Start Your Dropshipping T-Shirt Business Today

A dropshipping tee-shirt business uses digital marketing to sell tee-shirts

The concept is so simple that a social-media-addicted 16-year old could do it. And many do.

However, a successful dropshipping operation still requires the application of basic business principles.

What Is Dropshipping?

You can sell anything from tee-shirts to 60” TVs using dropshipping.

You carry no stock, so you have no need for a warehouse, and you have no cash tied up in your inventory. If fashions change, you are not saddled with one thousand zig-zag striped sweaters because you never bought any to sell on.

With the dropshipping model, you only order and pay for a product after you have received an order and been paid. There is zero capital required and zero risk.

This Oberlo guide includes a lot of information on dropshipping and expands on some of the concepts introduced here.

1.    Website

You will need a website and the easiest way to get an e-commerce site is to, though Shopify has an option to only sell on social media. You can sell without using Shopify or Big-Commerce, but these companies’ systems make it easier, they have mobile-friendly themes and built-in payment processors, so why would you want to build everything from scratch?

2.    Find Suppliers

You could go with just one tee-shirt supplier, but why would you when you could choose the best designs from three or four companies? Yes, it would be simpler to only talk to one tee-shirt manufacturer, but there’s no talking involved, you just need to set up an account with each supplier once, and that’s it.

Your supplier can make or break your business. All it takes is a few late deliveries or packages that fall apart in the post, and it’s your reputation that goes down the toilet, not theirs. Check third-party reviews before deciding on your suppliers, but remember the links in these are affiliate links, so their independence is not guaranteed: Try here or here for more reading.

3.    Unique Selling Point

Are you competing on price? Don’t even dream of it. Someone will always be able to undercut you. You need to set yourself apart in some other way; maybe build a community where your members buy from you out of loyalty, or perhaps link with a charity and give £2 from each tee-shirt sale to that organisation.

Differentiating your company on delivery or quality promises is impossible when every one of your dropshipping competitors uses the same suppliers.

Part of your USP could be unique designs that you commission, but do yourself a favour and hire a designer to do the work. Amateur tee-shirt design stands out like an undertaker at a wedding: It’s a disaster.

4.    Marketing

Your marketing will make sure your target customers get to see your tee-shirts. If you are targeting the parents of young children, your marketing channels might include Facebook, your blog, and email marketing. However, if you choose to focus on teenagers, your marketing channels might consist of Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.

Marketing in each channel is a subject in itself. For example, this Digital Marketing Magazine article has tips on Facebook marketing.

No marketing means no sales, so get it right. This marketing guide will give you many more ideas to help you get in front of your target profile.

5.    Sales

The difference between what you pay and what you charge will be your profit. Your margins must make it worthwhile you running your dropshipping business. Test higher margins for exclusive tee-shirts or for on-topic designs that will set your clientele apart as being ‘In the Know’.

There are alternatives to running an e-commerce site. They will limit your growth but might give you a faster start.

Look at online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay, but be aware that negative reviews on these sites can sink your business faster than the Titanic, and that your competitors might buy from you so they can leave poor buyer feedback.

If you have a large following, either in real life or on a social channel, then think about marketing to that group. With real-life friends, you could take orders (with cash) and then place your fulfillment order. With social followers, you could market directly using that channel.

6.    Customer Service

Things will go wrong. When customers are unhappy, it’s you who must fix it, and fix it immediately.

Give immediate refunds for any goods that are damaged when they arrive. You can claim a refund from your supplier later, but never make the customer wait until the supplier has processed your complaint.

Unhappy customers will start credit card dispute proceedings immediately, and these almost always find against you, the retailer. If you have too many disputed sales, your payment processor may close your account – End of your business.

Summing Up

Dropshipping tee-shirts is an excellent business to be in, but you need to research before you start. It has significant advantages in being simple to start and requiring little capital, but you will have competition, so will need a unique selling point and to focus your marketing on a niche.