How To Start A Successful Online T-Shirt Business

How to start a online T-shirt business

T-shirts are a staple part of wardrobes across the globe. Clever entrepreneurs, like yourself, have tapped into the popularity of this product and started their own T-shirt businesses.Starting an online T-shirt business is a popular choice for both beginner and veteran ecommerce entrepreneurs as T-shirts are cheap to source, have universal appeal, and are relatively simple to customize.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own online T-shirt business, it’s important that you’re aware that it’s a competitive field in ecommerce. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to make sure that your store stands out from the crowd. To ensure this, it’s important that you source high-quality products, create appealing designs, and build a strong brand image.

This may sound like a daunting process, especially if it’s your first time starting an ecommerce business, but don’t worry — we’re here to help you. We’ve created this article to provide you with all the necessary information you need to create a successful online T-shirt business. 

Let’s get started.

Starting Your Online T-Shirt Business

How to start a online T-shirt business

If you’ve already started your ecommerce journey, and you’ve been looking into starting your own online T-shirt business, you may have noticed that it’s actually relatively cheap and simple to get your store up and running.

In fact, we’ve already wrote an article explaining how ecommerce entrepreneurs can launch their own online stores in less than 30 minutes using Shopify. You can read the article here (we highly recommend this if you’re just getting started with ecommerce).

Starting your own T-Shirt business with Shopify is a simple process. You’ll also have continuous support from their side, both when starting your store, and during the process of you running your store — it’s the ideal ecommerce solution for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

How To Start An Online T-Shirt Business

Here are the steps that you can follow to start an online T-shirt business now:

1. Finding a Niche For Your Online T-Shirt Business

As an ecommerce entrepreneur who is looking to start a successful online T-shirt business, you may find it useful to find a niche for your store. We’ve already mentioned that ecommerce is a competitive field, and finding a niche can really help you to create a successful online T-shirt store that stands out from the crowd. If you can manage to create a T-shirt store that is truly unique, either in terms of brand image, or the products that are available, your chances for success will be considerably higher.

If you decide to create a niche store, take your time, and do your research.  Take a look through other online T-shirt stores which you like and use them to brainstorm ideas for your own business. Note down anything which you think is impressive and then take some time to think about how you can make your online T-shirt business even better. Ultimately, you can target any niche which you want to. If you think that there is an untapped market, take advantage of it. It’s easier to stand out when there’s little competition, and it’ll be much cheaper too! 

2. Designing Your Products

How to start a online T-shirt business

When you’re trying to launch a successful online T-shirt business, the design of your products is critical. If your products have great designs, you’re already ahead of the game. Your products will act as a strong foundation for your store’s success.

It’s much easier to market great products, so try to nail this part. Be creative. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside the box. Try out various different designs which relate to your brand, and see which ones fit best on your T-shirts.

If you don’t feel confident in your own ability to design awesome products for your online T-shirt business, don’t fret to seek help from others. You can contact local designers, who will likely be willing to provide their services. You can also take advantage of online freelance platforms, like Upwork and Fiverr, which you can use to liase with freelance designers. There are a variety of different ways that you can source high-quality design work at an affordable price point.

3. Validating Your T-Shirt Designs

Once you’ve assembled a few solid design examples for your online T-shirt business, you’ll need to seek validation from others. You may think that the designs which you’ve come up with are ready for printing, but others may point out some vital improvements that will help your products in the long run. It’s also important that the feedback which you receive for your designs is unbiased. You can achieve this by posting your designs on some forums (make sure that you watermark your designs so nobody can steal them). You can also receive some professional feedback by getting in contact with some local consultants — they will provide you with professional, unbiased opinion.

Online discussion platforms, like Reddit, can prove to be a vital tool when you’re gauging the success of your t-shirt business’ designs. You can post your prospective designs onto the relevant sub-reddits, and you’ll receive honest feedback from people who are interested in your products. If you receive positive reactions from your post, you’re already armed with some potential customers who you can reach out to when you launch your products.

4. Sourcing Your Products

When you’ve validated the designs for your online T-shirt business, you’ll need to take some time to consider where you’ll be sourcing your T-shirts from. If you source high-quality T-shirts for your stores inventory, it’ll make for a better shopping experience for your customers.

