Merch by Amazon - How to Start Your Own T-Shirt Business
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Merch by Amazon - How to Start Your Own T-Shirt Business

Learn how to sell t-shirts on Amazon, the biggest e-commerce store in the world.
4.8 (78 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
588 students enrolled
Created by Dan Vega
Last updated 3/2017
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  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 11 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Sign Up for a Merch by Amazon account
  • Hire a freelance designer for your Merch business
  • Create a basic t-shirt design
  • Learn how to create designs that don't violate content policy
  • Learn about what an amazing opportunity Merch by Amazon is
  • Discover the secrets to creating successful designs
View Curriculum
  • Merch by Amazon is currently available by invitation only.
  • You don't need an account to get value out of this course. In fact you should sign up for an account and while you wait you can learn the system and get started with designs.
  • This is an amazing opportunity. Please don't waste another day thinking what if...

In this course you will learn all about an exciting new platform called Merch by Amazon. Merch by Amazon makes it easy for you to create, promote and sell your branded merchandise with no risk and no up-front costs. You simply supply the artwork, choose the t-shirt type and color(s), and then promote your shirts in your app, blog or on social media. Amazon takes care of the rest, including production, sales, shipping and creating a product page on Amazon - all at no cost to you.

In this course I am going to show you what Merch is, how to sign up and then how to be successful. I will show you that Merch is not only made for designers but for creative entrepreneurs as well. If you're either a designer or an entrepreneur looking for a passive income you have come to the right spot. 

I will give you the guidelines you need to submit designs but it is important to note that this is not a graphic design course. I will show you some of the programs you can use like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator but we will also introduce you to some other programs that don't have a steep learning curve. 

Finally I will give you all the tips and tricks I have learned to help you along your Merch journey. I am quick to answer any questions you have in the forums and I look forward to helping you seize this amazing opportunity. 

Who is the target audience?
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Designers
  • Anyone looking to create a passive income
  • Anyone with a creative mind that wants to create their own t-shirts.
  • Anyone interested in starting their own t-shirt business
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
55 Lectures
4 Lectures 18:26

In this lesson you are going to learn all about the instructor and what this course has to offer.

Preview 03:17

In this lesson we are going to answer the question "Why Merch by Amazon?". There are plenty of solutions when it comes to creating and selling merchandise so why should you choose Amazon.

We are going to cover some of the other solutions around and shows the pros & cons. We will then highlight the pros and cons of Merch by Amazon and why I believe that this is one of the best opportunities around. 

Preview 10:28

In this lesson I want to get you thinking about your first t-shirt idea. You probably wouldn't be here unless you had at least one t-shirt idea. Start thinking about what you want your first t-shirt to be. My suggestion would be to do something you're passionate about. I love my city, sports and fitness so these are the niches I gravitated towards right away. 

  • Sketch out your ideas (even if you can't draw) 
    • Mention the next article
  • Draw inspiration from other t-shirts or social media (more on this later in the course)
Preview 03:34

In the exercise I mentioned that you should sketch out the ideas you have for your t-shirt. In this article I want to talk to you about a sketch book. 

Preview 01:07
Getting Started
5 Lectures 19:47

In this lesson we are going to answer some frequently asked questions & Walk through the signup process.

Make sure you have the following emails in your address book so that emails won't go into spam. I would also just periodically check your account to see if it was approved. I never got an email and I just logged in one day to see that I was approved. That could have been because the email went into spam but I also have heard others saying the same thing. 

Signing up for Merch by Amazon

A quick article to remind you that you can always try logging in while you're waiting. 

While You're Waiting

In this lesson we are going to take a tour of Merch. You will get a high level overview of where everything is in and in later lessons we will dive into the details. 

  • Home Page & how you can still access the resources if you don't have an account
  • Sign in using your amazon account
  • Dashboard
    • Recent Activity
    • Products for sale / Add Product
    • Messages
  • Create (Same as add product and upload finished artwork)
  • Promote (This is really just for app developers)
  • Manage
  • Analyze
Merch by Amazon Tour

In this lesson we are going to build our own Merch by Amazon t-shirt and have you upload it. I will attach the .png file to the exercise so you walk through the exercise if you don't have photoshop. This is going to be a very brief demo of the add product process as we are going to go into much more detail later in the course.

Exercise: Adding your first design

In this lesson we are going to talk about where to save your designs and the importance of backing them up. I actually save them to an external hard drive and then use dropbox to automatically sync them to the cloud. This sounds like some extra work to get started but I promise you if you ever have a problem with a hard drive or a computer down the road you will be thanking me that you followed this step. 

Saving Your Designs & Starting with a good approach
Designing Your T-Shirts
12 Lectures 01:00:12

In this lesson I want to discuss the options you have for creating your designs. If you're a designing with some experience you can start creating your own designs today. If you're an entrepreneur It is easy to hire a designer to make your designs come alive. I am not a designer but I know Photoshop and Illustrator well enough that I actually design my own t-shirts and because of my limited time I contract some of that work out.

