There are thousands, if not millions of people out there whose heads are filled with loads of creative ideas. Their passion is to create art and other products and share them with the world. But within that group is another set of people who specifically love to create clothes for other people. The fashion industry is huge and obviously not everyone can be a part of the high fashion society, but for the average Joe a t-shirt may be much more appealing anyway. More affordable for sure!
What’s even more important to note, is the fact that setting up your own t-shirt shop or t-shirt label can be very expensive. Particularly when you’re just starting out and don’t even have any customers yet, buying blank shirts and printing your designs on them can become quite costly. If no one buys your shirts, you’ll end up sitting with thousands of dollars worth of stock. Trust me, I’ve been there. I actually still have a few hundred t-shirts which I still haven’t been able to sell. And since they’re not going anywhere, they’re literally dead stock.
But there’s a solution to this problem and it’s called “print on-demand” (POD). Print on-demand has been around for a while already, but it only really took off around 2008. The nice thing about POD services providers is that they allow you to test your ideas and projects before you go all in with everything you have. The margin you make per shirt is fairly low at the beginning, but given that you don’t have to hold any stock and most of the other hassle is done for you (such as printing, delivery, invoicing etc), it’s actually a pretty good deal to start with.
Today there are various different POD websites out there and they all differ a little bit in the way they work. If you’ve read my FREE eBook “Apparel on Autopilot”, you’ll know that I choose to work with Spreadshirt on most of my projects. Not only because I’m familiar with the platform, but also because it’s probably one of best options available in terms of striking a balance between efficient processes and control over your shop. That being said, they’re obviously not perfect and some issues still bother me to this date. However, if you’re just starting out and what get moving quickly with your own shop, then I highly recommend Spreadshirt.
So where do you start? Well, that’s the purpose of this article. Whether you want to be the owner of an online t-shirt shop or just want to create designs and earn your commissions. I’ll show you how to set up your own Spreadshirt T-Shirt Shop and create your own T-Shirt in under 10 minutes. And if you’re a designer, you can get started even quicker!
I saw it coming and I already told you this in my previous monthly income reports. It was clear that this summer would be a good one, but June exceeded my expectations by far. Sales continued to climb and got an extra boost thanks to the EURO 2016. It was by far my best non-Christmas sales month in more than 2 years!
Furthermore, almost 3 years after I initially started my own t-shirt printing project (before I found out I had to move to Cape Town), I’ve actually made my first t-shirt sale via my GoCaptain Shop. I know it sounds like a joke and it kind of is, because I haven’t invested any time or money into it. But it’s so bewildering to see your first actual t-shirt sale come through and deliver it to your customer. Read all about it in my June income report!
Welcome back to the The T-Shirt Academy and my monthly income reports. I’m a bit late for the May report, but for the sake of completeness I like to share all the details anyway, so that you get a feeling for what my monthly economics looks like. Overall May was a great month and you could really see that summer sales will starting to gain pace. That being said, it’s clear that there’s still so much more potential. This is just a small taste of what’s waiting for you in the June income report.
You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting a lot of articles recently and I actually missed out on sharing my income reports for the past few months. I’ve caught up on that now and if you’re curious to find out more on why that is, then I suggest you read through the last few reports. Or just skip that part and read this report. I do talk about some of the reasons for the lack of activity as of late.
Other than that, I can report that April was another great month and that sales are looking very promising. Once again, the odd payout cycle sort of masks this (read my March 2016 report for more details about this), but I can assure you, I’m seeing the boosted performance in my live numbers every day. I have a very good feeling about this year. Anyway, let’s get down to business!
At first glance it might look like March was a weaker month than February because my Spreadshirt payout went down compared to the previous month. However, that is actually not true. In this context, it is important to understand how Spreadshirt payouts work and how I track my sales numbers.
When I track my sales, I take the daily sales recap which Spreadshirt sends out after most work days. This give me live feedback regarding t-shirt which have been ordered, paid for and sent out to the customers. The delay is minimal. Of course, sometimes there are chargebacks or returns for which I then get deducted my commission, but those are not too serious. My commissions end up in my account, waiting to be paid out.
