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How to Design and Sell your own Apparel Online

Are you a creative that wants to generate a passive income off of your design skillset? We’re here to show you how. Welcome to the Print on Demand (POD) world! Nowadays, if you’re a talented designer and want to feature your designs on apparel or other items, you can do so via an online marketplace, such as the fast growing teepublic.com. Creating and selling your designs has never been easier – by creating a seller account you are able to upload your unique designs onto a range of items, from which you can potentially (and hopefully!) generate your first sale.

How to Design and Sell your own Apparel Online

Start your own clothing line without costs

What is Print on Demand (POD)

Before we get started, it’s important to have a good understanding of what POD is and how it works. To put it simply, print on demand is a business model in which products are designed by you, but produced and shipped one by one and only after actual sales have been made. Just pick a product, add your design and make a sale.

A number of creatives have found POD to be a great way to sell and promote their work while simultaneously making a passive income. Are you curious how much money you could earn with POD? Check out our Print on Demand earnings calculator.

Within pop culture, influencers and brands are using POD to sell their merchandise that works to promote their products, brand or services. A big reason for the recent spike in customized printing is the marketing potential it holds. Turns out, custom printing is an excellent way to both access and draw in the masses! Recent results of a survey showed that the custom t-shirt printing market is expected to reach a value of $3.1 billion by 2025 from the previous recording in 2016 of $1.6 billion (source: designhill.com).


A dominating trend of 2020 has undoubtedly been the graphic tee. Whether you’ve seen it on Instagram fashion pages, in magazine, or in stores, this trend has been pretty inescapable. As with most trends, a number of brands have maximized on their customer’s need for great graphic tees. With this however, has come the expected price surge – it’s simple demand theory really.

We’re here to tell how to curb this price surge – by designing and printing your own graphic tees, hoodies, sweaters and more. By creating your own apparel, you’ll be able to fully customize the designs, sizing and colours to fit your style and needs!

Before you start on your POD adventure, there are a few things you should consider.

Decide WHY you’re going to design and sell your product

Firstly, why are you creating your own products? Whether it’s for personal use, for you and your friends, to commemorate an event or to start up a potential business – these are all things to keep in mind.

If it’s for promotional purposes, make sure you pay attention to branding and the needs of your target consumers. If it’s for personal use, you can lean more towards your personal preferences. Check out our article on the importance of colour in branding to help you with this.

What’s your budget?

Secondly, make sure to consider your budget. If you’re on a tight budget, try staying away from colour as they tend to usually cost slightly more. If you’re printing a bunch of items, it’s obviously going to cost more too. So, ensure you have a clear idea of what your maximum budget is, as well as how many items you need to design/produce.

Now that you’ve gotten through the admin part of the process, it’s time to move onto the exciting part – the design process! Time to get creative.

Customizing your product and designs

This parts all on you! If you’ve made it this far you surely have either some design ideas in mind, or are already a talented designer just looking to materialize your work! Consider what t-shirt type you’d like to print on, there are so many options to choose from; crew necks, ringers, V-necks, heavy weights and so many others.

When deciding on what design to use, make sure to consider the tips we mentioned earlier. Also, make sure you have a clear understanding of your colour choice and intention too. You’ll need to choose both a t-shirt colour, as well as the colour of your designs. Our article on colour theory should definitely help you with this if you’re unsure of what colour pairings to choose. If your goal is to start selling your designs, make sure you make all these choices with the consumer in mind.

Start selling your designs

Now that you’ve covered all the steps that will bring your t-shirt designs to life, it’s time to start selling!

There are a number of online POD platforms on which you can sell your designs. However, we’ll be walking you through the site ‘teepublic’, which serves as a great place to start off on your journey towards making your first t-shirt sale!

Selling your designs on Teepublic.com

After logging onto teepublic, start off by creating an account using either your email, or linking your account through Facebook. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll need to confirm the activation email.

Create an account with teepublic and earn money

After logging in, I’m sure you’ll notice the endless amount of items you can customize and design; posters, face masks, pillow, phone covers etc.

On the upper right hand side, you’ll see a little blue robot icon, hover your mouse over it and click ‘Upload a Design’. From there you’ll be directed to a page where you can name your storefront! This parts all up to you – try keeping it simple, catchy, unique and relevant to the theme of your designs.

Upload your designs at teepublic and earn money selling products

Once you’ve picked out a name that’s available, you’ll be directed to a page where you can upload your designs. You’ll then need to upload your design in the necessary format and size requirements.

Upload your designs at teepublic and earn money with POD

Once you’ve filled out the title, tags and description, it’s time to start customizing your product! Once you’ve made all your customizations, agree to the terms and conditions, click publish, and your product will be live!

Activate the products that your want to sell on Teepublic with Print on Demand

It’s as simple as that! Now all that’s left to do is share your product on social media to attract more viewers, and you’ll be securing your first sale in no time!

Activate the products that your want to sell on Teepublic with Print on Demand

Starting a product / merchandise line

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the POD process, it may be time to start thinking bigger! Although customized t-shirts are a great place to start, why stop there? With teepublic you’re able to customize a number of items including hoodies, posters, mugs and other items. With an increase in product range, you’re going to provide an increased selection of options for potential customers to choose from. Using the POD process via teepublic has never been simpler – you’ll be sporting a full product range featuring your favourite designs in no time.

It’s important to note that if you’re taking on this venture as a means to generate passive income and potentially build a brand, having competent design abilities as well as being a dedicated, hard worker is crucial. Whether you’re a designer, illustrator or artist, if you plan to achieve success you’ll need to set yourself apart from the competition via uniqueness, creativity and dedication! Given you have those, you’ll be on the path towards success in no time!

The average earning of a POD product is around $2-$5 per apparel item. The table below that demonstrates the earnings of a POD product line using teepublic. This is a great indicator of your potential in the POD world! Check out our Print on Demand earnings calculator to dynamically calculate your potential earnings.

Tank top$4$2
Crewneck sweatshirt$7$3
Long sleeve t-shirt$4$2
Phone case$5$3
Kids apparel$4-$5$2-$3
Tote bag$4$2


2:3 – Medium$7$4$17
1:1 – Large$7$4$21
5:6 – Small$7$3$12
4:5 – Mini$6$3.50
3:4 – XL$9$6$21
9:16 – Medium$7$4$17

For more detailed price and size variation visit https://www.teepublic.com/earnings

Is your POD business starting to boom? Make sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming article on how to hire designers that will take on the creative side for you.

If you already want to expand your empire, be sure to check out some other of our favourite POD marketplaces, like Teepublic, Printful and Printify.

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