How to Start a Tshirt Business From Home [That Makes $10,000+ a Month]
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Are you curious about how to start a tshirt business online that will make you some serious money?
Well, although competitive, it can still be a good idea. There are still ways to turn your design ideas into a profitable custom t shirt business. If you want some guidance, look no further!
My name is Neil, and I have been self-employed in the internet marketing industry (if you want to call it that) for almost 5 years now. And today, I am going to show you exactly how to start a business selling printed t shirts online.
(I have made over $150,000 on Amazon selling shirts through the Merch by Amazon program.)
So I want to share with you the ultimate guide for exactly how I created such a profitable t shirt company. To give you the steps to replicate the process and turn your passion for tees into a full-time business starting right NOW!
How To Start a Tshirt Business With The Merch by Amazon Program
You may not know this, but the Merch by Amazon program launched a while back. This is a great program for someone trying to learn how to start a T shirt business and sell their own custom designs. Without needing to buy or rent an expensive Direct-to-garment (dtg printing) machine.
For the first few months, almost no one knew this Amazon program even existed. This is because you are probably not a developer.
If you still have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain. Merch by Amazon is a print on demand service (POD). But it's not only a t shirt printing business. It's also used for selling MANY other products like mugs, etc. on their platform.
This was a quick way to build an online store around a POD platform you didn't have to pay for.
The way it works is simple:
- You create an account,
- You then upload artwork to the platform.
- If you're a graphic designer, you can create your own complex designs with Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
- You then pick a few t shirt mockups to test your design with different colors.
- You then enter a title, brand, a few bullet points, and a description of your shirt, and click publish.
Within just a few minutes, you'll have a money making page on Amazon selling your t-shirt to potentially billions of monthly visitors.
Amazon handles the selling, the printing, the shipping, and even the customer service for the t-shirt sales you get, and all you do is collect a royalty on each sale.
You don't worry about finding an e Commerce platform since Amazon handles everything. Not to mention the fact your target audience is sure to be found in droves on Amazon. This is a super cool program because your initial cost is $0.
That's right, it doesn't cost you anything to start selling Merch on Amazon. That makes this one of the best ways to start a t shirt business for $0.
Since the product isn't made until it's been ordered, there's no need to handle inventory or pay for storage fees. Once payment has been collected, Amazon does the printing, makes the shirt and sends you over your expenses.
If you have started to connect the dots, you see what an amazing business model this is. You can sell products to people with the full force of Amazon behind you and collect royalties! A lot of other people with business ideas started to see this opportunity.
The program quickly became swamped with sign-ups, Merch by Amazon quickly went to an invite-only program. You can still request an invitation, but there's no guarantee when you'll get accepted.
Amazon has also placed a limit on how many designs Amazon allows you to create at once. This means that essentially, you can only post so many shirts on an account when you get one. You need to prove you can make enough sales with those slots you are given before you can get more slots for t shirts.
If your interest is peaked even a little, I highly recommend that you head over to Merch by Amazon and request an invite. You may be waiting a long while, but it can be really nice once you get in.
Start Your Own Clothing Line: 6 Steps for How to Start a Tshirt Business on Amazon
Merch by Amazon is not the only way to start selling shirts on Amazon, far from it in fact. You could always get your designs printed, and then send them in to be fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), or you could do the printing yourself and sell them from your home.
There is also the possibility of dropshipping your shirts from Ebay or another marketplace by doing retail arbitrage.
Think of this not as just selling on Amazon. Think of this as starting your own clothing line.
This is a brand, a business that you can build off of. You could launch a niche site and sell your clothes from there. You could design and sell clothes on Shopify. The opportunities here are endless. So you may want to niche down on a target market and create a business plan.
What if there was a way to sell not only t shirts, but hundreds of different items on the Amazon marketplace? What if you could do it without holding a single piece of inventory? And still see the same level of success, if not higher, numbers than I saw over the last year?
There is, and I am going to go over exactly how to do it based on the brand new Amazon/Shopify Integration. You can set this up and be selling on Amazon today if you decide to take action.
Step 1: Understand How Amazon Works
Before you even consider hooking everything else up, you first need to understand how Amazon works. This information is crucial to making sure your online t shirt business hits its full potential.
These are Amazon BSR and Copyright/Trademark metrics.
BSR (Best Sellers Rank)
For every product that is selling on the Amazon Marketplace, they will have something called a Best Sellers Rank or BSR for short. This number given to you is going to be relative to the number of sales that item is receiving.
This BSR number is also relative to the category that the product is in. 100k BSR in clothing is not going to be selling the same amount of units as 100k BSR in Gardening and so on.
If you were to go over and find a product, just scroll down to the product description and you should see a box that looks like this:
To give a very rough idea of what the BSR equates to, a BSR of 100,000 in clothing is selling around 1-2 units a day. You can also use Jungle Scout's free estimator to track how much each seller is selling every day.
The BSR in the picture above probably means they are getting a sale or two every few days.
The lower the BSR goes, the more units they are selling. I can tell you from experience that a BSR of around #2000 means you are selling 25-50 units a day.
The more experience you get selling in certain categories, the better you get at estimating how many sales these listings are getting.
You may find selling t shirts could be very different from selling coasters or other products. You need to check out different categories to see what works best with your online shop.
Copyright and trademark are very much different but they are both something that you need know well enough that you are not infringing on someone else’s rights.
When putting designs on merchandise in no way should you ever straight up copy their designs. This is breach of copyright and will eventually get you banned from selling on Amazon after people report you.
Amazon does not want rip-offs, and they will punish you if caught. Why risk it?
Trademark is the other big one that you need to know how to use. These are recognizable expressions that people have protected. These can be signs, expressions, or logos.
When dealing with putting designs up on Amazon, you need to avoid putting any sayings on your merch that have been protected.
Make sure if there is any text or logotype work going on with your designs for printing, that you run the phrase through one of these sites:
Step 2: Research Before You Start Designing Clothes
Now that you are familiar with BSR and copyright/trademark, we can actually get into the fun part: Niche Research. This is by far the most important step in selling merch on Amazon. If you do not do research properly you will fail.
Let me just say that again, you need to do your research properly or you will not succeed.
I have made a lot of money so far following a very simple strategy. Make better products than the competitors in niches where there is demand. All your custom t shirt design ideas should focus on this.
Simply put, I find what customers are buying, and I create more visually appealing products for them to buy at a fair price. I do this by analyzing keywords and Best Sellers rank!
Head over to Amazon.com and enter in any niche you want plus “t-shirt” and hit search. For this example, I am going to be using a niche example: Veganism.
Note: Niches, where people are passionate about their cause, sell the best.
This brings up the product page for your search. You can see some examples of shirts that are for sale. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see there are over 15 pages of shirts in this niche.
Just because there are a lot of products does not mean they are selling well.
Start opening up all the different shirts you see! This process can take a long time, but open as many tabs as you can. Once you have many open, go to each page, and navigate to the “Product Description” section on the product page and locate the BSR.
I personally target any design around 100k-300k BSR. This generally means the design is selling once every day or so, and that if you come up with something better, you can make sales as well. This also seems like the sweet spot between a lot of competition, and making easy money.
