May 7, 2019 Last updated May 7th, 2019 1,152 Reads share

How to start a Creative T-shirt Business in Limited Budget

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Most of us believe that kicking off a creative t-shirt business in a limited budget isn’t possible. But it’s a myth. You can start your business plan even with a small budget.

We all know that custom t-shirts have taken the fashion world by storm. People love to wear them to display either a cause, an event, promotional campaign or their likeness for superheroes or favorite characters. Given that, many entrepreneurs see t-shirts as a promising business opportunity.

If the bug of entrepreneurship has bitten you, the idea of kicking off your own creative t-shirt business would have crossed your mind for sure. A few years ago, selling tees online was a complicated project. But with the inception of on-demand drop-shipping and printing services, the hurdles have been removed. Now, everyone has the opportunity of a passive income in terms of the t-shirt business.

Here we bring you some proven ideas for starting a creative t-shirt design business in a limited budget.

1.Lay the foundation of your brand

The first thing first that everyone needs to do is to find a niche, get a name for the brand, and create a logo. Here, a niche refers to a particular market segment on which your products or services are focused. It also showcases a group of people having specific interests.

You would need to research and choose a niche based on your interest. We won’t go into the details. However, the core purpose here is to discover a theme or topic that’s not only popular but has growth possibilities. In simple words, you don’t want to go for a theme that’s too common and has stiff competition. You would find various niches for your t-shirt company. However, you need to keep looking for it.

For example, tees for beverage lovers, for pet lovers, for people with social or political inclination, and so forth.

2.Choose a niche

You can segment the t-shirt market in two ways— first is to consider the needs of your audience, second is based on their age.

You can identify your market niche by asking the right questions that are as follows—

  • Are you planning to sell tees to infants, toddlers or teenagers and adults?
  • Would you provide your customers with the liberty to create their own creative t-shirt design or would you give just a fixed range?
  • Would the quality and creativity of your shirts match the latest trends?
  • Are there different age-groups as your target audience?

Once you are done with the market research, you have to create a business plan. You can consider the following factors while creating one.

  • Your company mission— high-quality shirts at affordable rates or something else?
  • Are you going to create basic templates or buy pre-made ones?
  • What do you expect from yourself, your team or other members?
  • Where would you source your materials from?
  • Create various marketing ideas by doing a market analysis and use multiple channels like social media.
  • Analyze the competition in the market and how would you make yourself stand out.
  • Collect design sample documents along with vendor agreement and others.
  • Get a license as per your business type and location.

3.Consider your business model

Many entrepreneurs kick off their business by sourcing blank shirts from manufacturers. It helps them with various sizes, styles, and colors choices. Also, it lowers their overhead.

Many manufacturers offering blank shirts have low overheads. It means you can experiment with a few styles to check what would work better for you. Another way is to ask a manufacturer to create shirts as per your specifications. However, they would need you to purchase in bulks. It might not be possible for you during the initial state of your business.

To keep your cost low, you can choose a ‘print on demand’ model. It means using the third party sources to print and deliver every order you receive. There won’t be any upfront or inventory storage cost on your behalf. You can use platforms like Printify, and more for the same purpose.

4.Leverage social media for marketing

Marketing is the soul of any business. Without it, people won’t be able to know what it sells, and it won’t survive in the long run. As you want to start your t-shirt business in a limited budget, leverage social media as much as possible. At present, social media has over 2.77 billion active users worldwide. You will find your target audience on these networks; there is no doubt about that. These channels provide better ways to market and sell your creative shirts. Ultimately, it leads to overall business growth.

It doesn’t matter if you do not have an online site (however, it’s essential to have one). You can display your products on these channels, engage the audience and sell.

There are more and more customers who want to connect with the brands they like on these channels. Regardless of your market segment, you will find many customers willing to buy your shirts. The secret mantra is to put your products in front of them.

Keep in mind that customers do not automatically buy in the first encounter. Sometimes, it takes many efforts to persuade them. Therefore, expose your shirts more than one time to influence their buying decision. 

5.Price is appropriately

The pricing of your shirts is solely dependent on the cost involved in making. When you calculate the price, add the actual cost, printing cost, shipping, label, storage and marketing costs with others. Find out whether you want to sell it as wholesale or retail. In case you aren’t selling it to other boutiques or shops, lower the price a bit. Go for a price that helps you make a profit too.  


Even though the above steps guide you to start a business in low budget, they aren’t all-inclusive. You need to ponder on many other ideas. The best way is to begin you create a t-shirt business from home. Once you have kicked it off, you will learn all the other factors one after another.

We wish you good luck in your venture!

Alice Jackson

Alice Jackson

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