How Many Shirts Should I Buy To Start A Business In 2023: An Easy Explanation

Starting a shirt business in 2023 may be one of the smartest moves you could make as this industry continues to thrive. However, venturing into this territory does come with its fair share of questions and uncertainties. How many shirts should I buy to start a business?

The answer to this depends on various factors, including your budget, target audience, and your business strategy. This blog post will guide you through the process of determining the appropriate number of shirts you should consider buying to kick off your shirt business in 2023.

how many shirts should I buy to start a business

How Many Shirts Should I Buy to Start a Business in 2023: An Easy Explanation

Starting a shirt business can be a lucrative venture for entrepreneurs. There are a few factors to consider before launching a business, such as the size of the company and the target market. Here is an approximate quantity discussed below.

I recommend starting with a minimum inventory of 100 shirt pieces for small businesses. This is an adequate amount to test the market and receive customer feedback. You can begin by offering various styles and sizes to gauge popular demand. Small businesses are ideal for those who are new to the industry and want to develop relationships with their customers on a personal level.

Medium-sized businesses should aim for a minimum of 300 shirt pieces. This allows for a more significant inventory and greater flexibility in terms of offering a broader range of styles and sizes. Medium-sized businesses typically benefit from loyal customers and may expand their operations to include retail stores or online marketplaces.

I recommend starting with a minimum of 500-1000 pieces for larger shirt businesses. This is ideal for entrepreneurs who are looking to scale their operations and take their brands to a national or global level. With a larger inventory, companies can offer a more extensive range of shirts, including custom designs, which can attract a larger customer base.

The above numbers are recommendations and can vary depending on the business model, target market, and personal preferences. Before purchasing any shirt pieces, it is crucial to conduct thorough market research to determine the optimal quantity for your business.

How to Start a Shirt Business?

Starting a shirt business can be an exciting and rewarding venture for an entrepreneur who has a passion for fashion and design. Whether you’re interested in creating your own unique designs or reselling existing branded shirts, there are clear steps to follow to get your business up and running. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to start a shirt business.

#1: Define your Business Model

The first step in starting a shirt business is to define your business model. Do you plan on selling t-shirts through an online, physical, or both-store? Will you create your own unique designs or source from other suppliers? Clearly understand your business model to identify your target audience, competitors, and marketing strategies.

#2: Research your Market

Conduct thorough market research to determine the demand for t-shirts in your target market. This research should identify potential target markets, get insight into what types of designs perform well, and how price points affect customer purchasing behavior. 

Studying your competition, their price points, and their marketing tactics can help you develop an effective market strategy and identify what differentiates your brand in the market.

#3: Create a Unique Brand

Creating a unique brand is crucial to standing out and developing a loyal customer base. Your brand should encompass your values, message, and design aesthetic. Establishing brand guidelines, including logo design, color palette, and tone of voice, will help you maintain consistency across all marketing channels.

#4: Source Materials and Manufacturers

Selecting the right materials and manufacturers is crucial to producing high-quality t-shirts. You’ll need to decide on the materials you want to use, such as cotton or a blend, and determine the type of manufacturing method you’ll use. 

Popular methods are screen printing, embroidery, and digital printing. Sourcing from ethical and sustainable manufacturers aligns with today’s consumer demands and supports their chosen environmental and social causes.

#5: Design your Shirts

Designing your shirts is an integral part of your business’s success. Designing purposeful and thoughtful imagery can help your shirts stand out and convey your brand message. The design aesthetic should align with your brand identity and target audience interests, from typography to illustrations.

#6: Develop your Online and Offline presence

Creating an online presence is crucial in today’s market. Social media platforms can increase brand recognition and drive customers to your website. 

Developing a vibrant and user-friendly website is also essential for driving sales, showcasing your products, and driving traffic to your store. Having a storefront provides your business with a physical presence, which helps with visibility and provides the advantage of offering an in-person experience. You can start your storefront from home.

#7: Launch and Market your Products

Once you have the critical components in place, including a website, shirts, and marketing strategy, you are ready to launch your brand and start selling. Early on, develop a marketing plan that includes social media advertising, email marketing, and working with influencers.

FAQs on How Many Shirts Should I Buy to Start a Business

Is the shirt business profitable?

In short, yes, the shirt business is profitable. However, the profitability of a shirt business can depend on multiple factors such as consumer demand, supplier costs, marketing strategies, competition, and overall market trends. However, when done properly, the shirt business can be a highly profitable venture for entrepreneurs and investors.

One of the main advantages of the shirt business is that it caters to a large and diverse market. The demand for shirts is universal, regardless of age, gender, or socio-economic status. 

Furthermore, the shirts can be customized with various fabrics, designs, and add-ons such as prints, emblems, and logos. This means that you can tailor your shirt business to meet your target market’s specific needs and preferences, providing a unique selling proposition that can give your business a competitive edge.