  • Design your own t-shirts
  • Hire a Designer
  • Do Both
What are your options?

In this lesson we are going to look at how to hire a designer. We will talk about a list of places that you can find a designer at and how to go about hiring one. I will also show you my favorite resource and walk you through a typical job posting. 

In the next lesson you will find an article I wrote on how to hire a freelancer and a list of resources on where to find them. 

Hiring a designer

This is a collection of resources you can use to find a designer. If you know of any resources that you would like to see added to this list please let me know. 

Hiring a freelance designer

In this lesson we are going to look at the templates that are provided by Amazon. I don't actually use these templates because I find them confusing but I wanted to make sure you were aware they exist. We will look at how to create a design from scratch without using the templates later in this section. 

T-Shirt Templates

In this lesson we are going to discuss the best practices recommended by Amazon. 

How to ensure your t-shirt design will look great

  • CYMK: While you may design your t-shirt using RGB color space, your t-shirt will be printed using CYMK. CYMK colorspace is not as wide as RGB; for example, metallics and pastels are difficult to render in CYMK.
  • 300 DPI resolution: Your design needs to be 300 DPI, not a lower resolution image resized to 300 DPI. Resizing will result in a pixelated, blocky print.  
  • Less than 25MB files
  • Design the entire t-shirt: You are submitting an 15" x 18" rectangular artwork using our templates; however, you need to consider that your design is being printed on a t-shirt. Your design should integrate into the t-shirt. Generally speaking, you want to avoid a solid rectangle filling the entire printable area. Your design should work with the t-shirt. Where possible consider the (blank) shirt color in your design, by making that color transparent in your artwork.

Artwork sizing and placement

  • While you can certainly use the entire 15" x18" in space, often customers find a print that is 18 inches to be overwhelming. By and large we find that keeping your maximum dimension to 12 inches or less results in higher conversion rates.
  • Be conscious of the placement of design elements and where they would appear in relation to your customer’s anatomy. Remember your designs are printed on men’s, women’s, and kids shirts.
  • Horizontally center designs visually as well as mathematically. Heavy design elements on one side can make a design feel off balance even if it is mathematically centered.
  • Designs typically do the best when they are placed near the top of the print area.

Types of designs/effects to avoid

  • Designs that look contained within a rectangular block, especially if the design does not incorporate the color of the shirt (taking a screen capture of a game)
  • Elements that subtly blend into the shirt color. These can print like a halo with a hard edge. Think how web safe colors have big jumps between colors.
  • Elements with a transparency less than 20% are likely to get lost when printing, or turn out as a solid color.
  • Designs that have a single, large logo as the only element of the design
  • Simple white shirts

Designs that typically sell well

  • Designs on dark shirts (our t-shirt color selector is organized based on sales)
  • Distressed designs
  • Simple, identifiable silhouettes work well with content that has characters
  • Bold high contrast colors.
  • Larger art elements in the t-shirt design may get better response to online promotions, as subtler designs are hard to see in thumbnail views of the shirt

T-Shirt Design Best Practices

In this lesson we will take a look at how to get Adobe Photoshop and create your first design. We will also look at how to export your design to make sure it is in the correct format needed for Merch.

Adobe Photoshop

In this lesson we will take a look at how to get Adobe Photoshop and create your first design. We will also look at how to export your design to make sure it is in the correct format needed for Merch.

Adobe Illustrator


Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator Resources

In this lesson we are going to look at using Over to create your designs. Photoshop and illustrator are not for everyone and that is ok. You still have other options to create your designs that don't have a large learning curve. The Over app can be downloaded on your iOS device and is very easy to use. 


In this lesson we are going to take a look at how to create designs that have word clouds. 

Word Clouds

This is going to be a list of resources of programs to use to create your t-shirt designs. 

List of programs article

In this exercise you are going to create your first design. You should have all of the information you need to create your first t-shirt. If you have questions about your design or just want some general feedback please post it in the forums and we can discuss it. 

Exercise - Create Your FIrst Design
Managing & Creating Your T-Shirts
7 Lectures 39:30

In this section we are going to cover the add product process a little bit more in depth. In each lesson we are going to cover each of the steps in detail. I will give you some of my tips and tricks that I have picked up and we will go into discussions on things like 

  • T-Shirt Colors
  • Brand Names
  • Pricing & Profit Margins
  • Titles & Keywords 

In this lesson we are going to look the upload art screen. 

Upload Art

In this lesson we are going to look at the build t-shirt screen. This is the 2nd step in the process and there are a bunch of details that we need to discuss here including.

