Business Overview

Online t-shirt businesses design, customize, print, sell, and ship t-shirts to paying customers. They display their designs on a website storefront where customers can view and purchase them. Some online t-shirt businesses own the equipment used to print the shirts, while others partner with a separate company for that service.

Who is this business right for?

Those who enjoy keeping up with current trends do exceptionally well in this business. A single timely slogan or artistic design that becomes popular can generate substantial profits. The ever-popular smiley face is a good example.

What happens during a typical day at an online t-shirt business?

  • Market research to track competitors’ offerings and pricing and ensure that copyright laws are not violated
  • Graphic design and customization
  • Pricing merchandise
  • Negotiating with vendors for the best prices on materials and services
  • Creating sales promotions and advertising campaigns

What is the target market?

Preferred customers are all people who enjoy wearing t-shirts.

How does an online t-shirt business make money?

An online t-shirt business makes money by advertising and selling t-shirts on a business website. Many t-shirt businesses also make money by creating and selling original artistic designs as well as custom designs or wording requested by individual customers. The price charged usually allows for a profit margin of between 50 and 75 percent after the expenses of materials, printing, and shipping are deducted.

What is the growth potential for an online t-shirt business?

Online businesses can also expand into the retail market. For example, the well-known Life Is Good brand of T-shirts, hats, and other merchandise is now sold by more than 4,500 retail stores in the U.S. alone. Partnering with other companies such as Hallmark and Planet Dog, they have achieved annual sales of over $100 million dollars.