I did something crazy about a month ago. I started an online clothing business.
And it’s actually going really well.
Am I a designer? No.
Am I an Etsy pro? Nope.
Do I even know what DPI is, or what the difference is between CMYK and RGB? Not really.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past year as a serious blogger, it’s that sometimes you just gotta try new stuff and do it. Jump in with both feet. Don’t overplan. Just follow your heart and see where it goes.
Easier said than done, especially when following your heart could cost thousands of dollars in upfront costs.
Not so bueno.
But, I really wanted to do this. So I found a way of getting started that was totally FREE, and in this post, I’ll show you how to do the same thing.
I create t-shirts, iPhone cases, leggings, skirts and other small items, and I don’t have to pay a single cent for inventory or expenses until someone buys one of my products. aka guaranteed profit! Isn’t that amazeballs?!
For example, here are a few examples of my humble creations. 😬
Wanna win an item of your choice from my shop? Just enter the contest at the end of this post! 👇🏼
It’s really easy to start your own biz this way. So let’s jump right in and get started…
Create Your Free Etsy Store
For this post, I’m going to assume you want to sell your stuff on Etsy! It’s a great choice. Etsy is a solid network of handmade sellers, and a trusted shopping destination for millions of people around the world. You can’t go wrong.
So, if you don’t already have an Etsy account, sign up for free here.
When you’re all signed up, click on the You tab to go into your settings. From there, you can choose to open a new shop.
Once you’ve created your shop, you’ll be taken to the Shop Manager area. It’s pretty straightforward, but you’ll want to go into Settings on the left-hand menu to ensure everything is set up.
Here you can set things like your tagline, top image banner and logo. Here’s what my shop looks like with all those things added:
Go through all the Settings fields and make sure everything is filled in. Don’t worry about making it perfect right now. You can always change it later.
Remember: DONE is always better than perfect. ✌🏽
Create Your First T-Shirt
Mmk, switching gears to product creation now. Woo! This is where the magic happens, people.
Already have a good idea for a t-shirt, mug, or other product? Great! If not, just think of a silly saying and follow along with this tutorial. You can always redo these steps when you have a “real” product idea later on.
Not sure if your idea is good or not? Let the market decide! Remember, this is all free so you’re not out any money by testing your ideas.
To create your first product, you’ll need to sign up for Printful.
Printful is a print-on-demand dropshipper, which means they print your designs onto merchandise and ship it from their location to your customers. It’s worldwide, and the products look like they’re coming from you, not Printful. Basically… it’s awesome.
Once you sign up, you’ll be taken to your Dashboard. It’s your order portal.
Creating a product on Printful isn’t like an actual thing you create on there. You create your artwork files in a design program, like Adobe Photoshop, and then upload those files to Printful to store until you’re ready to print them.
I use Photoshop, but you could also use Illustrator, or a free option like Canva.
For this example, we’ll make a simple text-based t-shirt, but you can get as crazy and colourful as you like. If you can draw, go wild! I… can’t draw.
I’m going to make a shirt that says, “I Work So My Dog Can Have Nice Things”.
(It’s true. 🙄)
Printful has a template for everything on their site so you always know how to size it. The t-shirt print area is 10 in x 12 in, so all you need to do is open up a new Photoshop file at 150 DPI sized 10×12. Also make sure you’re using RGB colour.
If you’re using Canva, open up a new file that’s 1500px x 1800px (or larger).
Then add your text to the file. Make sure your background is transparent. This can be done in Canva as well, but I’m using Photoshop in the screenshots below.