How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business in 2022 :
Everything You Need to Know.

If you're a creative, a designer or budding entrepreneur with an interest in starting your own online T-shirt business, then this blog post is for you. In this article, we'll be discussing the basics of how to get started, including tips on designing your shirts, setting up your website, and marketing your brand. So if you're ready to start selling some cool T-shirts online, keep reading!

1. Choose a niche for your t-shirt online business

You hear the term “niche” tossed around a lot, but it's important to choose one when trying to understand how make an online t shirt business model work for you . One of the most useful parts is being able cater directly towards some specific type or demographic. Not only does finding a niche give you something different and creative, but also gives the site an identity outside of being just another generic store on Amazon or Ebay! Take some time in researching what ideas might work well with how people shop these days; think about which market segment seems underrepresented by competitors. Get inspired by other successful entrepreneurs who've found success through creating highly individualistic brands that you can relate to and are inspired by.

Know Your Audience, Pick One and Stick to It.
Here’s a tip from the t-shirt professionals : Everybody wears t-shirts, but that doesn’t mean everybody is your customer. It’d be nice—and if your company grows, you may be able to target everyone—but while you’re still in your infancy, it’s always better to pick a particular niche and stick to it. Who do you want to sell t-shirts to? Small Businesses? Street wear/fashion people? Bands? Religious organizations? Schools? Think of the demographic you want to aim for, and then “attack” it rigorously.


Stampd is a great example of simplistic minimal designs. You’ll notice that they keep true to a specific colour pallet. Black, White, Grey coloured T-Shirts with mostly one colour prints. You can also get a great sense of identity which is portrayed throughout their website and photography.

Sorry I'm Busy

how to start a clothing business online

Sorry I’m Busy is a local fan favourite who are constantly on their grind. From top to bottom this brand stays true to its roots without missing a beat on designs, garment type, photography, colour ways,  the lot.

2. Source quality material and t-shirt printing options

The next step of how to start an online t-shirt business is to find suppliers. Not all t-shirts are the same and not all print jobs are the same. As we mentioned above, quality is paramount to your brand and its success, so it’s important to educate yourself and choose your blank shirts wisely. It might be tempting to sacrifice quality for higher profit margins when you start a shirt business online. But you need to consider how the quality will affect a customer’s decision to share your brand and purchase from you again. Choosing a quality t-shirt encompasses several factors, including fit, sizing, material, softness, and weight.

Once you’ve selected your shirt, find a reputable printing partner who can help you bring your vision to life. There are multiple t-shirt printing methods available, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. The most popular types of printing are screen printing, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, and Digital Transfers. To learn more about the different printing methods and what might be best for your t-shirt business, check out our services page on t-shirt printing methods. No matter which printing method you choose, make sure to do your research and find a quality printer who can produce consistent results that meet your standards.

Now that you know how to find quality shirts and printing partners, you’re one step closer to starting a successful online t-shirt business!

AS Colour ( Recommended Supplier )

AS Colour designs and manufactures quality basics for wholesale and retail. They’re our recommended supplier for all your t shirt printing needs. The largest selection of premium quality blanks offered to you at wholesale pricing through Machine.

T Shirt Printing Melbourne

Melbourne’s Leading Screen Printing Company with a rich history of over 20 years. Machine is recognised within the screen printing industry as a leader in premium quality printing.

3. Create your own t-shirt designs

Next up in how to start your own online t-shirt business is to come up with the designs. Here are a few ways you can get a head start on your t-shirt business designs. Find the best selling designs and niches. If you’re stuck for t-shirt niche ideas and designs, a great start is looking at what else is popular and currently selling well. Below is a list of pages for some of the top graphic t-shirt marketplaces. You can use them to search the “best sellers” and “most popular” sections to help you get a better idea of your next niche or t-shirt design.

Kickstarter t-shirt campaigns
You may also want to consider checking out Google Trends to get a sense of the topics people are currently interested in for inspiration for your t-shirt online business..

Hire a designer.

Once you have an idea for some t-shirt designs, you’re going to have to actually design them. If you have Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or a similar program, you likely can produce some great designs by yourself. However, if you’re like most people, you’ll need to enlist some help. There are a wide variety of tools and marketplaces you can use to find a suitable graphic designer to help you.

