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Shopify T-Shirt Business (2021): Should You Use Print-On-Demand?

It doesn’t matter what your taste in fashion is, everyone has room in their closet for t-shirts. Not only are they great for casual wear, but they also let you express yourself in a fun way. Because of their popularity, t-shirts make for a great business venture, especially for those who aren’t too keen on investing a ton of money. The print-on-demand process makes it even easier to manage a t-shirt business.

So where can you start selling? Shopify is easily one of the best options out there. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re a beginner-friendly website builder that will have you selling your t-shirts within the hour. Aside from being easy to use, you also get access to a wide variety of apps that you can use to customize your online store as well as powerful e-commerce tools that will help you grow your business.

To help you with your Shopify t-shirt business, here’s everything you need to know about the print-on-demand process, the different print-on-demand services that you can integrate into your Shopify store, as well as tips on how to get started.

What Is Print-on-Demand?

There are some pros and cons to having a print-on-demand t-shirt business.

Print-on-demand is a low-risk business model that doesn’t require you to have inventory.

If you’re not exactly sure what print-on-demand means, we’re here to break it down for you. It’s a process wherein you work with a supplier who will customize white-label products with designs that you provide. These customized items are sold on a per-order basis. Basically, you handle the designing and the selling and then everything after that, from the printing down to the shipping, will be the responsibility of the supplier.

One of the pros of the print-on-demand process is the fact that you can create and sell fast. Once you have a design, you can put it up for sale on your Shopify online store right away without actually having to produce anything just yet. Also, it’s a great convenience that you don’t have to worry about the logistics of shipping because that’s taken care of by your supplier. All you have to concern yourself with is customer service once a sale has been made. Another advantage is that it’s a low-risk business model because you don’t have any physical inventory.

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However, there are some cons to the print-on-demand model that you need to be aware of. For one, your profits could be on the lower end of the spectrum. This is because typically, it would cost you more to buy items individually versus if you were to purchase in bulk. Another downside is the fact that you have no control over shipping costs as well as the packaging of your products. Also, your customization options depend completely on your supplier and what kind of printing techniques they’re capable of.

Print-On-Demand Services For Your Shopify T-Shirt Store

There are plenty of print-on-demand apps that you can integrate into your Shopify store. 

Once you’ve created your t-shirt designs and your Shopify store is up and running, it’s time to find a supplier. Fortunately, there are quite a few print-on-demand services out there that you can integrate into your Shopify store. This way, they’ll immediately know once an order has been made and they can start the process of printing and ship the items out as soon as possible. Below are a few examples of print-on-demand suppliers with apps that you can hook up to your Shopify store.

teelaunch has production facilities all over the world.

teelaunch has helped make the designs of over 120,000 Shopify stores come to life. Just to give you an idea of how popular they are, about 23 products are created per second via their app. What’s great about them is that they have production facilities all over the world, allowing their clients to sell from anywhere to anywhere. They’re also able to keep the prices of their products low, allowing you to reap as much profit as possible. To boot, their app is streamlined and easy to use and so you can create products in a jiffy.

Printify makes it easy to visualize the actual product with their mockup generator. 

If you’re not sure how your designs will look on a t-shirt, don’t worry because Printify will make it easy for you to visualize things. Simply upload your design to their mockup generator and you’ll get to see how the actual product will look like. Once you’ve published your design, it will automatically sync with your Shopify store. Another advantage of using Printify is the fact that you gain access to the best printing partners from the US, UK, and China. You also get maximum control as it’s up to you to choose the price, location, and shipping time.

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Gooten is transparent when it comes to every step of the process. 

One of the drawbacks of print-on-demand is not having control beyond the sale. You don’t have to worry about this if you’re working with Gooten though because they’re very transparent when it comes to the entire process. This way, you know exactly what’s going on and you can make sure that there are no errors and that all items are delivered in a timely manner. If you get spikes in orders, you don’t have to panic because you can be sure that Gooten will be able to accommodate them through their vast manufacturing and fulfillment network.

Printful lets your customers personalize your designs right in your online store.

If you’re not sure how to go about designing your t-shirts, Printful will come in handy because they have design templates that are free for you to use. They also have a mockup generator that will allow you to see how the final product will end up like. Another benefit of integrating Printul into your Shopify store is that your customers will be able to directly personalize your designs according to their preferences. If, however, you’re having trouble finding your way around their app, you can be at ease because their 24/7 support will be ready to answer your questions.

Tips On How To Start A Shopify T-Shirt Business

Here’s how you can make sure your Shopify t-shirt business is a success. 

It’s important to think about quality, branding, and target audience. 

There are loads of other t-shirt businesses out there and so if you want to succeed, you need to stand out. The best way to do so is by finding your niche. It’s not just enough, for example, to create t-shirts with funny sayings on them. You have to be specific and pick out who you want the funny sayings to target (eg: dog lovers, dads, or doctors). If you’re not sure which niche you’d like to zone in on, you could pick out something that is of genuine interest to you or maybe one that’s still untapped. Once you know which specific audience you want to cater to, it will be a lot easier for you to create designs that are unique. After all, no one wants copycat designs that you can find elsewhere.

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Another very important thing to consider when you’re starting a t-shirt business is quality. You can’t expect to succeed if your tees fall apart or if the print fades after a couple of washes. If you’re using the print-on-demand process, you have to make sure that the material and printing techniques your supplier is using are of quality. While this might end up costing you more, this also means that you can demand higher prices and reap more profit. You can also bet that you’ll get more repurchases this way as your customers will be satisfied with their orders.

Your branding has to be on point as well if you want a successful t-shirt business that stands out in the crowded industry. It is basically your promise to your customers and it is also what ties all the elements of your business together. Your niche will have a lot to do with the way you brand yourself and so it’s important that you know exactly what appeals to them. Once you’ve learned enough about your target audience, let these insights influence the way you craft your messages, create your logo, and design your online store.


Shopify and the print-on-demand model make it easy for you to start an online t-shirt business. 

Shopify pretty much gives you everything you need to start your very own online t-shirt business. You can even integrate print-on-demand apps into your Shopify store so that the whole process, from the designing, to the selling, to the printing, to the shipping, is a seamless one. To make sure your business turns out to be a success, some of the most important things you need to do include determining a niche, choosing a supplier that prioritizes quality, and building a strong brand that will set you apart from all the others.

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Denise Jose