How To Launch A Custom T-Shirt Brand: An Ultimate Resource Guide

by Alice Jackson Tweet - in Tshirt Design - 21 min read

Resource Guide

Last updated on December 13th, 2018

T-shirts are the classic piece of casual wears which have become a hot business for many entrepreneurs. There is no end to the marketing opportunities available for t-shirt firms because almost everyone wears t-shirts as their first choice. Even more, a trend of the custom t-shirt is rapidly becoming a fashion wear today. People from all walks of life are getting tempted to the personalized t-shirt, no matter whether they’re men, female, students, military personnel, athletes, or children. This has brought tremendous growth in the t-shirt business, and entrepreneurs are hard-pressed to have a creative t-shirt design to compete with their competitors.

It is an astonishing experience when you’ll be going through a personal as well as financial growth, if you stay with it until it creates its place in the market. The passion you have for your business would show in your brand, therefore, it’s essential to love what you do.

It requires huge passion to go through the tough days of competition and continue on. Design t-shirts with immense care just to bring uniqueness to your products which will help them stand out of the pack. Due to the ease of entry and low cost of supplies, it has become one of the most popular businesses for new entrepreneurs to start. You cannot just be like everyone else because the essence of strategy is choosing to perform activities differently than your rivals do.

While running a successful t-shirt business keep in mind that it’s not all about price focus on finding the concern on the customer. People need things easy, flexible and less in their pocket. Find Out what you do well and highlight it while advertising your brand.

Here Are Ultimate Guide To Launch A Custom T-Shirt Brand

#1. Write A Business Plan

The simple act of writing down your vision and working on it accordingly, gives you an outline of how the business will operate. Your business plan projects the credibility of your product and your sales goal. It comprises of all your business goals, strategies, long term and short term vision and mission objectives.

You will waste a lot of money as well as time without having a clear vision of your financial outlines, space of inventory and other resources. Research and planning is the most important part of starting a clothing company especially when it comes to establishing an innovative t-shirt Print design.

You need to make a deep study about the clothing market and gather ample amount of qualitative information about t-shirt industry like who are the major players in the market? How did they make a success? How are the retailers? When you have enough information about the strategies of another successful market player then only you can model your business around them in a more successful manner.

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If you don’t make a well-organized plan it is like going on an unknown path without a map, and ultimately it’s going to be very challenging to get to the destination. Perfect planning is a basic building block of a business to succeed. It is very helpful to assure that your idea is conveyed more effectively and all your customers are on the same page.

Business Plan

Setting your business goals and working towards fulfilling them will guide you through the entire journey to your destination. To decide what to do, how to do, and when to do, all they help do perfect planning which makes things possible to happen. It requires higher thinking to make assumptions and predictions regarding the future. First, think about how big you want your business to be and then consult with a legal or business professional on what the ideal business structure would be for you.

Another thing you might want to consider is what type of sales you want to focus on- retail, wholesale, or both. This might help you decide what business structure is best for you. To build your t-shirt business into fruition, figure out how much you are going to spend on this business, how much time you are willing to dedicate to this business, whether you want this to be fully automated or you want more hands-on approach. Hence a business plan is very important for keeping things on track and giving your business no failure excuses.

#2. Key Areas To Focus On While Manufacturing

Making t-shirts is an equitably simple and largely automated process. Specially designed machines integrate cutting, assembling, and stitching for the most efficient performance. One of the most important factors in sustaining of a business is the quality. You may fool somebody someday, but you can’t fool all people all the time. But initially marketing is one aspect that affects overall success of your business. So you’re needed to create a logo that communicates with your target audience directly.

T-shirts that rips and designs that fades and cracks won’t influence clients to come back and purchase. A good quality t-shirt leads the customers to share your brand and repurchase. Narrow and superimposed seams that are usually created by placing one piece of fabric onto another stitch are probably the most popular seams for t-shirts which requires one needle thread from above and two looper thread from below. This particular seam and stitch combination results in a malleable finished seam.

The bound seam is another popular type of seam that may be used for a t-shirt. Inbound seam, a narrow piece of fabric is folded around the seam as at the neckline. These seams can be stitched together by making use of a lockstitch, overedge stitch, or chain stitch. Depending on the style of the t-shirt, the order in which the t-shirt is assembled may vary slightly. Many t-shirt blank manufacturers have really low minimums, so you can test a few styles to see what will sell best for your market.

Manufacturing

In another option – a manufacturer makes custom t-shirts for you as per the requirement brief. But the biggest issue with this option is the massive number of t-shirts required as the minimum order. As a t-shirt business startup, it might not be feasible for you to order t-shirts in bulk.

a) Styling: T-shirts come in a number of styles, colors, and patterns. The standard crew neck, v-neck, tank tops, and scoop necks are among some of the popular styles of the t-shirt. T-shirt sleeves may be short or long, capped, or yoked. Additional features include pockets and decorative trim. Sticker design to be placed on the t-shirt or packet also adds a feather to your brand.

b) Quality Control: It’s the quality of your product that reflects your brand. There are some standards of the t-shirt industry that include proper fit and sizing, types of stitches, number of stitches per inch, appropriate needles and seams. Fabric should be comfortable and t-shirt must also be loose enough to allow the t-shirt to stretch without breaking the seam. You can assure people that you t-shirts have been tested for durability by fifty was tried cycles. Your brand must ensure a prime quality to the customers to convert them from visitors to your potential buyers.

Quality Control

c) Cutting & Assembling: Cutting t-shirts sections to the dimensions of the patterns is an important process in the t-shirt manufacturing. The piece includes a tube body, or back sections & separate front, sleeves, and pockets. If the t-shirt body is tubular, the sleeve material is first sewn together, and then set into the garments. Alternatively, if the t-shirt is cut and sewn, the unseamed sleeve is set into places.

d) Stitching: Stitch tension in a t-shirt must be loose enough to allow appropriate stretching of a t-shirt without tearing it off. Higher quality t-shirt manufacturers may reinforce seams with tape or elastic. The seams at the shoulder need to be completed before or after the neckband of the t-shirt is attached. For example, if you wish to apply a tubular neckband, the shoulder seams must be closed first.

e) Finishing: Necklines and superimposed seams may be taped so that the t-shirt is stronger and more comfortable. One or more label is attached at the back of the neckline which provides information about the manufacturer, size, fabric, content, and washing instructions.

#3. Mocking Up And Testing Of Design

While launching a design to a client, the presentation is critical. Presenting a clean and finished design helps your design excel the competition. The design doesn’t scale easily nor is it emerged from the air. Designhill is a place where you can get innovation graphic design template for your t-shirt business.

Also, they provide the choices of the best t-shirt designer to make your brand stand out of the competition. Whether you are an illustrator, graphic or typographer, the idea of putting your designs on the t-shirt can be distinctly appealing. However, the process can be disconcerting. There are some best tips for custom t shirt design and printing your own t-shirts.

Design

a) Imagine The Design On A T-Shirt: work on both print and web, there is a big difference between design and a printed piece. Don’t be afraid to mock up your t-shirt design on a photo of the replica. The most common design on tshirt does not attract the customer towards it, however, the design should be striking enough that it can face the dynamic environment.

Select on most appropriate design and print it out if necessary and place it on an actual tee. A t-shirt having creative graphic design will surely hard press customers to buy it. Creative thinking plays a vital role towards transforming simple ideas into complex and appealing design piece. People are a big fan of motion graphics as they blend the best of visual communication with the help of motion storytelling.

b) Detail Is Chief, But Keep It Simple: There’s nothing better than catching a really well-executed masterpiece on a tee. Everyone appreciates great drawing ability and attention to detail. But at the same time, some of the finest t-shirt designs are simple and get the message in that way only. Anywhere in the middle and you may grapple to deliver a successful design. The t-shirt is a casual wear garment, every buyer search for one which is simple and comfortable. The design must be created by a professional graphic designer. While choosing the design the designers need to focus on the simplicity of the t-shirt.

c) Choose The Right Color: Well chosen colors are like a proper fit- a detail that can entirely make or break an outfit. Very nice clothing in a wrong color combination will still make you look bland and boring, or lout and foolish. Finding a happy medium is essential to developing the look men strive for. According to the physiological aspect, warm colors are stimulating; a synonym of energy, while cold hues are composed and better represents calmness. It’s of utmost importance to do research before using a color because your color should be legible and easy on the eyes. When using a t-shirt maker software to create your own t-shirt design, you have access to dozens of colors and their hues. While the software makes designing a lot easier, pick the colors that convey your brand personality so that the design stands out.

Right Color

d) Logo: It is a graphic mark or symbol used to aid and promotes public identification and recognition of your brand. A logo should be easily describable, memorable; it should be effective and scalable. Sometimes people spend huge money on buying a t-shirt that just has a logo of its brand name hence it is very important for clothing brands to build an emotional connection with buyers with the help of their logos.

Logos, usually, are not intricate art to be examined and require attracting the attention of your customers in a shorter span of time. It must obviously suit the business it represents. This comes down in-depth research into the business, to ensure uniqueness from any associated competitors. To get your logo designed, you can hire a freelance graphic designer if you’re short on budget. It often requires association of marketing team with graphic design studio.

#4. Selecting The Printing Method

Printing methods influence your design and how they end-up being able to appear, so it’s important to understand the different printing methods and how they suit different designs and how it may impact which drop shipper you are able to work with. Creating custom t-shirt design is one of the most popular jobs of a graphic designer today.

Printing

The personalized garments, displaying one’s taste, interests and affiliation through customized screen prints or heat transfers, has been in fashion for some time. Printed t-shirts may feature political slogans, humor, art, sports, as well as famous people and places. Printing plays an important role in designing a t-shirt. Some printing techniques are given below.

a) Screen Printing: Screen printing is one of the oldest printing methods which usually make sense to utilize when there are a large number of t-shirts with the exact same design needing to be printed as it is labor intensive and time-consuming to set up. The screen printing is ideal for printing high-quality t-shirt designs because it guarantees ultimate replication of the design. It gives the t-shirt a unique and impressive look that customers love. This method is suited for one color per screen. It is not ideal for super complex multi-color designs. This option doesn’t usually make sense for new entrepreneurs as they might not want need product in bulk so you don’t have inventory to pay for and manage.

Screen Printing

b) Direct To Garments: This kind of t-shirt printing is way too much similar to paper printing in the office. It is most successful in printing super complex designs. All you need to do is upload a unique and creative design to the computer. It gives a soft feel on the hand when you touch the final template because it creates a thin and firm layer of ink on the fabric. While buying the textile printer you need to pay high considerations to its quality because when you buy an inferior quality printer you will eventually end- up with a low-resolution design with dot pattern. Moreover, you cannot use this method to design template for dark color fabric because of its thin ink it won’t go well with dark colors.

c) Dye Sublimation: Dye sublimation is perfect for printing polyester cream and cotton fabrics. It gives better finishing on light fabrics which is durable and looks cute. It just costs a dye stub to end up with a professionally done t-shirt by experts. The liquid dye dries up and solidifies on the fabric then you can do heat and pressure treatment on the fabric for the sublimation to take place.

d) Heat Press Printing: It is the most preferred and economical methods to save your resources and time in case you have small orders. It incorporates the design printed on a special transfer paper. Take a t-shirt and press it on a heat press printer to soften the dye on the paper to get it printed on the fabric.

#5. Branding And Selling

Advertising creates an identity of the brand and the products. Is your brand being represented the way you exactly want it to on? Although there are ample amount of t-shirt branding platforms available, there is heavy competition amongst them. Marketing is what other people think about you and your company, your product or your service, what your brand looks like from your logos to your color choices and much more.

Branding

It all depends on your marketing strategies to get your t-shirt in front of buyers at the right place and the right time. You have to create demand for your brand using promotional elements. The most essential component or we say the rule of marketing strategy is to standing out the competitions and reaching above and beyond. Professional web design is a way that can help you achieve your marketing plan. A user-friendly and attractive web design decreases bounce-rate of your website.

a) Identify Your Target Market: A big mistake business make is trying to be all things to all people; you have to have a target market. You might have a fashion forward customer who is looking for more unique, adorable and trend-oriented t-shirt. Figure out what kind of people deviates towards your design or decide who you want to sell to and design for them. If you specify your niche you can market to them very effectively.

Your brand identity should also reflect and speak to your target market. Bad news for t-shirt industry is that competition is stiff and margins can be small. In order to be successful in your t-shirt business, you need to do the right analysis of your market. You need to perform a comprehensive study to find out your target customers. Do you want to focus on making sports t-shirts or you want to make children t-shirt designs as your target market? It is very important to choose your niche in graphic t-shirt industry to connect with your audience and stand out.

Target Market

As you are selling t-shirts which are made up of features, benefits, quality, design, variety, branding, packaging etc. Features may include things like fabric and benefits includes comfort, fashion etc. A lot of people are selling t-shirts so what is different about you? Why would someone buy your t-shirts over the competitions? What are you good at? These all should be beautifully represented in your online brochure design through which your target customers will get to know about your products, and finally can buy them.

b) Sales And Promotion: Sales and promotion are two vital parts of any business, and are usually interdependent. It’s all about how you successfully lure your target customers for your products. Plan your strategy carefully making sure the sale you want to do is financially feasible for you. Get the t-shirts printed and then set a sales goal in terms of the number of t-shirts to be sold. Give your current customer an incentive luring them to buy more. You can do that by showing them how the chosen design will look on other printed items. Keeping the customers you already have is more effective than going out and fetching new customers. Don’t forget to leave brochure or visiting card when you meet with prospective clients. To leave a strong impact, brochure and business card design must be aesthetically created. Your brand must offer good services and discount to the old customers to keep them happy as they are your potential buyers.

