How to Sell T-Shirts on Etsy: Your 5-Step Guide With Expert Tips

How to Sell T-Shirts on Etsy: Your 5-Step Guide With Expert Tips

Etsy is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, hosting more than 6.7 million active sellers and 91.6 million buyers in 2023. If you’re seeking a platform with traffic, then choosing to sell t-shirts on Etsy is the right call. 

This guide will provide everything you need to know to start selling t-shirts as an Etsy seller, including how to design best-selling items and produce quality shirts. 

We’ll also explore product sourcing and how to sell shirts on Etsy without inventory using Print on Demand and Printify.

How to Sell T-Shirts on Etsy in 5 Steps With Print on Demand

Starting a t-shirt business on Etsy and earning money will take dedication and commitment, but it can be very rewarding. Follow our guide on the process, and take note of our handy tips.

1. Define Your Target Audience

Before selling custom t-shirts, you must know who you’re targeting. This allows you to focus marketing efforts and promote your designs to customers who are likely to buy from your t-shirt brand.  

Many factors will define a target audience, including gender, age, income, location, family status, and religious and political views.

When you sell shirts on Etsy, try targeting a niche that will give you financial returns and is not over-saturated with competition. 

Use tools like Google Trends – type t-shirts or tees, followed by keywords related to your unique selling proposition. Gather as much data as possible in the results, observing location, demographics, and related searches.

A screenshot of a search for “t-shirts” using Google Trends.

Also, look into Etsy search results for terms like trendy t-shirts, popular t-shirts, and keywords related to your brand.

Have some fun while learning more about niches by watching our video.

Expert Tip

“Etsy sellers can navigate the challenge of balancing trends and market saturation by focusing on product differentiation. 

You should innovate in design, offer customization options, and emphasize quality to set your items apart. 

Curating a smaller selection of high-quality, unique products allows for more effective marketing efforts. Stay informed about market trends to adapt your offerings and remain relevant. 

This approach attracts customers and builds a lasting brand identity beyond short-lived trends.”

How to Sell T-Shirts on Etsy: Your 5-Step Guide With Expert Tips 1

Simon Bacher

CEO and Co-Founder at Ling-App

2. Choose T-Shirts and Design Them

There are many ways to source products, including wholesaling and manufacturing your merchandise, but Print on Demand is far more manageable and easy to implement. Access the best customizable t-shirts for printing with Printify.

Select from a range of t-shirts in our Catalog and apply designs using our free Product Creator (previously known as Mockup Generator). Our services will help you create a best-selling t-shirt design for your brand and Etsy customers.

Select a Custom T-Shirt

Go over the women’s, men’s, and children’s t-shirt sections and choose from hundreds of options made from high-quality fabric.

When making your selection, consider the t-shirt materials and style, available Print Providers and custom design options, and production and shipping costs.

Explore Printify’s best-selling shirts to list on your Etsy store:

Apply Designs

Align your designs with your brand and niche, and make sure they’re original. 

Or, if you’re planning to use pre-made designs, find royalty-free images from reputable sources. Try free Printify designs or our Shutterstock integration.

The rule of thumb for t-shirt designs on custom products is prioritizing simplicity whenever possible – unless your niche has a different demand. 

Set up a recognizable brand palette and avoid using more than two fonts per design. Make sure any text and small details are readable and appealing.

Stick to limiting the number of colors per design and product variant. This will make the buyers’ choices easier and diminish decision paralysis.  

Design with software and tools that work best for you. Alternatively, seek professional assistance from our Printify Experts program.

Once your design is ready, apply it to the product template using our Product Creator.

Note

Find inspiration in our article on the best Shopify t-shirt stores.

3. Set up Your Etsy Storefront

You’ll need to create an Etsy business account before continuing further. Check out our tutorial on how to start an Etsy store if you need more guidance. 

Now, let’s see how to list your new products on Etsy.

Publish Listings

Once you’ve chosen a t-shirt and applied a design using our Product Creator, adjust them, save your work, and edit product descriptions on your Printify product page.

