How to Sell T-Shirts on Etsy: Beginners Guide With Tips (2023)

How to Sell T-Shirts on Etsy: Beginners Guide With Tips (2023)

Etsy is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, counting more than 5.5 million active sellers and 89.1 million buyers in 2022. If you want a share of the profits, then selling t-shirts is the right call. 

Now, how do you design best-selling items and produce tees? How do you manage inventory and ship custom t-shirts?

This guide will provide everything you need to know about selling t-shirts on Etsy. You’ll also learn how to solve sourcing and fulfillment with minimal hassle with the help of print on demand and Printify.

Table of Contents

How to Sell T-Shirts on Etsy: Step-By-Step Guide

Starting a t-shirt business on Etsy and earning money will take dedication and commitment, but it can be very rewarding. We’ve prepared a guide on the process, followed by some tips:

1. Align Products With the Target Audience

Define the Target Audience

Before selling t-shirts, you must define your target audience. That will allow you to focus marketing efforts and direct designs to the customers more interested and likely to buy from your t-shirt brand.  

Many factors will define a target audience – gender, age, income, location, familial status, and religious and political views. Every audience will have specific elements that help separate it from other groups. 

Look to target a niche that will give you financial return and profit but is not over-saturated with the 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 Google Trends screenshot, showing a search trend graph for t-shirts.
Google Trends – Search for “t-shirts” in the US

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

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

Prepare T-Shirt Designs

A screenshot of the Printify Mockup Generator landing page.

Create a best-selling t-shirt design aligned with your brand and Etsy customers. Printify is the right platform for that, both in selecting the best t-shirts and applying the designs with our free Mockup Generator.

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

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

Avoid using more than two fonts per design, and be sure they’re readable, pleasant, and trendy.

Limiting the number of colors per design and product will make the buyers’ choices easier and diminish decision paralysis.  

Design with tools that work best for you – there are many design softwares and other platforms other than Adobe Photoshop, including free and affordable options. 

Finally, remember that you can get professional designers’ assistance in the Printify Experts program.

2. Fill Out the Storefront

Where do Etsy sellers buy their shirts? How do they fill their stores? There are many ways to source products, including wholesaling and manufacturing your merch, but POD with Printify is far more manageable. 

With this method, a t-shirt is printed only after it’s ordered. The Print Providers will prepare the product and ship it directly to the customer, while Printify ensures quality and fulfillment. 

Let’s see how to do it.

Prepare Products

Sign up to Printify to access the best customizable t-shirts for printing.  

Go over the Women’s, Men’s, and Kids’ t-shirt sections and choose from more than 90 t-shirts.

These are some of the best-selling unisex tees:

A Bella+Canvas 3001 t-shirt mockup.

Bella+Canvas 3001 (jersey short sleeve) – the absolute best-selling POD t-shirt in light fabric and retail fit. Made by Bella+Canvas, a Los Angeles company committed to renewable energy usage and social responsibility. From $9.50.

A Glidan 6400 t-shirt mockup.

Gildan 64000 (unisex soft style) – the direct competitor to the BC 3001, this euro-fit tee is made from light fabric. Gildan manufactures its tees in Central America and the Caribbean. It’s equally engaged in preserving the environment and applying social-responsible policies. From $6.33.

A Glidan 5000 t-shirt mockup.

The Gildan 5000 (heavy cotton) has tubular construction and is medium-fabric, consisting of an affordable and durable option, fitting various body shapes. From $7.12.

Watch a comparison between these tees by the POD rockstar Cassiy Johnson.  

Once you choose the t-shirt, apply the designs using the Mockup Generator, adjust them, save, edit product descriptions, and publish them on Etsy. 

After publishing the listings on Etsy, you’ll need to adjust the product descriptions and pictures, product categories, tags, shipping settings, and the Print Provider. Give special attention to this step, as it will determine your t-shirt’s searchability. Use keywords related to your product and brand identity whenever possible without overstuffing.

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 marketing research. Consider the competitors’ prices, and add production costs plus Etsy fees

Your price should cover all the expenses and return a profit margin of 30-40%. There are many pricing strategies but consider these two main options first: 

  • Stick with a smaller profit margin to get an advantage over the competition. And if that fits your target audience – students and young people, for instance, will look for low prices first.  
  • Slightly raise product prices and generate more profit by increasing its perceived value. That approach fits well with audiences composed of professionals and people with families who would put quality over price.  

Remember to adapt your pricing according to changes in your audience and market, and take advantage of sales and holidays.

See a detailed discussion on t-shirt pricing in our blog.

Build a Store Page

Open a new Etsy account if you don’t have one yet, and create your storefront – check our tutorial on how to start an Etsy store if you need more guidance. 

Fill in every bit of information required and continue. Insert your Etsy shop name, write a description informing your unique selling proposition and containing keywords, and complete all business information. 

Upload banners and pictures and fill in the About information. 

The more information you display in the Etsy store, the better – that will increase the shop’s credibility with customers.  

Finally, it goes without saying – integrate your Etsy account with Printify and source your printed shirts in no time.

3. Develop a Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy blueprints a company’s marketing goals. It provides advantages over the competition and helps any business develop products with better profit potential. 

Also, a marketing strategy assists in defining prices and optimizing the use of resources, including determining the budget for advertising beforehand. 

Here are some key points to consider when selling t-shirts on Etsy.

Competitor Analysis

Determine who your competitors are, their marketing and content strategies, what they sell, for how much, and how well they’re performing and profiting. 

Research their products and strategies to identify if it’s possible to outperform them and fill market gaps. 

Adjust your prices and shipping rates accordingly, and add value to your products.

Marketing Channels

An omnichannel marketing strategy is the best way to develop relationships with your existing customer base and reach out to potential clients. 

Use as many channels as you can manage consistently. Don’t add a channel that won’t deliver a good customer experience. 

That said, consider investing time to develop active channels in a standalone website, social media, and email marketing. Choose the social network more fitting to your target audience – Pinterest has a particular affinity with Etsy; Instagram appeals to younger audiences, while Facebook has a more mature following.

Etsy Ads

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. 

On-site ads, known as Etsy Ads or promoted listings, are paid ads placed exclusively inside Etsy. Besides that, the platform runs a program of off-site ads. 

Promoted listings are easily configured in the Shop Manager section Marketing. To ensure such campaigns perform well, refine your Etsy SEO and listing quality.    

Etsy off-site ads promote listings on Google, Bing, and social media. The program charges a 15% fee for successful conversions for shops that sold less than $10,000 and 12% for those above that. Etsy sellers below the threshold can opt out of the program in the Shop Manager, section Settings, Off-site Ads. 

Learn more about Etsy Ads on our blog. 

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

4. 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 accordingly by altering or removing underperforming products or adding new ones according to the market.

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. 

Continue reading for more tips to help you improve your Etsy store and make it truly profitable. Write them into a short business plan and adapt what’s necessary to lead your brand to success.

A screenshot from the Printify homepage, show a basic t-shirt profit margin calculation.

What if you could only be concerned about designing and marketing your t-shirt line without any hassle with production, storage, and shipping? 

Printify and POD make that possible. Pick a Print Provider, create designs, upload them to Printify’s Mockup Generator, make any necessary adjustments, and publish the listings. When the Etsy store receives an order, the Print Provider will fulfill it, from printing to shipping.

POD is the smarter way to generate passive income, and Printify will connect you with dozens of Print Providers worldwide.

Create an online store with Printify and print-on-demand and sell shirts on Etsy the smart way.

2. Put Out More Designs

Invest in more design options to get more views and sales on Etsy. The platform’s algorithm gives more visibility to stores with more listings and new designs. 

The most successful Etsy shops grow due to many factors, including creating a business plan and adding more design ideas and products. 

Increase your product numbers by adding shirts with different fits and fabrics, targeting specific segments of your target audience (see below). 

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

A screenshot of the Printify Mockup Generator.
Printify Mockup Generator – the best tool for creating Etsy t-shirts

3. Use Different Types of Shirts

The Printify catalog offers dozens of t-shirt options. Even though Bella Canvas and Gildan are fantastic products and sure best-sellers, check out other quality brands in our catalog, such as Delta, American Apparel, and Hanes, and pick the best fabrics and fits for your designs. That will increase diversity and, consequently, your audience. 

Customize your t-shirts for every body shape, size, genre, and age. Check these options:

A Delta 11730 t-shirt mockup.

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. From $9.51.

A Hanes 5180 t-shirt mockup.

The Hanes 5180 (Beefy-T® Short-Sleeve T-Shirt) is also a relaxed fit but manufactured in medium fabric. That keeps a great deal of comfort associated with extra resistance. These shirts will last ages and make great options for working or outdoor activities. From $15.82.

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

4. Don’t Limit Yourself With Online Sales

Any Etsy shop owner from Australia, Canada, the US, or the UK can link stores and inventory to a Square account and use point of sales, selling in person 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. It will be possible to create a new account at Square or connect to an existing one.

Sell T-Shirts on Etsy With Printify

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

Start selling t-shirts on Etsy with Printify today!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Define a target audience and prepare t-shirt designs aligned with it.
  • Prepare products with POD for fulfillment, build a store page, and fill the storefront.
  • Analyze competition, set up a marketing strategy, and implement it on several channels. 
  • Set up Etsy Ads. 
  • Monitor your store performance and adjust accordingly.
  • Upload designs to the Printify Mockup Generator to customize t-shirts. 
  • Adjust and position the designs, and add more layers and text if necessary. 
  • Save the changes, and visualize the results in realistic settings. After that, edit the listings and publish the product on Etsy.
  • Consider competitors’ prices, add production costs and Etsy fees. 
  • Price the t-shirts high enough to cover the expenses and return a profit. 
  • A 30-40% profit margin is recommended. Lower the profit margin if you want a pricing advantage over the competition, or increase the product perceived value by slightly raising the price and profit.
  • Keep monitoring the market and adjust your prices whenever necessary.

Get Ready to Sell

This article explained how to make shirts to sell on Etsy, from product sourcing with POD to publishing in 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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6 comments

  1. Bo
    March 21

    Thank you, for this awesome information. Much appreciated

    1. Florence Kingsley
      March 22

      Hi,
      Glad to hear it was helpful.

  2. 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!

  3. 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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