T-Shirt Business Ideas for Beginners in 2024

T-shirt business ideas

This century is for entrepreneurs. Unlike in earlier decades, now it is easier to start a t-shirt business. You will easily find t-shirt start-up kits and necessary information on the internet (paid or free).

You can take guidance for starting your business and consultancy services. You can crowdfund your t-shirt business start-up.

There are many marketplaces available for selling t-shirts on B2B and B2C platforms. So, one can fulfill his/her entrepreneurial dream by starting a t-shirt business.

Many want to start some kind of business. Newcomers, who don't come from rich families, normally want to start it small-scale. The T-shirt business is one such business that one can start in the fashion and apparel field.

Now the question is what business would be right for you?

Instead of suggesting you what business to start with t-shirts, I am sharing some areas where you can start your t-shirt business. You can refer to this website and get more ideas on doing a custom t-shirt printing business online.

Ideas for starting a T-shirt business in 2023

1. Make t-shirts and sell them to wholesalers

Do you love the manufacturing sector? 

This is solely a t-shirt manufacturing business. The idea is to make t-shirts in volume and sell t-shirts through distributors in the domestic market. For this, you need to set up a t-shirt manufacturing factory and buy the required sewing and t-shirt finishing machinery. You make some common t-shirt designs. Or make t-shirts as per orders booked by the retailers.

For t-shirt design development you can hire a designer. You can also get orders for uniform manufacturing. Once you have the t-shirt factory ready, you will find many channels for production orders. You may also get job work and you can utilize your sewing machines and manpower resources.

To start a t-shirt-making business, you need to learn t-shirt manufacturing processes, need to learn about raw materials and knit fabrics.

2. Set up your own t-shirt brand (t-shirt line)

The new-generation consumers buy clothes by brand name. Buying a branded t-shirt have a couple of benefits. Customers don’t need to worry about product quality. 

Many fashion designers dreams of starting their own clothing brand. That dream can be fulfilled by starting with a t-shirt brand. You know the brands like Super Dry, Bewakoof, and Being Human all started with t-shirts.

Starting their own t-shirt brand whether it is small or big, gives an accomplishment to the entrepreneurs. You own a brand.

Now the question is how to start a t-shirt brand? 
What would be your approach to starting a t-shirt brand?

(1) Either you can start your t-shirt label, get manufacturing done outside and sell online

(2) Or you can start your t-shirt line and set up a manufacturing unit for making your own brand

PS: I have written a business book on setting up a t-shirt business. Check out the book content. You can also download the free chapters. To buy the book follow this link.

3. Buy and sell t-shirts with other products

Crew necks, solid colors, basic t-shirts, short sleeve t-shirts along with graphic and printed t-shirts are the top favorites in India. Also, the round neck, V-neck, collared, and polo t-shirts are in demand along with sportswear, athleisure, and dry fits t-shirts.

You can start a business in t-shirt sourcing. You can buy t-shirts in bulk and supply them to retailers. You can source t-shirts from knitting hubs like Tirupur and Ludhiana. Or you can import quality t-shirts at a lower price from other countries like China and Bangladesh and distribute those in the local market.

Once you gain experience in the t-shirt sourcing business, you can add more apparel and textile items to your product portfolio.

4. Custom print t-shirt business

One can start a custom-printed t-shirt business. This is also called the print-on-demand t-shirt business. For this business, you need to keep ready stock of blank t-shirts. Order blank t-shirts in bulk in multiple colors and in different sizes. This is for those who would like to run a business without a team or with a minimum number of people.

For this business, you need to set up a printing machine. Screen printing machine (multiple colour screens) and digital textile printing (sublimation printing).

Related article: The sublimation printing process

In addition to this, you can also open an e-commerce website for selling custom-printed t-shirts. For this business, buy blank t-shirts in various base colors, then take orders for individual t-shirts from your website, print the custom design (as per order) and finally deliver it to the customer. Refer these websites to learn how custom t-short print businesses work.

5. Manufacturing t-shirts (full package) for export orders

If you have expertise in the core production of t-shirts and have knowledge of the technical side of t-shirt manufacturing, you can go for the manufacturing sector. This is a little different from the idea#1. For making export-quality t-shirts and garments, you need to organize your production unit considering compliance and a good team.

The US and European markets still sourcing t-shirts from the Asian region. So, there is an opportunity for export business. There is competition but if you can produce t-shirts in volume, you can earn money from the t-shirt business.

You will need to buy machinery and equipment for setting up the factory. Once the factory is ready for making t-shirts, you can take orders and fulfill the production order and get going. In manufacturing, you will be needed workers depending on the factory size (operators, helpers, checkers, pressmen). Through a t-shirt manufacturing business, you can create employment.

6. Design t-shirts and sell your design to brands

You might be knowing that T-shirt is a basic apparel item. It is everyday wear. T-shirt designs play an important role in the t-shirt business. Many t-shirts brand have been able to capture a bigger market share through their t-shirt design.

If you have the expertise and understanding of apparel designing, especially t-shirt designing, you can choose to give service in that field. T-shirts are part of the wide product group. Basic t-shirts to sportswear, activewear, athleisure, comfort wear, uniform, and many more.

7. Make uniform t-shirts and supply them to schools, corporates, and institutes

The uniform market is big in India. Uniform sourcing is done by schools, colleges, corporates, and other institutes. Normally, schools need uniform sets for their students in two seasons.

You can select this niche for making t-shirts and supplying t-shirts for uniform sellers. You can also become a manufacturer cum seller to the organizations. You can directly contact schools and become a nominated uniform supplier.

In the uniform product range, you can include other kits including bags, shoes, socks with t-shirts, and polo shirts.

8. Start active wear manufacturing

The activewear market is growing. Subcategories of activewear clothes are gym wear, sportswear, and yoga wear. This business is catering to a specific niche. You can build your expertise in the activewear market.

The global brands and key players in the sportswear market include Adidas AG, ASICS Corporation, Columbia Sportswear Company, DICK's Sporting Goods Inc., Nike Inc., Puma SE, PVH Corp., Skechers USA Inc., The North Face (VF Corporation) and Under Armour Inc.

Start with the activewear t-shirt business and later add more knit apparel that would complement the activewear range. Yoga wear goes hand in hand with activewear including athleisure items.

To enter the activewear market, you need to learn about fabrics used for making activewear apparel items. Know the difference between activewear and athleisure clothing.

9. Selling export surplus t-shirts

T-shirts are available in different price ranges. Export quality t-shirts at a lower price are preferred by young and trendy individuals. So, it creates a market segment where consumers want to export quality t-shirts at a lower price.

This is possible by reselling surplus t-shirts produced by export garment manufacturers.

Here, I am not talking about making fake t-shirts and attaching labels of internal brands. The idea is, to buy surplus t-shirts and second-quality t-shirt from the manufacturers at a low price and sell it through shops.

Metro cities and second-tier cities are the right marketplaces for selling export surplus t-shirts.

Read my book “Kick Start Your T-shirt Business” and get more ideas on the t-shirt business.

Kick start your t-shirt business

For more buying options for this book, please check this page

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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