Sourcing Your T-Shirts

Running an online T-shirt business is highly competitive, so you’ll need to stand out in any way that you can. One way you can do this is by sourcing the highest quality products which your business can afford. If your customers find that your products are shrinking or ripping after a couple of wears, then it’ll build a bad reputation for your ecommerce store. This will dramatically decrease the chances of these customers purchasing from your store again, which is clearly something that you want to avoid. If your online T-shirt business is stocked with high-quality products which are built to last then your store will gain a great reputation that will help your business grow. We highly recommend using the best quality products available for your online T-shirt business. 

How to start a online T-shirt business

5. Printing Your Designs

Having high-quality prints on your products is essential for a successful online T-shirt business. If your customers find that your designs are cracking or fading after a few washes, this will leave them with a bad impression for your business.

There are various different options which you can take advantage of to print your designs. You can get in contact with local printing businesses, which will allow you to check the quality of your prints before you ship them to customers. However, this may be an expensive process, especially when your ecommerce business grows and the demand for more prints increases.

At Oberlo, we believe that online T-shirt businesses can benefit greatly from a dropshipping business model. It’s simple, cheap, and you can run it from anywhere in the world. Below, we’ll show you exactly how:

How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business With Dropshipping

How to start a online T-shirt business

Here are the main things to keep in mind before starting your own online dropship T-shirt business:

1. Niche: Before starting your online T-shirt business, it’s important to know the niche that you’ll be focusing on. The T-shirt industry is over saturated and to be successful you need to know what you’re going to be aiming at.

2. Design: You’ll have a hard time convincing people to buy your T-shirts if the designs aren’t good. So pay extra attention to what goes on to the T-shirts that you’d like to dropship.

3. Quality: Make sure you meet quality standards when it comes to T-shirts. It can be tricky to know which T-shirts are high quality when you’re dropshipping, so you could order a few samples from your suppliers just to test them out and see for instance, what the material is like. 

As an entrepreneur running an online T-shirt business, dropshipping is a great business model. If you dropship your T-shirts, you’ll never need to carry any inventory. Forget about having piles of T-shirts littered around your house, or having to waste valuable resources renting a storage space. Instead, you’ll simply receive orders from your customers, and ship the products straight from your supplier’s warehouse to their door. A dropshipping T-shirt business is streamlined, and will allow you to manage your business from anywhere in the world.

If you decide to use dropshipping to run your online T-shirt business, you can take full advantage of ecommerce platforms like AliExpress, which allow you to source high-quality products at an affordable price point. You’ll be instantly connected with a wide network of suppliers who are open to collaboration. You can reach out to individual suppliers on AliExpress who can print your designs directly onto their T-shirts, and then you can ship said products directly to your customers door — it’s as simple as that. 

If you decide that AliExpress dropshipping is the best option for your ecommerce business then we recommend that you use Oberlo. With Oberlo, you can easily import products directly into your ecommerce store with just a few clicks. You can also manage all your orders easily with Oberlo. Oberlo is free, so you can start dropshipping today.

Online T-Shirt Business Success Stories

Many successful ecommerce entrepreneurs created their online T-Shirt businesses with a dropshipping business model. One of Oberlo’s users, Melvin Chee, 22,  started off his own ecommerce store as an experiment and ended up making $100K+ in just 3 months.

Tag someone who you’d chill with now on Friday night ? Shop now ?@apparels_co?(link in bio)

A photo posted by ?@APPAREL ? (@apparel) on

Melvin decided that he wanted to start an online T-shirt business when he stumbled across Oberlo in a Facebook group. He knew that he would need to find a niche which would enable his ecommerce store to succeed. He settled on a bank of core products which were basic T-shirts with funny slogans printed onto them. It was these products, incorporated with his marketing efforts, which transformed this experiment into an ecommerce success story. You can check out our full article on Melvin’s story here.


Now that you’ve read through this post you’ll know exactly how to start an online T-shirt business and create your own success story. Remember, starting an ecommerce business in this niche will be competitive, so be sure to make use of the tips which we’ve mentioned in this article.

If you have any further questions about starting an online T-shirt business, or ecommerce in general, then let us know in the comments section– we’re more than happy to help.

Want to learn more?

Start using Oberlo today

All accounts have access to the forever free Starter Plan

Sign Up Free

Oberlo uses cookies to provide necessary site functionality and improve your experience. By using our website, you agree to our privacy policy.