Everything is on-demand these days and that includes the production of physical products. This presents an interesting opportunity for entrepreneurs because they’re able to start various businesses without the cost of purchasing and storing inventory.
One business that is gaining traction is the online t-shirt store. You create a design, people like it, buy it, and your partner is in charge of production and fulfillment. All you have to do is create designs people will like and promote it.
That means a lot is riding on your partner’s ability to deliver a quality product. In this guide, you’ll learn the best websites to open your online t-shirt store so you can focus on design and marketing. Leave everything else to them.
Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our comparisons and recommendations. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.
Best websites to open an online t-shirt store
Teespring is a popular platform that provides the tools needed to start an online T-shirt store. Though selling shirts is the main focus, it also supports custom designed socks, canvas prints, phone cases, mugs, etc.
After registering an account, you’ll be able to start designing immediately using its canvas. You can choose the quality of the material, set your sales price, and control your profit margins.
Teespring can be used in multiple ways. First, you can use it to set up an online storefront and sell your designs that way. It integrates with Google shopping and with other third-party platforms like Shopify to completely control your brand.
Teespring doesn’t end there, it has a new integration with YouTube that allows you to display your merchandise right below your videos. Finally, there’s what’s known as the boosted network which includes partnerships with dozens of marketplaces around the world.
Last but not least, Teespring is free to use. You don’t pay for anything until you make a sale. Even then, it’s the cost of fulfillment as opposed to a fixed fee.
Printful is one of the most successful tools for print-on-demand. Instagram influencers alone have sold more than $500 million in t-shirts and assorted goods using the platform. Needless to say, it’ll help you create an online t-shirt brand that goes the distance.
It positions itself as print on demand dropshipping. All you need to do is upload or create a design, connect it to your storefront, and send traffic to buy. The platform itself is free but you’ll need to pay for the materials and cost of shipping associated with each product ordered.
The good news is that it’s transparent about everything beforehand and it’s integrated deeply with online store platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce, Bigcommerce, etc. When payments are processed from customers, the rest of the process is automated.
Another big plus is that Printful will enable you to ship worldwide. Of course, it’s not limited to t-shirts alone. You can create things like canvas prints, mugs, hats, pillows, stickers, and more.
Zazzle is a platform that gives makers the opportunity to produce designs and get them in front of the right people. It goes well beyond T-shirts and includes about a dozen other categories from baby clothes to phone cases. Zazzle itself will handle the hard part like marketing products, fulfilling orders, and customer support.
It’s a marketplace as opposed to a storefront but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. All you have to do is create your designs, upload them to Zazzle, and set your desired royalty rate.
The royalty you can earn ranges from 5% to 99% and you can set it in between those numbers. Keep in mind that the royalty you set may influence the visibility of your product on the platform.
Beyond that, it’s free to use Zazzle to list products/designs.
As for the design part, it has a creator center which you can access through the web interface and start designing from scratch or via a template. In lieu of that, you can download a plugin to Adobe Photoshop, make your design, and upload to Zazzle.
Printify boasts over 200 products to choose from in categories like t-shirts, bags, flip flops, hats, and more. It’s unique because it has a network of nearly 90 providers so if you shop around the platform a bit, you may get a cheaper price.
After choosing the product that meets your needs, you can start designing with a blank canvas. Either upload your own designs, use what they’ve provided, and even add patterns to your creations. After the design process, you can order a sample for yourself or publish it directly to the online t-shirt store.
It has integrations with popular platforms like Shopify, eBay, and Etsy. Unlike other online t-shirt platforms, there is a fee to use Printify. It’s free to start but after a certain number of stores, you’ll need to start paying. It starts at $29/m.
Bonfire is laser-focused on helping you get online so you can start selling t-shirts to your audience. Of course, it doesn’t stop there, you can sell other printed items like hats and tote bags as well. It’s one of the few applications that gives you a true online storefront to showcase your goods.
You get the product pages which can be customized to fit your brand. You also have control over the products and variations. Bonfire didn’t forget about the need to showcase other pages in the best light and gives you the ability to create nonproduct pages as often as you want.
To get your products online, just choose a product template, design it with your artwork, and add it to a campaign. Since you set your prices, you also get to keep all of the profits associated with every sale. Did I mention that it’s 100% free (excluding the COGS)?
