How to make money selling t-shirts online

Have you ever seen someone wearing a funny, stylish, or otherwise eye-grabbing t-shirt? It’s an interesting concept to think that someone had to design, and eventually sell that t-shirt you noticed. Maybe you have a flair for art and fashion and are wondering how to make money selling t-shirts online? 

Who are you selling to?

One of the first steps to take in creating an online t-shirt company is to figure out who you want to sell your shirts to. This will help you lay the foundation of what kind of shirts to sell (if you are designing them yourself), how to market your business, etc. Identifying your ideal customers will allow you to spend your time wisely when it comes to trying to expose your brand. 

How to sell t-shirts online

The first step in selling your tshirts online is figuring out what platform you’d like to utilize. There is a wide variety of websites that you can get started within no time, here are a few noteworthy ones: 


One of the more well-known custom merchandise platforms is Zazzle. They offer a few ways to work with them. You can print your designs through them as well as allow them to manage the shipping, or you can also manage the creation and shipping of the products yourself. 


CafePress has a ton of templates to work with, and you can customize your shop to a great degree. There are tools included with this site that will help you market your product and services as well from an SEO standpoint.


Another goliath in the custom printing network is Redbubble. There is a huge network of designers and products that are available. There are some pros and cons to selling on this platform so ensure you read through the details before committing to using the site if you are not ok with global sitewide discounts cutting into your profits.

Merch by Amazon

If convenience and reliability is what you are after, Merch by Amazon might be just what you are looking for. You just need to upload your design work and then the logistics and printing are all handled by Amazon. 


This website offers the perfect platform if you are into exclusive limited releases. Typically, it attracts a crowd of customers that is into pop culture and gaming, it is a fun platform that gives you quite a bit of creative leeway for some unique designs.

How to Make Money Selling T-Shirts Online
Woman taking photo of tshirt on smartphone for online sale.

How to design a t-Shirt

After you’ve selected your platform and how you want to go ahead and sell your t-shirts, you’ll want to come up with your designs. Sometimes this can seem like an overwhelming task when it comes to how much variety exists already.

The basis of your design

Figure out what your focal point will be, what kind of theme you want to go with, and the whole reason you are designing the shirt. Ensure that your shirt design fits your target audience or ideal customer. This part can be easy if you are trying to sell shirts that promote your own personal branding, especially if you have a logo already that you can work into the design.

Color schemes are going to come into play quite a bit at this stage too. You’ll want to learn a bit about colors that not only go well together, but that fit your theme. 

If you have words in your design, you need to select your font and look at typography in general. There are a few popular fonts for shirts, but it will ultimately depend on what your overarching goal and theme is for your merchandise. 

Draft it

Creating a sample on “paper” is going to be important. You can use tools like photoshop to upload a simple model that you can apply your design on. This stage will allow you to get an even better visual representation of what your design is going to look like on a shirt. After you confirm your design and pick out what type of quality and material you will use, it’s usually a good idea to order a sample. 

Obtaining a sample of your work is going to give you the ultimate preview of what the shirt will look and more importantly feel like. You can use this time to take some photos so that you can help advertise your product on social media sites to cross-promote your online t-shirt store.


This is a step that many people don’t think of, evaluate your design. Now is the time to get honest with yourself and gain some valuable constructive criticism on your design. Ask family members, friends, and other people for their honest opinions. At times getting another perspective on your design will help you make some tweaks that could result in ultimately more sales for you. 

Market your shirts

In order to obtain some orders, and make money selling tshirt online, you’ll have to start a solid marketing plan. This will be more of a breeze if you are already an influencer or content creator with a decent following. If you are starting from scratch, you’ll want to learn how to properly network and grow your social media followers. Offering incentives, and first time-purchase coupons can help. You can also run a contest by giving away a t-shirt to strum up some engagement and excitement about your t-shirt designs.

Final thoughts

While starting your own business can seem like a complicated task, there are some more scalable ways to achieve this. It is very possible to earn a profit online with just having a good idea, and this is a great example of how to do just that. If you are creative, or even if you are not you can collaborate with someone who can help you with a design. With some proper research, excellent art, and an understanding of how to properly market your product – you can start the beginnings of being able to make money online selling t-shirts. 

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