Selling t-shirts online is a low-cost answer to starting your own business. With little outlay, you could be turning a profit in no time. But how do you start? What kind of t-shirts can you sell? Where is the best place to sell t-shirts online?
Custom t-shirts are sold on e-commerce websites, offering print-on-demand (POD) services. The t-shirt design is uploaded to a platform like Redbubble or Spring. They print, market, and sell t-shirts. Any profit following production costs is given to the designer. Selling second-hand t-shirts can be done on eBay, Etsy, or Facebook Marketplace.
In this article, you’ll discover the best place to sell your new or used t-shirt. You’ll find out what print-on-demand means and how it can benefit you. Ready to learn how to sell t-shirts online?
- Can You Make Money Selling T-Shirts Online?
- Why Sell Custom Design T-Shirts Online?
- Best Place to Sell T-Shirts Online
- Can I Sell My Old T-Shirts Online?
- What T-Shirts Can You Sell Online?
- What Is Print On Demand?
- What Is the Best Way to Sell T-Shirts Online?
Can You Make Money Selling T-Shirts Online?
Yes, you can make money selling t-shirts online! T-shirts are a staple part of everyone’s wardrobe. This means their demand is huge, particularly if they have slogans or can be classed as memorabilia.
The great thing about selling t-shirts online is there is very little financial outlay. With the rise in print-on-demand platforms, you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or a huge stock inventory. This reduces your overheads and allows you to start your business with little or no capital.
Better still, there are no production costs. You don’t have to print the t-shirts. All you have to do is put a design together, upload it to a print-on-demand website like Redbubble, and sit back and watch the profits roll in.
You can even make money by selling t-shirts you no longer wear. Those forgotten concert souvenirs or the slogan t-shirt that no longer suits your style. Selling them online can earn you some extra cash.
Websites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace are a great outlet for removing t-shirts you no longer wear. Although e-commerce sites like eBay have selling fees, you can still turn a tidy profit if you price your item right.
Whether you’ve designed your t-shirt from scratch or are decluttering your closet, selling t-shirts online can be a lucrative business. One that has the potential to make you money.
Why Sell Custom Design T-Shirts Online?
Selling custom t-shirts online could be your gateway to running your own clothing business. Either as your main source of income or as a side hustle. It’s the perfect low-cost start-up and could boost your income.
If you’ve ever wanted to be a fashion designer, creating your own unique t-shirt designs is a great way to get a feel for producing your own range of apparel. It might not be on the same level as famous designers. But at least it’s a step in the right direction.
With online sales, you can significantly reduce the running costs of your business. There’s no need for an expensive lease on a business location. Nor is there any need to invest in storage for vast quantities of t-shirts in different sizes. You don’t even have to buy or hire printing equipment.
All you need to start designing your custom t-shirts is a computer and a design software package like Affinity Designer or Adobe Illustrator. You don’t even need a desk. A kitchen table or a countertop will do the trick. Balance a notebook PC on your lap while you watch TV if you want to.
That’s the beauty of an online custom-design t-shirt business. It allows you to work where you want, how you want, and when you want. Better still, t-shirts are always in fashion.
They are a popular addition to the wardrobes of old and young alike and are the perfect way to express your personality and interests. With such a vast potential client base, the opportunities to turn your passion for designing into a successful business are endless.
Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, you’re not restricted to your local area. You don’t have to rely on customers dropping into your store during opening hours. Online stores are open 24/7 and can be seen by anyone across the globe.
An online t-shirt business can be run alongside your day job. Or while you are on vacation. All at the push of a button thanks to the World Wide Web.
Best Place to Sell T-Shirts Online
There are several places where you can sell t-shirts online. Most of them are known as print-on-demand platforms or e-Commerce sites. The following list of outlets represents the best available for ease of use and your potential profit margins.
1. Spring (Formerly Teespring)
Originally known as Teespring, Spring is one of the better-known e-Commerce platforms offering print-on-demand. One of the reasons for this is YouTube. If you’ve watched any videos with pictures of t-shirts in the video description, chances are those shirts are listed on Spring.