With Cafepress, you can design everything from tote bags to instrument cases and, of course, t-shirts. It is a marketplace so you can have your designs included on the website at no cost. The drawback of this approach is that you’ll be competing with thousands of other designs.
In lieu of that, you can choose to create your own online t-shirt store that’s only stocked with your designs. You won’t get traffic from the marketplace so you should go this route if you have an audience or know how to get visitors to your website.
There are no fees to get access to the marketplace or your own online store. You’ll just pay for the materials needed to create your order. Like other platforms, they’re sold by Cafepress.
The quality of the materials isn’t premium but it’s not bad either. It seems to have chosen to balance quality with affordability instead of just letting you choose.
Redbubble is a marketplace in the truest sense of the word. When you land on the homepage, you’re shown all the categories you can buy products in and some of the top sellers. It also showcases a few individual stores that have been performing well.
If you want to get started on the platform, all you need to do is register a free account, create your store, and upload a few t-shirt designs (or something else). Once you’ve done the preliminary work, you can then set prices and wait for sales to roll in. Keep in mind that all products have a base price then you get to decide the markup.
Unfortunately, if you sit back and wait, you may not make much because it’s a marketplace. There’s a lot of competition. I recommend you promote off the platform to get your first sales then Redbubble may pick up your products and feature them prominently.
One of the drawbacks of this marketplace is that they’re fond of putting your items on sale and there’s not much you can do about that.
SellMyTees is one of the few platforms that deals exclusively with t-shirts and related clothing. It’s not interested in coffee mugs, tote bags, or throw pillows. This may or may not be a good thing for you. If you have no plans to expand then have at it. If you think your brand will grow into different areas then this may not be the best choice.
It has both free and paid plans which are determined based on how many products you want to display. If you have fewer than 20 then it’s free. Paid plans start at $9.99/m.
It provides a private store, marketing assistance, the ability to be featured on the homepage and category pages, integrations with third-party tools like Google Analytics, and more. The site itself looks a bit dated but it does have a decent amount of traffic.
Spreadshirt started as a simple t-shirt storefront for creators but has grown to provide multiple types of products including bags, hoodies, hats, etc. Altogether, there are over 200 different products to choose from. You have an option of selling on the marketplace or opening your own t-shirt storefront.
The marketplace boasts 100k daily visitors so if you don’t have your own audience, this could be a viable route to make money. It also runs regular campaigns to boost visibility of new designers or those that have been performing well.
If you choose to create your own store, you can control how it looks and ensure it matches your brand. You also get the ability to increase your prices and earn even larger commissions. You won’t have access to the marketplace if you go this route but it could be worth the tradeoff due to higher revenue per sale.
It also has an integration to Shopify to enhance your branding and control. Of course, they take care of all the things on the backend like order fulfillment and shipping.
Teefury isn’t a true online shop for creators. Instead, it’s a curated collection of limited edition t-shirts that have a pop culture reference. Designers earn $1 for every shirt sold during the 24 hours that it’s live and are paid via PayPal.
After it has gone live, it’s sent back to the gallery and will only be brought out of the archives if it garners enough votes. Even then, it’s only available for 24 hours. Artists retain all of their creative control and it’s a good way to test designs without going through the process of marketing it on your own.
11. Society 6
Society 6 has a large collection of items designed by artists from all over the world. T-shirts are just a small part of what it offers visitors. The categories include apparel, furniture, wall art, home décor, and dozens of subcategories.
The registration process is simple. All you have to do is sign up, upload your designs, choose the kind of product it should be used for, and publish. The price of most products is set by Society 6 and you’re given a 10% cut of the sale price. Art prints, canvas prints, and framed prints are available for you to set the price.
You don’t have much control over pricing but you do get access to a large marketplace. Of course, it takes care of shipping, payment processing, and everything in between. All you need to do is show up and create designs.
There are many places to get started selling your t-shirts online. We avoided the obvious choices like Shopify, Woocommerce, and Bigcommerce because they’re an order of magnitude more difficult and require a much larger initial investment.
Our top choices are Printful and Teespring. If they can’t meet your needs then explore some of the other tools on this list – you’ll find at least one that meets your needs.
Daniel Ndukwu is the CoFounder of Growth Boost and the Founder of KyLeads. He brings extensive digital marketing experience to the table and enjoys helping people on their entrepreneurial journey. When not creating internet-first brands, he spends as much time as he can with his family.