How to Start T-Shirt Business in India

If you have been thinking about starting a T-Shirt business in India, this is the right time to do so. To ensure success, put enough efforts in product design, sourcing it properly, build a good brand image and marketing it well.
India’s T-Shirt market Size is estimated to be at Rs 10,000 Crore. More than 85% of this category is dominated by menswear but women’s T-Shirt market is fast catching up and fast growing. The purchase pattern shift is more towards online than offline, because of the wide range of design offerings which is not possible offline.
Sales for any brand is driven the four focus areas as Designs – Quality – Price – Marketing. Let’s cover each of them in details in the following content with a brief about general company formation steps.
Any business to be started in India has to flow through the basics of company formation, GST and accounting work apart from your core business. This is how veteran entrepreneurs start the business. If you are a first-time entrepreneur looking to start a new brand. You may design – procure – sell and then involve yourself into Company formation as a proprietorship, partnership or a private limited company and GST registration. Unregistered business can do business worth up to 40 Lakh per year. If your turnover gets more than that, you need to register your business as a composite dealer or a regular business which needs yearly or monthly GST filings.
how to start a t-shirt-business

T-Shirt Business India

Let’s get down to the game now. If you are looking to start a T-Shirt business online, the first thing you should where you are going to sell your T-Shirts. Two broad options are Marketplaces or own website. Marketplaces are easy to start and operate with a good investment in products. Marketplaces are very crowded as well, you need to learn more about the marketplaces model of treating sellers and various help they provide to sellers to scale up sales like discounts, deals etc. You can also opt-in for third party companies who can list and promote your products in marketplaces. If you want to start your own website, you can choose from platforms like Shopify, WordPress, Magento, Zepo etc. This guide will help you in choosing the correct platform. Click here.

Finding Your Niche Design Area

Marketing the T-Shirt will be efficient and east when you are selling T-Shirts to a niche audience. In fact, only that can be profitable unless you start a standard apparel line with heavy investment. The niche design area should be of your real interest and it should have real business potential.
To find the business potential, you can check the scope of the keyword using free tools like Google Ad words or Ubersuggest. Once you find a niche t-shirt design area, check on the competitors. Untapped niche will prove to be a much successful campaign.

Design Your T-Shirts

Keep the designing job close to your heart, you never know which one will sell and which won’t. So use your expertise on the niche and keep creating out of the box, simple and awesome designs. Getting the designing work outsourced won’t be a great idea in the starting. Designs yourself using templates or inspirations or clipart. You can buy any large pack of modern clipart collection and keep creating relevant designs. The designs you create are good as much it connects with your target audience.
Show the designs to as many people as possible and get feedback, everyone can their opinion about your T-Shirt designs. That will be great if you could get feedback from your target audience before launch. Do improvements and refine your designs based on the feedback.

T-Shirt Manufacturer

For sourcing your T-shirts, you need to decide on your price points and quality products available at the sourcing market at your price points. You can choose a few suppliers, order samples, discuss the branding options, dispatch timelines, finalise on the quality terms and order a small batch to test the supply side.
You can choose Bulk Printing for all your designs or a small batch of printing for all your designs to launch your brand on your own website and marketplaces. Or you can choose digital printing options for a few or all designs. Direct to garment digital printing is an ideal option for less than 20 pcs quantity per design or designs having more than 10 colours.
On-Demand Digital Printing and Order Fulfilment is also an excellent option to source t-shirts for your brand. You can design and sell, Qikink will Print and Deliver your orders to your customers directly. You can use Direct to Garment Printing, Sublimation Printing or Vinyl Transfer Printing with On-Demand T-Shirt Printing options.
Ideally, you can choose a company like Tee Talkies which has all the capabilities, wherein you can choose screen printing with minimum quantity from 20 pcs for few really good and connecting designs and other designs you can launch with digital printing options. Track the views and sales for each design and covert the most selling designs to screen printing wherein you can earn more profits. But here you are removing the risk of unsold inventory because you will be printing only best-selling designs in bulk.

You can buy from as low as 24 T-Shirts per design with your custom branding from Rs.220 per piece including Premium Quality 180 GSM Bio-Washed T-Shirt, High-Quality Screen Printing, FedEx Delivery and GST from Tee Talkies. Click Here to enquire.

Printing Options For T-Shirts

Screen Printing

This is a widely used T-Shirt Printing option worldwide. If you have designs with cut colours and want to print more than 20 tees at a time, this is the best possible option with excellent quality. You can print using Plastisol, Non-PVC, Pigment or Photoluminescence Dyes. Screen Printing option will produce the most durable prints. It also involves a tedious one-time setup work for each colour in the design to be printed.