I will then take every single shirt that has a BSR that is low enough and copy that URL into a spread sheet.
Designs that you find on these t-shirts might be simple, or they might be complicated. Your first goal is determine if you or a designer can make a BETTER looking product in the niche.
If you cannot, do not add it to your list!
As you can see from the screenshot, if you go check out some of those shirts, they are selling very well. It would be extremely easy to compete against these because the shirts so far are mainly just text.
A little bit of graphic design around the same idea, and you will have a better product!
I generally go through at least 5 pages at the bottom of the page looking at every single shirt to determine the BSR and saving my links in an excel file.
You will need to do this for every single niche you come up with. I would recommend coming up with 100 niches, and then going through the first 5 pages of shirts for each of those niches to make your initial file of potential designs to target.
Keep in mind this is a numbers game. If you want to put up 10 designs and think you are going to come close to big numbers, you are very very wrong. You want to eventually get to the point where you have thousands of designs online, each selling every day or two.
Start at just a few designs and scale up as you make money.
This is a process to build your t shirt brand. Not a get rich quick sprint.
The second thing that I will do is tied into the keyword search that we just went over. Sometimes it can be extremely hard to come up with other niches on the top of your head, right?
I love to let other people do this niche research for me!
The way we do that is by taking a look at brands that are already selling well on the platform. Use what others have done to help you figure out a brand identity that works for your online shop.
If you go back to the screenshot about vegan shirts, you will see that there is this listing: https://www.amazon.com/Plants-Protein-Vegetarian-T-Shirt-Medium/dp/B01APINC7E
Right above the title, you will notice the brand of the shirt. This shirt may or may not be selling well when you read this (currently #98k BSR), but you might wonder what other niches this brand has created merch around.
Simply click the brand at the top of the page there.
Simply scroll through the list to find new niches, and then open all the shirts in a new tab to check if they are selling via BSR (yes, open all 169 links, I know it takes a long time).
Keep adding to that spreadsheet you are making! Follow the keyword research and brand research that I have laid out above until you feel like you have a solid foundation for 100 killer designs.
If you do exactly as I lay out above, you should have what it takes to make the kind of money that I screenshot near the top of this article.
Speeding Up the Research Process
You'll want to get your online business off the ground as soon as possible.
These were the exact steps that I took to build my initial revenue stream. But if you try them out you will notice that it can take forever!
Since I still run a lot of large affiliate sites, this growing side business was taking up a ton of my time. I needed to keep the process going (because it was working) but needed to free up some of my time.
I, along with my business partner, decided to come up with a better way. We created our own software to complete the entire research process so that it's as automated as possible.
With this taken care of we were able to focus on factors like graphic design and our next big design idea.
As the merch income grew, so did our small business and the questions from the community.
After many months of polishing our self-use tool, we released it to the public. That's how Merch Informer was born in October of 2016.
Merch Informer lets you pull up the top selling shirts for any keyword or any brand. These are in order by best sellers rank. You have the ability to save and download your links, images, descriptions, prices, as well as check keyword competition within Amazon.
Using the Vegan example from above, you can see what it would look like inside the software. I use all of this information to send to my designers which we will go over in the next step.
The easiest way to grow this business is outsource at light speed!
You can do everything I talk about in this article manually. Or you can try us out with a 3 day free trial that we give everyone.
We spent a lot of time and effort putting together the most comprehensive Merch research tool available to the market.
As a thank you to the Niche Pursuits community, please use coupon code NICHEPURSUITS for 20% off if you want to give it a go.
The biggest challenge that most newcomers face in the POD (print on demand business) space is finding niches that sell. With Merch Informer, we have basically created a keyword tool that pulls keywords in niches that are almost guaranteed to make you sales.
How do we do this? We pull from Amazon suggest!
Amazon is a big data company. This means they use all this data in order to optimize how many sales they get. When you start typing a keyword, you will see that Amazon starts auto recommending or suggesting endings to that original seed keyword.
They do this because they know from their data that if you were to enter in one of the suggested niche, you are a lot more likely to buy things.
Use everything I put in above along with Amazon suggest to ensure that your research is rock solid!
How To Make Your Own Clothing Line Step 3: Getting Your Designs Created
There are two ways you can get your designs created. You can either create custom t-shirts yourself or you can outsource them.
I ended up doing my first 100 designs myself. But after I saw that the model worked, I started outsourcing. Since I am not an artist, I had to watch a few videos on YouTube to figure out what I was doing.
If you are going to create them yourself, you can use:
GIMP is a free option that you may want to look into. If you're interested in Photoshop or Illustrator, you can check out Adobe CC here.
Note: When you are creating designs, make the dimensions 4500X5400. You want a large resolution so that when they get printed, they will look sharp and crisp.
If you are not an artist like me, it really just leaves you a single choice: outsource! If you are familiar with outsourcing content to VA’s this is extremely similar. Since I was already hiring writers on Upwork, I decided this is the place I was going to get my graphic designs from.
Turns out you can get graphic designers for around $4 a design. There are many custom t-shirt businesses that outsource this way. It's a great way to get the t shirt design you need for each idea without breaking the bank.
Here is the exact script that I used:
Hey, I am in need of 400 t-shirt designs in the time period of 2-3 months.
Your task will be pretty basic, I will send you ideas of t-shirts I want to make and you make them yourself in your own unique style. For example, I might send you a link of a already existing tshirt and I would need you to be inspired by it and create a better version that is in your own creative style.
I will leave a lot of 5* reviews so that you will be able to get jobs easier in the future and this is a long-term position. Once we have done the first batch of 400 – around 4 per day, we could continue if everything looks good.
I look forward to doing business with you!
I will then hire a few of them and give each person a few of the links from the research we did in the previous step. If they come back with good designs in their own unique style, then I hire them for the long term.
Keep in mind you want to give them the links and/or pictures as inspiration. This helps make sure you receive something back that is a better product than what is currently being sold.
Having a good design idea is one thing. Having the best shirt design on Amazon – that's how you win your niche!
Step 4 In Building Your T-Shirt Brand: Setting Up Shopify
Now that you have some pretty designs sitting around from your research, you need some merch to put them on! I mentioned in the beginning that the Merch by Amazon program was closed.
So if you want to start a t shirt business or any other merch business, there is a way around the merch program.
Not only is there a way around it, but this ecommerce platform is arguably an even better option.
It will allow you to put your designs up for printing on tons of different products besides shirts. The sky is the limit, and again you do not need to hold any inventory.
The way we do this is through the Shopify/Amazon integration. Since there are print on demand services that integrate with Shopify, and since Shopify now passes through to Amazon, you can set everything up to become completely automated.
Head on over to Shopify and sign up for a free trial (yes, this entire method works in the free trial).
Once you are signed up, then the back end should look like this:
As you can see you can then connect to your Facebook group or business page.
Next, what you want to do is scroll down to the apps section on the bottom and look for an app called Teelaunch. It will look like this:
Teelaunch is the company we are going to use in order to print our designs on products without ever touching them. When you get an order from Amazon, the order shows up in your Shopify store.
