How To Start Your Own T-shirt Shop.

So you are interested in selling your designs or starting an online T-shirt Shop. Well then, you have a few options available to you. You could sell your designs outright to certain companies perhaps even work freelance. You could start your own printing company if you had the money. You could buy T-shirts wholesale and resell them online. If you are a Do-It-Yourself type looking for some Content Management Program and a Web Presence for your own printed tees or via a Drop Shipping Service then Shopify is your best bet. But more than likely you are interested in starting your own online T-shirt shop through a "Print on Demand" service.

The first step is choosing a Print On Demand company that you want to sell through. I have reviewed the ones that you see in the alphabetized list further below. Not all brands are listed as some are a complete and total waste of time.

There are many companies to choose from and the most popular and most famous is not the best. Cafepress for lack of a better word "SUCKS". They treat their shopkeepers like crap. To learn more on why not to choose Cafepress please read the article entitled "The Reasons Why CafePress Sucks." as the list of complaints is way too long to post here.

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Print on Demand T-shirt Companies Updated: 04/24/2016: (* denotes Tee Fetch's Preference.)

How To Start Your Own T-shirt Shop.

  1. Cafepress (0 stars) - If you respect yourself you will not choose Cafepress. Infamous for ripping off the shopkeeper and low grade printing. They are only popular for being the first basically. The only reason they are on this list is because people will be asking about them.
  2. Design By Humans (4.5 stars) - Tied for third best for DTG prints as they are a better than average and reputable brand in Print On Demand Direct To Garment printing. Their prints are not as bold and vivid as NeatoShop's, but they offer more niches than most of the other sites. Their pricing is average ($24+). I'm happy with their products. To qualify for a T-shirt shop here the designer and artwork must be approved as they are juried (aka quality control which is a good thing) . Read the Design By Humans brand review for more information about their brand and quality.
  3. NeatoShop* (5 stars) - The Absolute Best in Print On Demand Direct To Garment printing. Their prints are bolder, larger, and last longer. They are now at the level that the volume of sales can rival Redbubble's if you optimize your shop properly. Better pricing. If you qualify (juried) to have a t-shirt shop or dropship service from them then don't waste your time at any other site as this is the new champion as I am happy with the products and customer service. They have a wide range of apparel products. Read the NeatoShop brand review for more information about their brand and quality.
  4. RedBubble (3.5 Stars) - One of the growing companies that will hopefully dethrone CafePress. This is more of an artists community. Only Digital Printing for tees, Sublimation for items such as throw pillows. This is your fourth best bet for a Print on Demand service. They used to be the best choice for the time but now they are fourth. They have a wide range of products. High prices (24+++). Their print quality could be better. With that stated, their products are good but I'd look someplace else first for both shopping and selling unless it is for throw pillows as those use the sublimation technique and turn out better than the apparel.
  5. Society6* (4.5 stars for DTG, 5 stars for Sublimation) - They are tied at third best for DTG prints and the Absolute Best for ALL OVER SUBLIMATION prints which is their main attraction. Their Red end of the printing spectrum is better than all Print On Demand sites except NeatoShop. They also offer a wide range of apparel and non apparel products. I am happy with their products especially the All Over Print tees (Brand Review page coming soon). They are impressive. Lots of niches. If your art is not pop culture based, consider them for your own T-shirt shop.
  6. TeePublic* (4.8 stars) - (NOW OWNED BY REDBUBBLE as of around October 2018) The second best P.O.D. site, pricing has a lot to do with this. Their prints are(were) good and were better than Redbubble's but they are still not on par with NeatoShop at least not for the Red end of the printing spectrum (like most of the other P.O.D's aren't). Most likely them being bought out means they will end up with the same quality as Redbubble. I was happy with their products. They have a great selling platform which places them above DBH and Society6. They are a wise choice for starting a T-shirt shop. Read the TeePublic brand review for more information about their brand and quality (written before they were bought out by Redbubble).
  7. You can have a shop at all of the P.O.D's but I wouldn't recommend having the same designs and niche at all of them for various reasons.

Non-Print on Demand Services For Setting Up An Online T-shirt Shop:

  1. Shopify - The eCommerce functionality and web design aspects for shops is second to none. If you do your own printing or partner with a local printer and or ship items yourself then this setup is right for you. If you use a Drop Shipping service from a POD or Screen Printing service then this is also ideal. You can even sell from Pinterest which is a huge benefit if you know how Pinterest works. You do more of the work since there is less middle-men but you keep more of the profits. A lot of the Limited Edition T-shirt Sites and Tee Brands use this service for their online presence. Please read The Reasons Why To Choose Shopify.
  2. Refersion - Is a reasonably priced affiliate marketing platform for Small and Large Businesses that lets you recruit affiliates to market your products for a commission from the sale. It integrates well with Shopify via an app. If you have your own brand and site or shop and print the stuff yourself this is a must do strategy. Typically T-shirt brands pay their affiliates 10% of the sale. Some are less and some are more.