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Lesson 5: How to Start an Online T-shirt Store


In our last lesson, you learned where to find free image editing software and design tools, as well as the best places to hire a designer.

Today we’re finishing things up by automating your order fulfillment, turning your designs into buyable shirts, and finally launching your store.

Installing a Print-on-demand App

In order to completely automate your new t-shirt business, you’ll need to install an app to connect your online store to a print-on-demand supplier.

These apps will foward new orders directly to t-shirt suppliers, who then take the cost of shipping and printing out of your original sale price, print your designs, ship the finished shirts to your customers, and deposit the remainder of your profits.

Check out the print-on-demand suppliers below to learn more about their pricing and product availability.

  • Printful
  • Printify
  • Print Aura
  • Teelaunch
  • Inkthreadable (UK-based)
  • Kite
  • Gooten

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We’ll be using Printful for the duration of this course, but when it comes to setting things up and adding products to your store, they all work in much the same way.

Create an account with whichever service you’re most comfortable with and follow their instructions for linking back to Shopify.

Adding New Shirts to Your Store

Once you’ve created (or received) your designs, it’s time to add them to your online store as buyable t-shirts. Here’s how to get it done in Printful:

  1. Click “Apps” in the Shopify sidebar and select “Printful” from the list
  2. Click “Add a product” and select Clothing / Apparel
  3. Select the type t-shirt you’d like to offer (you can add more later)
  4. Select the brand of t-shirt to print on. American Apparel is popular.
  5. Upload your high-resolution image file and select the color variants.
  6. Give your product a name, compelling description, andsmart price.
  7. Add it to your “Frontpage” product collection.

Congratulations! You’ve added your first t-shirt. You should now see it listed on your homepage. Here’s how it looks on Young & Bloom:

Opening Your Store to the Public

If you’re still in your 30-day free trial of Shopify, you’ll need toselect a plan in order to open your store and make your t-shirts available for purchase. Once you’ve done so, you can then remove your storefront password and receive your bonus pack.

Marketing Your T-shirt Business

Launching your online t-shirt store was just the beginning. If you want to start driving traffic and making sales, you’ll need to learn a few things about marketing.

Free marketing resources for course attendees

By starting your extended 30-day free trial of Shopify and selecting a plan, you’ll get access to Paid (and Free) Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Store, an exclusive 22-minute video course by serial entrepreneur and business owner Corey Ferreira.

This video course will teach you how to use social media to target buyers in your niche, find brand ambassadors to help sell your shirts, and drive traffic to your online store.

Once you’ve selected a plan,submit your store’s URL using this form to receive your bonus pack (you don’t need to remove your storefront password or open your store to the public). Delivery usually takes between 24-48 hours.

The bundle also includes our comprehensive guide to Facebook ads, 22 awesome t-shirt templates and mockups, a break-even analysis template, a list of essential Shopify apps for your t-shirt store, and exclusive discounts to design resource partners.

Congratulations on successfully completing the course! From here on out, your job will be to experiment with marketing tactics and drive qualified traffic to your store.

If you need guidance and support from us, fill in the contact form below


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