Teelaunch automatically sees the order, does the printing for you, and ships it to Amazon customers. This all happens without any input from you!
Note: I went with Teelaunch because of their pricing meaning higher ROI. But there are many printing on-demand services that integrate with Shopify that you may want to use for this method.
After you get the Teelaunch app installed in the back end of Shopify, you need to quickly set it up. Head on over to the app, and click on the “Account” button in the upper right hand corner.
Fill out your information and put in a credit card that will be charged when you get an order.
You will take the profits from Amazon and pay off this credit card every 14 days. Whatever is left over is your profit. Now that's a scalable small business.
Before the comments start pouring in, if you are from another country, YES you can do this method. Simply Google “free USA address” and look through the options that will give you an address as well as a mail forwarder.
Most people from overseas will handle returns simply by just refunding customers and letting them keep the product.
Head back to the Teelaunch app, we are going to add our first product. Click on “New Product” from the top of the page.
Pick whatever type of merchandise you want to sell. In this example, I am going to go over selling shirts because that is what I started with.
Pick the shirt you want to print on. I went with the Gildan shirt because from personal experience they are great quality. They're actually the cheapest choice, too. That's just a great bonus for us at this point.
Upload your design to the editor until it looks good, pick some colors, and then select a few sizes.
When you are happy with how everything is set up, give it a title and some bullet points in the back end and then publish it.
You now have a shirt in your Shopify back end. We will now need to attach this shirt so it shows up on Amazon.
Head back over to your Shopify menu, and click on “Add a sales channel.”
From here, install the Amazon sales channel. This is where the magic happens Once the Amazon channel has been installed, you will need to connect it to your Amazon sellers account.
IMPORTANT: If you do not have an Amazon sellers account, go sign up for one. You WILL need a professional sellers account which is $39.99 a month for this entire integration to work.
Agree to the Amazon MWS agreement and you have successfully linked your account to Shopify!
Now that these 2 accounts are linked, you will want to go into the Amazon app, and click on “Sell on Amazon.”
When you click this button, it will bring up a list of products that you have published in your Shopify store. From this screenshot you can see the shirt that I was creating earlier.
Since you are building your own brand here, select that the product is made by your brand.
Pick the appropriate category, and start entering your title, your brand name, some bullet points, and a description.
Keep in mind two things. The first is that you will need to click the “Apply to sell in this category” before the shirt can go live on Amazon. This application asks you a few questions and you are approved INSTANTLY.
Also, you will need to make multiple listings for both male and female shirts. I actually prefer this as it gives us a chance to be more targeted in our keyword approach.
For each shirt you pick up, you will have variants. Each variant requires a UPC and a SKU.
You can make up SKUs since they are for internal use. They are just a string of characters. I decided to make mine random by using a 10 digit random string: https://www.random.org/strings/
You must purchase UPCs. These are 12 digits long and can be purchased from a ton of places online. I got thousands of them on Ebay for only a few dollars.
It is very important that when purchasing them, you get the 12 digit ones, and NOT the 13 digit EAN numbers.
Since you need a new UPC for EACH variant you want to put online, I recommend that you put your designs on other things that do not require sizes.
Once you have finished entering in the variants and have been approved for the clothing category, you can publish your design.
It should take 30 minutes or so for the item to appear live on Amazon.
If ANY of these instructions are confusing, or you want a more detailed description of how to set up and connect the two, please read this article here.
Go into your seller central account and make sure you are changing the shipping time and the shipping price.
Teelaunch has been very fast on their shipping. But I like to extend it just a bit as well as lower shipping to $2.99 for the lower 48 states.
This makes my products more attractive to the buyer. Every sale is important for a T shirt company, especially in the beginning.
Return on Investment Calculations
If you price your shirts around $17 on Amazon with $2.99 shipping, customers will be charged around $20.
If you figure that a typical t-shirt that we created is going to cost you $12.50 (this is with shipping included), and Amazon takes their fee of around $3, you are going to be left with over $4 per shirt sold.
This might not seem like much at first. When you realize that you are selling on Amazon.com where there are millions of daily buyers, your perspective might start to change.
I sell hundreds of shirts per day.
Shirts have a $4 profit margin but think of the other products you could sell. Mugs and sweatshirts might have a much higher profit margin.
Depending on what you price at, of course. Play around with it because the sky is the limit.
Small business owners who keep searching for the best revenue streams win in the long run.
Step 5 For Your Online Tshirt Business: Optimize Your Amazon Listings
When it comes to building your Amazon listing around the product you are building, there are only a few major points that need to be covered.
These points are:
- Bullet points
This is a major one because it is one of the first things that a buyer will notice. Make sure you are pricing competitively.
If everyone else in your niche is selling for $20, why would you try and sell your merchandise for $25? Sure, you would make a better margin, but you will get drastically less sales. If you price about $25, you need to have an extremely good reason for doing so.
Let the market determine where you are pricing. Take a look at your competition. They might have the same product, but really give it a hard look.
You want to see if your designs are really that much better to ask for a higher price. I like to make sure that my prices are right in the middle.
An easy way to do this is take all the prices on the first page, add them together, and then divide them by the total amount of listings on the page and then price your product at that price.
No reason to overcomplicate things.
I used to recommend people on Merch by Amazon come up with a different brand for every shirt that they put online. This is no longer the case with this method because you are selling on Amazon seller central and have full control over reviews and other aspects of the listing.
Pick one brand that would work for many products and roll with it!
This lets you keep a consistent brand identity across Amazon, social media, and elsewhere. Many of the most successful t shirt business brands you can find online follow this advice.
The title is extremely important to ranking on Amazon and where keywords will come into the picture. In order to talk about keywords, we need to go over competition.
For this example, say that you just came up with a really good design about “Cats.” When you are uploading your shirt, you want to actually look at what similar designs are out there and price to what the market is demanding.
When you get to putting in your title, you may just want to name it “Black cat t-shirt.” This is a huge mistake!
Look at that! If you were to name it black cat t shirt you would probably be lost in almost 150 thousand different results showing up.
You want to niche down if you are to stand a chance of making any sales.
Think to yourself “What would a customer search for if they were looking for this shirt?” Maybe your shirt has some ears in it.
Getting better, but still lots of results. Time to try and use a modifier to niche down even further.
Very close! I like to see if I can get under 1,000 results if possible. Niching down like this is the perfect way to add keywords to your title of your listings without looking spammy.
As you can see, by tweaking the title a little bit, we found out a way to lower down the competition you will be facing as well as putting in some keywords into the title for better rankings all around.
This is what you want to practice with every product you are putting up.
This is the same process that Spencer uses with long tail keywords. The money isn't in the short tail, high volume keywords.
It's in the low volume, long tail ones. People searching for this type of item know what they're looking for and the competition for you is almost none.
Bullet points are what get your merchandise ranked in Amazon from all the tests I have run. You need these bullet points to be keyword rich without keyword stuffing.
To do this, make sure they are coherent sentences. Read them out loud to yourself to make sure they sound correct.
What many people do here is simple describe their product. Should you do this?
The bullet points are where you put on your marketing hat and try to SELL to customers. You have multiple bullet points to work with here, so you have no excuse not to hook your potential customer with an offer they can't refuse.
