How to Start a T-shirt Business for Under $100

When I tell people that I started my 6 figure t-shirt shop for only $100 back in 2016, they never believe me. But it’s absolutely true and i’m here to share how you can too.

Even though running a t-shirt shop was my full time job, you can totally start one as a side hustle too. You don’t need any inventory, fancy software or really any business knowledge. All you need is an idea and $100.

Let’s dive in…

Pick a Niche & Validate Your Idea

You have already decided that you want to sell t-shirts so now you need to understand if what you want to sell will make you any money. Think about what kind of t-shirts you are going to design. And i’m not talking about the brand. I’m talking about who are you going to sell them too. Once you have that figured out, do some google searching and validate your idea. Is it something that people are searching for and will pay money to buy?

Get clear on who you will be selling to & make sure the idea is profitable.

Sign up for Canva

After you have validated your idea and picked a niche head over to my favorite (free) creative tool, Canva. I personally never used photoshop (because I had no clue how to use it) so I used Canva to create all my t-shirt designs.

I recommend signing up for the paid version to get access to custom fonts, templates and the ability to save your designs on a transparent background along with many other perks.

Pick a Print on Demand Company

Next, you will need to pick a Print on Demand company that will do all the fulfilling and shipping for you. Yes, these companies exist and I used this one from the moment I started my business to the moment I sold it.

When looking for a POD suppliers, don’t settle. Do your research and find the service that aligns with your business objectives. Look at their fulfillment time, customer service, quality of print, and their cost. I’ve tried a few over the years and nothing best this one.

Order Samples

Once you have picked a print on demand company you want to work with, it’s imperative that you order samples to see what your designs will look like. The bulk of the $100 you spend will be going here.

Selling t-shirts online is very competitive, so you want to make sure the product your customer receives lives up to your standard. If you’re only selling t-shirts, order a few styles and see which ones you like best.

Hack: If you’re only interested in ordering blank shirts, get them on Amazon to save money.

Take Product Photos

Once all your samples have come in and you have decided which shirts & designs you want to use, you need to think about product photography. This is extremely important when selling anything online. Make sure to have bright and crisp photos so your customer can see exactly what they are getting.

You can either take your own photos if you are handy with a camera or your iPhone. You can use presets and the free Lightroom app to edit your photos before you put them online. I love this shop for inexpensive presets.

You can also head over to my Etsy shop and purchase a few model mockups that will make your designs really stand out without spending a fortune on a professional photoshoot.

Open an Etsy Shop

The final step is to open an Etsy shop. I always recommend Etsy to beginner shops because its a great (and cheap) was to get your products in front of people. You don’t need to do any marketing since Etsy does all the work for you. Just upload your images to the platform, enter in your titles and tags (for Etsy SEO purposes) and voila… you have a shop!

Lets recap the costs:

Pick a niche/ validate your idea : Free

Sign up for the pro version of canva: $10

Ordering samples: $60

Mockups: $20

Etsy shop: $10 will get you 50 listings


$100 total

Want to learn how I built a $200k t-shirt shop on Instagram? I share everything I did here.

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