How to Sell Shirts on Etsy: All You Need to Know For a Successful Kickoff

How to Sell Shirts on Etsy

‘How to sell shirts on Etsy’ is a common question asked by many new sellers before getting in the game.

Starting your business on Etsy can be a great opportunity and experience if you follow the right guidelines. Etsy has buyers and sellers like any other business but it is still different than a conventional store and even the e-commerce platforms like Amazon or eBay.  

This online marketplace is a different structure altogether. It brings together people who want to sell their handmade crafts or vintage items to make profits or maybe just as a hobby. From setting up the business to ensuring its success, there are many technical areas that you need to explore such as listings, ratings, designing your shop page, etc.  

If you are looking to set up a shirts’ business, you are probably a graphic designer who wants to sell customized digital print t-shirts. Custom t-shirts are one of the popular items on Etsy, so be ready to face some competition.   

You have an equal chance of having a good or a bad Etsy experience – but to ensure you have a convenient one, we have come up with basic guidelines to help you climb to the top. We start by an insight into how you can start your Etsy shop, followed by how to build the shop, tips to increase sales and how to promote the Etsy shop for a greater turnout. If you follow these tips, you might even earn enough profits to be able to quit your job!

Where and How to Start

We will skip the basics about how to start selling on Etsy as you can find a lot of information on that. Instead, we will focus on where and how you can start selling t-shirts in your Etsy shop.

Before selling anything, it is important to prepare for the basics, which include a business plan and market research. A business plan for running a shop on Etsy will involve forming and establishing your brand strategy.  This includes coming up with a name, a logo, a design, a color theme, and other graphics that will distinguish your shop from the others.

The branding strategy will be based on market research. Once your shop is set up and you know you want to sell shirts, you should know all about how other shirt shops are set up, your competitors, the price range, and any other information that will help you with your marketing tools.

Another part of the research includes knowing how the shirts’ business works on Etsy, how the platform is used, and how products are rated. You can scroll through your competitors’ shops to learn how the basics of Etsy shirt shops work.

Once you have an idea of how your competitors are operating, you will determine your position as a seller. By now you should already have the answers to questions such as who your manufacturer is, where you will run the business, how you will manage the logistics, and what resources you have.

You can go for two basic options – set up your own manufacturing and logistics’ team and resources or hire a third party manufacturer.

Printful is an official partner of Etsy for drop shipping. They provide printed shirts, caps, bags, shoes, etc. Most of the digital printing shirts on Etsy are linked to Printful.  

Printful takes care of your shirt printing and shipping for you

Integrating with Printful

Printful will take care of printing and shipping for you. Setting up a Printful account is easy and uncomplicated just like an Etsy shop. As a beginner, you may find it complex and technical but once you get the hang of it, using Etsy and Printful together will give you several benefits.

Integrate Printful with Etsy to earn as a third party

For designers who create the shirt designs themselves, Printful is a cheap and accessible option. You can integrate your Etsy shop with your Printful account so that you can earn as the third party.

Printful allows you to add multiple products on your Etsy listings at a minimal price. The sale is then made on the Etsy platform. Once the sale is made, a notification is sent to Printful, Printful charges you the base charge, and then Etsy sends you the full amount.

Designers link their Etsy to their Printful accounts so that they can send in their designs to Printful – which takes care of the printing, manufacturing, and logistics. Your Etsy account and audience will be managed by you.

Once both your accounts are set up, integrated, and all your payment details have been added – you can begin working on your products and audience.

Matching Supply to Demand

The simple demand-and-supply graph works for the Etsy marketplace as well. When starting your business at Etsy, you must be aware of the market demand, the target audience, and how your products fulfill customers’ needs. Here are a few tips to help you start off.

A simple demand supply graph tells you where your business stands for Etsy

Select Your Niche

Picking your niche is one of the most important considerations. This will depend on what you specialize in and what the audience is looking for. Since Etsy promotes arts and artsy designs, you will have a competitive advantage if you choose to sell your unique design shirts.

Your personalized designs can include anything such as having a color code, a theme, specific techniques and styles to use, or any other distinctive feature.

When using Printful, it is also easier to convert your niche items’ sales into cash and earn from them. Niche products particularly do well on Etsy. But it is important to ensure that your niche product should also have a target audience. It will be pointless to sell items on Etsy that don’t have the relevant target audience.


Since Etsy attracts most of its customers through Google searches, you need to sell items that are SEO-friendly so that you can reach potential customers. 

In other words, in order to match the market demand and reach the target audience, you may need to revamp your shop name, your product descriptions, and titles. You must also keep your shop up-to-date with new content as per the advanced search results.

SEO content allows you to reach potential customers through internet searches to your Etsy shop

Keep Up With Demands

Customers’ demands are ever-changing. Even though you are not operating in a conventional market space, Etsy is a competitive place for shirts.