They will read these. Tell them why they want it!
I also like to put a last bullet point telling them to order a size up because these print on demand shirts often shrink a size in the wash.
If the bullet points are where you sell to customers, the description is where you want to describe what is in your shirt. Keep in mind that this section is what shows up on mobile and is oftentimes used in the meta description for ranking in Google.
Make sure you are filling these out and not leaving them blank.
That is not only important for SEO but its where you really get to sell why they should buy from your t shirt brand. Not the competitions.
Step 6: Scaling Up Your Clothing Line
This entire method is nothing but a numbers game and a pretty easy one at that. The majority of people will probably not even try it because of the time investment needed, but it works!
In order to scale quickly, you need to be able to either design yourself, or afford to outsource designs.
I would suggest doing at LEAST 10 products a week if possible.
A lot of people reading this and who have listened to the entire process on my site have begun by putting up t-shirts on Amazon because that is what I used on Amazon.
DO NOT DO THIS.
Amazon limits brand new accounts to 100 variations a week. If you put up 1 shirt in 5 colors and all the sizes, you blow through almost 50 variations with a single shirt.
Instead, while everyone is focusing on putting up a few shirts a week, you can take your designs and put them on hundreds of products a week!
Put them on products that do not require sizes.
If you look and the Shopify app does not have the category you want to list in, list the product through seller central, and let it sync to the Shopify app.
Doing that one thing will set you apart from the competition and let you grow at an incredible rate.
Marketing Your T Shirt Brand
You'll need customers.
But the good news is that once you follow these steps to create a t-shirt business you'll just need to focus on getting attention.
Remember, you won't need to hold a large inventory, buy a dtg printing machine, or put up a bunch of money up front. So if you want you can invest a bit into marketing to your ideal customers.
At least it is if your ideas are as good as you think they are. The custom t shirt market has been huge for decades and there are customers everywhere. It's not going anywhere.
This is an online business that will be in demand if you provide shirt designs and ideas that are popular.
There aren't many places where social media advertising still brings gang buster results. If you aren't careful Facebook Ads can get out of hand. But promoting a t shirt store is one of the areas where social media advertising and even a Facebook Ad can still consistently deliver.
There are many creative ways to market your t shirt line. Look for your favorite design idea and order a bunch of your own custom t shirts to wear, give as gifts, or otherwise give to individuals with niche social media followings who can get you more attention.
This is a great way to get more attention to your store, but remember, your shirts:
- Need good graphic design
- Need to stick out (aka the shirt idea needs to be a good one)
- Should be high quality
- Aimed at groups passionate about their causes
If you follow this advice, keep track of changes in the t shirt industry, and continue to work you'll see success selling t shirts, as well!
Success Stories Your Online T-Shirt Business
If you are still here reading through this, have no idea who I am, you probably have no reason to believe me. You get nowhere in life without at least trying, but people do always like to see some proof and I understand that.
You have seen some of the numbers posted above, but let me offer to you 3 people who have each found their own success through selling Merch on Amazon over the past year.
The first guy who I will not name, has been a friend for a long time. He focuses heavily on Amazon affiliate sites.
But when I started talking his ear off about Merch right when it opened, he decided to give it a go and scaled up quickly.
Here are his earnings:
The second is a guy named Tom. One of the most driven people I have ever met, he designed every single piece of artwork himself, and just look at what kind of earnings he is hitting.
Keep in mind these are screenshots from ONLY selling t-shirts.
Can you imagine what they will look like after he starts putting those same designs on other pieces of merchandise?
Finally, we have Albert from Canada. This guy is always the first to jump at an opportunity and test it out before coming to conclusions. Be like Albert!
I have actually personally spoken with him just a few times. According to him, he heard about Merch through my tiny little marketing blog and hit the ground running with it.
He managed to strike fast and create a few very well selling designs and ended up doing almost $6,500 his SECOND month of selling shirts online.
Then when the Shopify/Amazon integration happened, Albert saw the writing on the wall and started putting up his designs that he had already created on other products.
In just 3 days he has made 8 sales! He only has a couple of designs up right now using the Shopify Method and plans to scale quickly.
Disclaimer: In order to see the same level of success as the above, you will NEED to be able to put in the time and effort. Do not expect to put up 10 designs and wonder why you are not making money.
Dedicate yourself to it. Numbers matter, so go out there and hit numbers that your competitors can’t.
If you don't have a lot of time and don't want to spend a ton of effort, there is a shortcut. You can have better tools than your competition.
Merch Informer helps you to figure out what keywords people are searching for. It helps you locate the low hanging fruit that requires the lowest amount of time and effort to rank.
If you want to read an entire Merch Informer Review, go here.
As you can see from these examples, a successful t shirt business may very well be closer than you think!
Wrapping It Up
That about wraps up the entire method and exactly how to start a t-shirt business today. Leveraging the millions of buyers on Amazon has never really been this easy.
If you are lacking startup costs, you can do this on the cheap by learning to design yourself.
There is ZERO inventory that you need to hold, and minimal issues you need to worry about.
And for more information to help you along your journey check out our related articles such as how to make money with eCommerce. And a recent post on the best way to sell t shirts online.
I appreciate the Niche Pursuits community for allowing me to bring this to the table today. I wish you the best of luck on your journey and lots of happy customers!
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Neil is a legit dude. I was in the loop from when the project idea came together and was lucky enough to see it grow from any ol idea to a full fledged software that it is today. Very proud to see this solid software come together. Reminds me a lot of what Spencer did with LTP in the early days. All around, good stuff!
Awesome! Neil is doing some great work for sure.
This is brilliant. Thank you Neil. Ill be picking up your software.
This is wonderful depth insight with a proper reporting for the same. Will sure give a try Niel your stuff.
This is gold, I am sure gonna try this. I have got some success with teespring and I think this can be another door to revenue.
Quick heads up on Teespring, they are going into a closed Amazon beta, so make sure you sign up for that as well!
Hi Neil , Hard works always pay off .
I have one question for you , there is a way to do this without a credit card ? Many of us are from different countries than US or Canada and for sure we don’t have even a credit car from our countries 🙁
thanks in advances..
and keep going with your success.
Any kind of card should work (debit included). You would just need to make sure that you had money on that account. You might even be able to try payoneer. Since you get the money on Amazon from any sales you make, you just have to figure out a way to get your POD of choice paid for the merchandise you ship out to customers.
Very detailed and informative post. I love it!
So what would be the costs to give this a try for say three months for someone able to do the designs themselves? From reading this, there’s the Amazon merchant account (about $40/month?), The Shopify account (about $30 a month?), the us mailing address (about$10 a month?) and your software (not sure of the cost). Anything else?
It would be $40/month for the Amazon sellers central account, $9/month for Shopify (use a free trial and then sign up for the $9 an option. I believe this will work but you will not be able to have your own Shopify store. This “lite” version is only for putting products up on Amazon). Merch Informer is $10 a month if you choose to pay monthly. The US mailing address is really up to you if you want to accept returns. My business partner is not from the USA and the way he deals with it is just refunding anyone who wants to return and let’s them keep the merchandise. When you start doing volume, a return here and there will not hurt you. Simply ship the customer a new product and take the small hit and move on would be my advice as you scale this up.
