Start an Online T-Shirt Business at Zero Cost
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In this course you will learn to launch and promote a T-Shirt label online. We will avoid all inventory costs and overhead by using print on demand merchants to sell our designs on shirts around the world. In this course, We will promote on social media to get free marketing. I won't just show you how to upload shirts for sale, we will go through building a lasting brand, and developing a workflow for producing high-quality art. We will use structured descriptions to make uploading our designs a breeze. Even better, what we design for T-shirts can be made for sale on other products, like stickers coffee mugs, wall clocks, and just about any other product you can imagine.
I'll be giving you the knowledge I acquired in the last two years running my own T-shirt businesses. I have had a lot of fun running online T-shirt shops just like the ones we will be creating. Everyday smiles are brought to my face via emails alerting me to a purchase. While it is hard to make huge money selling t-shirts, its relatively easy to make consistent good money. But it's not about the money. The best part of the t-shirt business is knowing that somewhere around the world, somebody is wearing something you have designed. It's also fun to wake up to emails saying you have made money while sleeping!
I hope this course get you as excited about T-shirts as I am, and I wish you great success.If you have any trouble, please post in the discussions part of the course and I will get back to you!!
Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.
Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.
Certificate of completion.
|Section 1: Introduction|
Welcome to this course!!
The most important part of taking this course is actually launching your T-shirt brand. This isn't meant to be theory. Work through the steps to have your own t shirt label. Use this course as a resource and guide throughout your process. I suggest you read all of the descriptions ahead of time so you can wrap your head around the process. You will see how feasible (and fun) this venture is, and how you can create lasting traffic and sales easily.
Merchant Vendor Sites (Merchant Vendors, online merchants, vendors, merchant sites, vendor sites): This is a made-up term that I used to describe websites that facilitate our business model, accept payments for transactions, and will create your designs and fulfill shipping.
Our Business Model - Selling products featuring original graphical images, having orders and payments fulfilled by third party organizations and collecting commission.
Social media sites - In this course, we will focus on Pinterest, Wanelo, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, Google plus and Tumblr are mentioned.
Meta Information - When we talk about meta information in this course, we are referring to the title, description, and tags related to our products.
Overview: What we will do
Section 2: Defining Your Brand
Section 3: Design Time
In this section, we will look briefly at the big names in graphics programs. We will also talk about finding resources and creating art for our shirts. In addition, we will look at the technical aspects of saving and formatting out artwork.
Section 4: Strategies For Success: Planning Launch
In this section will set up all of our online accounts, including PayPal, Google, Social media (covered in next section), and all of the merchant vendor sites. We will talk about making uploading fun and efficient by planning our descriptions, tags, and keywords.
Section 5: Online Marketing
In this section we will talk about social media, what to use, and when to post.
Section 6: Making Sales
In this section we will talk about getting paid!!
Section 7:Continued Success
This section contains a few final words wishing you success, and encouraging you to think outside the box when marketing your products.
|Section 2: Defining your Brand|
The greatest indicator of your success in your online business is how much it jives with you as a person and what you really want to express at heart. In this lesson we will come up with a concept that we will grow from an idea into a business. Remember, if you want lasting success you will need to be passionate about your brand, like anything in life.
Explore your passions to figure out what kind of brand you want to create.
Look at other's work, not to copy, but to be inspired
Imagine what your brand will be all about
Keeping designs organized is a real-life issue that we can easily avoid with some planning. By keeping our folders organized, and designs well-named, we will avoid losing our artwork or spending unnecessary time looking for it.
Create at least 3 documents, even if they are blank, and save them so you can easily edit.
Temple Branding Information
Ideas for Shirts
Overview of Google Docs
Instead of developing a full business plan, we will build a temple, at least metaphorically, to represent our direction with our brand.
We will constantly refer back to the documents we create while building our temple any time we need to come up with some copy, describe our brand, or just give us direction.
Formatting Temple Branding Document Parts [Guidelines not rules]
Vision Statement: Usually a sentence or two, [your companies highest vision]
Mission statement: One to nine sentences, [what you do, not how]
Pillars: Series of short phrases or words, 3-6 or more, [what you actually do, what sets you apart, specific strategies, features]
Foundation: A short word or phrase, or series of short words and phrases, [why you exist, what you stand for]
Create your Temple Branding Document
BONUS VIDEO!!! Sir Douglas Fresh Branding Example
Nine Characteristics of mission statement
Guide to writing a business plan [If interested]
Picking a name might seem like something that is either hit or miss, but it is really a process that can be understood and mastered. We will look at what goes into picking a lasting and recognizable name. Also, we need to be sure our name is not being used by someone else. We will check around to make sure our idea is safe to use legally.
Pick a few names, get feedback from others, make a decision.