If you are in the YouTube Partnership Program and meet their requirements, you can link your Spring account to your YouTube channel. The minimum requirement was around 10,000 subscribers, but this has recently been reduced to 1000.
Publicity from YouTube can give your designs an incredible boost. This means you can sell more shirts and make a bigger profit. But don’t worry if you don’t have a YouTube channel or meet the criteria. Spring accounts are open to anyone.
Free to use and simple to set up, Spring allows you to upload your designs for use on t-shirts, hoodies, and even stickers. There are a couple of things to keep in mind with Spring.
Your design is listed for a set period. It may be deactivated by Spring if there are no purchasers within a certain time span. Although Spring does market designs, you have to meet their criteria to be promoted by them. Initial marketing is down to you.
With Redbubble, you get the catwalk treatment. By that I mean your t-shirt designs are worn by models. Instead of a flat, 2D image of a t-shirt with your design, Redbubble’s platform does something clever.
Your designs are superimposed on pictures of real-life models, making it look like you staged a photoshoot. How cool is that! Your customers can see the style and fit of your custom t-shirt on an actual human, which makes it a lot easier for them to decide to buy.
The price of the t-shirt is up to you, but Redbubble will take some of that fee for production costs. Depending on the style of the shirt, the minimum you can expect them to take is around $14 per shirt.
Another thing to watch out for is that Redbubble is global. So there will be different shipping rates, taxes, and production costs in different parts of the world. Not allowing for that might have an impact on your bottom line.
Similarly to Redbubble, Cafepress uses images of models to promote your t-shirt designs. Cafepress also has two different ways in which you can use their services. You can either sell through their online marketplace or link their platform to your website and use it as an online storefront.
The marketplace option gives you a 10% commission from Cafepress’s set price. While your own store allows you to determine what the price should be. As with Redbubble and Spring, production costs are deducted from the sale price and you get what’s left.
One thing to watch with Cafepress is that if you make more than $15 profit on each shirt, they charge an additional transaction fee. Getting paid can also take 60 days from the month you made the sale.
This site is used by some of the big t-shirt designers, including Disney and DC Comics. Because of this, you will find licensed t-shirts side by side with your own. That can attract a lot of traffic, giving you more potential for sales.
Zazzle allows you to set your own royalty payment for your t-shirt designs. You can get up to 20% on everything you sell. They take care of customer service, delivery, and production. Better still, uploading your designs is automatically processed to fit the format the site requires.
One of the great things with Zazzle is customers can alter your design. They can change fonts and colors. This can increase the cost of the t-shirt, which is good news for you. Your profits will increase too.
There are a couple of downsides to Zazzle. You can’t link your own website or online shop to boost customer traffic. They have a minimum payment threshold too. You have to reach $100 in royalties for a check payment. This figure reduces to $50 for payments through Paypal.
With Spreadshirt, you can use their “Customize Tool” to create designs from a selection of preloaded options. This includes fonts and graphics. Or you can upload your own imagery. You can then choose to sell through their marketplace or set up your own online shop.
An online shop front with Spreadshirt can be adapted to suit your brand. You can change colors and fonts to match any existing online presence you may have.
Payments are speedy and take place around the 15th of each month via Paypal or direct deposit. The base price for each t-shirt is slightly lower than other sites we’ve looked at. Giving you the potential of a higher profit margin.
However, if you use your own storefront, Spreadshirt may not promote your designs. You might have to do your own marketing.
Although it is free to set up on Threadless, selling on the platform isn’t an automatic process as it is with other print-on-demand outlets. You can’t upload your design and instantly start selling.
The Threadless community has to vote you in. This creates exclusivity around the site and ensures high-quality designs.
It runs on a competition basis. The more likes a design gets, the more likely you will be picked up by Threadless. They will then manufacture your t-shirt design and start selling them. Not only do you get a cash prize for winning the contest, but you also get royalties from sales of the design.
