Ways to Start A T-Shirt Brand- Method 1: Screenprinting

At Creators Mandate, we are constantly asked about ways to print T-Shirts. Whether you want to start your own clothing brand, host a fundraiser, or just have a t-shirt design in your mind, there are many options out there to get the job done. 

Over the next few weeks we will explore different ways to print t-shirts, the pros and cons of the processes, and share some of our favorite websites and tools that we use. 

Method 1: 

Screenprinting in Bulk 

When we were just getting started out, we used to buy our shirts in bulk. We started with a company that shipped from California. We eventually began working with a company that was in our area and did this method for years. Screenprinting is one of the most popular and faithful methods for designing graphic t-shirts. 

What the Process Will Look Like: 

After you have decided on what company you will use, they will most often ask these questions once you've contacted them for a quote. Having the following items prepared will help make the contact process easy! Feel free to shop around with multiple companies before making a final decision. 

1. You need the design. Most companies have designers on staff that can help you bring your idea to life if you lack the skills to do it yourself. This often comes with an extra fee, but since when is anything in life free? If they don't have a designer or you want another option, check out Fiverr, a company that lets you hire designers and other workers. 

For the person who has some ability, you can use a company like Canva, (one of our favorites) to create your design. Canva was one of the first business subscriptions we ever made due to its ease of use and usefulness for our business. They've recently added so many new features that help you keep up with all of the new technology. 

2. After you have the design, you need to decide what style of and type of garment you will want to print on. Some popular apparel companies are Gildan, Bella + Canvas, Next Level, and Champion. 

3. When screenprinting, a color on a shirt is printed one at a time, often by manual labor. When getting a quote for your shirt, they will often ask how many colors and how many placements. The question, "how many colors?" refers to how many colors are in the design. Placement refers to where designs on a shirt will be printed. Common placements are the front, back, sleeves, or pocket area of a shirt. 

4. Know the total amount of shirts and what sizes you want to order. Cost prices go up a few dollars usually after 2X. Screenprinters will want to know the exact number for each size you will be ordering. (See sample order below)

5. Once you let the screenprinting company know what you're looking to order, you will get a quote back on the final cost and timeline of completion. Once you accept, you simply wait for the notification that your order is ready to be picked up. It's always a good idea to look over your final product before leaving the site in case there are any issues. 

Having the knowledge of this process should make your experience working with a screenprinting company for the first time a lot easier. This is a very user friendly way to begin to make your own t-shirt brand. 

Who It's For: 

The person who has some money to invest upfront. Look to spend around $300-$350 for an order of 25-30 shirts. 

The person who likes to be hands on with their process. This process will require you to take your own pictures, process, and ship orders. 

The person who will be selling in person a lot. If you anticipate selling to a local audience (fundraisers, churches, events) this is a great cost-effective option. 



 Pros Cons
Professional quality due to company's experience Greater investment up front- money tied up waiting on ROI
 Control of the process  Leftover inventory to store
 Partner with a local business Have to manage shipping orders out (can be a con if short on time)
 Cost effective for bulk sales


Sample order:

To print our Joy Unspeakable Hoodie our order would look something like this: 

Gildan G185 Hoodie or Similar style 

1 Placement (We would put the Design and the Logo together as one file) 

2 Colors 

Black and Irish Green-  30 Total

Each Color: 

2- Small

2 -Medium

4 -Large

4 -XL

3 -2XL




All in all, if you are looking for ways to start your own t-shirt brand, screenprinting in bulk is a common, user-friendly way to start and also run a business! 

If this helped or if you have additional questions, comment below!




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