Are you interested in starting a T-shirt design business? Do you need a sample t-shirt business plan template? Or, are you looking for advice to guide you on how best to run a T-shirt printing business? Then I advice you on!

Sometime ago, I wrote an in-depth guide for starting a clothing company; this article on T-Shirt design is a follow up of that article. There are really no limits to the marketing opportunities available for a T-shirt designer.

This is because almost everybody wears T-shirts. Ladies, men, students, military personnel, sports men and even children wear T-shirts, which is why the big brands have continued to grow. Some of the big brands have been in business for over two decades. Quite a number of people have recognized this huge business opportunity and we have a lot of people going into T-shirt designing these days.

NB-: This article was culled from: “The Complete Guide to Starting a T-Shirt Business Online from Scratch.”

So in case you are already thinking of joining the slightly crowded market too, better be a smart T-shirt designer. These tips would help you become not just any T-shirt designer, but an outstanding T-shirt designer. I can almost hear you saying “Hey, will I make good money as a T-shirt designer.”

So let me address that before going further into this discussion. Yes! You can make some cool profit and even expand your business to become a big brand within a short period. It all depends on how much hard work and dedication you are willing to put into your business.

Starting a T-Shirt Design Company – Sample Business Plan Template

1. Get the necessary skills

Are you a good designer? Do you have an eye and passion for designs? Do you have artistic skills? If yes, then you are good to go. But if No, then you need to first invest time to develop  your artistic skills. You can do this by either taking a 3-weeks course at a reputable school of arts and design or you can learn from a professional designer as an apprentice.

2. Conduct a preliminary research

You see, you are not just looking to become a T-shirt seller; you want to become a T-shirt Designer. If you were just a reseller, then you may not need to do too much work but as a designer, you will need to study the market carefully. You need to gather as much information as you can about the clothing industry.

  • Who are the major players in the industry?
  • How did they start?
  • What factors contributed to their success?
  • Who are the wholesalers?
  • Who are the retailers?
  • How can you reach them?

When you have enough information about the industry as well as their success strategies, you would be able to model your business around theirs and develop a similar strategy for your own T-shirt design business.

3. You Can Never go Wrong with Proper Planning

After gathering all the information that you need to help you understand the industry better, the next thing is to plan your business. Proper planning would give you a clear idea of what you intend doing, and a sense of direction. Determine the type of T-shirts you want to be designing.

  • Do you want to design shirts with inspirational messages on them?
  • Or you want to focus on making sports T-shirts for teams or schools?
  • Or maybe you want to focus on making children T-shirts?

It’s important to decide a niche for your T-shirt design business before you start. After finding your niche, then you must determine your marketing strategy.

  • Who are the people you are going to be selling to?
  • How will you reach out to them?
  • Would you want to have an online store to facilitate sales?

All these are questions you need to answer. When you have all of this figured out, then you should:

4. Draft out a T-shirt Design Business Plan

A business plan which will serve as your operational guideline. Your business plan would contain your business goals, brand values, long and short-term vision, mission statements, business strategies and objectives.

5. Set Achievable Business Goals for your Brand

Every business person who wants to be successful must have clearly spelt out goals and continue to work towards achieving them. For instance, you may decide that you want to be churning out and selling a minimum of ten designs per week and start putting in all the hard work it takes to achieve your target. Do not be scared to set goals. Set goals but make sure you set realistic goals so that you don’t end up frustrated.

6. Don’t Overlook the Competition

The T-shirt design business is highly competitive, so you cannot afford to ignore your competitors if you want to become a better and successful brand. Regularly, ‘spy’ on your competitors to know their design varieties, pricing and sales tactics. By studying your competitors regularly, you will be able to keep up with trends and even generate superior ideas and inspiration for your own T-shirt design business.

7. The Monetary Aspect

Just like any other business, you would need capital to start up a T-shirt design business. But the beautiful thing is that you can start really low and gradually build up your capital base. You can approach your bank with your business plan and see if you can get a loan to help you start up. You can also approach friends and family for contributions or save up for it overtime.

 8. Make Sure your Designs are Original and Unique

One of the things that would make you stand out from the pack is the uniqueness of your designs. Do a lot of research before you design. Make a lot of sketches and compare them with your competitor’ designs to ensure that your own designs are unique and more appealing. You should also keep your eyes open to trends, words and sentence that gets repeated often.

9. Invest in the Necessary Equipment

You may not need a lot of equipment if you are going to be outsourcing the screen printing of your T-shirts but if you are going to be doing the printing yourself, you would need to purchase shirt-printing equipment and also undergo training on how to use it.

10. Lots of practice

To become a pro, you should put in a lot of practice. Make a lot of designs everyday and give them out to your friends and family. That way, you would not only become better at designing, you would also have your friends and family advertising your brand for you by wearing your designs.

11. Just have Fun!

Don’t just go start a T-shirt design business because of the money. The passion you have for your business would show in your brand so it is important that you love what you do. Give it your best and have fun while you are at it! Good luck!

Ajaero Tony Martins