My name is Gary. I have been working as a brand graphic designer for 20 years now, and here I am to share my wealth of knowledge with you. I teach people to design, market, promote their t-shirt business.
This article is to help you understand “The top 5 reasons why t-shirt businesses fail”.
Now, if you are doing any of these, then I strongly suggest focusing on the solutions that I am telling you in the following blog section.
Let’s get started!
1.) Lack of Focus
One of the most common things that I see is the lack of focus. Too many people have a mentality like “Everything but the Kitchen Sink.”
This means that most people think that the more responsibilities people take on, the more opportunities they will have to be successful as a t-shirt business entrepreneur.
However, in reality, it comes out as counterproductive. Therefore, the potential buyers see this, and they walk away without making a purchase.
So, I suggest that you keep your t-shirt line focused. Too many times, I see people selling t-shirts like “Make America Great Again”, “Dump Trump”, as well as the “I Heart Ice Cream” (all at once), and it all looks like a big mess.
Therefore, you should focus on a niche and target a specific core audience, where you have more chances of making sales.
2.) Poor Quality
The next thing that I notice a lot is the poor-quality of the delivery, such as poor quality designs, and poor quality printing on low-quality t-shirts.
The worst thing that can happen is to have something doesn’t look that good, and feels even worse on a poor-quality t-shirt that’s like cardboard, scratchy, too tight, too loose and is just not what it takes to make the business.
A solution that I suggest would be to go with a company I trust, which is Bella+Canvas. They have the best quality blanks for the best price.
Therefore, I strongly suggest to go over the website of Bella+Canvas and get some quality blanks for yourself.
Also, you can check out the Bella+Canvas YouTube channel. They have all useful information like pricing your t-shirts, printing techniques, tips on designing your t-shirts, etc.
3.) Lack of Originality:
The next reason for which the t-shirt business can fail is due to the lack of originality.
By this, I mean that there are too many t-shirt designs that are saturated.
Too people are doing the same designs in the same niche over and over again.
After this, many people wonder why aren’t they getting sales.
Well, the answer to this is that your customers can get the same t-shirt from somewhere else.
You need to understand that, because they have to click too many times and dig too far to get to your website.
Therefore, instead of getting to your website, they would have already purchased it, as they are getting the same thing from somewhere else.
Now, let me give you a solution here:
If something is trending, then it doesn’t mean that you can’t capitalize on it.
I want to look at what everybody is doing and, flip it little around and hit it from a different angle. Then you can capitalize on the trend without looking the same as everybody else.
To make it easier, let me share an example for you.
The above shown is one of the most basic t-shirts featuring the American flag and, this can be found anywhere and, there are a lot of sellers selling this.
Now, ask yourself this question: “Why would someone buy this from me?”.
Now, let’s look at the second one:
This one gets a little more specialization, it follows the same trend of classic Americana T-shirt, but this time it has baseball. So, this is getting a niche down.
Look at this one now:
This one has a Jeep, which also targets the Jeep-loving community, and follows the same trend of classic Americana t-shirts.
Now, let’s share an example that was all over the place, as mentioned earlier:
Above mentioned is the “Ben Dranklin (as supposed to ‘Ben Franklin’)” t-shirt, and it was all over the place and people did a lot of variations to this to take advantage of the trend.
Now, when people liked this then someone thought “Wait a minute…If people some of my other shirts, then people will like this as well”, and they made the following t-shirt:
They used Lincoln instead, and this is a classic of what I call “Go with the trend and Just flip it”.
Remember the idea here is to be creative and capitalize on trends by making some changes and making yourself standout.
4.) Not Choosing the Right Niche
The next point is to select the right niche. Now what happens sometimes is that there are too many people who go with a niche that is already very saturated.
Now, if a trend is popular, then it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! It just shows that if lots of people are in on it, then lots of people are buying it as well.
So, just like I said earlier, you need to put a spin on it.
Let’s just take an example of the Donald Trump themed pro and cons:
I mentioned Donald Trump because his name is popular right now, and the “Donald Trump pros and cons” is an ongoing trend.
Everybody is doing this, so now, let me share an example of what you can do while choosing your niche. For example, you can choose to go with the environment or the LGBTQ rights, or, it can be something related to immigration.
Therefore, the main idea behind select the right niche is to make sure that you choose something popular, but not too saturated at the same time.
Also, make sure that you don’t go in the opposite direction i.e. choosing a niche that is so small that nobody’s into.
For example, let’s say that you are marketing t-shirts to the senior citizen who lives in Alaska who loves alligators, and I can say that it won’t make sales because nobody’s going to buy it.
Understand that you want to find the sweet spot between popular and highly saturated trends. I can assure you that it will make a significant boost to your sales which ultimately helps your t-shirt business grow.
5.) Lack of Professionalism
The last reason is the “lack of professionalism.”
People reach out to me to look over their websites, like “Please look at my store. Look at my designs, and check out the stuff on the store.”
No offense here but, most of them look like they are homemade, homegrown, and they lack professionalism on the website, photography and overall presentation is pretty bad.
Now, I want you to take heed. Just because you are a small business, this does not mean that you have to look like one.
An important thing you can do is to get a professional website from Shopify. Get a good quality professional theme like the one we have available at T-ShirtHelpDesk.com.
The next thing that I want to follow is to use high-quality professional photographs.
So, if you have photography skills, then you can do it yourself or, you can hire a photographer.
I suggest that you should get good photographs from somewhere like Placeit.com. Placeit has all kinds of templates with only t-shirts, it features models, and it even contains videos showing the t-shirt designs. It looks good, and adds the required professional touch to your website.
One more thing that can make your website look more professional is to use high-quality blanks.
Once again, those poor-quality cardboard blanks and not going to do it.
I strongly suggest that you check Bella+Canvas for this. They have a large variety of shirt styles and cuts, such as v-necks, round necks, long-tails, etc.
Doing these things also comes under professionalism. Hence, when people put on your blanks, you want them to feel it like their favorite T-shirt quality so that they not only love it, but it becomes their favorite t-shirt brand.
So, keep it professional, and make it look good!
That’s it! I hope this helps you with your t-shirt business journey.
Like I always say, “Do something for yourself, and if you don’t have someone, then do something for yourself”.
Thanks for reading.