Demand changes with fashion and trends. Shirts are printed with pop culture designs such as movie themes, latest songs, popular dialogues or phrases, etc.

Find trendy printed shirts for men on Etsy

To keep up with the demands, you need to ensure that you are updated with the market requirements. A successful Etsy shirt business will require you to update your products and designs, to keep an eye at the competitors, and be open to changes to keep up with the changing demands. You can gain customer loyalty by keeping up with their needs.  

Boosting Sales

The next set of guidelines is related to sales. You are already prepared to pitch in your shirts in the Etsy market. So how will you boost your sales and keep them consistent?

This may be a tricky area as the online marketplace is dynamic and fast. Customers from all over the world will visit your online shop. As a beginner, in order to increase traffic and clicks on your shirts, here are some guidelines you need to follow. 

An Attractive Page

You must find a theme to make your page attractive and clickable. Just show-off your art! The Etsy marketplace is for artists and designers. Your audience is probably looking for unique items. This is why they are on Etsy and not on any other commercial products’ website.

A theme for the shop page should be such that catches the eye. It should also distinguish your shop from the others. Having a theme that catches the eye doesn’t always mean it has to be a splash of bright colors. Your theme should represent you. You can personalize your Etsy page to create a more interactive bond with the buyer.

Remember to make your theme consistent. Do not change it too often as it will make it difficult for the customers to find you every time. The store name, aesthetic view, description, and your profile should match with one another in order to create a benchmark. Etsy gives you the leverage to design and set up your own shop page. So take the opportunity and create a mark on whoever visits your page.

Listings and Reviews

Top sellers are recommended by Etsy and have the competitive advantage of being on the top in the search list. Listings are the price and quantity of items available with the seller. Updated listings will be an advantage as well.  

Listings and reviews on Etsy play a major role in boosting sales. The greater the number of listings and reviews you have, the better the chances of you becoming a top seller.

High-Quality Pictures

Since your Etsy shirt shop is an online store where customers are going through products virtually, you must ensure that you upload high-quality pictures and adjust your thumbnails accordingly.

The pictures should be taken professionally as it will say a lot about your shop. More than one picture for a single product, taken from different angles, will be an added advantage. Pictures of shirts should also include real-life people wearing them.

High-quality pictures of your shirts will improve chances of sales on Etsy

As part of setting up the shop, you must have sample shirts printed and prepared for original pictures and post them on your shop page.

Competitive Edge

Even if you feel you are not yet in the shirt business competition, remember to look for a competitive edge. Visit your page as a customer and ask yourself why you would choose this seller. Competitive edge can be anything from free packaging options to prompt replies.

Etsy is a community with forums and discussion posts where sellers and buyers come together and interact. It will be in your best interest to join the community as a beginner. Take your position in the community and build your customer base by staying active in the community.   

Promote Your Business

You cannot expect to have a high number of sales without sufficiently promoting your business. If you are wondering how to sell shirts on Etsy as a beginner, remember it’s all about the way you reach the customers. There are many ways in which you can promote your Etsy shirt business:

Social Media

There is no mass medium as effective as social media in today’s world. You must create your networks and use those networks to promote your business.

Interacting with customers on social media will help you market your Etsy shop better

Etsy is largely associated with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other sites. Use this to your advantage. Once you are done with all your SEO tactics – the listings, the reviews, the pricing, and the shop theme – it is now time to bring the audience to increase the number of views, which will eventually turn into clicks and clicks will turn into sales.

Redirecting the audience for your business from other social media networking is a smart and highly common way. This way you can use different tactics such as shares, follows, statuses, direct messages, and others to interact with the audience. You can use engagement marketing techniques such as informative videos or vlogs about a tutorial of one of your designs.

The best part is that social media is free. You can use it as much as you want to promote your product. You can also experiment with different marketing tools.


Start your own personal blog. You can use these blogs to interact with your customers in a more informal manner while at the same time increasing your visibility on the internet apart from Etsy and social media. Blogs can include keywords that can bring your keywords on top of the Google search and redirect the audience to your shirts business on Etsy.

Customer Feedback

Etsy provides you a platform to not only sell your shirts but also connect with people who have a nag for art and design. It also gives you a platform to easily communicate with your buyers.

Customer feedback and reviews will help you bring up your sales and rankings on the website. It will also allow customers to be more interactive and feel more heard. When they feel heard, they will come back to your shop again and again.

Customer feedback helps you bring up your sales and rankings in Etsy

This guide on how to sell shirts on Etsy as a beginner will help you create your mark in the world of online sales. With the right guidance and understanding of the system, your shirts can take you places. We know you are ready for it. So, start your own shop today!