How to Start a T-shirt Business? [3 Best Platforms]

May 18, 2023
Anna Pham


In today's digital age, starting a t-shirt business online has become easier than ever before. Anyone can convert their love of fashion into a successful business with the appropriate tools and tactics. However, if you're unfamiliar with the world of eCommerce, getting started can be overwhelming.  

In this article, we will guide you the steps of how to start a t-shirt business online successfully, from finding your niche and designing your t-shirts to setting up an online store and marketing. 

Whether you want to fulfill by yourself or sell t-shirt print on demand, let’s explore:

  • Why sell T-shirts online?
  • How to start a tshirt business online?
  • 3 Best eCommerce platforms for selling t-shirts online.

Why Sell T-Shirts Online?

Let’s discover why selling t-shirt online can be a profitable and attractive business opportunity:

  • T-shirts are a versatile and universally popular item: They are a mainstay in practically every wardrobe, and they are available in many different styles, shapes, and sizes. T-shirts have a huge market, so you can cater to a diverse range of customers with different preferences and tastes.
  • Selling t-shirts online is low-cost and accessible: You don't need an offline store, you can save on rent, utilities, and other overhead costs. Instead, you can create an online store and advertise your goods on multiple platforms and marketplaces.
  • T-shirts offer plenty of creativity and self-expression: You can design t-shirts on demand which can show your artistic skills, promote a cause or message that you care about, or tap into current trends and pop culture.  This may be a fruitful and entertaining way for you to share your talents and meet others who share your interests.

Selling t-shirts online can be a fun, flexible, and profitable business opportunity that allows you to showcase your creativity and cater to a vast and diverse customer base.

How to Start a Tshirt Business Online: 7 Simple Steps

Step 1: Define a niche

Defining a niche is the first crucial step in starting a successful t-shirt business online.

To choose a niche, start by identifying your personal interests, hobbies, and passions. Consider what topics, designs, or messages you are passionate about that align with your target audience's interests. Research the market to identify gaps and opportunities in the T-shirt industry, evaluate other t-shirt businesses in your niche and identify what they are doing well and where there is room for improvement. From there, you have the answer: What value can you offer that others can't?

Here are some tips to help you define your niche:


In this case, I recommend using an SEO tool like Semrush (or Ahrefs). Just enter “t-shirts” in the search keyword section >Keyword Magic Tool> Filter keyword difficulty (KD) by “Possible” to narrow down the results. This will give you some ideas of niches that are not too narrow or too wide.

Step 2. Make a Plan


After defining a niche of T-shirts, you have to make a plan to help guide your actions toward success. But don’t worry if you don’t have all the details yet. You just must to have an idea of where you’re headed so that everything flows smoothly once you get started.

First and foremost, you’ll need to pick a name for your business. Whether it’s just your name or something different, that will guide your process of creating a logo, business cards, a website and other branded assets.

Step 3: Source quality manufacturers

Sourcing quality manufacturers is a necessary step in ensuring the success of your online T-shirt business. We recommend researching and comparing different manufacturers' prices, minimum order quantities, lead times, and production capabilities to find reliable manufacturers. You should ask for samples, look up references, and read reviews from previous clients of the manufacturer.  

Besides, you can attend trade shows and exhibitions in the textile industry to network with manufacturers and see their products in person. Consider conducting a factory audit to ensure the manufacturer has the necessary facilities, equipment, and labor practices to meet your requirements. 

Finally, negotiate terms and contracts, including payment methods, delivery schedules, and quality control measures. By following these steps and finding a quality manufacturer, you can produce T-shirts that meet your customer's expectations and help your T-shirt business thrive.

Step 4: Create t-shirt designs


The next stage in how to start a tshirt business online is to create T-shirt designs. A t-shirt design that attracts your target audience will requires creativity. Consider the steps below to create a unique and appealing t-shirt design:

  • Research your target audience - Understand their interests, preferences, and values to create a design that resonates with them.
  • Brainstorm and sketch - Generate ideas and sketch your concepts on paper or digitally.
  • Choose design elements - Consider typography, color schemes, graphics, and images that align with your target audience and message.
  • Use design software - There are many tools for you to design t-shirt online free. To digitally create your design, use programs like Adobe Illustrator or Canva.