7. Merch by Amazon
Amazon is one of the largest platforms for online selling. Your t-shirt designs will access a huge volume of potential traffic when you are enrolled in Merch by Amazon. You can’t just sign up, though. Amazon likes to keep things exclusive to protect the quality of the items they sell.
There is an application process you have to go through before you can join. Not everyone is approved. It isn’t just a great t-shirt design you need for Amazon to accept you. You also need a great business model. But once approved, the access to a client base is second to none.
A quick tip for the approval process, don’t focus on your fantastic t-shirts. Mention what benefits you can bring to Amazon and why they need you on their platform.
Once you are part of the Merch by Amazon club, you are subject to some stringent conditions. You only get to upload 25 designs. Those designs get 180 days to sell, or they get removed from the platform.
Selling 25 t-shirts elevates you to the next level, where you can upload 100 designs. Because of this, it might be better to settle for a reduced profit margin until you hit that magic 25 sales.
Primarily aimed as a platform for artists, Society6 is a cool place to sell your custom t-shirts. However, you may need more artistic talent than on some of the other print-on-demand sites.
The platform is ideal as a showcase for your work, not just on t-shirts but also on a range of other products. Society6 takes care of everything from production to marketing, allowing you to create works of art.
Every t-shirt sale will earn you a minimum of 10% commission. You can increase that by selling prints either in frames or on canvas. Add prints to your store and you can set their commission rate at higher than 10%. An affiliate program allows you to get an additional 10% on any sales you refer.
Can I Sell My Old T-Shirts Online?
So far, we’ve looked at t-shirts you design yourself and sell through print on demand. But what about t-shirts you own and want to sell? Those t-shirts are cluttering your closet, for instance. The ones with your favorite pop band or slogan t-shirts you bought as a souvenir.
Then there are the t-shirt blanks you purchased and printed yourself using your own printing equipment. Where is the best place to sell those t-shirts online? Although you can’t use print-on-demand sites to sell existing t-shirts, there are outlets where you can dispose of your unwanted tees and make a profit.
It’s not just t-shirts either. The following sites can be used to sell any clothing items. As long as your clothes are in decent condition, they can earn you extra cash.
eBay is an online auction site for both private and business sellers. You can sell anything on the site as long as it fits their selling guidelines. T-shirts, whether they are second-hand or of your own design, do well on the platform.
There are some fees attached to selling on the platform. These include listing fees, special features, and a final value fee. You also need to consider shipping costs. But, as long as you are sensible about the price of your t-shirt, it is possible to turn a profit.
Easy to set up, your access to the selling platform is instant. As you sell, you’ll gain feedback from purchasers. The better your feedback rating, the more purchasers you will attract.
Originally Etsy was a platform where artists and craftspeople could sell their artwork or handmade items. These days it has opened up to include the sale of collectibles and unique items.
This makes it a good choice for your custom design t-shirts and those you’ve collected as memorabilia over the years.
Etsy is similar to eBay in that you incur selling fees when you use the site. These include a listing fee and a transaction fee. They also include a payment processing fee.
You can market and promote your own item. Or you can pay for their “Offsite Ads” service, which is an extra 15% of the sale price of your t-shirt. All the fees and selling expenses are payable after your item sells.
Poshmark is an eCommerce site where you can sell t-shirts and other clothes. You can also sell accessories like bags. All the items have to be in decent condition and clean.
You do all the work for this one, from taking the pictures to writing the description and setting the price. Poshmark takes a percentage of the sales price, which can be $2.95 for t-shirts under $15 or 20% for those priced higher.
Watch the weight of your t-shirt. Poshmark will email a USPS Priority Mail label to you for sending your package to the buyer. This is paid for by the buyer and covers everything up to 5lbs. Any heavier than that and you need to upgrade to a new shipping label. Extra costs incurred are deducted from your sale proceeds.
ThredUp is a bit like an online consignment or thrift store. It’s a place to get designer or brand name clothing at a bargain price. Depending on their price, you can earn between 5%-80% on your t-shirt sales. The higher-value items attract a higher percentage of commission. For items selling for $5, you’ll likely get 5%.
