How To Start A T Shirt Business

Are you planning to start a custom design t-shirts business?

Starting a new business is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. You have the opportunity to finally run things your way. You can work as long and as hard as you want and reap all the rewards that come from that hard work and commitment.

So what exactly do you need to get started at home with your new business. You can apply these same principles to a store front if you are going that route, but for the sake of this article I’m assuming you want to start small. Obviously you need a space to work. You are going to need a computer with a software program to create your designs, such as Adobe Illustrator or the free program Gimp. You will need a supply of blank shirts which you can get for around $1 to $1.25 per shirt depending upon the bulk you purchase in.

There are three main methods for printing your designs:

1. Silk Screen Printing – which is a method of burning an image with light on to a nylon screen and then applying dye ink to the shirt through the screen to arrive at your desired image. For many years this was considered the only professional way to create shirts. The start-up cost for this is in the neighborhood of $1200.

2. Heat Press with transfers – A heat press is exactly what the name implies, it is a machine with two Teflon plates that press together over a shirt to transfer an inked image from a special transfer paper, thereby leaving that image on the shirt. This is the most affordable method starting as low as a $600 investment.

3. Direct To Garment (DTG) – This is a relatively new entrance in to the t-shirt design business and is simply a printer that puts your image directly to the garment instead of going through a transfer paper. Cafe Press uses DTG printers for their shirts and the quality is great. This is the least affordable option, however, with some printers being around $25,000. You could possibly get going for under $10,000, but that’s still a large investment to earn back.

Any of these methods will give you great looking t shirts. The one I would personally recommend starting out obviously is the least expensive option with the heat press and transfer paper.

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