August 13


How To Make Money Selling T-Shirts Online (A Complete Guide) (2019)

Anis Founder of

By Anis Chity

August 13, 2019

How To Make Money Selling T-Shirts Online

Hello! Welcome to my "How To Make Money Selling T-Shirts Online" article!

Usually, people take a long time deciding what to wear because they are so conscious about what will people say to them.

When you’re in a rush, what do you usually get from the closet? A shirt, right?

Because it’s real simple and you don’t have to be worried about whether people will like it or not.

They are like the standard of clothes. Simple and at the same time, they make you feel comfortable and make you look cool.

T- shirts are like the go-to piece of clothing, plus it’s gender neutral so anyone can wear it freely and confidently.

If your closet needs to be unloaded because you have many clothes already, you really have a lot of options what to do with your old clothes.

You can hand them down to your younger siblings, donate them or you can make money out of them.

Online selling is a huge thing nowadays.

People actually find it lucrative, given that what you sell is still of quality with an appropriate price and that you can find worthy and prospective buyers.

If there’s one type of clothing that’s easy to get by and sell, it’s t-shirts.

And if you don’t have that much t-shirts, you can make your own to sell.

With the right cloth and design, this might be an opportunity to make a well-operating business and make the online marketplace a gold mine.

Here’s how you make money by selling t-shirts online:

Who’s my target audience?

Before you make the designs, first, you have to figure out to whom do you want to sell the shirts to.

Sure, it would be nice to cover all types of customers, whether old, young, girl or boy.

But the tendency with targeting the whole market audience is that there will be a trade off.

For instance, let’s say you’re able to make the first batch of t-shirts that you want to sell.

Half of the batch was for teenagers and the other half was for adults and old people.

In just a week, you almost sold all of the shirts for teenagers because they liked your designs so much.

However, only a few of the shirts for adults were sold because maybe they don’t like or get the designs.

Target Audience

This batch is gonna be left in inventory and might have the probability of not getting sold at all.

Whereas if you have just focused on making shirts for teens, you would’ve made more money quickly.

With this, you must choose a specific target audience so it’ll be easier for you to track trends and conduct research.

Teenagers are the promising target market when you sell t-shirts because it’s a comfort clothing for them. Moreover, they go with the trend.

It’s also easier to start with teenagers so you won’t incur a loss especially if you’re gonna start up a business.

As soon as you’ve settled well, only then can you start experimenting on designs intended for adults and old people.

What’s the design?

Have you ever heard of the saying, “the only limit is your imagination”? This is very much applicable in designing your shirts.

Designs could be anything really.

A few examples are as follows:

  • abstract drawings
  • floral drawings
  • pets/animals
  • motivational words/quotes
  • repeating texts
  • logos
  • icons
  • movie references
  • food
  • emojis
  • pocket prints

The most commonly liked shirt colors are black and white because print goes well with them.

People also like pastel colors and dark, powerful colors.

Upon designing, it’s important to pair and match the fabric, color and design.

Others might like the design but they don’t like the type of fabric as much. Most prefer cotton because it’s comfortable.

The designs must also be relevant in a way that they go with what’s trending these days.

T-Shirt Designs

Although, there are also people who like to buy and wear shirts with designs that are somewhat old.

Like a movie reference or a band such as Star Wars of the 1970s and 80s, the Lord of the Rings, the Beatles, Queen and more.

The most preferred designs are the minimal ones, may it be a symbol, logo, a word or a number.

Designs must not be taken for granted because they’re basically what attracts customers and make them buy your product.

It’s also crucial to not overdo the design because people don’t like exaggerated figures in their clothing.

It only takes a tiny or just enough design to provide a huge impact to your shirts.

Where do you sell them?

Once you’ve come up with the design, the next step is to determine where your marketplace will be.

There are a lot of sites where you can sell the shirts and make money.

Before coming to a final decision, you must conduct a research about which is the most lucrative and less restrictions.

Here are the following options:

#1 TeeSpring

TeeSpring Logo

TeeSpring is one of the best and most effective sites to sell your t- shirts because they do almost everything for you.

All you have to do is send them your designs for your shirts. Then, you have to set prices and a sales goal that needs to be met.

Let’s say you have set a minimum of 10 shirts to be sold in 1 shipping or for the first batch.

Before they print them, people must have already pre-ordered at least 10 of your products. If it doesn’t reach to 10, they won’t do anything yet.

