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How To Design & Sell Your Own Custom T Shirts

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If you're looking to earn a little extra money, or you've always wanted to start your own T-shirt business but just haven't had the time, there are several ways, ranging from completely hands-off, to entirely hands-on, to jump start your own T-shirt company. In most cases, it will require a little investment before you get your company off and running, but if you keep your company only as small as you can manage, you'll be able to keep together a lucrative business in the comfort of your own home.

Try out some shirt designs online. If you have some T-shirt designs you'd like to see on a shirt and test their selling potential, try a website like Cafe Press (see references below) to design your shirts online and sell them at no cost to you. This is a great way to try out potential shirt designs.

Buy T-shirts in bulk. No matter what quality of T-shirt you would like to use, they're available for purchase online. Use an online T-shirt retailer (see resources below) to buy large quantities of T-shirts for a fraction of the price.

Create shirt mock ups. Before you can start selling shirts, create several designs, either by using a silk-screening machine, embroidery, painting or any other way you like to design shirts. Next, wash and wear these shirts several times. Determine if the shirts stay new looking, and tweak your design if they do not hold up to typical washings.

Sell your shirts at local flea markets, rummage sales, consignment stores or boutiques. Many small boutiques will sell your designs on a consignment basis. Bring samples into the store, and the owner will determine whether or not the shirts are a fit for the store. If they are, they will purchase shirts from you and give you a portion of the profit. Often, when shirts do not sell, you have an opportunity to buy them back for a discounted price, if desired.

Purchase a domain name. With some HTML and photography skills, you can turn any website into a full-functioning marketplace. Hire a graphic designer and web designer if you need help starting your website, otherwise there are lots of online marketplaces to easily start your own web store, like Etsy (see resources below).


Determine if you would wear the shirt yourself before trying to sell it to others.


When you have gotten your business up and running, contact the IRS to register your business (see resources below).