Love your brand name!
Creating a logo is very important to your brand's identity and success. Logo should be simple, yet complete, look good and black-and-white, and be recognizable at any scale. Take some time to look at famous logos and see how they embody these principles.
Logo Principles: (SMS GERM)
Simple & Complete
Relate to Brand
Action: Create a Vector Logo
Author Note: I didn't realize that these logo principles made a design until editing! SMS GERM I changed “Looks good in black and white” to “Monochrome Compatible” to save space on the slide, and noticed a acronym. It makes perfect sense though, because a logo should be short and viral [Even though germs are not viruses lol]!!
Take a look at the biggest 100 companies, and the logos may incorporate:
12 Rules for Logo Design
Brands of the World [Shown in Video]
A few Principles of Logo Design
In this lecture works talk about the importance of having a style guide. I recommend that even if you don't have the material or motivation to create a full style guide, we can easily create a document [in a program like Illustrator] that holds all of this information.
Review of what to put in your style guide:
Colors Spacing (Stored by proximity of scalable elements, or grids)
Action: Create some sort of a style guide. This is not vital to your immediate success (you can skip it for now if you want) but it will help you in the long run. It is actually easier to make your style guide after a little designing. You can always make revisions or multiple style guides.
Why You Need A Style Guide
Style Guide Tips
My Free Course on Setting Up Illustrator [Use to Create your own Style Guide]
In this lesson we talk about recording your T-shirt ideas, as well as finding inspiration.
Install Google documents on your mobile device.
Start coming up with a list of T-shirt ideas, and write down old ones.
PS. I know that conversating is not a word, but I choose to use it in defiance of Lord Webster.
|Section 3: Design Time|
Graphics Software: Looking at GIMP, Photoshop, and Illustrator
This lesson, we will make the art that we will sell on our shirts. This video will take you through finding fonts and design elements, fonts, and keeping them in a handy document.
We will look at rendering, and how to set up the software so it will save in the correct dimensions.
This lesson is an example, and will be different for each of you. The most important thing is to make sure you know what dimensions you will save and so you can open the right size document.
There are many ways to create digital art, I encourage you to look far beyond the simple method here!
Heres what we learned:
1. Wikimedia is a great place to find vector design elements
2. Fontspace is a great place to find fonts and their licensing
3. We created a design with fonts, and it was easy
4. Making our designs the right size and position to render
5. Rendering in PNG to avoid white backgrounds
6. Back up all of your vector objects in a single document
Gather resources into a folder.
Work with a graphics program to create art.
Font used in this lesson
Fontsquirell [All available free for commercial use]
Dafont [Licensing Varies by font]
In this lesson we will talk about getting our images ready to upload. We need to know how to save out programs to get the highest quality, and what format to use [PNG, JPEG].
We will also talk about a handy Utilities application that comes by default on Mac operating systems. We will use the Automator app to resize images quickly and easily.
Note: PNG-32 is in fact how Photoshop and Illustrator save alpha transparency, they just display PNG-24! Sorry for the confusion! Choose PNG-32 if that is an option (It is not displayed in PS and AI), if not choose PNG-24 with alpha transparency (it will actually save in PNG-32). http://blog.deepbluesky.com/blog/-/the-difference-between-png24-and-png32_49/
Mac users: Play around with Automator's image manipulation functions
PC Users: Try an online or software image converter. You may not be allowed to convert large image files online. One free converter is listed below, but more are available.
Free Windows image converter
This lesson may seem unimportant now, we only have a few designs, but trust me. You will design so much stuff you will easily get lost without naming conventions and organized files.
Come up with your unique system of filename and folders to keep your designs organize and easy to find.
You should be able to know exactly what design of file contains by looking only at its title.
Action: Decide how you will save different versions of your designs.
There are plentiful ways to make a t shirt, we will examine those used in the online marketplace.
We will talk about four ways to get a design onto a T-shirt. They are screen printing, direct to garment printing, plot printing, and dye sublimation. There are other ways to make a T-shirt, but we will actually be able to sell shirts using these four techniques.
Learn types of Prints on Spreadshirt
Spreadshirt Production Process Video
Screenprint Process Video
Skreened Printing Process
|Section 4: Strategy for Success: Planning Launch|
In this lesson we talk about doing a little research before we get our feet wet. Although we will cover social media marketing in this course, its a good idea to keep an open mind if you want to innovate.
Try to find out as much information about the market as you think will benefit you.
Keep in mind, as much as you may think you know who will buy your shirts, you will almost always be wrong. However, by focusing on a specific type of person, you can come up with strategies you may not think of.
Research three separate T-shirt companies, including business model, consumers, and marketing.