Step 5: Validate your t-shirt designs

Validating your T-shirt designs is crucial to ensure that your designs are appealing and have the potential to generate sales. By validating your designs, you can minimize the risk of investing in designs that don't resonate with your target audience and ensure that you produce T-shirts with a higher chance of success in the market. 

Before validating your t-shirt designs, you need a mockup. How to make t-shirt mockup that attracts customers? You can create quality t-shirt mockups using a mockup generator, such as Printful, Placeit, and Customink.

Step 6: Set up an online store


Once having your t-shirt mockups, follow the methods below to validate your designs:

  • Social media - Post your designs on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest to get feedback and gauge interest from your followers.
  • Conduct surveys - Create surveys or polls to gather feedback and opinions from your target audience.
  • Test marketplaces - Use online marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon to test the market and see how your designs perform.
  • Run pre-order campaigns - Run pre-order campaigns to see if your designs generate enough interest and sales to justify manufacturing.

Step 7: Market your t-shirt business


Setting up an online store is crucial advice for starting a business selling t-shirts online to reach a wider audience and increase sales. 

Here are the steps to create an online store:

  • Choose an eCommerce platform: There are many eCommerce platforms for you to start an online t-shirt store, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Prestashop. These platforms offer a range of features, templates, and integrations to customize your store and streamline your business operations. For a further detailed explanation, keep reading in the next section.
  • Design your store: Design a user-friendly interface that is appealing and consistent with your brand identity and values.
  • Add product listings: Use high-quality images, detailed descriptions, and pricing.
  • Set up payment methods and shipping options: Select those that suit your business needs and customer preferences.

How to start a business online successfully? Once finished, ensure that your online store has an appealing design, high-quality product listings, an easy checkout process, secure payment options, and reliable shipping methods. 

3 Best eCommerce Platforms for Online T-Shirt Business



Shopify pricing

  • $1/month for the first 3 months (at the time we’re writing this article)
  • From $29-$399 per month. Save 25% for annual plans.

Highlight features for selling t-shirt online on Shopify

There are many reasons why you should go for Shopify to create an online store to sell t-shirts.

  • An extremely user-friendly interface: Shopify has a 5-minute installation, which is easy for beginners to set up and manage an online store. The drag-and-drop interface allows you to customize the store's design and layout without coding knowledge.
  • Various templates: Even if you don't know much about coding or UX-UI design, Shopify offers a variety of Shopify templates and themes for apparel stores that let you build a distinctive and professional-looking business. 
  • Payment and shipping options: Shopify offers a variety of payment gateways and shipping options. Hence, you can set up secure and reliable payment and shipping methods. 
  • Integration with print-on-demand services: Shopify integrates with various POD apps like Printful. This allows you to create and sell custom-designed T-shirts without managing inventory or production.
  • Marketing tools: Shopify has various digital marketing tools, including social media integration, SEO optimization, and email marketing, to help you promote your t-shirts and drive traffic to your store. You can easily set up and manage marketing campaigns from within the platform and track your performance using built-in analytics tools.

Shopify pros & cons


  • An Ideal eCommerce platform for beginners
  • Powerful built-in eCommerce features 
  • Various themes for selling clothing
  • Diverse apps and integrations, especially POD apps.
  • Easy scalability
  • 24/7 support 


  • Somehow Limited customization options if you don’t know how to code
  • High price for small-sized t-shirt businesses
  • High transaction fees if you are on lower pricing plans and are not in the countries where Shopify Payments are available

If you want to start a T-shirt business on Shopify platform, there is a great deal for you right now. Shopify has a promotion program for only $1/month for the first 3 months. Take the opportunity now!



