For several decades, people have worn T-shirts to express their personalities, beliefs, interests, and associations. The trend is certainly not slowing down now, or anytime in the future. In addition to that, there have been several new developments that make it more accessible than ever to design and print various T-shirt designs. All in all, selling clothing online is now an exceptionally popular business venture. It allows people to combine creativity with an entrepreneurial spirit to build an online business. Here’s how you can set up an online T-shirt business with Shopify:
Selecting The Niche That Works For You
Because technology has made it so easy to design, print, and ship clothing garments, there are many entrepreneurs entering this field. With such a crowded landscape, it’s important to stand out. That won’t happen if you try to go for mass appeal. Leave that approach to the Walmarts of the industry. Instead, find a specific audience on which you can focus.
Even then, be cautious about casting too wide a net. For example, sports-themed garments might be too broad. On the other hand, if you created a line of T-shirts celebrating MLB teams that no longer exist, you could tap into a retro trend.
How do You Know if Your Niche is Viable
Unfortunately, just because you’re a fan of something doesn’t mean that it has enough of an audience to support a viable business. Before you commit, do a bit of research. First, look on social media sites. Are there active Facebook groups related to the niche you’re considering? What about related hashtags on Instagram? Finally, check for Subreddits that are relevant to your niche. Do they exist? Are they active? Ideally, you want to pursue a niche that has generated some healthy interest.
Your T-Shirt Design Has to be The Best
In order to gain traction, your designs need to be unique, and of the highest quality. Now, you don’t necessarily have to have the most ornate designs, but they should be unavailable anywhere else but your store. They should also resonate with your target audience.
There are some very technical considerations here that you may or may not be prepared to handle yourself. If you aren’t, you may consider a provider that specializes in the designs that interest you, such as vintage T-shirt designs, promotional T-shirts, or fandom shirts. By doing this, you may find that you have more time to focus on customer service and other front-end activities.
Quality Control is Key
If you want your clothing business to last, you’ll need to implement good quality control procedures. The last thing you need is customers returning poorly made T-shirts, or orders that weren’t filled correctly. Not only will you take a financial hit, but your reputation can also get dinged as well. Keep in mind that consumers today are very quick to leave their feedback in the form of online reviews.
Besides, higher-quality shirts look and feel better, they last longer, and you’ll be able to ask for higher prices. That’s why it’s imperative to have your manufacturing process down pat or to select a great T-shirt provider. Also, it goes without saying that the shirts themselves should be the best possible quality. Avoid thin, itchy, shirts.
Tie it All Together With Great Branding
Branding is absolutely key in the fashion industry. It is the combination of the types of garment you sell, the audience you wish to attract, and the personality that comes through your website, and any other content or communications that reaches your audience.
Creating a brand that is relevant, interesting, and engaging is extraordinarily important in this industry. It is what will allow you to stand out from your competitors, and attract customers you are most likely to connect with. Keep in mind that consumers shopping for T-shirts have more choices now than ever. Your brand will distinguish you.
One thing to consider as you develop your brand is whether or not your clothing offerings are reflective of any particular lifestyle. You can then use this to inform your branding so that you can connect with your target audience. For example, you might use a very different tone if you sell T-shirts with a reference sayings on them geared towards a college student audience than you would if you are selling ‘It’s Wine Thirty!’ T-shirts to moms.
Understand your inventory options
Would you prefer to buy your T-shirts in bulk, use your own resources for printing, or opt for a print-on-demand provider?
One benefit of keeping your own inventory in stock is that you are able to sell items in person. That can help if you plan on attending events and selling your shirts there. You can also take advantage of the better price margins that come with buying in bulk. On the other hand, there’s less risk if you go for print-on-demand and it’s usually more convenient. Remember that if you start with print-on-demand, you will need less money upfront, oh and it’s a great way to test the market of your business online before expanding. Whatever you decide, take into account the pros and cons before moving on.
Open Your Shopify Store
Now that you’ve handled the steps above, it’s time to open your store and create your online presence. Fortunately, this process is as close to automatic as you might imagine. Shopify is popular for many reasons, but the ease of use is definitely at the top of the list. Here is a great Shopify setup tutorial that breaks things down into easy to follow steps.
Final Thoughts: Promote Your Shopify T-Shirt Business Everywhere
Once you open your store, you still have work to do. Nobody is going to show up to place orders unless you engage in a lot of promotion. Create a social media presence for your shop. Display your designs on platforms like Instagram. Remember those social media pages you researched earlier? Now is a good time to return to those, and start engaging with potential customers. Start a blog, and get some professional help to ensure your content is top quality! Shopify has that feature as well. Print up business cards and pass those out at events. The more traffic you drive to your shop, the better.
About the author: Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and is planning to publish her own book in the near future. She is passionate about fashion and entrepreneurship, and now she is a content writer at TopWritersReview. The texts she writes are always informative, based on qualitative research but nevertheless pleasant to read