Next to jeans, t-shirts are the most popular form of casual wear and a staple of anyone’s wardrobe. They have exploded in popularity in recent years, inspiring start-ups dedicated to producing iconic, amusing and unique t-shirt designs.
Printing and selling your own t-shirts is relatively simple and if your brand is successful, your fashion line could expand into other related products, such as jumpers, bags and leggings. There’s a lot to consider when starting your own fashion brand, though. Our guide will help you figure out how to get started.
A quick Google search will show you just how many competitors you’ll have as a member of the t-shirt business. The key to success is producing high-quality t-shirts with great designs for a niche audience. There are already too many brands selling generic funny slogan t-shirts – you need to really narrow down your audience.
Brands likes Insert Coin and Gamertee, for example, both target a very specific audience: gamers. Research your competitors and see if there is anyone else producing the same style of t-shirts for the audience you want to sell to. If you don’t have a unique selling point, you’re going to struggle to compete.
Make sure your brand name and logo are memorable and unique too. The t-shirt designs themselves don’t have to be complex, but they must stand out. Quality also important – if a customer buys a t-shirt from you and the design cracks or fades after one wash, they won’t make another purchase nor recommend you to their friends. They may even leave a bad review, which could seriously damage your business.
Printing t-shirts may seem straight forward, but you’re going to need more than a talented, experienced designer and a copy of Photoshop.
First, you need to decide which t-shirt printing method you’re going to use. We highly recommend sublimation, which allows for full-coverage designs, as well as those that just cover a small area of the shirt. It also ensures that the image is permanent and will not peel away or fade. Unlike a screen-printed t-shirt, your printed image will be soft, as the dye is absorbed by the shirt’s polyester fibres.
To print t-shirts using this method, you’ll need a dye-sublimation printer, such as one of the models from the Epson Surecolor SC-F series, and a heat press machine. Our friendly experts can help you decide which fabric printer is best for your needs, so if you’re unsure, just get in touch.
As well as a printer, you’ll need a variety of plain t-shirts. Don’t just purchase the cheapest ones you can find, be sure to check their quality in terms of fit, feel and material. If they are too thin, your design won’t print correctly and if the t-shirts don’t fit well or feel rough, your customers will complain. Secure a few sample t-shirts to test their quality before making a bulk purchase.
Once you’ve established your brand and have some products to sell, you need somewhere to sell them! If you don’t want to go to the effort of creating your own website until your business really kicks off, there are plenty of other sites you can sell through at a small commission rate, such as Etsy, Not On The High Street and eBay.
Research all your possible options before choosing – some will be better suited towards your audience than others. Be sure to see what kind of prices your competitors are charging and adjust yours accordingly, but remember to watch those profit margins!
If you’d like more advice on starting your own fashion brand, this SkillShare class may prove useful. Need help choosing a fabric printer for your business? We can help with that side of things – just get in touch with us today.
We're here to help. Whether you're looking to get started with a large format printer or you've been in the industry for years, our team of qualified specialists are always happy to lend a hand. Give us a call on 0845 680 9000.
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