How to Start a tshirt Business at Home | Beginners Guide (2021)

how to start a tshirt business

So, you want to learn how to start a tshirt business at home but you don’t know how to start. Maybe you don’t have the idea of what kind of tshirts you want to sell or how you will actually sell them.

Well I’m here to bridge the gap for you. I want to share with you my knowledge of how you can start your on tshirt business and sell tshirts online. All without costing you a ton of capital investment .

This is 100 % doable if you follow along my easy tutorial, you too can be a stay-at-home business owner if this is to long to read, then simply watch my YouTube Video after this introduction

I’m going to show you;

  • What kind of tshirts to sell;
  • How to create your online tshirt business;
  • Coming up with cool designs ( you don’t need to be creative );
  • Choosing a good platform to sell on;
  • How to Make Money on Shopify Selling tshirts; 
  • Creating an online tshirt store with shopify;
  • How to market your tshirts to new and existing customers

So without blabbing to much let’s get straight into this. Oh, and if you have any questions at all about this process then pop it in the comments below.

Use the table of contents below to skip to a preferred section of the article if you love

How To Start a tshirt Business Today!

As I’ve mentioned before, most of you will think oh "I got a great tshirt design idea!" But you may not know where or how to start! If you have enough money or where do you go?

Do you purchase ton of tshirt stock and have them lying around hoping for a sale? The answer is, NO! You’d be wasting a ton of money if you did this, in fact not a lot of people do it this way anymore.

So let’s get into this and learn how it’s done.

What kind of tshirts to sell?

The biggest failure when starting a tshirt business is, being to broad ! Being to broad means, you won’t have a specific customer coming to your store all the time.

This means it could be very hard to make your first tshirt sale . So my advice, pick a profitable niche! There are so many out there, however some can be yearly (like mothers day) or seasonal (like Christmas).

Here’s a list of profitable niches, hand picked and ready to use for you;

  • Animals - specifically dogs or cats (pick a type of dog or cat); 
  • Camping or Hiking;
  • Outdoors;
  • Sports;
  • Mommy tshirts.

The list above is some profitable niches that I’ve hand picked. They’re profitable because there are passionate people in these niches. For this example, feel free to pick any of the above or your own.

How to Create Your Online tshirt Business

Now that you have selected a profitable niche, I can explain starting a tshirt business at home .

Like I said before, you actually don’t need to go to a factory and purchase plain white tees. It’s quite simple, and the method is explained in the box below.

Tip From the Author

You create the designs for the tshirts (this is effectively the print on the shirt). Then you upload this design print to a printing company, who then shows you what it would look like.

The custom tshirt will forever be an image of what the shirt will look like. It’s not until you purchase a sample or someone buys the shirt, that it gets officially made.

Quite simple right? Well it is! Your designs can have characters on it, funky text, or symbols! It’s your design so go wild. Below is an example of some custom tshirts.


Coming up with Cool tshirt Designs

There is only one rule you need to follow when designing tshirts. The design text, image or symbols must be on a transparent background. For this, I use a tool called Canva to make designs .

Canva has many different features such as being able to adopt cool fonts and symbols. The only downside with this tool is you can’t use characters they provide because of copyright infringement.

You can use icons and create a scene if you like. However, in the example images above there were mainly text used and the occasional icon.

If you really want characters, but you’re not good at illustrator then higher someone off fiverr who can assist.

Choosing a Good Platform To Sell On

Here’s the truth! There are plenty of platforms you can use to sell your tshirts on but I only recommend one.

The best online shop platform to make a successful tshirt business is, Shopify! Shopify is the ultimate eCommerce platform that will easily integrate seamlessly with a reputable print on demand company.

Click below to claim your free 14-day trial You could just go straight to the print on demand company and skip having your own platform.

However I have drafted 5 reason’s, below, why this is not a good idea!

5 Reasons You Should Not Settle For a Going Straight to Print on Demand Companies

  • Selling tshirts will appear less professional than advertsing it through your own online store. Imagine a customer that loves your print, clicks your link and ends up on a random unrelated website. You may loose the sale.
  • You’ll have less control over your tshirt business than if you were to go through a print on demand company
  • For example, you won’t be able to collect customers emails and names and remarket new products or designs to them.
  • Free platforms limit your advertising options which means you’re limiting your tshirt business earning potential .
  • You’re only going to limit yourself and the growth of your tshirt business.

How to Make Money on Shopify Selling tshirts

With Shopify you essentially create your very own online store. We then add an app to our Shopify store that will allow us to integrate with a print on demand company.

From this print on demand app we select tshirts to sell and upload our custom designs we did on Canva. This app will allow us to add products into our Shopify store which are linked to the print on demand company.