Design communities

Dribble :

Dribbble is a designer community with lots of unique talent. Search for the style you’re looking for and message the designers you like to see if they’re available for freelance projects.

Behance :

Behance is a cool platform to check out. You can see portfolios from different creators around the world who specialize in illustrations, niches, and styles and more. If you end up liking a designer, you can reach out to them and get a quote on your custom t-shirt designs.

Freelance networks :

Some other options you may want to try are the popular freelance networks like Freelancer. You can find qualified t-shirt designers, fast, and check out their past job successes and portfolio. If you like someone, you can reach out in right in the platform and hire them on the spot.


Dribble offers inspirational designs, illustrations, and graphic elements from the world’s best designers. We highly recommend you check them out!


Behance is the world’s largest creative network for showcasing and discovering creative work.

4. Print Your Designs

Having high-quality prints on your products is essential for a successful online T-shirt business. If your customers find that your designs are cracking or fading after a few washes, this will leave them with a bad impression of your business. There are various options that you can take advantage of to print your designs. One of them is choosing a trusted, recognised screen printer that you can rely on for quality, consistency and price. At Machine, we have an open door policy with example prints spanning a 20 year history with a multitude of print examples, a showroom where you can see, touch and feel garments from our recommended suppliers such as AS Colour, Gildan and more. One way to keep costs low to order shirts in bulk. You would be surprised how much you can save by bumping an order from 15 to 30 pieces or an order from 30 to 50 pieces. In fact, you may end up with more pieces than you intended to buy for just a few dollars more than you planned to spend.

5. Showcasing your t-shirts online

You're almost done! One of the last steps before your shirt business can finally take off, you need some mockups. Mockup images are helpful so that customers know what their final design will look like when printed on a t-shirt and they provide an idea of quality too. Machine offers all customers with professional mock ups for every order placed. We can also give you tips and tricks if you're looking to go further and create a look-book catalogue.

Digital Mock Ups

A digital mock up is a great and common way to display your t shirts online. Machine provides all customers with free mock ups, templates. Our official digital mock ups we send to all customers are so realistic and high quality  that our customers use them to promote on their online e-commerce store. Chur!

Photo source : Courtesy of Trashhand x Raised By Wolves

It may seem simple to photograph a t-shirt to sell online but sometimes it is the simple things that need more attention.  The preparation of the garment, the way you shoot and your camera settings can play a key role in capturing great product photos.

6. Set Up Your Online Presence

Finally, you need to start thinking about where you want to sell and market your product. For a T-shirt business, it is super important to know your audience, as T-shirts can be versatile, all inclusive, or very niche. At this stage, you will have decided on your design and have an idea of your audience, but what about your competitors? Have you looked them up and found out where they are selling and marketing their tees? Taking the time to do market research will help you to define your audience before you start selling. It will also ensure that you are present on the right platforms for your audience to find your products easily.

It could be the case that your target market is active on Instagram and Snapchat, and they don’t spend time searching for T-shirts through Google Search. This means that influencer marketing and advertising are your best options for success, instead of spending a lot of time and resources on search engine optimization. Once you have mapped where your competitors are and where your ideal customers like to hang out online, you can start to set up and build your online brand presence. You are now ready to start selling T-shirts online!

7. Have Fun—It’s good for business.

Make no mistake about it—starting a business isn’t a walk in the park. It takes a tremendous amount of perseverance, hard work, dedication, and vision to make it all come together. And while things are never easy at the beginning, it’s important not to lose sight of why you’re trying to do this. You are creative, ambitious, and you’re betting that the world will love and support what you want to do. You’re doing this because you’re excited about signing your own checks, being your own boss, and making a living doing something you genuinely enjoy, all while sharing it with the world. Don’t forget to have fun—it’s good for business. Customers will always seek out excellent quality and value, and those two things are very important, but let’s also not forget: Competition in the designer t-shirt game is fierce. Great ideas and quality products go a long way, but if you’re going to thrive in such a competitive market, it’s always good to be cool. Build your brand into something cool—something people want to support—and you’ll do well.

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