The only thing stopping me from Selling on Amazon is because of my location. But with this shopify/amazon integration. I don’t see what is stopping me!
Thanks for the guideline and am test it out. Just need to re-read it again and find a great design for cheap.
Good luck, Frank!
Great and informative post!
It sounds so compelling that I want to drop every experiment I am currently making to give it a shot but I am afraid of catching the shiny object syndrome. I will definitely bookmark this post and promise myself to come back to it when I have sometimes free on my hand.
While waiting I will submit a request to join.
Thanks for sharing.
Great tutorial – people always say that the t-shirt market is too full, but to me that just means it’s evergreen!
Thanks for the great info! Do you do anything to promote the shirts/products once their posted on Amazon?
As long as the listings are properly optimized, you will not need to do promote at all. There is so much organic traffic on Amazon, the products sell themselves.
Wow! What a read! Thank you for sharing and being transparent with all this info. I am definitely going to check out the niche software! I did have one question. In regards to this section “If you look and the shopify app does not have the category you want to list in, list the product through seller central, and let it sync to the Shopify app.
Doing that one thing will set you apart from the competition and let you grow at an incredible rate.”
How would we add the product to Amazon seller central if we do not have a way to show the mock up? Meaning if Shopify doesn’t have an app that can POD how would Amazon fulfill the order through Shopify? I think I’m over thinking it. But could you expand on your point a bit more? Thank you again
You make the product itself in teelaunch (or whatever POD you want to use), and right click save the image mockup from there. You then go upload it to Seller Central and wait for the product to show up in your Amazon sales channel in Shopify and connect the two!
Got an weird Idea Man. I thought that, it is very hard to catch the cloth related market on Amazon. 🙂
One of the best MMO content I have ever read this year. Do you mean we can start selling on AMAZON with the Amazon/shopify integration without waiting to be approved to Mesh?
That is absolutely correct. You can get your first product up on Amazon in the next 30 minutes if you start now.
Would it be possible to get a walkthrough vid showing how to do a mug, for example? I see conflicting answers on where to create the item first, in teelaunch or in amazon seller central. Someone said they ended up with duplicate listings. Neil, please advise, and thank you for sharing this.
First create the product in Teelaunch or whatever POD you have decided to use within Shopify. After the product is created, save the mockup. Go over to seller central and upload the product. Wait until that product syncs with Shopify and then connect the two when they show up. They only sync a few times a day, but this is how we have been doing it.
I´v just come across this and I am interested in doing it myself. What measures did you do to promote your shirts? Did you run ads, or do you have a popular site, where you mention your products?
Can I visit your store on amazon to get an impression? If you don´t want to answer publicly, please send me an email. I really appreciate your hints and answers.
Hello Wolf! I actually wrote this for Spencer. If you read over step 5, I go into all the parts you need to know about for optimization. In order to hit the numbers I have been getting, all you need to do is the proper research and then make sure each one of your listings is properly optimized. I have never run any traffic because Amazon already has billions of monthly visitors.
thanks for the quick response!
Can I view the shop online? I´d be interested in seeing the products.
Great article. I’m convinced and going for it.
What sort of BSR do you look for when doing research for mugs? Is it the same as for T-shirts at around 100,000?
I have personally been doing the research for shirt designs, and then just putting the designs that I create around that research on other products. So far it has been working out great!
Nice Article. But it’s slightly difficult for beginners like Me. I quit my 3months older site, because of No Experience. Now Am frightened.
Thanks For sharing useful info
Read this Friday. Researched and set everything up Saturday. Designed shirts Sunday.
Woke up to my first sale Monday!
This DOES work. A massive thank you to Neil who has taken the time to explain his case study, and for creating Merch Informer which has been very helpful in finding designs to recreate with my own twist.
Anyone who is reading this and wondering if they can do it or not, just follow the steps, invest time in researching shirts and then go for it!
Have an amazing week everyone
The perfect example of someone taking action and getting results. Congrats!
That’s great to hear, Carl!
Carl, your invitation was approved immediately? Thanks.
Hi James – I used the method laid out in Neil’s post – without needing to be on the Merch Program.
From everything I have read Amazon are not accepting anyone on the to Merch platform right now, so I wouldn’t wait for that to happen before getting stuck in 🙂
I am using the Amazon Channel with a pro seller account integrated with Shopify!
Just wondering how Amazon Prime fits into all this? Most shirts for sale seem to offer free shipping under prime, is this important?
If you are going to do POD like this method goes over, you will not be able to get prime listings. This IS a buying factor, but I do not think it matters that much (not from our results anyways). People shop with their eyes. If you have a product with a design they like, they will buy it.
Neil, amazing content. I’m new to the POD game and was wondering if I link my Shopify shop to Amazon can I select which items to post (in this case it would be the POD products)? I know Amazon hates dropshipped items being sold on their platform and I currently run a dropshipping store. Also, do I need to register my business for this? Thank you SO much in advance.
Yes, you select which items you want to put up on Amazon after you install the Amazon sales channel. Each listing takes a little bit of time to push through to Amazon so you can pick and chose which you work on. You should not need to register a business to try this out.
Any tips on getting approval for merch? I originally requested approval 11 months ago, tried again back in December but nothing yet.
Greg try to log in. A lot of people applied and then received a “your account has been closed due to inactivity” email. Typically what happened to most of them was that the “you’ve been accepted” email went to their junk mail or was overlooked. I think a few people have had success reinstating these terminated accounts… unlike all of the 2000+ tier accounts that Amazon recently removed.
Thank you Neil for sharing this with all of us! I am very eager to get started! I was about to print 100 mugs and send into my FBA account when I received the link to this article. Now I will completely change my strategy! I would like to ask you: do you recommend any particular mug app/POD within Shopify?
Same goes for legging designs, anyone in particular you would recommend? Does your software work for mugs and other products? TIA!
Hey Erika I am using Teelaunch for everything currently. That being said, if you want to go for leggings I think Printful has them.
Merch Informer does work for other products. We just updated it a few days ago to add 22 new products (other than tees) to our product search module. Good luck!
Not an expert in Merch, but I’ve been selling since the fall (applied last spring). Thought I would add a few of my experiences and things I’ve noticed.
1. Merch is new so expect changes. For example in Nov. they made waves among a lot of the initial Merch sellers by imposing a “if it doesn’t sell in 60 days, it’s removed” policy. I like the idea but many of the sellers flipped out on the main Merch FB group.
2. Don’t expect to be accepted right away. I applied in the spring, got accepted in the fall. There are a ton of people lined up waiting right now, so don’t wait too long to get started. Just submit your application and wait patiently.
3. Start small. By the time you’re accepted Merch could be a completely different animal. When I got the notice that my account was live I went full throttle. Afterall, to make $$$$ you need to tier up quick. I went as far as purchasing a few of my own shirts to help improve my BSR and accelerate the first 25 sales (the trigger to hit the 100 slot level). Amazon no longer counts the shirts you purchase in thier BSR/and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t help you tier up. The big disappointment, Amazon put a halt on tiering people up in Oct or Nov and just last week resumed… but it’s no longer automatic. I’m still at the 25 tier, and by the early 2016 standard I should probably have at least 1,000 slots by now.