WooCommerce Pricing

WooCommerce is free to use

But to set up a WooCommerce store, you must pay for a domain name, web hosting, or SSL certificate

Additionally, when your t-shirt store grows, you may need to install third-party plugins to expand and improve its functionality.

Highlight features for selling t-shirt online on WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform working as a WordPress plugin. Take a look at its outstanding features to decide whether to sell T-shirts on WooCommerce or not.

  • Flexible customization: WooCommerce offers a high degree of flexibility and customization. This platform controls the online store's design, layout, and functionality. 
  • Payment and shipping options: WooCommerce integrates with various payment gateways and shipping providers, helping you set up secure and reliable payment and shipping methods for your t-shirt store. The platform also offers support for local payment methods and shipping carriers.
  • Print-on-demand integration: WooCommerce integrates with various print-on-demand services, allowing T-shirt businesses to create and sell custom-designed T-shirts without managing inventory or production. The platform supports popular print-on-demand services such as Printify and Printful.
  • Extensive theme & plugin library: WooCommerce has a vast theme and plugin library that make your t-shirt store well-designed and provides additional functionality to your online t-shirt store. You can use WooCommerce themes and WooCommerce plugins to create a customized online store that matches your brand identity.

Pros & cons


  • High flexibility
  • Super-rich themes and plugins
  • Vibrant user community
  • Affordable (pay as you go)


  • Require technical knowledge and coding skills
  • Too frequent updates that make it hard for you to keep pace with



Prestashop Pricing

PrestaShop is an open-source eCommerce platform, which means you can use it for free. 

However, there are additional costs involved in creating and running an online store using PrestaShop. Here's an overview of the potential costs:

  • Hosting: Shared hosting can be purchased for as little as a few dollars per month, whereas dedicated or cloud hosting can cost more..
  • Domain Name:  From $10 to $20 per year
  • Themes and Templates: Prestashop offers a variety of free themes and templates. Premium themes can range from $50.
  • Extensions and Modules: While some extensions are cost-free, some could need to be bought once or demand a monthly membership. The extension's features and complexity can affect price.

Highlight features for Prestashop

  • User-Friendly Interface: Prestashop offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it easy for merchants to manage their online stores and products.
  • Product Management: Prestashop allows you to add, edit, and organize products efficiently. You can set product attributes, categories, pricing, stock management, and more.
  • Store Customization: The platform provides a variety of customizable templates and themes to create a unique and visually appealing online store. 
  • Multi-Store Functionality: Prestashop enables you to manage multiple online stores from a single back-end interface. You can create and customize separate stores for different countries, languages, or product lines.
  • Payment and Shipping Options: The platform accepts payments through a variety of gateways, including PayPal, Stripe, and You may interface with different shipping companies to give your customers alternative shipping options.
  • SEO-Friendly: Prestashop includes built-in SEO features, such as customizable URLs, meta tags, and sitemaps, to improve your store's visibility in search engines and attract organic traffic.
  • Marketing and Promotions: You can create discounts, vouchers, and promotional campaigns to attract customers and increase sales. PrestaShop also integrates with popular marketing tools and social media platforms.

Pros & cons


  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Customization Options
  • Multi-Store Functionality
  • Active Community and Support
  • Extensibility
  • SEO-Friendly


  • Technical Knowledge Required
  • Updates and Compatibility

Whether you choose any of the Platforms in the list 3 best eCommerce Platforms to create your online TShirt store, you can use the Ryviu app to easily import, display, and manage reviews on your store. At the same time, Ryviu can request email marketing to customers, these greatly contribute to creating credibility and increasing sustainable revenue for your store.


That’s all about how to start a t-shirt business online properly and successfully. To successfully run a t-shirt business online, you need careful execution planning and consider many factors, from identifying a niche and target audience to sourcing quality manufacturers and creating unique designs.

Choosing the right eCommerce platform and building an online store is important to reaching your target audience and generating sales. Once your online store is set up, it's critical to implement effective marketing strategies to promote your t-shirts and attract customers.