The hype in the t-shirt industry is undeniable. All you need to do is scroll through your social media feed to see ads for various t-shirts tailored to your interests. If you want to follow the trend, you should know starting a screenprint dropshipping company is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, hard work, and a little design, marketing, and business knowledge to make it a rewarding and profitable venture. Here are the steps to get you started, and if you follow them, you’ll flourish in no time.
1. Find A Niche
Come up with an idea for your brand. Clothes are an emotional purchase. Find a niche or gap in designs that your brand can fill and develop a good story behind your brand that will attract the group of people for your t-shirts. You can choose environmentally-conscious shirts, your favorite book quote, or shirts featuring your artwork. Common themes include humor, sports, pop culture, nerdy or fan-based, and more.
Whatever your starting point, you should build in a niche that calls to you to create a strong brand. When you aren’t passionate or invested, you are less likely to devote the necessary time, resources, and energy to the project, which will fizzle quickly.
2. Select Your Print-On-Demand Service
You need to know your rough designs to select a service that can fulfill your vision. However, you can choose the provider and work within their framework to create your designs.
Some drop-ship shirt fulfillment companies only offer similar designs within specific parameters, while others allow complete customization. How much control you want over the look of your design will influence the type of service you should select. Other factors you should consider are:
- The prices they are offering
- Their return policy
- Whether they have a satisfaction guarantee
- If they limit when you can add or take away designs
These should help you filter out which companies will work and which won’t fit your business plan. Your success partially depends on partnering with a reliable supplier and balancing your quality and price to achieve a minimum of a 30% profit margin.
3. Create High-Quality Designs For Your T-Shirts
Steps two and three are practically interchangeable. The benefit of dropshipping is that you don’t have to invest money upfront in inventory. The provider prints all the products as orders arrive, so you don’t have upfront costs. You can design as many elaborate and customized t-shirts as you want.
Because of this, take time to get your initial designs listed. You’ve only lost the initial design time if they don’t sell. You can simply remove them from your store. You can also quickly add more to your product line to see how they perform when creativity strikes again. If you are more into concepts and not an artist, you may want to hire a graphic designer or use the service from your supplier to help get your ideas in a printable format.
4. Review Order Samples
Dropshipping eliminates the need to manage and store inventory. However, this means you can start selling without ever handling your product. It’s crucial to order samples before launching your store. You can check the quality of your products. You don’t want to put your name on something not up to your standard. Try ordering multiple styles in alternating sizes to compare before making your final decision.
Save the samples for marketing photos and videos of your product. Try and get a combination of people, backgrounds, and styles to showcase the range of your products. People are more likely to buy things they can imagine themselves wearing; the odds increase when you have a photo, so they don’t even have to picture it themselves.
5. Build Your Dropship T-Shirt Printing Store
There are several e-commerce platforms with various pros and cons. Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and Woocommerce are just a few popular ones to compare. Some are geared for international purchases, while others have built-in marketing tools with varying price points or opportunities to upgrade as needed. Consider the price, whether a flat monthly fee or per transaction fee, the user interface, any integration and plugins, and their mobile optimization so customers can buy your products from any browser or device.
Once you have selected your preferred marketplace, you need to push your products to your store and set prices. You need to consider the price your dropshipping provider charges, including shipping or if that’s a separate cost, and your overall retail cost for the product.
6. Promote Your Store
Word-of-mouth marketing is the cheapest method in the beginning. Encourage your family, friends, and followers to talk about your product. Facilitate user-generated content by asking for product reviews and testimonials to provide social proof to encourage future customers.
Depending on your demographic, you should focus on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to help create brand awareness. You can collaborate with influencers or invest in paid advertising to increase your reach.
7. Analyze Your Performance
Track your sales, profits, and feedback to understand your company’s performance. You can optimize your future marketing strategies, tweak your designs, or completely redesign your product offerings to grow your business. Success takes time, so tracking everything from the beginning lets you see the progress you might otherwise overlook.
While it’s not an effortless journey, dropshipping is a profitable and secure business that’s a great way to get your foot in the door with e-commerce without managing inventory or logistics yourself. Not every idea will work out, but dropshipping mitigates much of the risk associated with a new t-shirt printing business.
Robert is the founder of Thrive Screen Printing and enjoys helping businesses learn how to enhance their brand through screen printing.