4. Read the operating agreement very, very carefully. People are getting terminated left and right. Since I’ve been paying attention (starting last spring) I’ve seen the total Merch item count hit well over a million designs. The most recent purge brought the number down into the 600k range. And that’s where it has stayed for the past couple months. Like I said, read the agreement very very carefully, be hyper vigilant regarding IP (especially if you’re hiring out design work), and create original designs. Also… do not be tempted to purchase an account and do not create multiple accounts. You’ll be terminated.
5. Be ready to fight copycats. Despite Amazon’s best efforts… copycats are still a huge problem. As soon as you’re designs show a solid BSR someone will copy you. I reported three exact (pixel for pixel) copycats last week. They copied my design brand name, title, price and description down to the last detail. Amazon just changed how the Merch BSR’s work so I’m hoping that life gets a little harder for copycats. Also, I think the reference made to BSR in this article is outdated. (just checked one of my designs… 10 sales between 1/6 and 2/6 resulted in a BSR of 32561)
6. I believe it’s Pat Flynn who is always saying the riches are in the niches. If you’re following Spencer you probably know this concept well. Same applies to Merch. Some people make a quick buck off of a political shirt or something that’s trending. I really do not recommend it… First it’s a good way to get the boot. Second, unless you’re the first (or among the first) it will be hard to get noticed. Approach shirt design like you would a niche site. Look for a niche find some KW’s/designs that are selling and make something better, but original. Take the skills you’ve learned from following Spencer/Pat/etc. and apply them to researching shirt designs. I use the free version of http://www.merchresearch.com
7. “Artists” hate Merch. Mainly because they don’t have the KW/research skills that most of you have. They make awesome designs only to be outsold ten fold by some ridiculous text only design. Don’t over complicate things, don’t put too much time into a design, and stay positive. Bottom line, if you’re artistic and have a niche research mindset… you’ll do great. But probably not much better than someone with similar niche skills and zero artistic ability.
9. Read the fine print. You’ll probably turn to some free to use Adobe Illustrator / Photoshop clone. Most if these do not allow thier products to be used commercially. Read the operating agreement or terms. Perhaps more critical… read the terms of other tools you use. As you grow you’ll probably want to use different fonts or premade graphics. Many of those have terms that prohibit their use on platforms like Merch. Many fonts are web only (not to be printed), graphics (like those on Adobe Stock) have limitations to how many times an item can be printed (I believe its something like 5000 prints if that image is the sole/primary feature of the product) without an extended licence (usually cost around $79). It’s easy for a copyright holder to report you to Amazon. Don’t get kicked off the platform for being too lazy to make sure you are .
10. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Now that I’m reflecting on 1-9 above I realize I may sound a bit pessimistic. That’s not the case at all. Merch blows other POD sites away. I’ve posted some Merch designs on a few and I think I’ve made $6 in total. Amazon does so much of the heavy lifting for you. They bring millions of customers, send emails recommending your shirt based on someone else’s design, and they’re getting (slightly) better at reducing copycats. It’s great, relatively passive, and will probably continue to get better.
11. One last thing… more of a prediction than anything else. Moving forward, the cash probably won’t continue to flow in like it does in the articles you will read on the web. Water finds level very fast in online business. If people are making a ton of money in Merch, AdSense or whatever; other people will see the success and want their piece of the proverbial pie as well. Competition will increase and unless you can adapt or offer value you’ll be left behind. Just diversify, set realistic goals and expectations and you’ll be fine.
Oh and one last thing… don’t use paid advertising. I’ve tried a handful of pinterest and FB ads, and all I’ve received is a boat load of likes and shares with little to no increase in sales. Well that and a bill for advertising.
Hope that helps.
Just realized I skipped number 8… so:
8. When you go overboard on a comment make sure you can count before submitting.
Great advice and tips, thank you.
Oh, look! WTF did you just read?
A scam post promoting a new product!
Another absolute marketing crap.
Only idiots will listen to this.
Go back to WF.
This is great stuff. I’m curious how many t-shirt listings it took you to reach $10,000 in profit per month.
This is going to be different for everyone as the profit is going to come down to research, optimization of your listings, and the designs. I know people with a few thousand designs selling this much, and I also know another guy who hit 10k a month with 10 shirts because he had a few go viral. I tend to focus on ever green niches and have a little over 600 designs that are consistent sellers.
I was wondering if this will work for selling in the UK amazon platform using the shopify app as you described or is this for the US only?
Hey Shaun, this method would work in the UK but it would have to be all manual. You would need to take all your orders and run them through your POD of choice. The Shopify/Amazon integration only works with the USA local currently. I know more than 1 person using this same model over seas and killing it (just has to be manual!).
Neil, are you affliated with Teelaunch?
I am not at all. They just had some of the cheapest base costs when I was setting everything up so that is who I went with. The method works with ANY POD you would want to use.
Neil, I’m seriously thinking of trying this, but the 100 variations a week for new Amazon accounts is a bummer. At what point does Amazon increase the variation amount?
The limit is raised right around 3 months I THINK (I have had my seller central account for years). The variations a week only limits you if you do shirts. I recommend that when you first begin, you get designs up on mugs which are a hot selling item right now for me and many others. Since those do not require sizes or variations, you can get 100 designs up a week if you are serious about it!
Hi Neil, if you are making $10K+ per month, the amount you are temporarily floating on your credit cards when orders are placed must be huge. It seems like the amount a person can sell is limited by their credit limit. When sales reach your level, do you still have to use credit cards, or is there another way to finance the orders?
Run it like a business and contact your bank. This is the same issue some people run into when running paid traffic.
I was curious about paying people on Upwork to do designs. You mentioned you can get designs done for $4 each with the artist doing 4 per day. So are you paying $16 for every 4 orders you place at one time with the designer? Does offering only $4 per design really yield a lot of responses on Upwork because you’re offering months amount of work in return to giving them tons of 5 star reviews? Is that what is softening the deal for them?
That was just an example. Usually I will send a test order or two to a designer and see if they are any good first. Every time I made an ad on Upwork I got 20-30 people applying so it seemed to work extremely well.
So $4 per design is what you offer in your ads on Upwork?
Hi Neil, can we take other designs wording/sentences but do it with other designs?
You need to make sure you are checking to see if these phrases are trademarked first.
If phrases or saying are not trademarked, we can use those with other design?
Setting up this with amazon shopify, do we use fba or fbm?
Yes, you can use sayings that are not trademarked in your designs. If you are doing the Amazon/Shopify method, you will be doing FBM because they are printed after you get an order.
I love it. Very informative article. I want to say something about this post.
Most of the t-shirts I am finding cost far less on Amazon than they do to produce. I wouldn’t be able to price them mid-range of the pack and make a profit. Is the trick to target the more expensive okay-selling niches/t-shirts?
The t-shirts cost $12.50 to print AND ship. Price your shirts near $20 and you are good. Most people I know selling shirts are pricing at that price point. The real trick here is to read the method I outlined, and put those designs on other products such as mugs that NO ONE is targeting.