Integrate your Etsy account with Printify. Click Add new store in the Manage my stores section, and enter the required account information. Once done, publish all your new products to Etsy in one click. 

You can adjust the product descriptions, categories, tags, and pictures on Printify, keep the base information, or edit them after publishing on your Etsy account.

Pay special attention to these details to increase your t-shirt’s ranking in Etsy search results. Implement relevant keywords while keeping the text organic to compete with other sellers and establish your brand identity.

You can also learn how to take pictures for Etsy on our blog.

Want more information on getting more sales and making money on the platform? Follow our blog to stay in the loop.

Price Your Products

When calculating pricing, start with market research. Consider your competitors’ prices and calculate production costs plus Etsy fees.

Your price should cover all the expenses with a profit margin of around 30%-40%

There are many pricing strategies, but consider these two options first: 

  • Stick with a smaller profit margin to get an advantage over your competition.
  • Slightly raise product prices and generate more profit by increasing its perceived value. This approach can work well with audiences who put quality over price. 

Remember to adapt your pricing to changes in your audience and market, and take advantage of holiday events for deals and discounts.

Is selling on Etsy worth it? Make an informed decision and read our blog’s detailed explanation of t-shirt pricing.

Build a Store Page

Log into your Etsy account and fill in all information required to continue. Insert your Etsy shop name, write a description outlining your unique selling proposition with relevant keywords, and complete all business information in the settings.

Upload your online store banners, add high-quality images for branding, and fill in the About section to align with your target market and buyer expectations. 

The more information you display on your Etsy store, the better. This will increase your shop’s credibility with potential customers and help improve your t-shirt’s searchability.

4. Market Your Etsy Store

Marketing can provide lucrative advantages over your competition. If done well, you can attract more customers and sell shirts with higher profits.

Note

For a more in-depth guide, read our article on how to sell on Etsy.

Let’s look at the types of marketing you can implement:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a great way to establish more relevance to your brand and increase your store’s searchability. 

Implement Etsy SEO strategies by enhancing your shop’s listings with relevant keywords, tags, categories, and store information to provide more context and relevance for visitors and search engine algorithms.

Content Marketing

Content marketing works in a similar way. Use blog posts or articles on a standalone website to discuss personalized shirts, custom products, shopping habits, and other related topics. 

For example, share customer feedback and discuss creating eye-catching designs to build awareness, trust, and authority.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a crucial tool to communicate with your customers directly. Engage regularly with your audience on social channels to build your brand identity and direct traffic to your Etsy shop through promoted posts and discussions.

Leverage visual platforms like Instagram or Pinterest to showcase your personalized shirts further. Share images of your products and use relevant and popular hashtags.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool frequently used in eCommerce. Whether you use it for order confirmations and customer support, or newsletters and promotional materials, it should be your prime channel to provide customers with helpful information.

Create an email list to inform your customers of new shirt designs or special offers. For instance, send a newsletter showcasing your best-selling shirts on Etsy and include exclusive discounts for subscribers.

Etsy Ads

On-site ads, known as Etsy Ads or promoted listings, are paid ads placed exclusively inside the Etsy marketplace. It’s a great tool for getting your store on the front page of Etsy search results.

Create Etsy Ad campaigns after your business has been running for about a month. This way, you’ll have some data on the better-performing products. 

Promoted listings are easily configured in the Shop Manager section on the Marketing page.

Learn more about Etsy Ads on our blog.

Search Engine Marketing

Also, consider paid advertising through search engines. Etsy off-site ads promote listings on Google, Bing, and social media. This is a fixed Etsy campaign that stores are automatically enrolled in.

The program charges a 15% fee for successful conversions for shops that sold less than $10,000 and 12% for those above that. 

This could result in unwanted losses. Therefore, Etsy sellers below the threshold can opt out of the program in the Off-Site Ads section on the Shop Manager Settings page. 

Don’t miss our Etsy Marketing Guide for a detailed marketing strategy.

5. Analyze and Adjust Your Store Accordingly

A month or more after opening your Etsy store and selling t-shirts, dive into the initial data and check what’s working and what isn’t. Use Etsy Analytics and connect to Google Analytics to acquire accurate and up-to-date information. 

Monitor your t-shirt shop performance and adjust by altering or removing underperforming products or adding new ones according to the market.

Pro-tip

Expand your brand and add more products to increase profitability. Learn how to sell printables on Etsy from our blog.

Make It Happen Today!

4 Tips to Successfully Sell T-Shirts on Etsy

Setting up an online shop is only the first part of your eCommerce journey. Growing your Etsy t-shirt business will require dedication and patience. 

Explore our tips to help improve your Etsy store and make it truly profitable. Incorporate these into your business plan and adapt what’s necessary to lead your brand to success.

1. Use Print on Demand for Fulfillment

A screenshot of the Printify homepage header.

What if you only needed to focus on designing and marketing your t-shirt line without the hassles of production, storage, and shipping? 

Printify and Print on Demand make that possible. Pick a Print Provider, create designs, upload them to Printify’s Product Creator, make adjustments, and publish your listings. When the Etsy store receives an order, the Print Provider will fulfill it, from printing to shipping.

Print on Demand is a smart way to generate passive income, and Printify will connect you with dozens of Print Providers worldwide.

Recommended Reading

Etsy vs eBay, compare differences between the marketplaces, and get more eCommerce ideas for your Etsy store.

2. Release More Designs

Create various designs to get more views and sales on Etsy. The platform’s algorithm gives more visibility to stores with new listings and designs. 

Increase your product numbers by adding shirts with different fits and fabrics, targeting specific segments of your audience. 

Use the Printify Product Creator  to speed up the process. Upload your best designs and re-apply them to different shirt models.

Use our Product Creator to speed up the process. Upload your best designs and re-apply them to different shirt models.

3. Use Different Types of Shirts

Customize your products for every body shape, size, genre, and age.

Our Catalog offers dozens of t-shirt options. Even though Bella Canvas and Gildan are fantastic and some of the best-selling items on Etsy, check out other quality brands. 

Explore Delta, American Apparel, and Hanes, and pick fabrics that fit your designs. Check out some of our best t-shirts:

The Delta 11730 men’s short-sleeve tee is light-fabric and comes in a relaxed fit, making an excellent option for comfort, oversized, mom or dad shirts.

The Hanes 5180 Beefy-T® short-sleeve t-shirt is also a relaxed fit but manufactured in medium fabric, combining comfort with extra resistance. These shirts will last ages and make great options for working or outdoor activities. 

Printify also offers the leading eco-friendly t-shirt brands, including Stanley/Stella, Royal Apparel, and Econscious. These options add value to your product.

4. Try Selling Offline

White custom t-shirts available for sale hanging on a stand.

Any Etsy shop owner from Australia, Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom can link stores and inventory to a Square account. This provides a point of sale for in-person transactions at fairs, trades, or even a brick-and-mortar store. 

Square updates inventory amounts on the Etsy shop listings and manages payment processing. 

To connect an Etsy account to Square, go to the Shop Manager and scroll down to Sell in Person in the left-hand menu. You can create a new account at Square or connect to an existing one.

Get more ideas about things to sell on Etsy on our blog.

Sell T-Shirts on Etsy With Printify

Upload best-selling designs to our Product Creator, publish your tees on Etsy, and start selling and profiting with Printify.

Frequently Asked Questions

Start selling shirts on Etsy using a print-on-demand service. Create awesome designs and apply them to our top-quality t-shirts from our Catalog and publish them to Etsy with ease. Once your Etsy business makes a sale, Printify fulfills your t-shirt designs and ships them to you or your customer.

There are many free software options to create t-shirt designs, but most won’t allow you to publish and fulfill your mockups. Fortunately, you can use our Product Creator. Select from our list of quality t-shirt blanks and upload your designs, ready for printing.

If you don’t want to make everything from scratch, the easiest way is to partner with a print-on-demand platform. This lets you select from custom wholesale t-shirts and add your own designs to sell for a profit, requiring zero inventory with automated fulfillment.

Start your Etsy print on demand business today!

Get Ready to Sell

We’ve covered how to make shirts to sell on Etsy, including product sourcing with Print on Demand, to publishing on an Etsy t-shirt shop. 

Take your time, prepare popular t-shirt designs, and remember to monitor your store performance and market changes continuously. Count on Printify to help you start a profitable business venture with an Etsy t-shirt store. We wish you success!

Make It Happen Today!

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20 comments

  1. Arvin
    April 16

    ‘More than 28% of people return their apparels due to size or color issues. How do i protect myself from such heavy losses if printify wont take returns? Can i say on etzy no returns policy?

    1. Ariel Summers
      May 17

      Hi Arvin,

      Yes, we highly recommend aligning your store policies as closely as possible with the Printify policies. This helps in reducing or minimizing any expenses related to potential issues. However, the extent to which you can customize your store policies will depend on your chosen sales channel. You can check this guide for more detailed information.

  2. Norah Diari
    February 22

    If i happen to sell an item, through what type of payment do recieve my money

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 22

      Hi Norah,
      You receive payments through your Etsy, here is more info: https://help.etsy.com/hc/en-us/articles/115014503608-How-to-Get-Paid-on-Etsy?segment=selling 🙂

  3. Bo
    February 17

    I’ve seen Etsy shops that have a tshirt listing that has unisex t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, onesies, kids tee’s all on the same listing, with drop downs for choices.
    How do I do that? Is it with a certain brand?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 22
  4. Chloe
    January 11

    Hi, what happens when the customer wants to return a product?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 8

      Hi Chloe,
      Since Printify is a Print On Demand company, we do not support returns or exchanges. However, if the product is damaged, you can submit a request for a refund or a free reprint. Read more here.

  5. Jenny
    November 25

    How do returns work? If someone purchases a t-shirt from etsy and then wants to return it? Would I have to handle this?

    1. Ariel Summers
      February 8

      Hi Jenny,
      Since Printify is a Print on Demand company, we do not support returns and exchanges. However, if the product received is damaged, we offer a refund or a free reprint. Read more here.

  6. Anna
    September 21

    I’m confused about how the payment process works when I sell something through Etsy. I had an order placed for a shirt on my Etsy store, which showed as an Order on Printify. It said it was On Hold because there was no Payment for the item. I ended up adding my own credit card to Printify which seemed to work, but why didn’t the buyer’s payment go into Printify and cover it? Do I need to cover the cost from my own card in Printify, and then I’ll receive a separate payment from Etsy?

    1. Ariel Summers
      September 27

      Hi Anna,
      When customers buy from your Etsy store, their payment covers the product’s price and shipping. However, Printify doesn’t receive this payment directly as Etsy is aa 3rd party app. To ensure order processing, Printify charges your card or uses your Printify balance to cover production and shipping costs. You’ll receive a separate payment from Etsy for the order. So, in essence, your customers buy from you on Etsy, and you purchase the products from Printify.
      If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to our support team via email or chat.

  7. Chantal
    September 11

    Does your printify account link with your etsy account and the shipping happens automatically to the client?

    1. Martha Simmons
      September 12

      Hi Chantal,
      Yes, you can connect your Printify account to your Etsy store directly with a few simple steps and then shipping is calculated automatically, but you can also set up your own rates. You can find more information here.

  8. Bo
    March 21

    Thank you, for this awesome information. Much appreciated

    1. Florence Kingsley
      March 22

      Hi,
      Glad to hear it was helpful.

  9. Freddie
    February 27

    Awesome, thanks for posting this map for newbies like myself.

    1. Florence Kingsley
      February 28

      Hey Freddie! We are happy to hear it was helpful!

  10. Elvira Shelite
    February 19

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

    1. Martha Simmons
      February 20

      Hi Elvira Shelite,
      Thank you for your feedback! We are happy to hear that you enjoyed this article.

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