Come up with a few ideas on how to get exposure using others for inspiration
50 Mock-ups to market your designs
The hardest thing for me starting out was figuring out which vendors I wanted to invest my time into. I hope to make this easier for all of you!
In this lesson, I will show you you the Industry leading vendors of T-shirts, as well as other custom printed Digital art and merchandise online.
We will focus on the companies that do not require you to have inventory. We allow the marketplace vendor sites to do all of the payment processing, printing, and order fulfillment. These sites allow us to completely avoid dealing with the complexities that bring many t shirt businesses down. We risk nothing but our time.
Browse around the sites and get first impressions
I received a few questions about TeeSpring and Printful, so I decided to make a short video about the two sites. I hope this helps!
In this lesson, you will hear my opinions of various merchant vendor sites. I will also show you how to sign up.
Remember, these are the defining names in this industry, in my opinion. There are other sites doing the same thing, but I trust these sites and am covering them here. Personally, I have made sales on all of these sites except Threadless, but Redbubble is the best for sales count and totals in my experience.
Sign up for the merchant vendor sites using your Google email address, and Paypal where needed.
This lesson, we will use Google AdWords to find tags that will be effective.
By preparing our descriptions and tags before we upload, we will save ourselves a huge amount of time, and be sure all our products represent our brand and goals.
In this lesson, we will also upload artwork to merchant vendor sites. The process is boring, as I warned, so I did a time-lapse. You will get the hang of uploading after posting a few designs. I uploaded a poster to Redbubble and Society6 instead of a shirt, but the processes is the same! For some sites you will also have to place your created products into stores.
Prepare a description you'll slightly modify for different designs.
Do the same for tags.
Get a list of all of your links together including: shops, social media profiles, designer profiles, etc.
Finally, use all of these whenever you go to upload.
Upload your artwork to merchant vendor sites.
Use your prepared descriptions to expedite the process.
|Section 5: Online Marketing|
There are many social media services available. In this lesson, we'll look at the most important ones for running a successful T-shirt business.
We will talk about the importance of social media, including getting previews of our product from merchant vendor sites.
In this video, I will talk about what I call product sites, including Wanelo and Pinterest, as well as social sites, encompassing the rest, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Note: I say 8pm is the best time to post, but there are many theories on this. I heard this 8pm time while in Internet Marketing class in college. After making this video, I have seen many conflicting times, but my personal experience has 8pm being the best time for my audience, college students. Check the link below for the times that are recommended by hub spot.
Post to all social media sites.
Keep up with social media by posting new designs as they are made.
Installing Pinterest Button
What Time To Post
|Section 6: Making Sales|
|Keep track of your sales through e-mail. Find out what your best selling designs are so you can promote them!|
In this video, I will talk about optimizing your store by putting products into categories. This video focuses mainly on Redbubble, but other merchant vendor sites allow grouping, or opening multiple storefronts.
Organize your products
Try to see through a random visitor's eyes to understand their experience
|Section 7: Continued Success|
It is up to you to build your successful network, and there is no one cure-all for good marketing. Focus on your strengths, and do not worry about your weaknesses.
Continue to market through social media.
Thank you for working to improve your skill set and become more productive person. Feel free to share the art and products you create with me on Facebook. I look forward to seeing what you can create!!
Remember, this isn't some get rich scheme, we are creating physical product that people will buy and wear. You will be as successful as you want to be, and work is required. This is easy work, and can help free your life with passive income!
Douglas Butner, who designs under the name Douglas Fresh or Sir Douglas Fresh, is passionate about business, design and the web. Douglas has over 6 years experience as a hobbyist web developer, and over 2 years as a professional designer. Douglas is proud to call himself a geek, and loves learning new skills.
Douglas has a Bachelor's degree from Frostburg State University concentrating in marketing, and sells his designs on products around the world daily. Currently he runs several designer shops including Sir Douglas Fresh and Fresh Thread Shop. Douglas joined Udemy to inspire others to fall in love with design as he has. In the future, Douglas hopes to help artists by providing a platform to sell reproduction rights to their art.
My Qualifications and Works
I have always been fascinated with business and marketing, and made this my academic pursuit. While attending Frostburg State University for business with a concentration in marketing, I started a successful t-shirt design business. After graduating FSU with high honors in 2014, I started an LLC for my current web project, the Current X Change. I am particularly interested in branding and online marketing, and hope to share my knowledge with hungry entrepreneurs worldwide.
I am an active graphic designer with a variety of skills and disciplines. Besides designing vector art for my t-shirt designs, I do photomanipulations in photoshop, and create fractal art using algorithmic software. I sell designs on t-shirts, stickers, canvas, leggings, and a variety of other products. Over the past two years I have sold thousands of products made with my designs, without spending a dime on advertising.