General Question

Theotherkid's avatar

Starting to design and market T-Shirts?

Asked by Theotherkid (884 points ) September 10th, 2010

I’ve recently been thinking about designing and selling t-shirts. There are two websites that I have in mind as a “starting point”. These sites are Threadless and Zazzle, and each has their advantages and disadvantages. Threadless offers a large sum of money if your t-shirt is printed ($2,000), and another large sum of money every time it is reprinted ($500). However, your designs must be chosen by the Threadless community. With Zazzle, you don’t need to have your design accepted by any community, and can start selling the shirt immediately. However, The pay is low at $1 – $5 for every t-shirt sold. Which is the better route to go? Feel free to suggest any other options.

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10 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

This shop on Etsy has the highest number of listings. That’s how I found it. They sell t-shirts and have over 9000 sales. I have no idea how they do that.

Could you do both Threadless and Zazzle at first and see which one works better for you?

anartist's avatar

do both. If you have a real winner do Threadless first. Thanks for the tip I may try it.

Pistol's avatar

You might try redbubble.com You can upload your artwork for free, they have a base price for shirts (say like 20 bucks) then you add your markup (5 bucks?) and you keep the profit while they do the printing, shipping, etc and keep the base price.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

If your design isn’t accepted at Threadless, can you still use it at Zazzle or wherever else? If so, shoot for the high pay first. Also, you’ll get feedback on your design at Threadless, and that could be valuable.

truecomedian's avatar

What if you just had stencils made, and you put quotes from famous people on the shirts, real simple like. Or made up your own words of wisdom and wit. Also, there is the www.yudu.com but I don’t know if that would work for you. I think that if there was a way to set yourself apart from other t shirts, in any way, that would be key. Maybe the simplicity yet the message your shirts conveyed would help. Get money from product makers to put there product advertisment on your shirts, and do it so it’s cool and people actually wear them. Then you could get money from the product manufacturer. Ahh, that’s all I can come up with. Know it sucks.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

@truecomedian I can’t believe I didn’t think to say anything about stencils! Forget having them made, make them yourself if the design allows for it. Most designs can be stenciled, though it’s a pain if you want certain color effects. I’ve been cutting my own stencils for four years now, and the quality is comparable to screen printing.

truecomedian's avatar

Stencils could really work, that and making your own stamps. Taking blocks of would and thin rubber and making your own stamps, to stamp on the shirt. You could combine the two.

hobbitsubculture's avatar

I’ve found that stamps don’t work as well on t-shirt material as stencils, but they’re decent for something stiffer like canvas. Actually, right now I am wearing a sweatshirt that was a failed attempt at stamping on fabric. The stars came out blobby, but it ended up looking cool because I outlined them in a contrasting color, then threw on some paint splatters.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
DWW25921's avatar

I personally would recommend Redbubble.com and Zazzle.com Both sites have their own personalities but I have sold on both.

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