You can put your creativity to good use with a T-shirt company, but be prepared to face competition. With a number of successful T-shirt design companies out there, it's essential that you have all of the necessary tangible and intangible items before launching your business. Evaluate your competition and have the items on hand you need to produce a line of T-shirts that appeals to your market.
The most important decision you make when starting a T-shirt company is your niche, or where your company falls in the broad T-shirt design industry. For example, you can specialize in making T-shirts for sororities and fraternities if you live in a college town, or for corporations if you live near a business hub. Evaluate your market — and your competition — and find a niche T-shirt style for your business to specialize in. Make your T-shirt offerings distinctive to stand out from the competition.
Once you've defined your T-shirt company's niche, establish designs for your T-shirts. Although the design process is an ongoing and evolving one throughout the life of your T-shirt business, start with basic designs that give customers a sense of just what types of T-shirts your business offers. If you don't have an artistic background yourself, work with an illustrator or graphic designer to create a line of T-shirt designs that appeal to your demographic.
Stock your T-shirt business with the supplies you need to create your line of T-shirts. Decide if you plan to screen-print your shirts or embroider them: You need either a screen printer or an embroidery machine, depending on your preference. You also need T-shirts in a range of colors and sizes; work with a wholesaler to get a discount on bulk T-shirt purchases. Thread and ink are additional supplies you need to create your T-shirt line.
A marketing plan is the final piece you need to launch your T-shirt company. Decide how you plan to advertise and sell your T-shirts. T-shirt design shops are often online, which means you need a reliable and secure website through which you can display your T-shirts and take orders. Your marketing plan should also identify advertising strategies: A website is useful even if you have a brick-and-mortar store. You can advertise to your demographic using flyers and strategically placed ads.
Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.