So when a customer purchases a tshirt, you will collect the money from the customer. You then fulfill the order through the Shopify app.

The print on demand company receives your order and sends it directly to the customer. Wallah! You’ve made a profit that you can keep , you don’t have any stock left over and you can continue to sell more tshirts.

I love this business model so much because your earnings potential is uncapped. The fun part has arrived!

I’m going to show you s tep-by-step on starting a tshirt business with Shopify from the comfort of your home.

How to Start a tshirt Business with Shopify: Step by Step

Now that we know exactly how all of this works, I’m going to guide you from start to finish on creating a tshirt business online.

For this tutorial you will need to setup a Shopify store! You can get your 14-day Free Shopify trial by clicking here or the button below; The trial is absolutely free and won’t cost you a cent .

The best part is, during the trial the store will never go live unless you purchase a plan which is entirely optional.

However, if you’re taking this seriously then at the end of the 14 day free trial you’ll need to invest $29. Not bad, considering you’ll have the ability to make thousands a month like I did. Alright, let’s get into this then.

Start Your Shopify Trial

Head over to shopify and sign up for a trial. If you use my link you get a free 14-day shopify trial. Once you click the link you’ll head to a new tab to sign up to shopify.

Simply enter your email and click "start free trial" to begin your trial tshirt store.

Now that you’ve signed up you’ll get to the part of selecting a password for the Shopify store.

Congratulation s you just created your store!

There’s just a few questions you need to fill out and you’re good to go! The first questions is to tell shopify about yourself. I’ve made this easy and you can just enter the information you see in the images below.

Enter your name, address, city, country and phone and when you’re ready click "Enter My Store"!

shopify ecommerce

The Shopify Menu Explained

When you enter your store you’ll be presented with the dash board.

The dashboard menu is located on the left and includes things like orders, customers, apps and discounts.

The idea of this tutorial is to show you how to start your tshirt business. So I’m not going to write an endless novel about all the settings you need for your Shopify store.


Instead, I created a great video to show you what settings (located at the bottom left of the dashboard menu) you need and how to customize your store. You can come back to this anytime!

The main aspect I wanted to get you on is your custom print on demand app. So head click the "Apps" button on the left menu and you’ll get redirected to the shopify app page.


Initially you’ll have nothing there, however we want to install our first print on demand app.

This will open a new tab which is the official Shopify app store. The app store contains a whole lot of useful business apps that make your business easier to run.

Type "Printful" in the search bar and install the Printful: Print-on-Demand app

Printful is a decent app that allows you to do various shirt designs, sandals, backpacks and more. The best part is printful is free to use. After we’ve installed the app, we need to create a new printful account. Simply follow the on-screen instructions.

printful shopify app

Great news! Now we are all signed up for printful and we can start making tshirts! Yes the fun part has arrived, at last!

Shopify has an incredible selection of apps to use when running your tshirt business, consider looking at the top apps for shopify here and use them in your new store.

Creating your first tshirt design with Printful and Canva

This part of the tutorial I will go through the printful menu and create a tshirt. All the tshirts in printful are plain white tees.

Which means, we have a blank canvas to work on! Your tshirt design graphics can come from any software like photoshop, illustrator or canva.


I use Canva because it is very quick to product a quick mockup of what I want for a tshirt design. Head over to and sign up if you’re not already. It's free to sign up and use images such as stock photos, graphics etc however cooler graphics are only available on their paid plans.

Once you’re signed up or logged in create a new design.


For this example I am going to create a niche camping tshirt. So I’ll add a quote to a tshirt with some cool font and place a tent on it. You can be as creative as you want, I’m just here to illustrate how simple it is :).

It took me less than 5 minutes to mock this up with Canva and the beauty is if I want to change something I can come back to it.


So once you have a mockup, hit the publish button at the top right and make sure you have "transparent background" selected. Now that my design is done, I can use it on tshirts :)!

Uploading Your tshirt Design to Printful

Go back into your shopify store and click "apps" on the left menu. In the list of apps we want to select "Printful".

how to start a tshirt business online

This will load Prinftul in the same browser page, however I think it’s best to load up the full website. It will be easier to see everything this way.

Printful is a really good app, it has tonnes of reviews on the Shopify App Store and it’s also free. Meaning there are no subscription fee’s to use their service.


They also give full detailed tutorials if you want to learn any technical things. Simply scroll to the bottom of the home page and you’ll find a lot of resources.

From the dashboard, look to the left menu and select "stores". Your Shopify store should be synced and if it isn’t you can simply connect it.r


Next we want to "add" a product, this will allow us to design a tshirt from start to finish and also import it automatically into the store. This takes away the need to manually add the product in Shopify.

