T-Shirt Sales Isn't Profitable, But it is Fun!

I made a "just for fun" project last year where you can order a shirt with two US states.

My facebook friends got a kick out of it and I get a few orders around the Holiday season since its a fun gift idea. To be honest I've only ever made $250 in profit from this project since you only make a few bucks from each shirt sold.

Worked on a few new things this year including adding single state shirts, and redesigning a few of the existing shirts. And you can now also order women's shirts, hoodies, and kids shirts in any color.

I use the Printful API for making the shirts, so when an order comes in I don't have to do anything! The website is a custom Laravel app with Stripe for checking out.

SEO has improved over the year, but it's pretty competitive to be listed for single state shirts, and there just isn't high volume of people looking for 2 state shirts. Live and learn I guess!

I have no idea why I keep working on this project as I dismissed it awhile ago as not really being hugely profitable. But every Christmas season a few random sales come in and its kinda fun to play around with different designs and see what shirts people order.

Would I recommend it as a solid business? No. Would I recommend it for playing around and having fun with new ideas. Sure!


  1. 5

    is not the bussines model that causes the little profit, but the design.
    They are not ugly, but you can get this sort of t-shirt on a town shop...

    1. 4

      Haha, well, you are brutally honest... uhh thanks.

  2. 1

    I kinda not agree with you because there are a lot of small companies that are making a lot of money from this business, it depends a lot on your approach and your goal. If you want to transform this hobby into a business, you will have to work a lot but believe me it is worth it, and it is possible. If you are interested, you can take a look on https://www.printful.com/start-online-tshirt-business. Here you will find more information related to this topic. It will be easier for you to make a business plan.

  3. 1

    Well, we actually run a millionaire e-commerce t-shirt shop here in Argentina that in only 1 year :) Remember, people don't buy clothes; they buy experiences! Open to any help you need.

  4. 1

    I've shared a similar experience so far with Maker Threads.

    Being a physical product, the store isn't hugely profitable, but I've learnt so many invaluable lessons along the way.

    I think ecommerce is a great test bed for makers looking to get something off the ground that can quickly drive revenue.

  5. 1

    Hey Jesse you might be interested in this need gap - Plain T-shirt subscription service in India posted on my problem validation platform.

  6. 1

    As the founder of https://crowmate.bubbleapps.io/ (aha a bit of self-promotion!) I would tell you that you should move the profit to something other than t-shirt sales. Let me explain, tee-shirts don't make you cash (or very little) but they bring you something of great value: customers who trust you. Having someone who has put their credit card on your site, who has been delivered quickly and who is satisfied with their experience has a good chance of being a buyer a second time if they are solicited properly. This is a great opportunity for you to offer them offers that are more profitable (free of charge since you have the email addresses of your customers). Think about additional products with high margins that you can offer them. Think about it, if they buy an "Arizona Home" T-shirt for example, because the person is probably attached to Arizona, maybe offers them services located in Arizona (tourism to sites in their region, amusement park, etc.) You just have to contact the people you are going to promote and ask them for an affiliate link or a sum of money. You can also propose your own products, for a high profitability I recommend digital products. If you want further advice to really optimize your business and get the maximum potential, don't hesitate to contact me via https://crowmate.bubbleapps.io/ aha ;)

  7. 1

    Thanks for sharing your story :-)

    BTW, how much effort have you put into SEO? Any lessons to share?
    I always dread SEO to be honest, since cannot see much improvement in short time.

    1. 2

      Yeah, I haven’t done any work in terms of writing content to attract SEO, which is more of the usual approach. My main focus has been to make sure I have the primary keywords in the Seo title, in the H1 tag, and in the description a number of times.

      Originally my thought was that the 2 state shirts would be pretty unique, so my site would be more specific than most other Google results. This is kinda true, but specificity isn’t always Google primary driver, you have to also have back links and other signs that you have the most relevant result.

  8. 1

    I would recommend adding the 2 letter state abbreviation into the dropdown menu.

    1. 1

      That’s a good idea!

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