Starting a t-shirt business is simple and anyone can do it. It's also a great way to make money on the side or even start out as a full-time business.
If you are someone who enjoys creating beautiful designs and has a sense of humor, then starting a t-shirt business might be the perfect venture for you. It's also a great way to make extra money on the side while working on a hobby.
Here are some real life success stories of starting a t-shirts business:
1. Backstage Rock Shop ($2.22M/year)
Matti Lehtonen (from Tampere, Finland) started Backstage Rock Shop over 11 years ago.
Hey! My name is Matti Lehtonen and I am the MD and founder of Backstage Rock Shop, a company that takes care of more than 30 official band merchandise webshops for rock and metal bands such as Nightwish. Our main products are t-shirts, hoodies, and caps and we sell basically everything you can think of from shoes to coffees and from vinyl to jewelries - Whatever suits the artist the best. A factor that sets us apart from our competitors is our wide range of exclusive items.
When we started back in 2011 our annual revenue was around $150,000 and since those days we’ve come a long way as we’ve got many new artists to our roster. The past few years we’ve grown 20%+ in a year and nowadays we make the same revenue in a month what we did the whole first year. In 2020 we are looking $2M+ revenue, we just moved into a bigger office and we’ve recruited more staff to our warehouse.
2. Thor Fitness Europe ($144K/year)
Joel St John (from Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom) started Thor Fitness Europe over 3 years ago.
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
Learn more about starting a t-shirts business:
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4. NerdKungFu.com ($312K/year)
Dave Inman (from Oakland) started NerdKungFu.com over 12 years ago.
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.
5. 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 about 24 years ago.
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.
Listen to the full podcast on apple.com ➜
6. On Cloud Faith ($60K/year)
Jonathan Waldmann (from Las Vegas) started On Cloud Faith 9 months ago.
Back in 2012, we were on vacation down in Florida and Ilona had come to us and said that she had an idea. She found a new website called Etsy where you can make items and sell them (previously it was mainly only for vintage goods). As crazy as it sounds we began by selling Gimp bracelets and headbands that we would make by hand. It was extraordinarily time-consuming and the profit was not great. So she was on the lookout for ideas.
The second problem that we discovered was that people didn’t read. No matter how simply you put the information that they either requested or that you required 7 out of 10 times you would have to message back requesting (or giving) the same information again. That was extraordinarily time-consuming.
7. NG Apparels ($16M/year)
Arpit Aryan Gupta (from Ludhiana, Punjab, India) started NG Apparels about 12 years ago.
Thanks for giving me this lovely opportunity, I’m Arpit Aryan Gupta and I’m currently running a garment export unit called NG Apparels that is based in Ludhiana, catering to all clothing segments across the globe.
My father lost a lot of money in the 2008 crash in the US market which pushed us out of the market and my father had to shut down his fabric trading business but I established the garment manufacturing business back in 2012 and with God’s grace the business has grown exponentially. I have a turnover of 12cr($1,581,547) without any loan or CC limit requirements.
8. Big Frog Franchise ($492K/year)
Sanford Booth (from Portland, Oregon, USA) started Big Frog Franchise over 11 years ago.
- 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.
Watch the full video on youtube.com ➜
9. 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 about 4 years ago.
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.
Read the full article on sidehustlenation.com ➜
10. Ratchet Clothing ($1.21M/year)
Dhillan Bhardwaj (from Long Eaton, Nottingham, UK) started Ratchet Clothing almost 11 years ago.
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.
Listen to the full podcast on podcasts.apple.com ➜
11. 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 about 59 years ago.
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.
Read the full story on startuptalky.com ➜
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Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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