What is an app on teelaunch that is good for mugs?
July 21, 2019
Hi, anyone — I’ve got a quick question about the prices I see when creating a product in the teelaunch app on Shopify. Say I choose to create a mug. I click the mug product and see the price as $4.50. I create the mug product (title, description, variants, the works) so that it exists in Shopify, and now I’m ready to attach it to Amazon. Is that $4.50 the final price of the printed product that I will owe to teelaunch if that product sells on Amazon? Or will teelaunch charge me $4.50 PLUS printing costs? I’m just trying to figure out my price point when I attach the product to Amazon, so I need to be certain of all of teelaunch’s costs. Thanks!
I’ve starting following this system you outline. I find it tedious to list all UPCs and SKU’s for each variation when that can be 24 or more per shirt. Do you have a process that makes this easier and less time consuming?
Hello Brittany! I would suggest putting your designs onto mugs and other POD products other than t shirts to start. You can also sign up for GTIN exemption allowing you to post directly on Amazon without the need for UPC codes and then sync them to shopify. This may be of help: https://merchinformer.com/shopifyamazon-print-demand-faqs/
Neil- how do you get around the “Buy Box” problem with new sellers accounts? Dont you find nobody will buy if they have to click “other buying options” or whatever it says.
Thanks for the info.
You simply make sales and wait for your account to age a bit. We have found that this does not really impact sales much at all. If you have good designs, people will buy them. They shop with their eyes!
Thank you for posting this article! Sound’s very informative indeed. I just have a question about the manual method you mentioned previously for those who live overseas. I’m from the UK and would definitely put this system into action.
What did you mean by the phrase “this method would work in the UK but it would have to be all manual”?
Also, would I be able to link Teelaunch and Shopify if I’m from the UK? If not, does that mean I would have to search for a POD based in the UK to make this system work? I would really appreciate if you replied to this. Thank you.
The Shopify/Amazon integration only works for Amazon.com, not any of the others so far. What I meant by manual is that you will need to find another print on demand service for your Merch and manually post the products for sale on Amazon. If you get a sale, you will need to manually go back and forth and get your orders sent to your POD and vice versa.
Thank you for replying! Appreciate it.
“Manually post the products for sale on amazon”. Do you mean ordering the t-shirts/mugs from a POD to my home, and from here post them to the customer manually?
Or, order the t shirts/mugs from POD then post them to the Amazon FBA Warehouse, and stock up an inventory in Amazon FBA.
Maybe i’m overthinking this, but are one of those methods what you mean? And, by making this business model manual, i would still make money out of this right?
Starting a T-shirt business seems very creative work. I would definitely go for this.
What app do you use to put your designs on mugs.
Teelaunch. Create the product in teelaunch, save the image, and put the product for sale on Amazon. Wait 6 hours until it syncs with Shopify, and then link them up.
Neil, I’m trying to do research but every shirt I look at has the BSR drilled way down (e.g. #917 in Clothing, Shoes, & Jewelry > Novelty & More > Clothing > Novelty > Men > Shirts > T-Shirts). The BSR for just the top level is not shown. This is true even for the Vegan t-shirt example you give (at least as I look at it right now).
How do you get the top level BSR in clothing so you can figure out how much it’s selling??
Amazon changed the top level BSR a few days after I wrote this post in the novelty clothing section for some reason. They STILL have this information but they hide it for some reason. I know Merch Informer (my company), still shows them, but I am unaware if any of the plugins in the market show them or not. You are right though, the sub category BSRs are actually pretty useless and do not let you estimate how well that shirt is doing.
Neil, just to be sure I understand, are you saying that Merch Informer will continue to be able to show the top level BSR even after this change? I also use Jungle Scout, and it doesn’t show any BSR info for these listings.
Here is an example: I searched for Vegan shirt and came across this design: https://gyazo.com/4487272387c8cd3da564c85dbd34a734 which has a top level BSR of 111k. When you visit the actual page: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Anything-That-Poops-Shirt/dp/B01N0IGBZQ you will see the sub categories: https://gyazo.com/49f6dd38ec2594f709885c71cb36c32e.
Did you ever run any promotions for your shirts that offered a discount on them in exchange for honest reviews so that could boost your rankings to page 1 listings?
I have never run any paid traffic to my Amazon listings. I am more concerned about getting a good amount of products up with the right research that will sell without my input.
Unfortunately, I am too late to read this post! 🙁
Besides my business, even there’s the chance to start selling own designed t-shirts on Amazon was beyond of my previous knowledge. I think, I should focus and study on it.
While reading your post, I got the research part more tough. Do you have any special suggestion that can make me easy to understand and go forward with my business?
Thank you Neil.
Read this article on Merch SEO that I wrote here: https://merchinformer.com/merch-amazon-seo-ultimate-guide/ and for research, you can either do what I laid out in the post above or use MI.
I already have an Amazon FBA account for my private label products would you recommend starting a second account for this?
I use my FBA account for this method so I would recommend just keeping the one account.
I just got started with your Spotify method, is there a way to make a single Amazon listing with both Mens and Womens variants? Or do i need to create a whole other Amazon listing for women’s shirts? I havn’t been able to figure that out so i’ve been putting “Unisex” in the title to hopefully attract both sexes to the shirt.
Also my Amazon listings don’t have a buybox, is this normal for new Amazon sellers?
I do not think there is a way to make a mens/womens shirt in the same listing at the same time. I keep recommending to people to NOT make shirts, but put your designs onto items that do not have variations. New accounts are limited in how many variations they can put up a week so it would be best to get more products online, rather than more variations of a single product. As for the Amazon listings not having the buy box, this is extremely normal for new sellers until sales start flowing in and your account becomes more established.
Hey Neil, Thank you so much for this post. It is a Godsend for an artist like me, I have several designs ready to go!
I listed a product on Amazon that is not in Clothing or Accessories category. Can you be very specific for me as to where I should look to see if the syncing has occured. Is it in the shopify app for amazon? Or the product section my shopify store or elesewhere? How long will it take to sync? Also where do you buy your UPC’s given the recent fracas about amazon cracking down on them. GS1 originals cost a fortune. Can you give us a heads up as to the safest UPC’s to buy, since amazon claims to be checking everyone of them against GS1 database.
You will see the sync show up in the shopify amazon sales channel. You can apply for GTIN exemption so you do not need UPCs if you want to list directly on Amazon. Please read here: https://merchinformer.com/shopifyamazon-print-demand-faqs/
Neil, thanks for the sharing. its really an eye opening for me. I’ve been with FBA for a year now. my main obstacle is the upfront cost, this POD allows me to expand my business to a totally new level.
but before i jump into the POD business model, i just need one clarification. you did mention we need to look for items that is 100k BSR. are referring to the top level “Clothing” category? or are we referring to the sub categories?
Top level categories. The new sub categories they introduced are not helpful at all.
actually i’ve difficulty in finding the top level numbers. all i can find is the subcat numbers, which can be misleading to certain extend.
anyway i’ve already started yesterday. already have 2 items listed. totally new experience for me. especially with the teelaunch and shopify. honestly merchinformer has been very helpful in the process.
one last question. is there a good platform (forum/fb/blogs) that discuss all the technical issues. currently i’ve few issues like the best way to update our listing (shopify/amazon), getting the image from teelaunch for my direct amazon listing (other than tshirt) , adding categories for the existing items. and few more questions.
