Want to create a ‘winning’ design, but don’t know where to start? Here are five Print on Demand t-shirts that each made over $10,000, and that you can gain inspiration from.
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Print on Demand is a fun and profitable method of making money.
And if you are the practical type and prefer dealing with physical products, then this business model could possibly be the best replacement for your current day job.
But while Print on Demand is highly profitable, creating t-shirts that SELL can be a challenge, especially if you are a total newbie.
So one smart way to speed up the process of finding profitable t-shirts ideas is by gaining inspiration from other successful t-shirts that have been profitable in the past, and are backed by sales records.
To help you out, we have rounded up five Print on Demand t-shirts that have each made over $10,000 in sales (some over $100,000). In each example, you will find out why each t-shirt was successful, and the marketing strategy behind each of them.
Not only will your eyes be opened to profitable ideas, but you will also see what niches are highly profitable to get started with.
Let’s get started!
Did you know that even popular news stories and events can help you find your first profitable design?
Yep, that is right. Most people don’t realise there is a big opportunity to make money by taking advantage of trending topics on the news.
For example, this t-shirt above has made over $100,000 in revenue. But it wasn’t its simple, bland design that made this t-shirt a huge success.
Instead, it was the word ‘resist.’ A word sported by several Anti-Trump protests around the time Donald Trump was elected as president of the United States.
Its first appearance to the general public was 25th January, when Greenpeace, an independent campaigning organization, hung a seventy foot banner off of a three hundred foot crane, right behind the White House.
Following this iconic display, the ‘Resist’ movement took off over social media, with several people featuring ‘#resist’ in their posts and tweets. This was a shared way the anti-Trump community displayed their support for the movement (and their distaste of Donald Trump).
Then just six days later, at the height of all the buzz, this Print on Demand Resist t-shirt was launched on Amazon.
And by simply leveraging top keywords and trending topics, this t-shirt was able to start making sales within hours of it being launched.
Luckily, with Amazons huge customer base, as soon as you place a listing on Amazon, you get access to their motherload of free, organic traffic.
With a popular news idea, plus the right trending keyword topics, you too can be on your way to selling your first ‘winning’ design. And as you can see from the example above, you clearly don’t need any graphic design skills.
Remember, also, that popular news topics and popular public opinions are trending everywhere around the world, almost every day. So if you are not the most creative, then piggybacking your t-shirt designs off of trending topics is a great way to uncover the not-so-obvious potential to make money.
Tip: If you are interested in creating your own t-shirt Print on Demand business, then Merch by Amazon is a great program to consider starting out, especially if you don’t want to pay for advertising or traffic.
Generating over $12,000, this simple, text-based design is one of many t-shirts people are selling on eBay.
The phrase ‘Frankie Says Relax’ was what made this t-shirt a major success for two reasons. The first reason is because this phrase was referenced in the famous song ‘Relax’ sung by the 90’s band Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
The second reason was that this t-shirt was a replica of the one featured in a famous scene of the popular TV show Friends.
You see, while a t-shirt featuring the words Friends would be infringing on copyright, quoting words or phrases made by famous characters on the show is actually legal.
Can you think of clever ways that you can print famous quotes made by celebrities, shows, video games and other media on t-shirts? With a little bit of research, you too can reference popular quotes and plug them into your next design.
Tip: Find popular quotes made by famous celebrities, and think of ways you can print them onto a shirt and sell them to the right target audience.
Sold on the Print on Demand platform TeeSpring, this funny t-shirt aimed at OB Nurses has generated over $57,000 in revenue. The traffic source behind this successful t-shirt was a highly-engaged Facebook campaign.
So why was it so successful? Well, one major reason for its success is because it targets Nurses – an extremely passionate niche.
When you target a niche that people are overly passionate about, there is always the potential to make a lot of money, as buyers love buying products that embody what they are passionate about.
Unlike other professions, nurses are extremely passionate about what they do, and usually do it for more than just the money. The same also goes for teachers, who in general enjoy the nature of their profession.
Can you think of a passionate niche yourself? Consider a job where people don’t just do it for the money, and are strongly passionate about what they do. Then use Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to find out whether there is any potential to make money in that job or niche. (You can find out how here)
Tip: Target a niche that people have a passion for. While there is an opportunity to make money in any niche, a passionate niche is always swamped with active buyers who are eager to get their hands on a good t-shirt design.
This t-shirt has made over $18,000 dollars. It is currently being sold on eBay, and taking advantage of the millions of people that visit there each and every day.
But, unlike the price for most Print on Demand t-shirts, this one is priced at only $8.
But eBay sellers are okay with lowering their price. Why? Because the ultimate goal is to get customers to buy multiple products from them, by using the power upsells.
Upselling to customers is probably the easiest way to increase your profit margins. In fact, did you know that 70-95% of revenue comes from upsells and renewals on average? By not using upsells in your store, you are missing out on the potential to increase your profit margins.
Physical stores, such as Buc-cee’s, are a great example to show the power of upselling. They intentionally price their soda drinks for as little as $0.60 because they know that, when potential customers are choosing between which petrol station to stop at, they are more likely to fill up at Buc-cee’s (since it means they can get some cheap soda as well).
Now Buc-cee’s aren’t only selling soda, but upselling people to petrol as well. And the result is a far bigger profit margin.
Similarly, these successful eBay stores upsell customers to other t-shirts, instead of just one. For example, this listing here features twelve different t-shirts.
So when a potential customer clicks on this listing, they will also be surprised to find eleven other variations that they might want to buy.
The chances are that they will also be interested in buying another t-shirt design, knowing they already clicked to view the first one.
Another added benefit is that the motorbike niche is home to a large population of middle aged guys who, unlike teenagers (who are mostly broke), generally have a lot more money to spend.
Which means that, with a larger pool of buyers, there is much greater opportunity to make a lot of money.
Tip: If you own a Print on Demand or dropshipping store, it is always a good idea to upsell customers to other products they may be interested in. This is a fast method to increase your profit margins with very little work.
Using the popular print on demand service TeeSpring, this motorbike style t-shirt has made over $100,000. It targets the niche of conservative republicans who are particularly interested in gun rights.
One major reason for the success of this t-shirt was because of the huge following this store had built on Facebook. With this added benefit, they turned their fan page into a free traffic stream, by promoting products and services to their following.
A big following is always a great way of driving free traffic and sales. But this is only possible and effective when you have built a large following on your fan page. When you do, you have the added benefit of using your fan page as a way of driving free traffic, rather than spending money on paid advertising.
Another reason why this t-shirt was successful is because it is one of the most lucrative niches online. Not only are conservative republicans extremely passionate, but they skew older people, who have a lot more money to spend.
Tip: Whether it is Facebook or Instagram, it is always worth creating a page for your store. With time, your following will grow bigger, and you can use that as another form of free traffic to promote products and offers to.
The Bottom Line
It is always a smart idea to see what has been proven successful in the past, then build your own t-shirt design ideas on top of that. You never want to swing for a ‘home run’ design with your eyes closed!
By doing this, not only is it easier to get started, but you now have evidence that both the niche and t-shirt are buyer-worthy.
Hopefully these successful t-shirt examples have sparked an idea or two in your head your next design!