What business does a person that has no web design experience, no fashion sense, and is absent of artistic talent have building a t-shirt shop? Not much, but I’m doing it anyway. You can do it too if you have a love for t-shirts like I do.
It started not too long ago, during Christmas. I was the lucky enough to receive three Aeropostale shirts from some relatives. How boring. Number one, I’m not twenty, and number two, if I’m going to wear a t-shirt, I want it to make a statement and be interesting. I thought that there had to be a better way and that’s when I decided to make my own t-shirts Comme des Garcons Hoodie. Even though I knew that I lacked the before mentioned attributes, I figured I could make up for it with my quick wit, keen observation and, yes, a love for a good t-shirt. That how I came to design my Ad Letter T-Shirts and More shop.
To be honest, the t-shirt designing community on the web is large and full of people with tremendous talent and artistic ability. If you plan on making a living selling t-shirts online, don’t quit your day job just yet. You do have the ability to make some quick cash, but there is a lot of competition. I recommend you let your love of t-shirts be the driving force behind you making your own shop. This way it doesn’t seem like such a grind, and when you do sell some shirts the rewards will far exceed the monetary benefit.
There are many places to start your t-shirt shop and for beginners, like myself, I recommend going with the most popular online t-shirt source, CafePress. There are other well known places to create your shirts like Zazzle, for instance, but I haven’t used them so I will only comment on CafePress. CafePress allows you to upload your designs and put them on various items that you can include in your own personal store. From there, you choose how high to mark up the price of your t-shirts. When the t-shirt or other item sells, you keep the difference between what you priced the merchandise at and what it costs CafePress to produce it. That’s right, CafePress takes care of the manufacturing and shipping of the item, and all you have to worry about is its design and promotion.
CafePress also has templates to help you customize your store and they help provide useful tips on how to get your designs onto the merchandise itself. You also have a choice of building a basic shop, which is free, or a premium shop, which has a nominal fee. I recommend the premium shop because you can put your designs on all the merchandise and build your store the way you want it. CafePress also has a decent support system, within its site, of various blogs and forums that can help you overcome minor obstacles you may encounter when getting your shop up and running. When designing your first t-shirts, Cafepress is definitely the way to go.
Hopefully, I have given some useful information for those beginners looking to design their own t-shirts and potentially opening up their own CafePress store. The actual design of the t-shirts and promoting your shop online will be covered in future articles. My goal is to share knowledge with those who are new to t-shirt design from the perspective of someone who has just recently started himself. I can tell you from my brief experience that creating your own t-shirts and sharing them with others is a fabulous way of expressing yourself. If you are thinking about it, I suggest you take the next step and do it.