This is to ensure sales will be fulfilled and to avoid incurring losses. When there are already at least 10 orders, they will print your designs on the shirts already.

Furthermore, they are the ones who will ship the products to the customers. They transfer payment through PayPal so you must have an account beforehand.

The other cool thing about this site is that you get to keep your whole profit.

There are already a lot of stories that ended with success because of their usage of TeeSpring.

#2 SpreadShop

SpreadShop logo

Brought to you by the fellas at SpreadShirt, SpreadShop is a custom, print-on-demand site kind of like TeeSpring.

You also get to make your own designs. There are two ways to earn money here.

First is you get to set your own prices depending on the design of each shirt and sell it exclusively in your shop.

Second is you can be shop owner and receive a commission on every sale of your product.

All you have to do in this second type is just upload your designs. People will decide on what item they’re gonna put their design on aside from shirts.

Afterwards, when they’re sold, you get to receive a commission that ranges from 20%-40%.

Basically what SpreadShop does is it buys the product inventory, prints the shirts, does quality control, ships the products and even takes care of customer service.

 The mode of payment is also through PayPal account.

#3 SellMyTees

SellMyTees logo

SellMyTees allows you to create your designs with their “Designer Studio” tool. Also, it provides you with an online shop for selling your designs on t-shirts.

They offer 3 plans for sellers, namely: bronze, silver and gold.

Bronze lets you open a small basic shop with a limit of 20 product displays and is free.

Silver, the most popular one, gives you a limit of 60 designs and already has cost $19/mo.

Gold lets you have unlimited product displays and costs $79/mo.

Some of the advantages of this platform is that it is easy and quick to set up, and they help you find customers through their marketing support.

#4 Bonfire

Bonfire logo

Bonfire is a platform that operates similarly to TeeSpring.

The only difference is that this is not just for individuals who wish to earn by selling t-shirts online. But it mostly caters to organizations who intend to raise funds by selling t-shirts.

It allows users to use their shirt design tool for free. Then, they set up sales goals and prices for the products.

Once the minimum quantity required is met, they will print the designs on shirts and ship them to the customers.

And because this platform involves fundraising activities, it’s actually easier to promote the products and let everyone be aware of it.

It is for a good cause like protecting the welfare of children with special needs and cancer, saving the environment, and advocating the interests of grassroots communities.

This is one of the reasons why it is patronized. The customers then pay you via PayPal account and even lets you accept tips.

#5 Threadless

Threadless logo

Threadless is an online shop that not only sells t-shirts but also other fashion items.

Unlike the previous platforms, this one is not ideal when you intend to put up a business that does operations on a daily basis.

Threadless kind of works like an auction wherein your designs get “bid on” or in this case, rated.

And if you get high rates, only then will you get to earn.  It’s also a great platform for aspiring designers and artists since it is more on finding the best ones and showing their work to everybody else.

The sole goal of doing this is to create the best design that’s worthy to be paid for.

Members of the Threadless community submit countless designs on shirts which are then voted on and picked by the community for a 10-day period.

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After the scoring period, the designed is scored from 1-5. If your design is among the best, it will get manufactured and sold.

Not only will you receive a prize for getting your design selected but you’ll also get continuing royalties for every product sold with your design on it.

You see, this is only lucrative if your design is picked. On a daily basis, it’s also not as profitable as what other sites offer because it is unpredictable whether or not your design will be picked.

It also requires more hard work in designing because your goal is for your design to get picked. Not to mention, you’ll be competing against other community members’ designs.

#6 Zazzle

Zazzle logo

One of the easiest and quickest set ups for selling t-shirts.

As a designer, you get to make your own designs using their Zazzle Designer program and you can upload unlimited designs.

Zazzle takes care of everything, from manufacturing and inventory to shipping and customer service.

Your job will solely be to make your designs and promote them.

Since Zazzle manufactures the shirts, the will also set a predetermined price in which you will choose the rate of the royalties you want to receive.

The royalty is already added to the base price so it depends upon your negotiations.

You can set your royalty at 5-99%. Zazzle recommends sticking to around 12%.

A small transaction fee may also be deducted from your royalty depending on the rate. They transfer the payment through your PayPal account.

#7 TeePublic

TeePublic logo

Just like other sites, TeePublic allows users to make their own designs and then upload it to their sites.

There will be no limit of uploading designs. Immediately, it will go up for sale. For 72 hours, it will be on a sale price of only $14. After 3 days, it will be on its regular price already.

Despite the price increasing after the discount period, TeePublic assures that the price will be in accordance with the design and quality so it’ll still be worth it.

It’s actually a great strategy of TeePublic to put the shirts on sale the first 3 days because people will be more encouraged to buy.

With this, it is also the designers responsibility to put up the effort of promoting the products so customers will be more aware.

This process, if successful induces more profit and fast track of production and sale.

#8 CafePress

CafePress logo

This platform works very much alike with Zazzle. All you have to do is create the designs and they will do the rest.

There are no upfront fees for starting your own store, and you do not have to concern yourself with anything else but the designs only.

You can choose other items other than shirts to put your design on. If your designs sell, CafePress takes care of all the billing, shipping, and general customer care for you.

You earn through royalties. CafePress sets up a base price and then you add your markup.

You have to be careful when setting your markup and consider the base price.

If CafePress is charging $18 base price for a shirt and you throw another $10 or $15 of your own on there, your item may not sell.

You’ll also get bonuses that range from 10-30% when you sell about $100 of your products.

And if you allow your products to be included in the CafePress marketplace, you can earn 10 percent total on all sales from there.

Get started with your shop

Once you have chosen a platform on where you wanna start up a business of selling t-shirts, you’re ready to set up your shop.

Online sites require that you create an account so you can officially be a user or a member.

Then, you have to customize your storefront, create an interesting profile which includes choosing a name that’ll distinguish your creations from others.

From the aforementioned sites, pretty much your concern is just to create the designs and promote your products and then they will take care of everything.

However, if you want  to create your personal website, it can get quite tricky.

You will have to purchase a domain name, set up your website and integrate a secure storefront for your customers.

Did you know that with this program, you will get 2 websites that you can use to earn money?

This usually take a long process to develop. So if you want to make money fast, consider signing up for a platform first.

This is where you can experiment with designs and determine whether they attract customers.

Because if you start your own website without knowing if they click, it will clearly just be a risk.

You might also want to consider putting up protection of property for your designs.

An example is copyright, so no one can steal your designs and benefit from them.

This is also a lengthy process but it ‘s only for your own good if you’re thinking about the long-term selling potential of your design.

What’s your strategy gonna be?

As far as the platforms taking care of everything like manufacturing and shipping, it’s still one of your responsibilities in crafting a strategy to make your designs attractive to customers.

It all starts with the design. You have to come up with designs that are trendy, relevant and somehow powerful.

What induces customers to buy is the fact that the design makes them feel confident and they love it and relate to it.

Perhaps, you can conduct a survey about people’s preferences about the design, color and the type of fabric.

You can also conduct a research of your own should you ever want to find inspiration in creating the designs.

Moving on, when you’re done with the designs, you can start to upload them. While there are sites that require a limit on the designs to be uploaded, you can decide which ones you’re gonna upload at a time.

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If there are no limits, it would important to upload a portion after another or to gradually increase your uploads so customers will have a chance to view them all.

The tendency if you’re gonna upload your designs all at once is that some of them may be left out and not viewed at all.

And when it comes to pricing, you have to make sure that the effort of making the design equates with the price.

You can’t overprice as this will drive customers away. After all, they do like a shirt that’s affordable and at the same time cool.

If the sites are the ones that set the price, you can put a markup that’s reasonable or negotiate terms where everybody’s happy.

To make your business prosper, it is important that you continually develop strategies to compete with other contenders and make your brand well- known and drive your name forward.

To sum it up...

There are a lot of ways to earn money online nowadays. Depending on your interest, you can always find a way to make money out of it.

One thing is to sell t-shirts online. Either you sell you pre-loved shirts or you can design one.

This is great for those who have a knack at designing. However, it is always available for anyone.

It is fun and a nice way to earn money.

I have provided you already the ways and tips on how to make money selling t-shirts online.

And to give you my best tip, never give up. The road to success is never easy and there are no shortcuts. You have to work your way up.

Thank you so much for reading my "How To Make Money Selling T-Shirts Online" guide!

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them on the comment section below.

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About Anis

Anis Chity used to be a struggling university student under debt from Italy, but thanks to this opportunity he managed to earn a 4 figure monthly income at the age of 24. Anis enjoys helping people avoid scams and find legit ways to work from home. He has many other businesses online as well.

In his free time he loves playing football & hanging out with friends.

Quick update: Anis now is 28 earning over $40k a month on average in affiliate commissions! Learn How He exactly did it here.

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