Moreover, the shirt business has a high-profit margin compared to other types of apparel. The production costs for shirts are relatively low, especially when buying materials in bulk from suppliers. According to data from Statista, the average profit margin of apparel retail stores in the United States in 2020 was around 4.6 percent, one of the highest profit margins of any retail category.

Another factor that can affect the profitability of a shirt business is marketing. Companies that invest heavily in marketing campaigns, branding, and customer engagement can reap the benefits of higher sales and customer loyalty. With the advent of social media and e-commerce platforms, entrepreneurs can effectively promote their shirt business online, reaching a wider audience and building a strong online presence.

To sum up, the shirt business can be a highly profitable enterprise if done right, considering various factors such as market demand, production costs, marketing strategies, and competition. 

An example of a successful shirt business is Uniqlo. This Japanese apparel company has expanded globally due to its innovative designs, high-quality materials, reasonable prices, and effective branding and marketing techniques.

How to promote shirt selling business online?

As the world of eCommerce is constantly evolving, promoting your shirt-selling business online can be a daunting task. However, implementing the right strategies can easily reach your target audience and increase your sales. 

Leverage Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are undeniably popular worldwide. Using these platforms can increase your business visibility and reach a much larger audience.

To get started, create business accounts on all the popular social media platforms. Ensure you use high-quality images and videos while showcasing your shirts. Develop compelling content that aligns with your brand identity and engages your audience. Lastly, use hashtags to increase your reach and engage with your followers to encourage them to share your content.

Invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the art of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results. This can contribute significantly to improving your website visibility and traffic, which can lead to increased sales. Some of the best SEO practices include:

  • Identifying relevant keywords for your business.
  • Using these keywords in headings, titles, descriptions, and content.
  • Optimizing images using alt tags.
  • Ensuring website speed and security.

Check out the below video on the SEO essentials for Online Fashion Store.

Offer Deals and Discounts

Deals and discounts are a great way to drive sales and enhance customer loyalty. You can offer promotion codes, free shipping, or buy-one-get-one-free deals. By doing this, you increase sales and attract new customers, who can become valuable customers in the future.

Utilize Email Marketing

Email marketing is an effective tool that can promote your shirt-selling business online. By building a subscriber list, you can keep customers informed about your latest products, sales, and promotions. 

Ensure your email content is engaging and adds value to the recipient. You can also personalize your emails by addressing your customers by name based on data you collect from them when they sign up.

Collaborate with Online Influencers

Online influencers have a significant following and can, therefore, influence the purchasing decisions of their followers. By collaborating with influencers, you can generate buzz for your shirts, leading to increased sales and brand awareness. When selecting an influencer, ensure that they align with your brand aesthetic, values, and target audience.

Succeeding in the online market requires persistence, creativity, and patience. To promote your shirt-selling business online, you need to leverage everything the internet has to offer. Following the above strategies can significantly increase your sales and build a loyal customer base.

How to find a shirt manufacturer for my clothing business?

Finding a manufacturer for your clothing brand is a crucial step toward establishing a successful business. It can be daunting, but with the right strategy, you can find a trustworthy and reliable manufacturer that will help make your clothing line a reality.

Here are the steps you need to follow to find a shirt manufacturer for your clothing business:

Determine Your Product Requirements: 

Before you start searching for a shirt manufacturer, you need to have a clear idea of what you want. You need to determine the type of shirt you want to produce, the quality of the fabric, the production quantity, and your budget.

Research and Shortlist: 

Once you have determined your product requirements, research the market to shortlist potential manufacturers. You can use online directories of garment manufacturers and trade shows and ask for referrals from other entrepreneurs in the clothing industry.

Check the Manufacturer’s Reliability: 

Once you have a list of potential manufacturers, assess their reliability. You can do this by checking their reputation online through reviews and testimonials. Also, check if they have relevant certifications and have worked with similar companies.

Check the Manufacturer’s Capacity: 

You need to assess if the manufacturer has the capacity to meet your production needs. Factors to consider include production lead time, equipment, staff, and quality control measures.

Request Samples: 

Before finalizing a manufacturer, test the quality of their work. Request samples of their previous work and assess their quality, fit, and fabric.

Discuss Contracts and Pricing: 

Once you have found a reliable and capable manufacturer whose work meets your expectations, it’s time to discuss contracts and pricing. Negotiate on the price, delivery time, payment terms, and other important factors to your business.


Launching a shirt business entails careful planning and strategizing. By understanding the size of your target market as well as how much inventory to purchase, you can set yourself up for success. Do thorough research and consider your goals when determining the minimum number of shirt pieces you should start with. With the right preparation, you will be ready to launch your own lucrative shirt business.

Tamim Shikder
Tamim Shikder

Head of the editorial team of I have been working as a merchandiser in the apparel-sourcing industry for the last seven years. Over the years, I have gained a strong understanding of the clothing business and have developed skills in product development, quality control, pricing negotiation and customer service. I am also well versed in the latest trends of fashion and retail industry. For any clothing manufacturing needs, please email me at

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