Startup idea: Build a T-shirt brand with no money

how to build a t-shirt brand without investment

If you are a creative person who loves fashion, design and would like to build a startup, create a T-shirt brand. You might think that fashion industry is something that can be developed only by fashion designers and world brands that dictate high fashion standards.

Not at all.

All you need is some creativity and a great desire.

Nowadays creative t-shirts are very popular among youth and everyone can build such a brand in the shortest period and without no money. So, what are the steps you should go through to build a t-shirt brand? Let’s discuss them.

1. Design

Everything starts with an idea. Find inspiration and think about the concept of your future brand. Try to understand how to make it differ from your competitors.

Perhaps, your t-shirts will have a unique design or bright unusual colors. It is up to you to decide, but this decision can influence the future growth of the brand.

  • Be creative

One of my favorite examples of a successful t-shirt brand is ‘Johnny Cupcakes’ which became popular due to its creative idea of baking t-shirts. At the beginning of the brand growth, it was the t-shirt design that attracted so many people to the brand.  Logo demonstrating cupcake with crossbones seemed unusual and people got interested in it. Furthermore, Johnny opened so-called t-shirt bakeries that made brand become popular worldwide. Just imagine that you come to a bakery and it appears to be a t-shirt shop with super creative t-shirts. I would definitely buy such a cool product!

build a t-shirt brand
Johnny Cupcakes shop

This example shows that you should think out-of-box while creating a startup. In such case people will pay attention to it, remember it and make it popular sharing their emotions from collaboration with you.

  • Show your individuality

If you are not a designer and cannot create a t-shirt design by yourself, it is not a problem. Think of your interests, hobbies and passion. Perhaps, you love travelling! Make use of it.

For example, a t-shirt brand ‘Raubdruckerin’ creates the design for their t-shirts using street architecture for prints. The idea of travelling around the world and investigating new forms on the streets and then printing them on clothes is more than just great. It is a dream!

A t-shirt brand creating prints on the street
Raubdruckerin t-shirt print

Such printing roadtrips bring not only new designs to the brand collection but also inspiration to its creators and strong promotion to the brand itself.

2. Production

When your design is ready, it is high time to get down to production and make your product real. Let’s discuss how you can do it in a simple way.

  • Use online services

Nowadays there are some popular online projects providing great opportunities for designers and allowing them to sell t-shirts and other products with one’s own design. One of the most popular projects you can try is Threadless.

All you need is to register on one of such platforms, upload your design, select the items you would like to sell with your design (t-shirts, bags, accessories) and that’s it. When your items are sold you earn your commission. It is a cool and simple way for the start, because there is no need to think about production and channels of brand promotion.

  • Find a t-shirt supplier

Another way to produce your items is to find a t-shirt supplier. There are such companies that supply t-shirts and make customized prints at the same time. I think it is very convenient and can save a lot of time to you. At the very first stage, I would recommend to test the product and produce only several items. You can spread them among your friends and get the feedback. If you see that people love your product and are interested in purchasing more, start increasing your production volume.

Read also: 6 basic steps to start a startup and change your life

3. Meet your clients

Think about the way you would like to sell and promote your product. Here are two basic ways of how to do this:

  • Sell locally

If you start a local business, you can find a partner. For example, there is a brand with sunglasses in your city, you can join it and share the cost for the shop rent. Such partnership can help you to sell product to real people, get real feedback and become popular in your city.

  • Create online shop

The world of internet provides unlimited opportunities for any product. You can promote your brand on the international level and there is no need to pay for rent. There are several ways of how you can start growing your business online:

  • Create online shop using simple website building platforms
  • Develop your website using WordPress which is as easy as a pie
  • Join online marketplaces to sell your product, such as Etsy

Conclusion

As you can see, everyone can create a fashion t-shirt brand in 3 simple steps. All you need is some creativity and a great desire to make a cool product that people will love. I wish you good luck with your startup!

In case you have questions or comments, or maybe you would like to share your experience, let me know in the comments below.

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