February was another relatively good month in terms of sales, but slow in terms of the time and work that I invested in my t-shirt business. I was on annual leave for more then 3 weeks, which was obviously very long and also well-deserved. We actually went back to Cape Town again for some proper nostalgia. After more than a year without proper leave, we simply wanted something more relaxing and easy. We had the strong urge to return to South Africa after having lived there for almost two years. We didn’t want to pressure ourselves with sightseeing or any other unnecessary commitments. We simply wanted to have a good time and enjoy the amazing food, wine, weather and friends.
However, it also meant that I couldn’t focus as much on my t-shirt business as I would have like to. Furthermore, Tina and I came to the conclusion that her own little project (not t-shirt related) bore significant potential and needed a proper push from both of us. I therefore decided to commit myself to her project full-time for the time-being (full-time = all my spare time outside of work). Even though this has little to do with The T-Shirt Academy, I’m sure I share some details with all of you in due time.
January has always been one of the weakest months in terms of actual sales. Due to the way Spreadshirt pays out its commissions, it actually ends up being a good one because I get paid all my sales from December. However, the shopping spree from Christmas comes to an abrupt halt. There are no particular occasions or holidays for which people would normally buy t-shirts and the weather is obviously not ideal for T-Shirts. Nevertheless, there is some news to talk about.
This is my very first full-fledged income report and it’s a very special one because it marks the end of an interesting and insightful year during which I worked A LOT on turning around the downward sales trend which I’ve had to witness the past 2 years.
The idea behind these reports is to give you an in-depth view into the inner workings of my t-shirt business finances. I will share with you not only some of the things I’ve been working on, the good and the bad, but also give you a detailed breakdown of my different income streams and expenses.
Ideally, what I am about to share with you is meant to inspire you and motivate you to take action, because without action there cannot be a proper result. Remember, just because my business runs mostly on autopilot, that doesn’t mean I you don’t need to nurture it. And it took a lot of hard work and many hours of creativity to get to the point where I am today. I hope you enjoy this report. I’m always keen to hear what you think and how I can improve them.
Glennz Tees is a world-famous t-shirt company owned by t-shirt guru Glenn Jones from New Zealand, thus the name Glennz (Glenn+NZ). Glenn is a graphic designer who, for over 18 years, has worked in the design industry focusing on packaging, illustration and corporate identity. While doing corporate designs, he was also making creative t-shirt designs on the side and submitted them on the t-shirt design site Threadless.com in 2004. His designs were well-loved by many on Threadless and, in no time, he became a celebrity to the Threadless shoppers and to t-shirt lovers all over the world. He was the most printed designer. Every t-shirt freak loved Glennz, the t-shirt guru on Threadless!
Because of his celebrity status in the t-shirt world, a US-based t-shirt company contacted him and proposed for partnership in 2008. Glen decided that it was time for him to move out from Threadless and start his own line. Now, Glen designs t-shirt artwork in his home office in New Zealand while everything else is made in Austin, Texas by his partner company.
After watching and reading a lot of interviews of Glen Jones on the success of Glennz Tees, I’ve come up with five things that make his t-shirt business such a great hit:
So you’ve got 1,001 really cool t-shirt design ideas that you can’t wait to print on tees, but before calling your graphic designer for an all-nighter, let me ask you this: how can you be so sure that those t-shirt designs would sell? How can you be sure that you’re not just delusional or overly optimistic in thinking that the design that you love would be loved by your customers, too? Does this confidence spring from your knowledge and familiarity about your customers or does it just come from mere gut feel?
I may sound like a party pooper but do hear me out. My intention is just to save you thousands of dollars! If you’ve done your research and you have your numbers, then maybe I can’t do you any good because you already know what you’re doing. However, common sense tells me that you are still on your way to figuring out the t-shirt business code (or else you wouldn’t be reading this article).
Confidence in creating t-shirt designs come from experience, knowing the t-shirt design trends, and familiarity with your customers. If you are not equipped with enough experience, then it is absolutely necessary that you get to know your customers from head to toe. This is not only useful in designing t-shirts, knowing your customers by heart is essential for you to run a successful business.
In order to have a successful t-shirt business, here are the things you have to know from your target customers: