Printing Tees on Demand

Using this method, I’m able to get my transfers for as little as .50 cents each… And depending on how many more I order, I can actually get my costs down to .15-to-.25 cents each.

But keep in mind, costs is based on the quantity you order, and the number of colors in your design.

So if you plan on only ordering 12 transfers — then it’s gonna cost you a pretty penny.


Because the screen printer still has to go through the entire setup process, as if they’re screen printing onto a t-shirt, and it just doesn’t make sense for them to do all of the prep work, just to make 12 t-shirts. And if that’s all you’re wanting, you’re going to pay a steep price for it.

There are a variety of techniques you can do to get your costs down to .25 cents, but that’s for another conversation…

There are a variety of companies that do this process, with each having their pros and cons.

I often use Transfer Express, but they’re expensive… However, they provide the fastest turnaround time in the industry — and their quality of work is superb.

TransferExpress isn’t my first choice because of their high prices — but if I absolutely, positively must have my transfers immediately, they’re the first ones I go to…

Also, when I’m getting samples made, so I can have them right away to get catalogs printed, or need the shirts for my websites, Transfer Express is who I use to get my initial batch.

Yes, I will pay a lot more for their transfers on the front-end, but it’s more important I have my stuff to get immediate feedback for myself and from the public.

Seeing your designs on a computer screen and in-person are two different realities.

With Transfer Express, I don’t have to order 100 or 500 transfers at a time… I can order a small quantity of 12 if that’s all I wanted… And while it’ll cost a lot, I just need proofs for my marketing purposes. I’m not using these to make a profit — I’m using them to start and build my business.

If you plan on pitching to an investor or family friend, it only makes sense to have the physical product in-hand to show them.

It’s hard asking for money when you won’t even put anything up yourself — having actual proofs in hand actual shows to some degree that you’re serious — not a wannabe.

Finding People Who’ll Buy Your T-shirts…

So here’s the secret to making a ton of money in the t-shirt business … You MUST find a niche.

We had a niche… We sold Christian and religious themed t-shirts to Christians and churches.

In order to be successful faster, and for cheaper, you must identify a niche. In other words, it’s a whole lot easier to make and sell t-shirts to people who are most likely to buy them.

If I was into surfing, then it’s easier for me to come up with slogans and sayings specific to surfers because I’m one of them… I know the language, I know the culture.

Not only that, it’s extremely easy to find surfer dudes (or ladies). So instead of running a full-page ad in a magazine for dentists — my money would be better spent running a full-page ad in a magazine that’s exclusively for surfers… And there are magazines out their for diehard surfers.

That’s what niche marketing is all about — taking your offer to a group of folks who all share a common thread.

Not only do surfer dudes (and ladies) read and subscribe to niche specific publications, you can also find online forums dedicated exclusively to surfers. And in many cases, you can advertise your brand, or line of t-shirts within those forums–to a specific group of people who are likely to purchase.

Surfer T-shirts

Cartess with 2 surfing magazines...

The surfers' forum below has over 2 million posts:

Their magazine has over 86,000 paid subscribers… In many cases, you can buy the names and addresses of those people who subscribe to the magazine. You can then mail them a catalog of your designs.

Here’s another HUGE community for surfers:

There are trade shows held each year for retailers who cater to surfers… You can rent yourself a booth and sell directly to retailers… There are competitions and events multiple times a year — you can rent booth space and sell directly to consumers–a great way to build your brand.

There are different associations you can join and become members — by joining niche specific associations, you’ll be kept in the loop of many of the events, conferences and workshops happening within your industry throughout the year.


The opportunity to get exposure and sales are endless… If you aren’t part of an association, look it up and see if your niche has one… Most do.

If you are just randomly making t-shirts in an effort to try and sell to everybody, then slow down and try to focus on niches. It’s harder trying to sell to everybody, and it costs a lot more money.

Think about Apple. They only make software for their operating system. They’re aren’t trying to be all things to all people. At one point, back in 2012, Apple’s stock rose to a new high — they became the most valuable public company in history… This position has always been held by the big oil companies like Exxon

Apple’s iPhone business alone brings in more money than the entire Microsoft corporation. Apple has niched itself to riches… It has multiple divisions (or niches)

  • the iPhone (phone)
  • the iPad (mobile tablet)
  • iTunes (music)
  • iMacs (desktop computing)
  • MacBooks (mobile computing)

If it’s good enough for Apple to niche, then it should be good enough for you …

As I mentioned earlier, my niche catered to churches and Christian folks. We marketed and advertised everywhere we could get our message.

We ran advertisements on…

  • Christian radio stations (in big cities and small rural towns)
  • Christian printed newspapers
  • Christian printed newsletters
  • Christian themed websites
  • Christian themed online newsletters
  • Christian forums
  • Christian magazines
  • We had affiliate programs
  • Direct mail

We were everywhere — now obviously, I didn’t start out that way…

I bought one piece of advertisement. Sometimes I made a profit, many times I didn’t. But when we found a profitable venue that made us a return, we reinvested back into that advertisement and then found a 2nd place to advertise; then a 3rd one, and a 4th one, and so on…

There are many online networks where you can get your brand in front of a targeted audience. Some of these sites may only charge you $100 per month to be there — but if you’re bringing in $750 in monthly sales, then it’s obviously a no-brainer to continue advertising there.

Some may require you to spend $1,000 or $3,500 per month to advertise on their site… And that’s fine too, considering they have huge amounts of unique visitors coming to their site each month.

You’ll generally pay more if they have a HUGE number of people, so you’re essentially paying for their eyeballs.

This business is a numbers game — you need to be testing and tweaking and testing and tweaking…. That’s how you make money in this business.

It’s hard work running a t-shirt business. There are no secrets. You just have to get off your butt and stop making excuses and work.

Yes, you will make some mistakes. Yes … you will have some major failures. But that’s part of the business.

If you’re afraid of failure, then don’t even bother stepping foot in this arena. Because I’ll tell you straight up… You’re going to make mistakes and you will have some failures — I guarantee you that much.

But you will never experience success in this business unless you’re willing to take the chance.

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