  1. Cost effective for bulk quantity orders
  2. Durable and long-lasting quality
  3. A wide range of Printing finishing options
  4. Volume discounts available with printers


  1. Setup Cost for each colour in the design
  2. High cost for designs with more colours
  3. Unable to print short runs with more colours cost effectively

Direct To Garment Digital Printing

The direct to garment digital printing is a fast-growing option to print T-Shirts, especially for e-commerce orders. You can print full-colour designs with ease but it comes with a cost, unlike screen printing cost. The most preferred choice for e-commerce order fulfilment and short run for events.


  1. Print full-colour designs
  2. No setup costs
  3. Quick Printing for short runs


  1. Not cost effective for bulk orders

Vinyl Transfer

This method is widely used worldwide for T-Shirt Printing. There are multiple methods of vinyl transfer available from over the counter transfer for home iron-on to professional plastisol transfers. There are also various special effects possible like Gold, Silver, Photoluminescence transfers. The quality may not be comparable to direct to garment digital printing and screen printing.


  1. Can print On-Demand


  1. Transfer Machine setup cost
  2. DIY setup, hard to scale
  3. Lower Quality

Sublimation Printing

Sublimation is a fast growing printing method for various surfaces with sublimation coating or on polyester fabrics. Sublimation printing method doesn’t have white ink, so the printing can be done on white surfaces only. This is a cost-effective printing solution for all over printing, polyester T-Shirt Printing for a marathon or any events, accessories like a phone case or coffee mug printing.


  1. Cost effective Printing
  2. Quick Printing Solution


  1. No White Ink
  2. Can print on polyester fabrics only

Sales And Marketing

In the age of the internet, there are also other smart business models exist. You can explore selling on from India, selling to retailers, wholesalers, distributors if you create a strong brand, sell from your own website by keeping the stock with yourself, sell from your website using on-demand printing and drop shipping, sell on marketplaces, sell just plain T-Shirts, 24 hour deals, sell custom designer t-shirts from your customers, sell at niche websites like tee spring, Zazzle, Etsy etc, sell desi designs at Indian clothing stores overseas. You can come up with the most sensible business model based on your investment, time you can spend, returns you expect, your strength on designs and marketing etc.
The business model for the sales you choose should bring in enough money to run the business and re-order stock. Have a healthy profit margin and changing the price often is not advisable. Create a win-win situation for your customers in most situations.

Control Out Of Stock Issues

Mention the product has been sold our faster than expected and give the re-stock date and take pre-orders with dispatch date.

Minimize COD Order Returns

They are bound to happen for various reasons. Call each customer and confirm the COD order with every detail possible before dispatch. Track pin codes from sales returns and remove them if necessary. Include the returns cost in your product costing before choosing a selling price.


If you selling from stocked T-Shirts, some designs or some sizes may be left over and you won’t find any sales for a long period of time. You can sell them as a mystery tee for a discount or use them as a free giveaway for your social media contest winners.

Brand Visibility

Brand visibility and product visibility are vital for any product to achieve desired sales online. Try getting as many backlinks as possible for your website, follow relevant blogs and forums to engage in commenting and posts. Follow, Post and engage in your social media handles religiously. Social Media Pages like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest are a great boon for online sales even with low marketing budget. Be interesting for your audience. Brands who keep themselves interesting for their audience never dies.

Product Range

From the customers’ point of view, you are a merchandise brand. You can upsell other merchandise products with same designs such as Coffee Mugs, Mouse Pad, Mobile Phone case and get it delivered from drop shipping with on-demand printing.

Polo: Selling Polo T-Shirts can be an interesting idea when you are catering to a mature audience. Embroidered polo with cut and sewn options are hot sell always.

Sweatshirts: Hooded sweatshirts are most sought after merchandise in winter season or in cold weather places. You can target those products accordingly and sell at a premium.


Never think twice to include the trending designs from your brand’s perspective. Not only the designs but the printing types such as Glow in Dark Printing.

Final Thoughts

Creating a brand, bringing sales, scaling profitably is not an easy task. But there are enough tools and partners out there for designing, manufacturing to marketing, to make it possible if we make consistent efforts. Learning is key from every action we perform. When there is enough market to explore and there are superb partners to learn and improve, what should stop you from taking the plunge! All the very best. Get back to us for any kind of questions at [email protected]

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