Everybody has a favorite T-shirt with a design, name, picture, quote, symbol, saying, or graphic on it. Hoodies, crewnecks, and golf shirts are just a few common types of apparel that can be customized for your niche/brand.
If you’re looking for a place to build a brand and sell your merch to your loyal fans, the print-on-demand business is a low-cost business opportunity. There is no limitation on how much you can earn from running a print-on-demand website. Done right, you can make $500 per month, $10k per month, or even more. The Print-On-Demand Custom T-shirt market will exceed 10 billion dollars by 2025.
However, like any good business model, it does require some homework and discovery. Take some time to build a brand strategy and put in the effort to develop a solid marketing strategy. Understand your product or service offering, who your potential customers are, and what print-on-demand companies/eCommerce platform is best for your business.
How do you get started?
#1 Pick Your Niche
Take some time, think about what you are passionate about, do some research to see if there’s a market for your niche. This shouldn’t be something that feels like a trend, necessarily; it needs to be sustainable. Ideally, this is something that you can see being passionate about for 5 years or more.
One piece of advice veteran SPOD (Spreadshop Print-On-Demand) seller Sean Ali gave to us in a recent interview was that new sellers should always try to find what sells when they first start. Focus on being specific and you will see greater success instead of trying to do multiple things. This simple piece of advice has led him to operating 3 shops (soon to be 4!).
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t just dismiss trends, though. Moment merch is an opportunity for you to jump on micro-trends and use them as a monetizing opportunity for your brand.
#2 Determine What You Want to Sell
T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, backpacks, notepads, keychains – there’s so many choices when it comes to merch! What are you interested in selling? What are the products that people in your niche would be more likely to purchase? Use your niche to your advantage! If you’re all about exploring the outdoors and nature, cinch backpacks and reusable water bottles are perfect merch offerings.
Ultimately, you don’t want to offer products that your audience isn’t going to be interested in. Having too many products can also be overwhelming for people. Take some cues from shop owner Nephyrus. Their shop feels curated thanks to a specific color scheme and selected offerings. It feels like an experience when you’re buying and even just browsing their shop.
#3 Make a Design
One of our favorite design tools is Canva. It’s easy to use and is great for people who don’t have any design experience. You can make a T-shirt design in just 5 minutes using Canva. With just a few clicks, you can create a design that’s uniquely yours. They have templates and design elements to help you create fun graphics and text-based designs. You can even upload your brand colors to make sure your merch feels authentic to your brand.
There’s a lot of great design apps out there that don’t have a huge learning curve. Here’s some other suggestions:
#4 Use an E-commerce Platform
Or do a custom integration with the SPOD API. Set up the basic pages, and you can add more as you grow. Include a Homepage, Contact Us page, About Us page, Payment details page, and whatever else may be important to your site. This step can take time, but make sure to think it through the eyes of your user and do it properly. Test the site on different browsers and make sure it works on mobile. This really is one of the most essential steps in the success of your print-on-demand business.
If you don’t want to deal with other integrations or aren’t expecting a lot of orders, Spreadshop is a great place to start. It’s FREE to use and easy to personalize your shop. Upload your designs and pick what products you want to offer. We handle everything on the production side, you just have to get creative.
#6 Promote Your Site and Sell, Sell, Sell!
Your goal here is to get noticed and create sales! You want customers to come to your website and be motivated to make a purchase. With a developed marketing strategy be sure to tell your brand story. People love to hear about your why!
Share your business with friends and family and ask them to share it too. Create and maintain a presence with your target audience by consistently creating new content that will engage your users. Also – be sure to interact with other accounts related to yours and always leave positive comments and feedback on other accounts. Learn how to create a social media strategy.
Creating content is a great way to build trust and become an expert in your field. Regularly publish bogs, product reviews, unboxing videos, tips, tricks, and hacks. These are all great ways to interact and share with your target market. While video is more of a marketing tool than strategy, using video has become the best way to show authenticity and build trust. Let your customers know who you are, what you’re about, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. When creating content, think how it can be done in video form.
Take the time to think your POD business through. Do the research and speak with those who have been successful in creating a POD business. You can watch YouTube videos and read blogs. Researching the information that is key to your success. Make note of what has worked for others and what hasn’t worked so that you don’t make the same mistakes. Success truly does leave clues!
Create a business plan like you would with any other business and map things out. If you need help there are FREE resources out there that you can take full advantage of to help you get started. The more planning and research you do the better the overall outcome will be.
Don’t be afraid of failure or making mistakes. Remember, it only takes years of hard work, mistakes, and failure to become an overnight success.