Selling print-on-demand t-shirts is hard. Yes, people are always on a lookout for novel t-shirts, so there is always more than enough demand. However, there is also an insane amount of competition, and you need to offer something really unique if you want to build a profitable business. So how can you make your t-shirts stand out from the competition?

#1 Get serious about your business.

Most people follow a pretty straightforward path in life. They go to school, then they go to college, and then they get a job. Along the way, they pick up a habit of doing just enough to get by, but never more. And that’s understandable. After all, both formal education and traditional workplace don’t exactly incentivize you to go above and beyond, so why bother?

tshirt apparel black and white

Image by Aden Ardenrich

However, if you are running your own business, this approach is disastrous. As an entrepreneur, you are the one who has to get your company off the ground, and that requires an incredible amount of work and dedication. Going above and beyond is not optional, it’s compulsory if you want to succeed!

So, get serious. Schedule at least 20 hours a week to work on your business. Yes, this will be on top of your full-time job, but what did you expect? Enough with slacking off!

#2 Figure out who your customers are

Selling a generic product to a broad audience is a terrible idea. Why?

Well, in most cases, trying to appeal to everyone leads to appealing to no one, because everyone just feels “meh” about your product. Would you pay $30+ for a generic t-shirt? Probably not… And neither would your customers! The whole point of buying print-on-demand t-shirts is that you get to accentuate your individuality with unique and creative apparel.

Plus, generic products are an absolute pain to market, because how do you even create a marketing campaign for them? You see, once you have a t-shirt design, you will need to use paid ads to promote it on Facebook, and for that you will need to know exactly who you are targeting. Otherwise you will end up wasting a lot of money selling your t-shirts to people who are not interested in them!

So, figure out who your customers are. What is their age? What is their gender? What are their hobbies? The more you know about them, the better!

t shirt girl

Image by Spencer Selover

#3 Create excellent t-shirt concepts

T-shirt concepts can make or break your business.

It might be tempting to just quickly sketch something, put it on a t-shirt, and start selling. But do you really think this approach will help you build a profitable business?

Put in the work. First, brainstorm t-shirt concepts, all the while keeping your customers in mind. Then, sketch them out on paper or on a computer screen. Then, sleep on them, and come back to your concepts the next day. What can you improve? Really push yourself to create the best t-shirt concepts that you possibly can.

#4 Get feedback from your customers

You might think that your concepts are great and that people will love them… But you won’t know it until you actually go and get feedback from your customers!

Go where your customers hang out. Show them your t-shirt concepts. Listen to their feedback. Really, don’t get defensive, just let them talk. Take notes. Then, either put your t-shirts up for sale, or go back to the drawing board.

And yes, I know that putting yourself out there like that is scary, but believe me, it will help you create t-shirt concepts that actually sell.

#5 Pick a reliable print-on-demand service provider

Lastly, you should ensure that the t-shirts themselves are of high quality, and that depends on your print-on-demand service provider.

I recommend you to play it safe. Go with reputable print on demand t-shirt companies like Printify (https://printify.com/make-your-own-shirt/). That way you will know that your customers will get high quality t-shirts!

Really, don’t cut corners on this, because low quality t-shirts can ruin your business!

beautiful woman tshirt fashion

Image by Tim Savage

Conclusion

Here’s the thing: most people are slackers.

This means that you can get ahead of the competition by simply putting in the hard work and effort required to produce great t-shirts.

So, create a schedule, work hard, and be consistent. It will probably take at least 6-12 months for your t-shirt business to take off. Stay patient... Keep pushing. It is all going to be worth it in the end!

About the author

Alex Roman

Independent graphic artist and architect based in Bucharest. I really love what i do!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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