  • T-Shirt Type 
  • Fit Type
  • Colors
  • Pricing
Build T-Shirt

In this lesson we are going to talk about the Add Details screen. We are going to have discussions about the following topics.

  • Brand Name
  • Product Title
  • List Price
  • Product Keywords
  • Product Description
  • Details Page Terms of Service (Slide)

YES, they draw keywords from the "Key Products Features" section.

The Title of product is to help customers find your t-shirt. Titles tend to be a bit more generic and many will be very similar for a general search result such as, "CAT t-shirt". Adding keywords in the bullet point section (key product features) is what helps the search results zero in on more relevant results because people often search with a more specific result in mind and therefore often do more than a generic search to find what they're looking for.

Lastly, I was cautioned against keyword stuffing, which we all know is a bad move.

Add Details

Now that we know how to fill out the details page we need to understand what is not allowed there. This is very important and you need to make sure you are following the rules. In this lesson we will discuss each of the items below. 

(10/18/16) What can I include on my detail page?
Customers learn about your designs on a product detail page which is created after you publish your t-shirt(s). The detail page includes your brand name, t-shirt title, and description that you enter during the product creation workflow. All information on the product detail page must be clearly written and relevant to your design.The following policy has been established to ensure that each product detail page optimizes our customers’ buying experience. The inclusion of any of the following information in detail page titles, descriptions, or bullet points is prohibited:  

  • Any content that violates the Merch by Amazon Content Policy, including profanity, pornography, or illegal and infringing content.
  • Phone numbers, physical mail addresses, e-mail addresses, or website URLs.
  • Reviews, quotes or testimonials.
  • Solicitations for positive customer reviews.
  • Information related to fulfillment and shipping, including shipping times, where the t-shirts are manufactured and references to “Amazon Prime.”
  • Promises that the revenue from sales will go to a specific place, including text that “all proceeds will be donated” or that “purchases of these shirts will support” a particular organization.
  • Keywords and descriptions that do not relate to the design, aka "keyword stuffing."
  • Inaccurate product descriptions, such as glow-in-the-dark and sparkling designs.
  • Product descriptions attempting to circumvent our Content Policy, including the use of spaces and dashes ("Ama-zon" or "Kin dle").
  • Artwork with a low design quality, including blurry images, low resolutions, or misspelled words.

Terms of Service

In this lesson we will take a look at the review screen. This is your last chance to review your t-shirt and decide on how you want to sell your t-shirt. We will talk about the reasons you might want to create a draft, sell privately or sell to the public. 


In this lesson we will talk about how to edit and delete your products as well as what to do when you get one of your designs rejected. 

How to Edit & Delete Your Products
Playing by the Rules
6 Lectures 26:57

Now that we know how to design our t-shirts and upload them to Merch it's time to talk about how to play by the rules. You might think to skip over this section but I promise you it is very important. If you don't follow the rules you could put your account at risk and take the chance of missing out on this great opportunity. Merch is still new and its going to be huge and you really don’t want to waste this opportunity by trying to sneak one over on Amazon.

 I want to make sure you understand that I am not lawyer and you should consult a lawyer on any legal questions you might have.


In this lesson we are going to discuss the content policy from Amazon.

Content Policy

Items designed, produced, sold, and marketed through the Merch by Amazon program must follow our content policy and guidelines, detailed below. Content creators are expected to conduct proper research to ensure that their items are in compliance with all local, state, national, and international laws. If Amazon determines that the content of an item is prohibited, we may summarily remove or alter it without any notice. Amazon reserves the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate in its sole discretion.  Submitting a design that violates our content policies may result in the cancellation of your listings, or the suspension or termination of your Merch by Amazon account.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with some examples of prohibited content:

Illegal and Infringing Content
Designs that you don't own the rights to or violate the law. It is your responsibility to ensure that your content doesn't violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.

Designs with curse words or variations of curse words.

Shipping or Fulfillment
Designs or items that make promises about the speed of fulfillment or shipping.

Promoting Hate or Intolerance
Designs that explicitly promote, glorify, or incite hatred, intolerance or exploitation of a group or individual based upon any of the following protected traits: race, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

Promoting Violence
Designs that explicitly or implicitly promote, glorify, or attempt to incite violence, cruelty or torture against an individual, group of individuals, or animals.

Designs with pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.

Child Exploitation
Designs that depict children (under the age of 18 or older depending on local definitions) in a sexually suggestive manner.

Human Tragedy
Design that include items that have been collected from the site of a tragedy or are in some way directly connected with a tragedy, excluding certain products which commemorate/memorialize the loss of human life.

Content Policy

In this lesson we are going to discuss Amazon's publishing policy. There was a huge announcement about this that had a lot of people in the community talking. We are going to talk about the new policy and how this might affect your strategy going forward. 

