It seems nowadays everybody’s selling t-shirts and, if you haven’t started already, you might be next. Before you jump into the t-shirt business you might wanna take a few pointers, and we’ve got you covered. Here’s a guide on how to start your own t-shirt business, divided into the 10 most important aspects.
Make sure you’re knowledgeable about the clothing industry before you dive in. Get an understanding of how the business works. Read about how other brands became successful, and model a similar strategy.
2. Plan everything.
Before you get started, have a clear idea of what you plan on doing. Try to decide things like what kind of t-shirts you plan on selling, who your target market is, whether your t-shirts will be available online only or if you’ll eventually be aiming to sell in stores. Plan a marketing strategy that involves both free and paid advertising methods of getting your brand in front of your target market. Compose a practical business plan to use as a guideline for operating. For starters, identify your brand’s values, mission, objectives, strategies, goals, and long term vision.
3. Know your competition.
You should always know what other clothing labels you’ll be competing with. If you’re starting a label based on humorous t-shirts you should watch what all the other funny t-shirt labels are doing. Keep track of things like their design variety, pricing, and promotion, because it may spur some new ideas for your own business strategy. This can be done easily nowadays by reading the blogs of competitor brands and signing up to their newsletters to keep tabs on what they’re up to. This knowledge can help you keep up.
It seems this step should be obvious, but you’d be surprised at some of the t-shirts you can find these days. Test the quality of your t-shirts by getting honest opinions from others, preferably people who are within your target audience.
5. Know the finances.
Once you know what you plan on doing, get an idea of how much everything is gonna cost you. When you start producing and selling t-shirts, keep track of all of your expenses. Get screen printing quotes from several printers and compare prices to get the best deal, without sacrificing quality. Add in the cost for labeling, hang tagging, bagging, or whatever other finishing options you might use. Don’t forget the shipping envelopes, boxes, and product storage. Don’t be fooled by the hundreds of new t-shirt start-ups you see these days; starting a t-shirt business isn’t cheap. A lot of this should also help you decide how much you should charge for your clothing.
6. Come up with a promotion strategy.
Figure out a way to spread the word in a manner that those who discover your brand go on to spread the word to others. For starters, your strategy can include PPC ads, press releases to blogs, and social networking. You can even give away t-shirts with your logo for free. Using guerrilla tactics and promotional items like this can have a tremendous impact on your business growth. However, don’t be a Cheapo. Sooner or later you’ll realize that you’re gonna have to spend money to market your t-shirt business, so you should be willing to pay for things like online ads, event sponsorships, and other paid marketing methods. Understandably not everyone is rollin’ in the dough, so find smart ways to balance paid promotion with free promotion to create an excellent strategy.
You might start out on your own but you should find partners to help maximize your brand’s potential and help you reach your goals more efficiently. Aim to have partners within your company while also collaborating with other businesses that may be of some help to you.
8. Set business goals.
How many t-shirts do you plan on selling this year? How about this month or this week? Alot of people new to the business have no idea, or just don’t care. Then there’s the group of people who are too scared to set a goal out of fear that they won’t reach it. A successful business sets goals of success, in order to have a solid idea of what it’s working towards. Set a goal and believe in your ability to reach it. As the law of attraction goes: if you know you’re gonna reach it, you’re gonna reach it. If you decide from this day forward that you will sell 10 t-shirts every week, and strongly believe in your business, you’ll do everything you can to figure out a way to get those tees moving. If you don’t set a goal, well of course, you’ll be stuck with a box of t-shirts you were too scared to sell.
9. Don’t quit because you’re not seeing sales the first day.
That’s a good way to get you nowhere. Try to figure out ways of improving your designs, your strategy or your work habits. When you’re just getting started you’re still learning so keep at it. Winners never quit and quitters never win. Read informative, motivational books, to keep your spirits up. Frequently visit other brand’s websites and blogs, and see how much fun they’re having, to remind yourself of where you wanna be in a few years and how bad you really want it. Reanalyze your business plan, promotional efforts, and branding strategy. Consider how you compare to the competition and emphasize your competitive edge.
If you’re in it just to make a quick buck you’re not gonna succeed–and that goes for ANY business. Love what you do and do what you love. Your passion will definitely show in your brand image. The more fun it is, the more productive you’ll be. Just don’t get too carried away…on second thought, go ahead!
BONUS TIP: Read our book LAUNCH A KICK-ASS T-SHIRT BRAND for in depth advice and tips like these. Tons of useful information you can’t afford to miss!