you focus on selling different brands? Do you want to take the option of offering only custom printing? Or is it your dream to have a massive brand that will primarily sell in brick-and-mortar stores?

Build hype

If you’ve frequently been surfing the web, you might already hear the term hype thrown around left and right. Hype is a publicity term that encourages excitement in potential buyers.

One way to build hype is to interact with your community or target consumers. Don’t hesitate to show your mockups and showcase to people the radical, artsy, or innovative t-shirt designs you want to release. Aside from building hype, this can help you gauge how many people are willing to purchase stuff you’ll sell.

Other ways include:

  • Utilizing influencers to market your company or products
  • Telling people why your products are must-haves
  • Offer giveaways and starting contests to attract more potential buyers
  • Keeping your audience excited and in suspense to maintain their attention
  • Analyzing and tracking every marketing step you make to formulate more effective strategies
  • Aligning your product to your target audiences’ interests (3)


There you have it. Don’t forget about these steps, and you’ll indeed have your feet wet in the t-shirt selling business. Good luck!



  1. “How Much Money Do T-Shirt Businesses Make (Profit Margin)”, Source:
  2. “What Is A Business Model?”, Source:
  3. “7 Ways To Build Hype Months Before Your Business Launches”, Sources: