16 Online T-Shirt Business Success Stories [2022]

16 Online T-Shirt Business Success Stories [2022]
Start An Online T Shirt Business

Running a t-shirt business is an opportunity many entrepreneurs are looking into as a side hustle or even a full-time business opportunity. While it is possible to have your own physical store, online businesses are becoming extremely popular in this field.

Launching your own successful online t-shirt business may feel daunting, but with the guidance & insights from people who are already pioneering this industry, it's simpler than you may think. You can start with selling customized quotes t-shirts, tie-dye prints/screen printing t-shirts, or solid color t-shirts. The opportunities for this industry are endless.

Here are some real life success stories of starting a online t-shirt business:

1. Boredwalk ($3.3M/year)

Matt Snow & Meredith Erin (from Los Angeles, CA, USA) started Boredwalk over 8 years ago.

Revenue
$275K / month
Team
2 founders / 10 employees

Case Study

We are Matt Snow and Meredith Erin, and we’re the co-founders of Boredwalk, a lifestyle brand that sells original art and graphic design on functional goods.

We’ve been growing fairly rapidly, especially in the last 2-3 years as we’ve become more adept at digital marketing to find and retain our ideal customers, averaging MoM growth of 10-12% and YoY growth of 50-100%.

how-we-started-a-150k-month-original-designs-apparel-and-accessories-brand

2. Tumbleweed TexStyles ($1.12M/year)

Brian Wysong (from Frisco, Texas, USA) started Tumbleweed TexStyles almost 11 years ago.

Revenue
$93K / month
Team
2 founders / 2 employees
Location
Frisco, Texas, USA

Case Study

What’s up Y’all! My name is Brian Wysong and I am the Co-Founder and Co-Owner of a Texas-inspired apparel brand called Tumbleweed TexStyles.

We also hire teachers to help us out with art, events and sales. We love to support students and teachers in any way we can.

how-two-teachers-started-a-t-shirt-business-doing-1-2m-year

3. Dogecore ($720K/year)

Dominic Jackson (from ) started Dogecore almost 5 years ago.

Revenue
$60K / month
Team
2 founders / employees

Case Study

Hello! My name is Dominic and I run a successful meme empire and brand known as Dogecore with my Polish business partner Aleksander. Initially, we started around 8 years ago as just a fun page to post funny pictures of dogs on Facebook but this expanded out to be multiple pages about many ranges of animals and finally a multimedia brand that primarily deals in T-shirts.

Our main sales demographic is depressed teenagers and young adults who have no hope in life and want to die. We fulfill their last dying wishes of looking cool wearing a t-shirt I designed whilst drunk. Currently, we have a monthly turnover of around £6,942.00 British queens pounds.

turning-a-200k-followers-facebook-page-into-a-9k-month-meme-t-shirts-ecommerce

4. RIPT Apparel ($2.4M/year)

TJ Mapes (from Chicago, Illinois, USA) started RIPT Apparel almost 13 years ago.

They feature nostalgic, pop-culture parody and limited edition mashup artwork on their t-shirts, hoodies, and more.

Over the years they’ve worked with hundreds of artists and paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to their community of talented artists.

TJ Mapes (from Chicago, Illinois, USA) started RIPT Apparel over 13 years ago.

Revenue
$200K / month
Team
3 founders / 0 employees
Location
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Case Study

“Snitch Please - Exclusive” by artist alex.pawlicki - concept sketch to complete finished design

how-three-friends-launched-2-4m-t-shirt-startup-ript-apparel

5. Cinquanta Cox-Smith ($120K/year)

Cinquanta Cox-Smith (from Killeen, TX, USA) started *Cinquanta Cox-Smith * about 13 years ago.

Revenue
$10K / month
Team
1 founders / 1 employees

Case Study

Hey, y’all I’m Cinquanta Cox-Smith I hate putting myself in a box, but If I had to explain what I do: I’m a Multipreneur. (Author, Podcaster, and Entrepreneur) I’ve been helping entrepreneurs start an EASY Print On Demand side hustle from anywhere for about 3 years now. I’m originally from a small town in South Carolina called Georgetown. It’s historic in many ways, especially for the Geechee Gullah culture. I’m an Army Veteran and my Husband (Shawn) is an active-duty soldier. We have 2 kids Kyree (15) and Sharye (12). Let’s not forget about our dog ChuChu. He's most definitely the star of this show.

I’ve always felt like this was just a hobby, or I was just making shirts but Print On Demand is so much more than that. It’s helped me create $7,000 in one month selling POD journals on Amazon KDP, it’s helped me land a Magazine Cover with my T-Shirts for Stars & Stripes (American Military Newspaper). It’s helped me teach over 10,000 people how to create passive & residual income from home with just a computer and some wi-fi. Most importantly it’s allowed me the gift of TIME. Time to spend and travel with my family. Once we get further along into this interview. I’ll tell you about how I accidentally started in the Print On Demand industry 12 years ago.

i-make-120k-year-with-my-print-on-demand-t-shirt-side-hustle

6. The Foodnited States ($60K/year)

Chris Durso (from New Jersey, USA) started The Foodnited States about 5 years ago.

Revenue
$5K / month
Team
1 founders / 0 employees
Location
New Jersey, USA

Case Study

My name is Chris Durso and I am the creator and owner of The Foodnited States. The concept behind The Foodnited States is U.S. States made from food and renamed with a proper pun. Believe it or not, the idea was first suggested by my then 8-yr-old son, Cameron.

What is essentially an offshoot of my first ecommerce shop, The Foodnited States currently generates an extra 3-5K each month with only 11 U.S. States available so far.

how-chris-durso-started-a-custom-t-shirt-business-online

7. NerdKungFu.com ($312K/year)

Dave Inman (from Oakland) started NerdKungFu.com about 12 years ago.

Revenue
$26K / month
Team
1 founders / 3 employees

Case Study

I am David Inman, founder of NerdKungFu.com. We are a nerdy t-shirt site specializing in officially licensed t-shirts, posters, and gifts for nerds and lovers of specific genres. Movies, TV Shows, Video Games, Comic Books, and anything else a passionate nerd might like, we carry! My team and I can talk the talk as we are all super nerds ourselves, passionate about our nerdy loves (I’m a Trek man myself), and wanting to show them to the world.

i-make-312k-year-selling-t-shirts-for-nerds

8. Thor Fitness Europe ($144K/year)

Joel St John (from Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom) started Thor Fitness Europe almost 3 years ago.

Revenue
$12K / month
Team
1 founders / 1 employees
Location
Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom

Case Study

For what was an idea is becoming a pretty cool reality. It’s such a fun project to do on the side, some of it with my wife Emma. It’s been amazing to see how the brand has been received in the close-knit CrossFit community. At each event we do, people now recognize us as an established brand and that's a wonderful feeling.

The Geo-Stag Unisex Sweatshirt - one of our best sellers. Organic, Fair Wear, Sedex Approved and WRAP certified

how-i-started-a-12k-month-crossfit-gear-brand

9. Encircled ($2.4M/year)

Kristi Soomer (from Toronto, Ontario, Canada) started Encircled almost 10 years ago.

Revenue
$200K / month
Team
1 founders / 10 employees
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Case Study

My name is Kristi, I’m the founder and CEO of Encircled. Encircled is on a mission to create versatile, high quality and responsibly-made clothing so that our customers can be truly proud of their wardrobes.

Encircled started in 2012 with one product, in two colours, on the floor of my 500 sq. foot condo. We’re now a team of 10, with over 35 products, in close to 2300 sq ft of office space and continue to expand. We’ve experienced over 300% growth alone in the past two years.

embracing-a-minimalist-wardrobe-and-building-a-business-around-it

10. Ishihara Design ($12K/year)

Paul (from Osaka) started Ishihara Design over 4 years ago.

Revenue
$1K / month
Team
1 founders / 0 employees

Case Study

Hi there! My name is Paul, I’m French but am based in Japan. I run a clothing brand called Ishihara Design that I started in early 2018. My main products are tee shirts and sweaters, and I sell to a very specific niche of customers that are really into music/visuals/aesthetics.

As of today, I moved on to other projects and am not at all working on the brand (might change soon though!), however, it is still making around $1,000/month!

how-i-started-a-1k-month-passive-business-with-a-vaporwave-clothing-brand

11. Big Frog Franchise ($492K/year)

Sanford Booth (from Portland, Oregon, USA) started Big Frog Franchise almost 11 years ago.

Revenue
$41K / month
Team
1 founders / 0 employees

Case Study
  • Sanford Booth started Big Frog of Portland out of a desire to support Big Frog’s local community through entrepreneurship
  • Booth purchased a Big Frog franchise to launch his own t-shirt printing business. In just four months, he made a profit on his nearly $200k initial investment.
  • His first year's earnings were $85,000; this year, he anticipates earning $550,000.
  • Before he opened Big Frog, Sanford’s main background was in real estate. He determined that the quickest way for him to launch a t-shirt company as a first-time entrepreneur would be to buy a franchise.

article

Watch the full video on youtube.com ➜

12. Portland Gear ($1.44M/year)

Marcus Harvey (from Portland, Oregon, USA) started Portland Gear almost 8 years ago.

Revenue
$120K / month
Team
1 founders / 15 employees

Case Study
  • Marcus Harvey is the founder & owner of the Portland Gear.

  • He started a page on Instagram by the name of @portland page in 2013 out of his love for Portland. Marcus slowly managed to build a community of Portlanders and thought of leveraging this audience base.

  • He had a background in garment design & branding and decided to launch his brand Portland Gear on Black Friday of 2014.

  • The brand has now been established as a retail clothing store offering quality menswear items & accessories.

  • Marcus wants to create products and experiences that people actually want to use and share in order to foster a sense of community in this amazing city of Portland.

article

Read the full story on upflip.com ➜

13. Ratchet Clothing ($1.21M/year)

Dhillan Bhardwaj (from Long Eaton, Nottingham, UK) started Ratchet Clothing over 10 years ago.

Revenue
$101K / month
Team
1 founders / employees

Case Study
  • 25-year-old Dhillan Bhardwaj dropped out of college and went on to start his own unique & budget-friendly high street clothing line, Ratchet Clothing.

  • Ratchet is an organically grown unisex handmade clothing brand specializing in tie-dye and other various hand printing methods.

  • This brand has been worn by many big named celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Drake, Rihanna, Zara Larsson, and many more.

  • Currently, Dhillan has multiple shops across England - Long Eaton, the Broadmarsh Centre, and Sheffield.

article

Listen to the full podcast on podcasts.apple.com ➜

14. 80sTees.com ($51.1M/year)

Today I’m thrilled to have Kevin Stecko back on the show. Kevin runs an awesome site called 80stees.com where he sells t-shirts from the 80s.

Kevin’s t-shirt business was already super competitive but in the past several years, it’s gotten even more intense. As a result, he made some fundamental…

Kevin Stecko (from Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, USA) started 80sTees.com over 23 years ago.

Revenue
$4.26M / month
Team
1 founders / 10 employees

Case Study

Kevin Stecko established the company 80sTees.com -a shirt customization business.

They print 80s cartoons like Superman, Batman, Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and more on t-shirts.

He started 80sTees.com in 1999 after people kept asking him where he got the t-shirts with his favorite 1980s cartoons on them.

In 1999, he made $32 when he first sold his t-shirt at an online auction. His journey began from that moment on and he never had to look back since then.

Now, he's making $4M+/month with 10 employees.

article

Listen to the full podcast on apple.com ➜

15. Goober Prints ($79.2K/year)

With a full-time job, a baby at home, and a thriving side hustle, Troy Parker was becoming a master juggler. He was excited about the growth of his Etsy shop, Goober Prints, but was beginning to reach the ceiling of his own capacity. Troy specializes in fun, quirky, customizable direct-to-garment…

Troy Parker (from Crystal Lake, Illinois, United States) started Goober Prints over 3 years ago.

Revenue
$6.6K / month
Team
1 founders / employees

Case Study

Troy Parker is the founder of an Etsy shop selling customizable garments for both humans and pets. He specializes in fun & weird customized garment & accessory printing.

Goober Prints had a breakthrough year in 2020, increasing total sales to $80,000 from just under $10,000 in 2019. In 2020 he sold around 4000 items in total and this gave him a boost to turn his side hustle into a full-time business.

article

Read the full article on sidehustlenation.com ➜

16. Nike ($1B/year)

Nike is a champion brand builder. Its advertising slogans—“Bo Knows,” “Just Do It,” “There Is No Finish Line”—have moved beyond advertising into popular expression. Its athletic footwear and clothing have become a piece of Americana. Its brand name is as well-known around the world as IBM and Coke. So it may come as a surprise […]

Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman (from Beaverton, OR, USA) started Nike over 58 years ago.

Revenue
$83.3M / month
Team
2 founders / 112479 employees

Case Study

On January 25, 1964, Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight founded the premium athletic footwear brand Nike.

The company was initially named 'Blue Ribbon Sports. They later changed the name to Nike on May 30, 1971.

Headquartered in Beaverton, OR, Nike is now one of the world's top manufacturers of athletic apparel and footwear.

It all started with a shoe and a t-shirt. Today, it is a complex and diversified multinational corporation.

The brand sells products under the Nike and Jordan names and through its Converse and Jordan Brand divisions.

article

Read the full story on startuptalky.com ➜

Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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