I’ve been creating a lot of Mugs and Pillow cases on Amazon. What other non variation products do you recommend that do well?
can you share little bit on how you handle the categories and the images for non tshirt items like mugs. based on my reading we need to make listing in amazon and shopify, then we link them together.
i did mine, unfortunately i dont know how to pull images from shopify when doing amazon listing. so when i link them together my amazon listing still missing the images.
Neil, regarding teelaunch’s assertion that processing take 5-7 business days how do you reconcile that with Amazon’s shipping expectations? (which they confirmed through email when I asked) The processing + shipping time would kill your seller account metrics. Particularly the shipped by timeframe and the tracking. As well as your ratings over time. Which would then kill any chance you have at the Buy Box. Do you have a disclaimer on your listing which has successfully mitigated this?
As long as you are putting in a production time as well as a shipping time that matches what teelaunch recommends, then you should not really have an issue. I have my production time and shipping time each set to around a week and have had zero issues with this so far.
Please what is the recommended criteria for choosing a niche that could potentially reach the top 10 for a beginner?
I’m from Australia, I need to set up a shopify store but it asks for me address and details how do I set it up “manually” as mentioned.
This totally sucks because you have to wait 5-10 months for Amazon to invite you in. 5-10 months might as well mean 5-10 years. That long a wait means being proactive is an impossible thing to do because you weren’t invited. And who’s to say, after all that time, that you will get invited into Merch.
People want to get going on a project ASAP as opposed to waiting around for an invite that may never come. Guess it all comes down to your financial situation. If you have a ton of discretionary income, then waiting around forever may not matter. But if you’re living from paycheck to paycheck then time plays a factor.
I think you missed an important part to this article. You DONT HAVE TO BE APPROVED TO THE MERCH BY AMAZON PROGRAM to do this! That’s the exiting part, you can get started right away…no approval needed. Re-read the article, especially “Step 4” about setting up Shopify.
Thank you for your detailed information on selling T-shirts etc.
I would love to see a video tutorial of the Merch Informer software, rather like the video tutorials that Spencer uses for his Long Tail Pro software.
Seeing is believing!
It may just help you sell more copies too 🙂
What do you say Neil?
You mentioned we need to look for items that have a 100k BSR on Top level categories. Could you please define or give an example of what a Top level category is or mean? This thew a curvball at me lol. I baught Merch Informer and have been saving a few good niches with a low BSR of about 15k to 100k to 300k. I just hate to think im doing this wrong and wasting alot of time. Please advise.
Can we make this business on using social media platform like facebook page or Pinterest. Or needed brandable domain hosting with website.
I’m very interesting in your method and curious to test the method here. But I’m still wondering one thing. Currently I’m doing amazon affiliate with my niche site, I heard some people if you run both amazon affilate and merch, they will ban account. Is it right?
“I used to recommend people on Merch by Amazon come up with a different brand for every shirt that they put online. This is no longer the case with this method because you are selling on Amazon seller central and have full control over reviews and other aspects of the listing. Pick one brand that would work for many products and roll with it!”
I know you mentioned on your blog to use a different brand name for every shirt we put up so that we can avoid other sellers from viewing the designs we have up. What do you recommend for people that are not on Merch by Amazon?
Thanks for providing such an informative article! I just have one question regarding funds.
If you are unable to use a credit card and are using say, a debit card.. you only have a limited amount of funds for your teelaunch orders. What happens if get more orders than you can afford since amazon only pays out every 2 weeks?
Any advise would be appreciated!
I see that all of the different types of merch in Teelaunch have different requirements for the file size of the image. So if you want to put the same image on a shirt, mug, blanket, pillow, etc. do you have to have your graphic designer give you a separate file for each one? Or is there some standard file size they could give you that works no matter what type of merch you’re putting it on?
Very nice and informative guide! About a year ago I started learning how to design t shirts for a hobby, and I learned all the necessary steps by following this guide: http://www.coreldraw.com/en/pages/sell-t-shirts/ Thru time, I got pretty good at it, and I recently started thinking about making a business out of it. Of course, I know nothing about it or where I should start, so I started searching and ran across your guide. I found it to be very useful, and for me helpful. I think I am ready to make the first step. Thanks a lot for this useful information! Wish me luck! 🙂
Maybe I’m putting two comments together that don’t necesarily go together. But in one coment you stated that your credit card will get charged everytime you get an order (12.50) and that you will make $4 after everyone makes their cut. I have a feeling that I’m not understanding the mechanisms of the applications because I’m not super experienced but how does one make a profit from this? Do they give you the all the money from the sale at the back end and take their cut off the front end?
$4 is the net profit. So, you make $4 per shirt after all fees, etc.
I’m confused about something. Does Amazon and tee launcher charge you for their cut on the front end of the sale and then give you all the money from the sale? Otherwise I’m not sure how you make a profit.
I’ve done what you wrote in this article. My designs are on Amazon about a week. And still don’t get any order. I just got 3-5 page views per day. Do you have any suggestion for me to make my first sale?
FYI, I have 40 designs on coffee mug (6 keywords).
“As the program was swamped by sign ups, Merch by Amazon quickly went to an invite only program. This caused wait times of up to 9-10 months for some. As it sits right now, they have not accepted new people to the program in over a month and are not tiering people up.”
It’s not clear to me from the above how long the wait time to be accepted is currently: 9 – 10 months or “over a month” which might mean 1 – 2 months. Would you please clarify. Thank you.
Great job on the information. Very nice and detailed. Do you run any advertising or PPC on your listings? I did put up a t shirt recently and I am wondering which way would you recommend to get it ranked. Would you recommend any solution for the initial few sales so it can get some traffic. Or can we just go ahaed and start advertizing? At the moment my listing is just in somewhere no one would ever find it. Thanks for any input!
I don’t see how this model allows you to offer a competitive price point. A lot of the meme shirts on amazon are $15 or less and also Prime, many even less than $10. How can you charge $20 total and still sell a lot? Just sheer volume of amz browsers or what am I missing? Perhaps I’ll try mugs and other gear.
Having the all the dates stripped from the post and comments makes this post useless. It could be 10 years old and be no help. How does a reader know?
You’re not fooling Google with no dates, so do us all a favour and add them back to posts.
Hi. In the post it’s mentioned that Amazon takes a $3 fee from the proceeds of a shirt sale. I don’t remember that fee being mentioned anywhere else; is it the same for ANY kind of product sold? I don’t recall seeing a list of fees when setting up my Amazon Seller account, so I don’t know if it’s different for different products.
July 17, 2019
Aha! Never mind, I found it. Here it is for anyone else:
For many items the fee is 15% or $1, whichever is larger. For an item priced at $20 (the shirt in the post), 15% is $3.
Haha! Nice job Will 🙂 Thanks for providing that info for our readers
Hey, thanks. Trying to be helpful. There’s a lot of moving parts here!