The t-shirt printing industry is now an $8billion market. With little to no barriers to entry into this fast growing industry, you can easily set up an online t-shirt printing business from home and earn your way into a million dollars.
Here’s what you need to know to start your very own t-shirt printing business:
Sourcing blank t-shirts to print on
A lot of thought must go into the type of t-shirt you want to print on, including it’s compatible with the type of printing method you choose. Of course, you have to do all this within your budget. Buying in bulk might seem like a big investment for a start-up, but you get to enjoy immensely low costs. Unlike fast fashion products, that are costly and more risky to produce as they will not sell much later after the trend is over, t-shirt printing is a relatively safer business as t-shirts will stay in fashion all year round. That means your t-shirts can and will be all sold off eventually. However, if you don’t want to invest as much just yet, you could always just sell your t-shirt designs, the same way you can buy designs for your t-shirts, instead of the whole package.
Printing your T-Shirts
If you want to save on investments and want to minimize work, you can have your t-shirts printed from online sites like CafePress, Teezily, Zazzle, etc. But if you choose on printing from your base of operations, there are many different printing techniques that you should know about. Here are some that are feasible from home:
1. Screen Printing
Screen printing gives you a higher print quality, vibrant colours, and a soft finish. It’s great for mass production, but is fairly time consuming. It can also get messy and takes some time getting used to when done manually.
This method is basically printing a design on transfer paper and using a heat press to transfer the print onto the t-shirt. Although it is a very simple and easy to use method, and allows for full colour, it can be a little slow and works best on light coloured t-shirts.
3. Vinyl Printing
This method uses a heat press as well. Using a CAD cutter, a design is cut out of a special material, and then pasted onto the t-shirt with a heat press. This is great for one-off designs or even large quantities. The quality is high, and you get vibrant colours with no fading or cracking. However, you will need to invest in special CAD cutters, a heat press and, learning about the softwares and hardwares involved.
4. Direct to Garment (DTG)
The direct-to-garment printing process operates much like an ink-jet printer you would have at home. DTG prints ink directly onto the t-shirt and can produce full color images with accuracy. Just like a Heat Transfer, a DTG printer is great for small orders or one-offs. However, when it comes to volume or larger productions the DTG is not really cost and labor effective. You can only print one t-shirt at a time.
Since there really is no setup cost, the best place for this is a small DIY home printing business.
Platform to sell your t-shirts on
If you don’t want to open up your own site just yet, you can look into either selling your designs or t-shirts on online platforms like shopify, Teespring, CafePress, etc. While they are both easy to use, with shopify you get the added benefit of brand building. You can even use some of these sites for printing and dropshipping. This cuts down even more work for you and helps you learn more for when you decide to expand your business. Most importantly though is that you will get more traffic from these platforms, resulting in more sales.
The T-shirt Printing Industry is a great way and place to start off if you want to get into the fashion industry.