Publishing Poiicy

With the new 60 day rule in place how can you tell when designs are going to be removed? In this lesson we will look at how to find out when designs will be removed by Amazon. 

Pending Removal

In this lesson we will take a look at how to search the trademark database. This is an important step in making sure your designs don't violate content policy. If you are using keywords or phrases that are trademarked your design will be rejected. 

Don't always assume because someone else's design made it through that it's ok to use.

How to Search the Trademark Database

In this lesson we will talk about how to report infringement. This is probably one of the bigger issues with Merch by Amazon at the time this course was produced. There are users out there who straight copy other peoples design and use them as their own. If you believe this has happened to you there is something you can do about it. You need to fill out the Reporting Infringement form and that link is in the additional resources for this lesson.

Reporting Infringement

We are going to have a quick quiz to see if you were paying attention. In each of the questions you can simply answer yes if the keyword violates trademarks or no if it doesn't. 

Trademark Quiz
6 questions
T-Shirt Ideas & Successful Designs
6 Lectures 25:49

We have learned how how to design a basic t-shirt and we know to upload them to Merch. What happens when you run out of all the ideas you had for t-shirts? Where can find inspiration to create more designs? In this section we are going to talk about where to find inspiration for that next design. 

T-Shirt Design Inspiration

Pinterest is a great place to collect design inspirations. In this lesson we are going to talk all about Pinterest and why you should sign up for an account. 


In this lesson we are going to take a look at how to find out what's trending. Some of my best seller shirts were based off of trending topics. When there are trending topics you need to be on top of it and strike while the iron is hot. 

What's Trending

In this lesson I am going to teach you how to search Amazon for other Merch shirts. We can also use a really great Chrome Extension to show you what t-shirts are selling well. This is a method to show you what in your particular niche is doing well and how they are doing that. I like to compare my shirts to similar shirts using this method and see what others might be doing better when it comes to design, titles & keywords.

How to find other Merch Shirts

In this lesson we are going to look at a free tool from Chris Green called Merch Research. 

Merch Research

This is an article that contains all of the places I go for inspiration. I know I have said this many times throughout this course but it needs to be repeated. Please DO NOT steal other peoples designs. You may get inspired by a design or an image but you need to take that and put your own spin on it. As the great Gary Vaynerchuck says "Ideas are shit, execution is the game". 

Inspiration List
Graphic Design Assets
4 Lectures 19:21

In this lesson we are going to discuss some of my favorite places to get graphic design assets. We also need to discuss where not get your graphics from and discuss what commercial licensing is. 


In this lesson we are going to discuss the use of fonts on your t-shirts. We are going to talk about licensing for fonts as well as some of my favorite places to get fonts. 


In this article we have some directions for you on how to install fonts on Mac & PC.

How to install fonts

This is a collection of graphic design resources that will help you when creating your t-shirts. If you have a favorite resource that you don't see listed here please contact me and I will add it to the list. 

Graphic Design Resources
Marketing & Promoting Your Merch
4 Lectures 32:35

In this lesson we are going to learn about what tiers are, how to tier up and some selling strategies for each one.

Tiers, How to tier up and Selling Strategies

In this lesson we are going to discuss some of the ways we can promote our t-shirts. 

How to promote your t-shirts

In this lesson we are going to look at how to create some professional looking t-shirt mockups. 

Professional Mockups

In this lesson I want to quickly walk you through how to create a facebook ad for your t-shirt. This is in no way a complete facebook ads course and I am no expert but I will show you how I create them. 

Facebook Ads Walkthrough
2 Lectures 12:29

In this lesson we are going to look at what information is available to us and also discuss what's missing. 


In this lesson we are going to look at how to save your reports. I also recommend running these reports on the 1st of the month and saving them off somewhere so you have them. I will show you how to download the monthly sales data and import them into a spreadsheet. 

Running & Saving Your Reports
FAQ & Resources
2 Lectures 00:41

This is a link to the Amazon FAQ. There are a ton of great questions and answers here and I suggest you read up on them. 

Amazon FAQ

This is my list of resources that I believe will help you on your journey.

Merch by Amazon Ultimate Resource List
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Dan Vega
4.3 Average rating
3,414 Reviews
25,552 Students
4 Courses
Software Engineer

Hi, I’m Dan Vega. I am a Software Engineer living just outside of one of my favorite places in the world, Cleveland, Ohio I am a self-taught programmer who firmly believes that you can accomplish anything in this life if you put your mind to it, roll up your sleeves and are willing to put in the work.

I have been writing software for over 16+ years now and I use my knowledge, passion, and influence to help other developers achieve their goals. I teach online and currently, have over 16,000 students.

When I am not writing software I have a number of things that really keep me busy. I love to read books, listen to podcasts and watch online courses. I have a real thirst for knowledge and it consumes me every single day of the week. I also love to run & lift heavy weights which keep me balanced throughout the week.