Beginning Your Own T-Shirt Line? What to do first!

Very often at You Design It we get calls from people who are excited and looking to start their own t-shirt line.  That’s fantastic and we’re very eager to do what we can to help them get started. That’s why we’ve put together this series of posts with that objective in mind. We hope that you find them useful because everyone can be successful with the right t-shirt game-plan.

By far the most common question we get from people who are just starting out with their own t-shirt line is something to the effect of, How much would it cost for me to get 500 or 600 shirts? Whoa! Now don’t get us wrong, we’d be delighted if you ordered 600 shirts from us, but let’s back track a bit and see what’s in your best interest.

As with any major new undertaking, the first and most important place to start is by far with research. What type of shirts will you be producing? Who is your target market? How will you reach out to this demographic? What is the competition like in this market? What type of capital are you working with? How much can you afford to invest in your new business and how long will you be able to keep it afloat in the early stages when it probably won’t be profitable? Remember that very few businesses start out in a blaze of glory and success. You’re going to need some time to build up a buzz and get your name out there.

There are many more considerations that go into the research section of your business development and we definitely encourage you to think them over carefully, but next we want to touch on one of the other major aspects of this whole endeavor: the t-shirt design. In all honesty without a great design, or set of designs, you won’t get very far. It has to be something creative and unique, but also popular enough to resonate with people. This is going to be especially important when your line is just starting out and you don’t have any name brand recognition for your company. For a very popular company it’s possible that people will buy tees just to own a shirt from that line. With a new company however, you’re completely out there on your own with just your designs, creativity, and hard work to sustain you.

With these factors in mind we encourage you to start off with a smaller sample of shirts and test the waters so to speak. Starting off with something in the neighborhood of 12-36 shirts will give you a chance to get a feel for the business without investing anymore capital than necessary and then to make modifications as necessary. Remember the last thing you want on your hands is 495 slow selling designs when the first five buyers have all said something to the effect of this is great, but I sure wish the print was larger or if only this came in darker colors.

We’re very excited about the prospect of helping you out with your new line and we know that it’s going to be BIG once it gets off the ground. We hope that you’ve found this brief entry helpful and that you’ll be able to get rolling in no time. We have much more to come….


7 Responses to “Beginning Your Own T-Shirt Line? What to do first!”

  1. Cayo Medeiros aka. yogodoshi Says:

    Nice tips, thanks for the info!

  2. Truc Nguyen Says:


    I would like to start making my own T-shirts but the typical “design your own T-shirt” websites are very limited. For instance… they all do not allow you to print outside of a square box. I would like my designs to flow from the torso throughout the neck and arms as well. Is there a site that you could recommend that will allow this or is there a company you can recommend?

    -Thanks in advance,

    Truc Nguyen

  3. Truc Nguyen Says:

    If anyone has any recommendations please send website or contact info to


  4. Choix Says:

    Wow! Really great information. Thank you for considering the newbies. That advice can really assist in undertaking a successful Tee Shirt business.

  5. Erika T Says:

    Great advice. Very helpful.

  6. Raz Says:

    hey. amazing tips. thnks a lot. we have been breaking our head over the stock to be maintained.

    is there a way to contact u guys for more information?

  7. Candyfloss Says:

    Please Send Me More Information.
    On How To Start A Tee Line.
    iWould Like To Find Screen Printers, in the U.K.