Top 5 Mistakes Made When Starting A T-Shirt Line –


Hi there, and welcome to!

My name is Gary. I have been working as a brand graphic designer for over 20 years now, and I am here to share my wealth of knowledge with you. I teach people to design, market, and promote their t-shirt business.

This blog is about starting a t-shirt business because this is what Tshirthelpdesk stands for! So, I am going to mention the mistakes that a lot of people make while starting their t-shirt line.

I am doing this because I started my first t-shirt business in 1989, and I wish that I had me to help me back then, if you get my drift. So, I am doing this to help you by writing the list of the top 5 mistakes that people make while starting a t-shirt business.

So, let’s get started!

Top 5 Mistakes Made When Starting A T-shirt Line

1.) Poor quality designs 

The first mistake that most people make is that they put poor-quality designs on their t-shirts.

Remember that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and, what you may think is a good design might actually be the worst design in the eyes of other people.

So, I strongly suggest that you ask other people about their opinion on your designs.

Now, as I recommend in my book, Start a T-shirt business or Die trying, You should never ask your family and friends for their opinions on your designs because there are chances that they are not going to be completely honest.

So, ask a stranger that you do not know or put your designs on social media and see how many likes it gets.

Also, if you struggle with designs, then I would say that you can always learn and, I have courses for Photoshop and Illustrator or, you can hire a designer in places like

2.) Not Advertising 

The second mistake that people make is that they do not know about the power of advertising.

Therefore, you must learn to advertise and, this may sound expensive. But most people do not know that they can advertise for as little as $5/day.

So, I strongly suggest that you learn about advertising on these platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest

Now, Facebook is getting a little older, but you can advertise on Instagram. Facebook owns Instagram, so you can add your credit card and start advertising for your t-shirt brand.

Snapchat is another great option. Also, one platform that people do not know a lot about is Pinterest. Also, it is great for advertising, especially with women’s clothing, accessories, and other miscellaneous items.

Also, you can do advertising on Google using Google AdWords. It is also inexpensive to use, and you can start advertising for as low as $5-$10/day.

3.) Choosing Quality T-Shirt Blanks

You need to understand how important it is to have high-quality blanks.

Let me tell you when I started my business in the t-shirt industry. Back when I was young, I used to go to this place in New York City, where I would buy these $1 t-shirts, which were $12 for a dozen.

These shirts were horrible, and they felt like cardboard with thick collars like a mock neck…AND, the fit was even worse. Overall, the quality of these shirts was atrocious back then.

However, nowadays you can get high-quality blank t-shirts for great prices.

A couple of great places that I strongly suggest for this are & Bella+Canvas.

They have a big collection of products that are available at great prices.

top 5 mistakes made when starting a T-shirt line

Also, one more mistake that people make while choosing blank t-shirts is that they only design black and white shirts.

Now, I do realize that black is a top-selling color, but there are so many other colors that you can add to your t-shirt line, and Bella+Canvas has more than 90 colors that include the “Heather”, tri-blends, signature textures, etc.

top 5 mistakes made when starting a T-shirt line

Therefore, adding some specialty fabrics and specialty washes with different colors is a big plus for your t-shirt line.

So, do check out Bella Canvas for some high-quality blanks.

4.) Having a social media presence 

This one is a no-brainer, but you will be surprised that so many people do not master this particular skill or get an understanding of it, yet they wonder why they are not generating sales.

The key here is to have a decent social media presence. Now, I know that it is a lot easier to be said than done. I know that getting likes, shares, subscribers, and followers can be a very daunting task.

But as I said before, there are few things that you can do that can help boost your t-shirt business’s social media experience, such as advertising, which always helps.

However, there is an alternative to the previously mentioned suggestion, and, that would be hiring an influencer.

It means that you find someone influential to promote and push your brand. Every little bit helps, and some of these guys might be expensive, but you would be surprised to discover that some of them are very affordable for the price of a nice dinner, a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, etc.

You can have someone with tens of thousands of subscribers or followers tweet out or take pictures or talk about your t-shirt line.

When you do this, you will see that your social media accounts will start getting followers, and these followers can convert to sales.

Alright, so do something that helps you boost your social media presence.

If not, then it is not going to happen and, there is a saying that goes: “If you build it, customers have to see it, and THEN they will come”.

So, build your social media presence which will translate into sales.

5.) Choosing a niche

The most prominent mistake that people make is not finding a core target audience and not finding a niche.

I also talked about this in my book, “Start A T-shirt Business Or Die Trying”, in which you target a group of people who are into the same niche as your t-shirt line. For example, if you are a vegan and want to make designs about veganism, then you should target vegans.

If you are into the environment and you want to save trees, save the ozone layer, etc., then your t-shirt designs should reflect this, and you should push your t-shirts towards the people who want to save the environment as well.

One thing that I see all the time with new t-shirt businesses is that one t-shirt would be like ‘Philly the Great’ (refers to the city of Philadelphia), the second t-shirt would about ‘Saving the Whales’. The next one would be like ‘Go Fishing’.

In the end, it prompts one to ask: “What is this all about?”

And most people believe that if they release products on their platform(s) for everybody, then everybody would come to them to purchase these products.

But, they do not understand that the ability to generate an abundance of sales for your t-shirt business is somewhat intuitive, but the reality is the exact opposite. The truth is that when you do stuff for everybody, you reach nobody.

Never start a t-shirt line like a one-stop-shop or one size fits all because it never works.

You have to be laser-focused on a core target audience and, you need to hit those people hardcore.

And, this is the best advice that I can give you. Do not try to do a little bit of everything by ignoring your nicely close tight (and loyal) niche of customers, and you should be on your way to success!

For more great tips. Get the book. Start A T-shirt Business Or Die Trying