Alright, let’s click "add" a new product and select tshirt.

Adding Your First tShirt


Once you clicked the add product you will be selected with a tonne of options for clothing. There are men’s, women’s and kids clothing.

For this example I clicked women’s clothing!


From there I want to place my design on a tshirt. Select tshirts and then I’ll select a popular tshirt that often has the most sales.

I chose this base on the reviews and in the top right corner it says "Popular". These are the shirts we want to be selling because the style is in demand.


You can select any option, for this example I’ve selected the first. Once we have our choice of shirt the next part is to drag and drop your design where it says "Drop Your Design Here".

It will upload your image and place it on the shirt.


I have only selected white shirts as my design looks great on white shirts only. Printful allows you to add your own text within the tshirt design , however I have just used Canva to do this.

Move your image around in the blue square within Printful, rotate it or add clipart. Once you’re done just click "proceed to mockups" at the bottom right.


The fun part, selecting your mockup style Selecting the mockup style is how you want your tshirt to look in Shopify. You can select the plain tshirt with the design on it’s own or have a stylish model wearing it.

I like to have my products being used by actual people, so I selected the model mockup style. When you’re done click "Proceed to description".


The description part is where you can add your own funky title of the tshirt and also anything extra you want. Add the description and the pricing and click "Submit to Store".

On the right you’ll be presented with your profit margins you can expect, in the middle is the retail price and on the left is the cost printful charges.


You’re probably thinking, these shirts are expensive! Who will buy them? We’ll people who are passionate about camping (or what ever your store is on).

Passionate buyers will purchase custom apparel or clothing if it has a great appeal to it.


There you have it, your first tshirt has just been sent to your Shopify store! Now What? Well, in order to sell this tshirt you will need to get a monthly subscription on Shopify! Shopify costs $29 a month and it allows you to sell unlimited tshirts without having to stock any merchandise.

Imagine making an extra $500 a week selling tshirts! If you also created an email list of customers with Shopify, you can remarket new tshirt designs with ease.

I created an easy to follow Shopify course that helps you find out more about what it is and how you can make money with it.

Online Tshirt Business Store FAQ's

Wow, that was a huge tutorial to follow! Now you probably have a few questions that need answering about how to start an online tshirt business.

What ever the reason, we've got you covered and compiled a list of common questions to help you with starting an online tshirt business.

If we've missed anything, simply write into us and we'll add it here when we next update this article.

How do I market my tshirts?

There a multiple mediums you can promote your cool tshirts on! People sell tshirts on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram just to name a few.

My favorite marketing angle is using Instagram as its a visual marketing platform. People love following cool pages that share awesome content. 

Consider using a premium shopify theme that is optimized for conversions so that you can begin making sales quite quickly

You can do this by creating a niche related page, for example mine would be about camping. On this page I will share everything related to camping and occasionally post about my cool tshirt designs.

The other place you can market on Instagram is on your Instagram stories.

Is T-shirt Making Profitable?

Starting a tshirt business is very profitable indeed as it does not require that much up-front investment and T-shirts are widely sought after. Look at sites such as Zazzle to learn more about how easy it is and you will not be disappointed.

Since there's no minimum order, you never risk losing money on stock or being stuck with inventory if the orders don't follow through. 

What do you Need to Start an Online T-shirt Business?

You need to have an idea of what you want the tshirt to say, a graphic designer or illustrator (or use for quick designs), someone with the skill and patience to set up your custom online store, and an understanding of how shipping works. See below for more info on setting up your store.

Setting Up Your Online Store

  1. Step One - Create a free shopify account using my link here: 14-day free trial
  2. Step Two - Start building your site by using their templates or use a highly optimized theme
  3. Step Three - follow the tutorial above or watch my YouTube video explaining it all!

If you don't want to use shopify at all you could try using etsy, I even wrote a full review here: shopify vs etsy, you'll need to read the review in order to compare the differences and the benefits of one over the other.

How to Avoid Copyright Infringement with Tshirts

There are lots of considerations when creating a t-shirt for sale. A t-shirt with original artwork is the best course of action to avoid copyright infringement, but two things to pay special attention to are reproducing art in a different medium (e.g., digitizing it from a painting) or modifying an image (e.g., making edits using Photoshop).

Copyright owners can be very strict about their protectable works and may even ask you to stop selling your shirt if they find out.

That is How to Start a Tshirt Business

Yep, that’s it in a nutshell. Now you don’t have to go out, purchase blank merchandise that would sit around collecting dust. Trust me that is not the way you want to do it.

Selling tshirts like that is like using dialup internet. So if you have any questions about this process, feel free to pop a comment in the questions box below. I’m more than happy to help.