To sell your t-shirt on ThredUp, it has to be new or like-new. You also need to make sure it is free from alterations, damage, and smells. Your t-shirt will need to be laundered before you send it off to them. They take care of photos, descriptions, and pricing.
The main drawback with ThredUp is that they may not list your clothing. They can be picky about the garments they want to sell. The ones they don’t want are discarded.
ThredUp has a “Return Assurance” system where you pay $10.99 to have your clothing returned to you; otherwise, they send it on for recycling.
5. Facebook Marketplace
Free and accessible by anyone with a Facebook account, Facebook Marketplace is a great way to promote your t-shirts in your local area.
All you need is a picture and description. If the t-shirt doesn’t contradict Facebook’s rules about selling items, it will go live within hours. You can sit back and wait for interested parties to get in touch with you through Facebook.
Although you can post the t-shirt, it’s more usual for people to meet in person to pick up items bought on Facebook Marketplace. If you go down this route, take someone with you and meet in a busy area like a shopping mall parking lot.
The best thing about this option, it’s currently free to use and you can list your items without incurring listing fees or final value fees.
6. Amazon Marketplace
While Merch by Amazon caters to print-on-demand t-shirts, Amazon Marketplace caters to everything else. This is where you can sell your unwanted t-shirts. Or even your previous Amazon purchases you don’t want or need anymore.
You can tap into the same expansive customer base as you would with Merch by Amazon, giving you access to a potential global market for your t-shirt sales.
The platform isn’t free, though. You will incur selling costs. This can vary depending on the scale of your business or side hustle. For an individual plan, you’re looking at a starting cost of $0.99 per item that sells. A professional plan will give you more access to the selling features but comes at a monthly charge of $39.99.
Regardless of the plan you choose, there are other charges involved. These can include referral fees, fulfillment fees, and long-term storage fees. If you want to use Amazon Marketplace to sell your t-shirts online, make sure to read the small print.
What T-Shirts Can You Sell Online?
You can sell any t-shirt online, from custom designs sold through print-on-demand websites to those old t-shirts you no longer wear or want.
T-shirts are a great way to show off your personal style, interests, and support for local causes. Because of this, they make good media for slogans and advertising a company’s brand. They also make great products for fundraising.
Access to an online market increases the potential buying audience. Your artwork on a custom t-shirt can be seen by millions. So too can the collectible t-shirt you are selling for a charity.
Whatever the reason for selling your t-shirt, you can sell it online. The size, design, and age of the shirt don’t matter as long as it’s in good condition and clean. All you need to do is select the right online outlet to sell it.
Pick an eCommerce site like eBay or Facebook Marketplace for an existing t-shirt. Go down the print-on-demand route to sell your t-shirt designs.
What Is Print On Demand?
Print on demand is a system where t-shirts or other items are sold based on a photo or image of the design. When a purchaser buys the design, it is printed on the item they choose. This can be a t-shirt, sweatshirt, sticker, or mug.
This enables costs to be kept low. As the design is printed on demand, or rather as the item is sold, there’s no need to keep large inventories of t-shirts in different sizes and designs.
In contrast, an off-the-rack system is where a shopping outlet holds a large inventory of stock for sale on clothes racks. These are printed in different designs and on different sizes of t-shirts.
All in the hope that purchasers will see them and buy the shirt. Places like Walmart or Target work in this way.
What Is the Best Way to Sell T-Shirts Online?
The best way to sell t-shirts online is by using a print-on-demand site. Sites like Zazzle, Spring, and Redbubble print your t-shirt designs as they are sold. They take a small percentage to cover production costs and you get the rest. This can be a lucrative and cost-effective way of entering the world of fashion design.
Decluttering t-shirts from your closet can be done through eBay or Poshmark. Both give you access to a large audience of potential t-shirt purchasers.
Have you designed your own t-shirts? Have you tried using a print-on-demand site? Which one did you use and how did you get on? Let me know in the comments.