In the late 1980s, Bert and John Jacob were driving over the east coast of the USA, trying to sell their t-shirts to college students but there was no success. During one of their long drives, they decided to discuss whether they should get real jobs, in addition they discussed about the media’s focus on negative stories. From this discussion, Jake, the character wearing Life Is Good t-shirts was born, along with a business of $100 million dollar in value.

Nowadays, the internet and digital printing resources have made it easier and more affordable than ever to start a t-shirt business. Here are 7 steps to starting your own successful t-shirt business from home.

  1. Design your t-shirt.

At the beginning, the Jacob brothers struggled a lot with their t-shirts util they finally agreed on the premise “Life is good” and the character of Jake. They chose the frog because it is a symbol of peace and good luck. It can be difficult to know what sort of design or saying will resonate with the public, so you may need to test different ideas and designs.

(Additional reading: How To Improve Selling Your Clothes Online)

  1. Write a business plan.

Although selling t-shirts sounds easy and straightforward, like all businesses, without a clear plan, you will just waste your resources (time and money). Your business plan outlines your product, the ideal market, your financial projections and sales goals.

  1. Create a business name.

Starting a business begins with coming up with a business name. Your name should reflect your t-shirt, but not limit your ability to expand on your t-shirt line.

  1. Make your business legal.

Along with a business name, make sure to determine your business structure (i.e. sole proprietor or LLC) and obtain all the needed permits and licenses. Business licenses are issued by your local city or county business office. If you are using an online based t-shirt business and sell your shirt through its Ecommerce website, you may not need a sales tax permit. However, if you are selling your shirts through your own Ecommerce website or in-person, then you may need to apply for a sales tax permit through your state’s comptroller’s office.

  1. Protect your design.

Just as you make sure not to infringe on another company’s copyright or trademark, you don’t want other business owners profiting off your design either. Make sure to protect your design, logo and/or slogan through copyright or trademark.

  1. Price your t-shirt.

Review different t-shirt creation options (i.e. online resources and local t-shirt printers) to find the price you can afford. The price you pay will depend on the size and number of colors of the design, the type of printing you choose, and the quality of t-shirt you select. Based on your cost, price your t-shirt so that you can cover your costs.

  1. Market your t-shirt.

Many ways of marketing your new t-shirt are available today, however you should start by knowing the best buyer for your t-shirt (age, gender, etc), where you can find him/her, and putting your t-shirt in front of them. If your target customers are zombie-loving high school students, then you should market your t-shirt where zombie-loving high school student’s hang out online and off.

Marketing ideas include Facebook or other PPC advertising, craft shows or bazaars, Etsy, and many other Ecommerce websites.