c) Advertise Your T-Shirt Business Using Social Media: Every social network might not be the right fit for your business. Your active presence on a wrong social media platform may spoil your energy with poor results. Your job as an entrepreneur is to find the suitable medium that aligns with your company’s image and goals to lessen your struggle in making progress. It is not that easy to set your brand apart and carve out your place on different social media conduits like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

d) Professional Web Design: It is very important to have a connected audience in the current crowdsourced market to leverage your band’s popularity. You need to build a professional, well organized and easy to navigate website to connect with your audiences where people can view the product, discount offers, give feedback etc. Keep the follow button for various social media sites such as twitter, Facebook and Pinterest etc., placed on top of the page.

When the customer clicks them it allows them to connect with your brand on a various social media platform. Having these buttons on your website will lead to more followers and helps you in getting more traffic. In addition to this one-click login and sign up via social networks can streamline the overall performance. You can also offer promotional discounts to buyers on your website where users can generate coupon codes. A good website navigation system acts like a roadmap to all the different areas and information contained within the website.

e) Packaging And Delivery: When you focus on creative packaging and good delivery services you eventually add more value to your product and service by impressing your buyers and potential customers. Nowadays brands are getting more imaginative with their t-shirt packaging because the most influential factor in t-shirt selling a business is a presentation. The color and design of packaging can have a noticeable effect on customers as different colors have different effects on the eyes of people depending on what product you are selling.

The eye-catching packaging of your t-shirt will leave a long-lasting impression on your customers and make them market for your product to others. This can be understood that you need to opt for a basic and economic packaging because not every start-up t-shirt business has hundreds and thousands of dollars at their disposal. Explore the innovative packaging design ideas that look great and costs less to your pocket. You can also choose online graphic design services which is low on cost.

Packaging

Apart from packaging, there is a great need to provide quick and easy delivery services to the customers. Ensure people with things like you guarantee delivery within three days and you provide instant replace and refund for the t-shirts that don’t fit the customer or for some other reason the customer wants to return it. Although you have a fine quality product with an attractive design when you don’t provide on-time delivery to the customer it creates and bad image of your brand and you eventually end up losing sales.

#6. Handling The Legal Issues

In the world of t-shirt business, you might encounter some confusing and troubling legal issues that leave you to baffle. Like using any specific picture in your design, obtaining the copyright of your design, selecting the logo of your brand and stopping people from stealing your ideas etc. Here are some legal tips you should keep in mind while running you t-shirt business.

Legal Issues

 

a) Copyright And Trademark: Most challenging issue among all the brand owners is to protect their brand name and copyright their t-shirt design. You must get the trademark done for your brand name and logo. It is not needed in the initial stages of your business but essential requirements as your brand make progress. Getting the legal copyright of your designs is very much needed to protect you t-shirt design from duplication and copying.

b) Writing And Signing A Contract: You get screwed up when you don’t read the ins and out of a contract before getting into it. When you are starting a business with somebody you must make it official with a contract to be on the safe side. Also, don’t sign any contract until you have weighed out your options. Signing any contract before knowing its impact on the future of your company can turn a nightmare for your brand.

Contract

c) Taking Quotes And Images From The Internet: Images from the internet are usually protected by a copyright so don’t use random images from the internet in your t-shirt design. Using the quotes and images which are protected by a copyright can bring you into a legal issue and can even spoil your brand’s image. Better to quote the person who originally said it while using quotes from famous figures in t-shirt design. Although all the quotes do not have copyright still give them their credit even in every tiny font to convey a good image of your brand.

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Conclusion

The t-shirt businesses has an advantage of getting start with a very low capital and further build it high. The competition level is at the apex of the t-shirt manufacturing industry, so building a million dollar t-shirt empire requires an effective business plan along with incredible t-shirt design ideas. You cannot afford to avoid your competitors in terms of sales tactics, design varieties and pricing so that you can generate more superior ideas for your own t-shirt business.

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Alice Jackson is a business consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast, online market analyst, amateur designer and an avid author at Designhill. She has written on several topics including social media marketing, SEO, content marketing, startup strategies and e-commerce. When she’s not writing, she loves spending her time reading romantic novels, Connect with her on Twitter: @jackson_alice1

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