Has anyone thought of starting there own T-shirt Brand / Company???

...and if so done anything about it? Was it easy to do? Would you reccomend it?

Watch this

Id love to. I need the funds my friend.


i would but it just seems to hard to do... if i knew someone that was already in it then it would be a lot easier but there are a lot of elements to consider when starting it up


I'm thinking of starting one up, but it will be a blatantly commercial endeavor. It will be targeting the Hot Topics and Urban Outfitter's of the world. More retail outlets per customer = more $. If it works out, I'll be able to do something more soulful, and sell online.


I've got a small on-line shop that has been live for about two months. It was more difficult than I had anticipated, there were so many little things that I hadn't foreseen when I first came up with the idea. And then after two months of work, I realized that probably the biggest diffulty was simply attracting people to the site. Designing the site, designing the shirts and having them printed, were all secondary to the amount of effort it takes to advertise, to actually get people to visit.


I know, I have done the handing-out-fliers thing, having a link to EBAY, swapping links with bigger sights and so forth.

I think that part of the income can be made from affiliate programs though.


I have one of my own that is still in design phase. Due to come out in late june. The thing i have noticed with somewhat successful lines is that you have to align yourself with different people say bands, skaters, surfers and such. So if they do anything like play gigs or go to competitions they are wearing your gear.

jacob dehart

threadless took a long time to take off, at first we didn't really expect it to get as big as it has, it was always just a fun hobby on the side. Jake and I only invested about $500 each to get the company going, but it took a good 3 years of no-profit/not paying ourselves to keep it alive. Theres always room for more rad tshirts so I wish anyone good luck whos going to try. I'll give you this advice though, if you just open an online shop you'll probably fail, you need to think of a cool "gimmick" that will keep users interested and coming back.


thanks for the advice,


Im with DaddyDom. You sometimes have to go commercial and sell-out a little if you wanna get on your feet.


I have indeed thought of it.

slow loris shirts
slow loris shirts profile pic Alumni

i'm just an online shop, i do wholesale a lot to stores though.
i agree with the gimick advice, but also advertising is helpful in the right places. i do not have a huge budget for it, but i do make sure to advertise in art rags and mags. i started slow loris in 1997 and am still going strong all by myself. took me 5 years to be able to live just off of my shirts. all my shirts are printed in limited editions of 100 by me, (i do not outsource any printing) that's the closest thing i have to a gimick. it works though, almost all my customers are repeat customers trying to buy designs before they sell out, always checking back to see what's been added. winning a shirt design here on threadless a few years back also helped get me added web traffic, (even though my design was shit. ) this is why i will always love threadless.


what is the website to that daddy thing


I've seen your site before. Did it cost alot to get up and running and for all of the necessary equipment to do your own printing? Are you only able to do one-color prints?

I started my own site, www.whitefrogtshirts.com, about two months ago. I'd like to print my own shirts, as I've done all the work on my own as far as the site design, shirt designs, and I think, like yourself, that the personal touch definitely helps sell the work. But I live in the city, and am short on space so i don't think doing my own screen printing would be feasible.

At any rate, I like your site, and wish you continued success. Maybe my own little shop will grow, and I'll be able to make a living from it, but I'd say the odds are against it, but it's inspiring to hear that you were able to make it happen.

clojita profile pic Alumni

I wouldnt really call it a company or anything, but a friend and I printed a run of 72 shirts a while back and sold them all. We only made like $200 each in profit, but it was still fun. I was still in school at the time so we sold a bunch there. We had a website, but most the sales came through ebay.

slow loris shirts
slow loris shirts profile pic Alumni

hey thanks cubfan-
yah i spent about 7 thousand getting started, but i paid it off in under a year of doing outsource work. i printed for a lot of companies the first few years for added income, and now i don't print for anyone but myself. i have a 6/6 manual press so i can print up to six colors, but i mostly print one because it's what i like. i guess i'm just into simple line drawings. i've done multiple color prints but i do not use a computer for seperations so every color i seperate by hand, meaning hand cut rubylith for large sections of color, and line drawings on transparencies. i'm pretty clueless on computer programs that do this, but i'm sure they would make my life easier.

as far as living in the city, i moved out of oakland ca. to the woods and ocean up in washington state. i pay $350. a month for a two story log house and a 900 square foot studio on 14 acres of land. one of the main reasons i moved was to cut down my living expenses. now i will never move back to a city, i'm in love with this guemes island forever. plus i do not have to drive anymore. i just bike everywhere.

tunastar profile pic Alumni

I've thought about it, the problem is, no one would know about me.


