In 5 minutes I started an Online T-shirt Business.
The most popular sartorial shirt choice for most people these days is indisputably the t-shirt. Universally worn by men and women young and old, the dependable t-shirt has increasingly become an important means of individual expression and a highly effective marketing tool for brands.
A 50 million dollar industry:
The T-shirt business has exploded within the past several decades and is now a 50 billion dollar industry. Walk down just about any main street in America and you are likely to find a vendor hawking these simple garments. Like many teenagers with a penchant for design and trendy clothes, I wanted to launch my own t-shirt line. Under my newly-minted brand ‘ShowPony’ I made one of a kind creations for me and my friends using a basic heat transfer process but they were time consuming to manufacture (and unprofitable) so I eventually moved on to other creative endeavors and chose to find my t-shirts in vintage thrift stores or in the more exorbitant haughty shops of prominent designers.
T-Shirts for special events:
Years later, when our large and ever-expanding family started making plans for a rare family reunion, I jumped at the chance to take on the mission of designing the official t-shirt for the highly-anticipated summer fest. We’d never planned such a large event and certainly never entertained the idea of creating t-shirt for it…until now.
Even though the t-shirt business is overstuffed and highly competitive and printing costs are cripplingly expensive when produced in smaller quantities, I discovered Teespring, an ingenious way to produce them without having to worry about incurring personal expense. It’s crowdfunding custom-made apparel. Imagine something like Kickstarter for t-shirts through a website that allows you to create and sell a custom t-shirt with no upfront cost or inventory risk.
The process is extremely easy:
With a design concept in mind, one can use their tools to effortlessly launch a product and begin marketing in minutes. Set a price and sales goal (and profit margin) and begin to outreach through desired channels. Once the pre-orders have been collected and the sales goal met, they are printed and shipped directly to the buyers. Boom! You are in the t-shirt business (or in my case, on my way to becoming the family reunion champion).
This is a perfect tool for creating shirts for a group event, which is precisely how the idea was spawned a few years ago by two Providence college students who wanted to create shirts to memorialize the closing of a popular bar.
Earn a six-figure income from T-Shirt’s in minites:
Not only has Teespring become an instant success, selling over 7 million shirts and receiving over $57 million in venture capital from major investors including FundersClub, a venture capital firm for startups, a lot of ambitious entrepreneurial designers are making big money through the company. Hundreds of sellers earn six figures peddling their tees, and more than ten sellers have become millionaires. “Teespring puts any potential entrepreneur in business instantly.”
I don’t get excited about new business ventures very often, but the effusive buzz in the press is justified.
There are exciting ways people are earning money by being micro-entrepreneurs these days, but this track into t-shirt production is absolutely free of financial risks. All one needs is a computer, a good idea with accompanying design, and enough friends to place orders. It’s a boon for organizations, clubs and special events. It was a no-brainer for our family. The process was effortless for us and everyone was thrilled with the finished product—a fun, stylish, wearable keepsake. Since I wasn’t collecting a profit, the shirts were extremely affordable for all.
A great fund-raising idea:
They were so popular that I’ve been working with some non-profit contacts to help them raise money for future fund-raising events. I have friends in my social channels who were so impressed with the t-shirts that they are going to partner with me to market future for-profit designs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. My teenage dream for the ‘ShowPony’ line is growing ever closer to being realized.
Clinton Wilson is an inveterate traveller, enthusiast of anything related to technology and cinema, and has written for Just Out Newsmagazine and Black Lamb in Portland, Oregon; PragueOne in the Czech Republic; and for Penguin Group in New York City. He recently relocated to Boise, Idaho from New York with his wife and three kids.