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DigitalHow to start an online T-shirt Business in Nigeria in 2021

How to start an online T-shirt Business in Nigeria in 2021

How to start an online T-shirt Business in Nigeria


T-shirts are not just some kind of casual wear—they have become clothes which help express opinion, ideologies as well as personalities.

Hence, selling t-shirts online has become a popular choice, especially for both beginner and veteran e-commerce entrepreneurs looking for a relatively inexpensive way to learn how to start a business.

It is a competitive industry due to the increase in its popularity. But by building a brand for a particular target audience and creating t-shirt designs your customers want, you will surely make it in the business.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own online T-shirt business in Nigeria, you must be aware that it’s a competitive field in e-commerce. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to make sure that your store stands out from the rest. To ensure this, it’s important that you source high-quality Tees, have your designs, and learn how to brand.

Exhausting you say, well Relax and learn easy steps to begin.

Let’s get into it.

1. Carve your Niche for Your Online T-Shirt Business

As an e-commerce entrepreneur who is looking to start a successful online T-shirt business, it may be useful to find a niche for your store. If you create a truly unique T-shirt store, either in terms of brand image or the products that are available, your chances for success will be considerably higher.

Make sure proper research is done. Look through other online stores that you like whether local or international and use them to brainstorm T-shirt ideas for your own business. Jot down anything that you think is impressive, and then take some time to think about how you can make your online T-shirt business even better. Ultimately, you can target any niche that interests you. If you think that there is an untapped market, take advantage of it. It’s easier to stand out when there’s little competition, and it’ll be much cheaper, too!

2. Create Your Designs

After deciding your niche, the next step is to put some work into creating and refining your concept. You may be simply creating a T-shirt, but you’re also creating a business, so keep image, branding, and company identity in mind.

Spend time brainstorming and expand your idea in different directions. It can be difficult to know whether a design or slogan will resonate with the public, so you may need multiple versions.

When you’re trying to launch a successful online T-shirt business, your design ideas are important. If your T-shirts have great designs, you’re already ahead of the game. Your products will act as a strong foundation for your store’s success.

It’s much easier to market great products, so try to nail this part. Be creative. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside the box. Try out various T-shirt design ideas that relate to your brand, and see which ones fit best with your audience. If you want to try making your T-shirt designs, there are many design websites out there. We explore some of these in our T-shirt templates for your online store article.

If you don’t feel confident in your own ability to design awesome products for your online T-shirt business, seek help from others. You can contact local designers for their services. You can also take advantage of online freelance platforms, like Up work and Fiverr, that you can use to liaise with freelance designers. There are a variety of ways that you can source high-quality design work at an affordable price point.

3. Validate Your T-Shirt Designs

Once you’ve assembled a few solid design ideas for your online T-shirt business, you’ll need to seek validation from others. You may think that the designs that you’ve come up with are ready for printing, but others may point out some vital improvements that will help your products in the long run. It’s also important that the feedback you receive for your designs is unbiased. You can achieve this by posting your designs on some forums (make sure that you watermark your designs so nobody can steal them). You can also receive some professional feedback by getting in contact with some local consultants  they will provide you with professional, unbiased opinions.

Online discussion platforms, like Reddit, can prove to be a vital tool when you’re gauging the success of your T-shirt business designs.

4. Source Your Products

When you’ve validated the designs for your online T-shirt business, you’ll need to take some time to consider where you’ll be sourcing your T-shirts from. It is better to source high-quality T-shirts for your store’s inventory because it’ll make for a superior customer experience that will rival your competition.

Not all t-shirts are the same and not all print jobs are the same. As we mentioned above, quality is paramount to your brand and its success, so it’s important to educate yourself and choose your blank shirts wisely.

It might be tempting to sacrifice quality for higher profit margins, but you need to consider how the quality will affect a customer’s decision to share your brand and purchase from you again.

Choosing a quality t-shirt encompasses several factors, including fit, sizing, material, softness, and weight. A great starting point for determining which blank t-shirt to use is to check out T-Shirt Magazine’s review of some of the most popular blank t-shirts for printing.

Once you narrow down your choices, it’s strongly recommended to order samples so you can make an informed final decision. You can buy from sites like Alibaba or from your local market dealers such as T shirt dealers in Balogun Market, Lagos.

 If your customers find that your T-shirts are shrinking or ripping after a couple of wears, it’ll build a bad reputation for your e-commerce store. This will dramatically decrease the chances of these customers purchasing from your store again, which is something you want to avoid. If your online T-shirt business is stocked with high-quality products that are built to last, then your store will gain a great reputation that will help your business grow.

5. Print Your Designs

Having high-quality prints on your products is essential for a successful online T-shirt business. If your customers find that your designs are cracking or fading after a few washes, this will leave them with a bad impression of your business.

There are various options that you can take advantage of to print your designs. You can get in contact with local printing businesses, which will allow you to check the quality of your prints before you ship them to customers. You can also buy a small sublimation machine if you can afford one which will help you save money on the long run.

One way to keep costs low is to order shirts in bulk. You would be surprised how much you can save by bumping an order from 10 to 20 pieces. You may end up with more pieces than you intended to buy for just a few Naira more than you planned to spend.

6. Set a Price

Another important aspect of starting a t-shirt business is determining the pricing of your products.

After you’ve scouted printing and materials sources, review and compare different T-shirt-creation options to find the price you can afford. Your cost upfront will depend on the size and number of colors of the design, the type of printing you choose, and the quality of T-shirts you select.

In Nigeria, different brands such as polo, BYC, Pilot are affordable and readily available in the market and affordable as well.

When pricing your T-shirts to make a profit, you’ll have to cover all your expenses: printing and production, marketing, services or supplies, and all other overhead.

Keep in mind what the market will pay. For example, the average price range of  branded T-shirts in Nigeria is within N3,000 to N6000 depending on the quality. If you price your T-shirts too high, you could end up with a lot of unsold inventory.

7. Set Up Your Online Presence

Finally, you need to start thinking about where you want to sell and market your product. For a T-shirt business, it is super important to know your audience, as T-shirts can be versatile, all-inclusive, or very niche. At this stage, you will have decided on your design and have an idea of your audience, but what about your competitors? Have you looked them up and found out where they are selling and marketing their tees?

Taking the time to do market research will help you to define your audience before you start selling. It will also ensure that you are present on the right platforms for your audience to find your products easily.

It could be the case that your target market is active on Instagram and Facebook, and they don’t spend time searching for T-shirts through Google Search. This means that influencer marketing and advertising are your best options for success, instead of spending a lot of time and resources on search engine optimization.

Once you have mapped where your competitors are and where your ideal customers like to hang out online, you can start to set up and build your online brand presence. You are now ready to start selling T-shirts online!

8. Market Your Shirts

There are many ways to market your new T-shirts, but they all start with visibility for the target buyer. By this point, you have a good sense of the best buyers for your T-shirts (e.g., age, gender, common interests, etc.), and where you can find them. Social media has become a major advertising tool, and services abound to help you make your product visible on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp and others. If your target buyer is a zombie-loving high-school student, market your T-shirts where zombie-loving high-school students hang out, online and off. You can sell your T-shirts on your business website, through online marketplaces, and even at face-to-face events like trade shows, and local bazaars.


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