I have my own label as well, and like Slow Loris and Jacob said, it takes time to take off. Don't get discourged. I started a little over 7 months ago, and there are times when I want to scream at various things, and then It all gets settled. It's fun, a creative output, and if you do it right, the money is good too. Gotta have variety though, nobody wants everything to be the same, that's why Threadless does well, it's (for the most part) diversified.


Hey Harmsway, I'm not sure if you were asking about a website for my endeavor, but, if so, there isn't one yet. I'd never done any graphic design before joining Threadless, so, it's given me an opportunity to see if I could create something of any worth. So far, there's been some positive reaction, which has been very cool, but I'm still very green and unsure of the skills that I posess (if any.) I have some decent connections, and I like the stuff that I've done here, so, I'll probably move forward with the commercial end of things within the next couple of weeks. But for the "soul" project, I have to put more thought into the "business" end. I don't want to half-ass it in anyway, and I can't afford to sink money into something with no chance whatsoever to recoup. It's kind of a catch-22 with that one. In terms of design, I'm going with my heart and hoping that people will like it, but at the same time, I'll NEED people to like it, you dig?
A side note to tunastar, this little Threadless community is a powerful tool for getting people to see what you do. I've already checked out Strawbs' site (hey, I couldn't view a close-up of any of the product.) And I'm going to check out Loris'.


slow loris- thanks so much for the info. I like the simple line drawings too.

$350. a month for a two story log house and a 900 square foot studio on 14 acres of land... wow. i think my dog would absolutely love me if I was able to move out of the city and get a place like that. andto think i pay four times that for a two bedroom apartment :(

slow loris shirts
slow loris shirts profile pic Alumni

yah my dogs love it here as well. I'm telling ya, life is too short to spend all your money on rent. it is one thing i have learned and live by. i just bought five acres here! wouldn't have been able to do that if i was still living in oakland, in a cannery warehouse where i was paying $1250. month. i didn't even have a yard and the bart went by my window every few minutes,i do not miss that...


a few friends and myself are starting a t-shirt company that will be mainly based online. Does anyone have any suggestions to make my company last?



slow loris, you're a champion :)

MrDomino profile pic Alumni

I want to start a brand at some point that prints more than just apparel. I'd really love to do posters, postcards, and buttons as well. I really want to do socially conscious stuff, heavy into guerilla marketing. There's so much that needs to be said, and I know the audience is out there, I just have to get my shit together so I can execute.


my best friends brother started up his shirt site. so far he only has 2 diferent shirts printed cuz of lack of funds but is selling all of his shirts. he just needs to wait for most of one print to get sold before he makes his next shirt. he's printing his other shirts soon. www.saveskylab.com check it out and lemme know what you think.


Well, looks like I'm a little late to the party but I'll add my pennies worth anyway...

My friend and I started a T-shirt site that went online at the end of January and has been growing steadily ever since. We spent a good couple of years developing it in our

spare time (most of that time was spent having beer fuelled discussions but that counts as development time, right?).

As mentioned above, you really need a gimmick or hook to distinguish yourself from the rest and to keep bringing people back. The two biggest t-shirt sites on the web

(Threadless and T-Shirt Hell) both use communities of a sort but approach it from very different angles. In terms of running a business and making money neither is any more

valid than the other despite the obvious differences between the two sites and the sort of customers they attract. The community thing works.

Our hook was to attempt to give the user just enough control so that they feel more a part of the design process (but not so much that they get confused or ruin it!).

Assuming you get as far as building your website with it's cool gimmicks you'll want to advertise it. Joining affiliate schemes does work but it takes a little while for the

affiliates to pick up your products so don't be too disheartened if your sales don't rocket overnight. Using cost per click programmes such as Googles Adwords has a more

immediate effect but the profit margins are slim to say the least.

The best thing you can do is aply to as many t-shirt directories as possible, join Froogle (hey, it's free!) and read up on search engine optimisation. SEO is your friend and

will eventually bring many, many people to your site (just don't hold your breath).

I wish you all the best in your endeavour.


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