Using the Media to Make a Fortune in the T-shirt Business 

By  Cartess Ross

Another secret to making money from t-shirts is to watch what is happening in the media. And depending on what’s going on, you can make designs around that topic…

Do you remember when Martha Stewart was arrested a few years ago?

I made t-shirts around that and sold hundreds of shirts over the course of five days at $11.99 each (by this point, my cost to make a t-shirt was less than $2.00… plus I generally charged an inflated shipping rate, which usually covered my shipping costs, and my cost for making the t-shirt itself… thus making the $11.99 almost all profit).

Anyhow, can you guess what the t-shirts said?

One of them said “FREE MARTHA STEWART!

And the other one said “SEND MARTHA STEWART TO JAIL!

I had different graphics to go along with each phrase and as you can probably figure out, I had 2 separate web sites each selling those t-shirts…

One website was for those who felt Martha Stewart shouldn’t go to jail, and the other site was for those who strongly felt Martha Stewart belonged in prison.

This goes back to our earlier topic about niches… the people who wanted Martha Stewart in prison would not have liked the idea of me selling “Free Martha Stewart” t-shirts on the same site. These people were passionate about her serving time…

By having a website dedicated solely for these people, we were able to post relevant content on the site in an effort to keep their ‘passions’ going (via an online blog — this allowed the conversations to keep going… anything new that was related to her case was often updated when members would come by and post comments…

This is important because when you create these t-shirt sites based on the media, you want to create a ‘community’ where like-minded people can bond and vent.

When you have this type of community, your sales tend to explode because the more these people talk and talk, the more content they provide for the search engines and the more people tend to link to the website.

The website we had up for Mike Vick is a great example of a community of passionate people sharing a common bond. Before I proceed further with this, let me first say I regret putting that website up. It’s something I shouldn’t have done… My goal was to make money and I shouldn’t have used this particular story to profit from.

Anyhow… we didn’t have to create a Mike Vick t-shirt fan site. There were so many angry and passionate people that fueled this thing we didn’t have time to create another site for those who felt Mike Vick didn’t deserve to go to jail/trial.

We were getting hundreds of blog comment posts by the hour and our server shut down a time or two… I didn’t think this thing would ever end…

To get started in this business, all you need to do is watch the media and read the papers and listen closely to what’s going on. Once you find that ‘something’, you exploit the heck out of it.

Sadly, we all remember September 11th. If you can recollect, during that time everybody was looking to buy American flags. At one point, the manufacturers of those flags didn’t have enough on hand to sell and people were going crazy because they wanted their American flags and they wanted them like YESTERDAY!

We decided to put some American flag t-shirts online and you won’t believe what happened. It was a total nightmare. We weren’t ready for what was too come… it was like a tsunami.

We had orders coming in so fast our server crashed and we BIG money. We managed to get back online and for about 7 days straight, we were selling about $4,500.00 worth of t-shirts per day! LITERALLY.

What’s more shocking is that we caught the tail end of that cash surge because we didn’t jump on the American flag t-shirts sooner…You see, I was about 2 weeks late putting up that web site…

I was so shocked by what happened on September 11th I wasn’t even thinking about selling t-shirts, but two weeks later, I launched and put the site up after I kept hearing the news about people wanting flags and couldn’t get them.

We charged about $10 (or was it $12.95…) per shirt so our profit margin was huge… (and we jacked up the shipping rates to cover costs for shipping and the cost to get the transfer).

In the end, I profited a boatload of money and lost a lot of money too. We had to refund a lot of people because the place we purchased the transfers from weren’t ready for that either… Their inventory ran out and they couldn’t print those things fast enough either. Everybody was ordering from them… I was doing $4,500 per day, so I know there were others probably doing $30,000.00 – $50,000.00 each day.

I know this sounds unbelievable, but you’re one news story away from making an insane fortune. It’s almost like playing the lottery, but with this you have a greater chance of winning.

My point in telling you all of this…watch the news. Listen to what’s going on around you. Watch the talk shows to see what they’re talking about. Jump on the Internet and see what’s going on.

One thing about the media is that when something BIG is happening or breaking, they’ll generally coin some type of catch-phrase and it’s that phrase you want to take and run with.

…I’m going to spend a little more time talking about this because some of you may want to make your money from this tv/media strategy. I’m convinced that if a person did nothing but focused on this all year, you’ll definitely hit a few big ones that will pay for any of the ‘misses’ you made… you won’t make money on all of them, but whatever you lose will definitely be made up for when you hit a big one.

Those who jumped on the political bandwagon and made t-shirts for the past presidential election whereby Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain and Sarah Palin were running… made a fortune!

This election was so emotionally charged and you had folks on both the right and left who were passionate about their candidate.

There were a group of young adults who created a variety of Barack Obama t-shirts… If I’m not mistaking, they were “Barack the Vote” t-shirts. These guys were selling THOUSANDS of t-shirts each day. They couldn’t keep up with demand. If my memory serves me right, they were at a point where they were selling in excess of 12,000 t-shirts daily!

You read it right… 12,000 t-shirts per day…

Everybody was wearing the stuff… see some of the samples below:

Mila Kunis

Halle Berry

Those were just a few samplings of the thousands of Obama tees out there on the market.

If you’re going to go the “media” route… you gotta pay attention and move fast. The one who can get out there the fastest with the best catch phrase can usually ride the wave and do well.

When I say ride the “wave”, I mean… be quick to get online, post your links in different places to be seen and what’ll happen is people will start linking to you and tweeting / facebooking the links to their friends… if you’re one of the first ones out, you can benefit from all this traffic and instantly get to a point where you’re selling thousands of shirts weekly.

Just like there were a lot of people selling “Pro – Obama” tees, there were others making a fortune bashing the guy.

And don’t forget Governor Sarah Palin… you had people on both sides selling t-shirts for and against here.

I never did much during presidential elections but I know people who are ranking in the money doing just that…

Back when George Bush and Al Gore were running for President, boatloads of t-shirts were sold too. But EVEN MORE shirts were sold AFTER the election… everybody was crying foul about the election results, and there was money been made while everybody hated what happened in Florida and then even more money was made with Jeb Bush, as a result of him being in Florida and the President’s brother.

Everybody was making money.

I’m going to give just a few more examples so you can really understand how profitable this can be.

Fast forward to 2009 and you have what are now called Tea Parties happening across the U.S. in various cities. I’m telling you that there’s a fortune to be made with this:

Find a cause and jump on it like the plaque. Michael Vick was another topic that held the news up for weeks… We made a ton of money from those Vick t-shirts. The key is to find a hot and debatable topic and run with it. Don’t try and get all creative and try and create a situation, use what’s been talked about NOW!

On the flip side, every shirt you come up with in the “media” blitz will not always make you money.

When O.J. Simpson was arrested for allegedly breaking into a hotel room so he could retrieve his stuff… we made t-shirts about it. I thought I had a winner, but in reality, I only managed to sell a few t-shirts.

The sales were so low I canceled the customers’ orders and refunded their money. We’ll talk about how you can ‘test market’ your idea before spending a fortune on having transfers made.

With my technique, I quickly throw up a website niched to whatever the site is about based on the news and then I throw up some templates with my design on it to test the waters… If I don’t get many sales, I cancel the orders and refund the customers and then I wait for the next deal.

In fact, lets’ talk about how I do that now.

I’ll get a blank t-shirt graphic (because remember… I’m putting this on a website, so I can take a blank t-shirt, and put a mock-up design on it too make it look like a real t-shirt)…

Let me show you….

I take a blank t-shirt template like this….

…And I have my graphic guy draft me something out and once I approve it, he’ll put the design onto the blank t-shirt template for me.

For example, the design below is put onto a blank template:

And then you get this…

That graphic isn’t clear of course, I couldn’t find the original, but you get the point.

In fact, one of the people who purchased our how to start a t-shirt business training program created the following designs (his design was put onto this blank  t-shirt WITH the lady wearing it)…

And here’s another t-shirt design he made…

It looks like a real t-shirt design doesn’t it? We take these and put them onto the simple websites we create for each news topic that is released. Putting your designs on these templates will make your t-shirts look real and as if it’s ready to be sold.

Now here’s the exact process I did when I wanted to test out the Eliot Spitzer t-shirt thing (remember, he was the Governor of New York who got caught with that prostitute. In the prostitutes little black book, Eliot Spitzer was known as “Client 9”.

Here are the steps I took…

1) When this came to my attention (actually, somebody called me), I started watching the news (I had multiple TVs running on the various news stations so I can figure out what the common catch phrase was… In addition to that, I too was listening to talk radio (Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, Bill O’Reilly, etc…). I needed to know what everyone was talking about.

After listening and watching, I started to hear everyone talk about “Client 9”, so I took that ‘catch phrase’ and ran with it.

2) I had my graphic guy come up with the following design (it was simple, but I wanted something quick & didn’t have hours to wait on something fancy.  Plus, you’ll find the simple designs sell better.

I generally tagged  the bottom of the t-shirt graphic with the website address… What I found was people took the tshirt graphic from my site to put onto their website to show people. Many times they didn’t know how to link back to my site, so by tagging the graphic with my web address on it, it ensured people would be able to find their way back too me if they wanted to buy my shirt (this example doesn’t have the address tagged on the bottom)

3) Anyhow, after my graphic guy made the design, I purchased a domain name that was specific to the t-shirt. I can’t remember the domain name, but it was something like client9resigns.com (tshirtvents.com is a site where I just dropped some of my t-shirt designs onto after I finished running my campaigns – after the surge was gone, I generally deleted the domains off my server and didn’t renew the domain names after they expired, so I just dumped them on the various sites I had like tshirtvents).

4) After buying the dot-com name, I simply placed the t-shirt designs on the site. I normally had 2 designs created for whatever I made a site for. I setup my shopping cart so I could start taking orders and then we did some advertising/marketing. (we’ll talk about credit card processors and shopping carts later).

Now that I had the website up, how did I manage to get all those “targeted people to find me”. This is the most frequently asked question I get.

This was always a multi-pronged approach. I’ll start with the easy stuff first and then I’ll go into some of the advanced stuff whereby I’ll show you with video how I get to the top of Google and Yahoo in just a few minutes of launching my sites.

Blog postings… this is one thing I do whenever I have a niche. In the example above, there were many blogs blasting Governor Spitzer and I went and found those blogs by doing a simple Google Search by using phrases like:

  • governor eliot spitzer client 9 blog
  • elitot spitzer blog
  • client 9 blog

Once I found blogs I posted a comment to it… Now I made sure I read the blog so I could add a meaningful post to it… oftentimes, my comments will be 4-6 paragraphs long. I wanted to make sure the writer knew I read his blog and just wasn’t trying to spam a post to his site. At the end of the post I’d talk about how disgusted I was and would link to a site that I said I found online selling these Client 9 tees…

The goal here was to get other people who read the blog to also see my post and link; hoping that a few would link back to my site from the facebook or myspace accts, etc…

It worked because the traffic slowly increased… I generally try and post to at least a minimum of 25 blogs if I’m able to find them.

The next thing I do is write a Press Release and submit it to directories like PR Web: http://www.prweb.com

They have a paid service and that’s the one I use to ensure my press release gets the most exposure in the least amount of time.

In fact, here’s the actual press release we ran (my nick name is Carl, thus the name Carl Ross in the press release)


Forum postings… Again, I try and locate forums with a google search by typing in phrases like: eliot spitzer forum, client 9 spitzer forums, etc…

When I find one, I’ll post a relevant post related to what others were talking about. I take my time to add more content so they won’t think I’m spamming the boards.

Video Posting… I’ll also create a very short video clip of the t-shirt and will post to websites like YouTube.com. If you do a search there you’ll see the various videos there along with high views for the videos that people posted:


Then the next thing I do is setup pay per click campaigns with sites like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

I don’t even want to write about this topic… it’s easier if I show you. Click the link below to watch the video that shows you how I’m able to get my brand new website to the top of the search engines minutes after my website is complete and ready to collect orders.



There you have it…these are the steps I take whenever I launch a new t-shirt website based on what’s happening in the media.

If you like these strategies then pursue it…

By paying attention, you can literally make tens of thousands of dollars per year simply by making t-shirts based on what’s happening in the media.

Take advantage of our special t-shirt course offer — click link below:

If you’d like to make money in the t-shirt business, click here to learn about our training program where we’ll show you how to get started with your own t-shirt line and making money!

Cartess Ross

I will guide you through this process and provide you with proven strategies to help you build a t-shirt company. As one of the original pioneers to start selling t-shirts online 20 years ago, I've sold millions of dollars in t shirts to people all over the world. I founded TshirtRiches in 2007 to teach others how to turn their t-shirt ideas into a business. So if you're ready, hop onboard and let's make this money!

Cartess Ross

  • Hustle101printing says:

    What do you think about selling shirts on Ebay?
    I’ve been selling shirts on there for a while, I’ve gotten some decent selling numbers but nothing close to what your talking about. Once I sold 40 shirts in one day, but thats the end of it lol.

  • I’ve never sold on ebay, so my experience is limited. What did u do to get the 40 sales in a day?

  • Dhamlett06 says:

    Hello do most people have a logo on their Tshirt so that people don’t steal their ideas?

  • I wouldn’t technically call it a ‘logo’. It’s usually a copyright with their company name (brand name)

  • Denis Gould says:

    Nice . What a collection. I like it

  • Hustle101printing says:

    I sold Eddie Guerrero Rest In Peace T-shirts when he passed.
    He was a wrestler on WWE. I sold 40 that day, but then it was ended by ebay for copyright issues.

  • Sorry to hear that… But as you can see, the potential for this ‘media’ type t-shirt biz is POWERFUL. Keep at it. You’ll have some big hits and some losses too. But the hits will always cover any losses.

  • Hey cartess I have been watching your videos and reading all your post for a while now .
    I must say you have been very helpful ! I have one question for you. Do you get every one of your designs copyrighted ? I have a lot of design ideas but not a lot of money to copyright . Another thing. How do you feel about the transpro 16×20 from pro world. I’m starting on a very tight budget. What are your thoughts. Thanks Sean

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