Are you interested in starting your own business, but not sure of the best way to go about it? Just about anyone with a great idea can start a new business selling custom t-shirts online. However, several factors can go into building a successful t-shirt printing business. What printing method will you use? Where should you go to get blank t-shirts to print on? How can you start selling your printed t-shirts online?
In this article, we’ll help to answer all those questions to help you get your printing business up and running. Let’s get started.
How to Start with T-Shirt Printing
In the world of t-shirt printing, and apparel printing at large, there are several approaches you can take to applying designs to shirts. By far, the three most common methods of t-shirt printing are screen printing, dye sublimation, and DTG printing. Each method has its positives and negatives and will be better or worse for your specific printing business depending on your needs. Let’s dive into how they differ and which is best for your new t-shirt printing business.
As the most popular and oldest method of t-shirt printing, screen printing can be done both by a machine or by hand. Screen printing works by printing a negative of the design you want to apply onto a screen. Then, you will place that screen against the shirt and roll ink over the screen so that ink is applied to the shirt in the correct design.
The ink used for screen printing is very thick and high-quality, creating a long-lasting design that has seeped deeply into the shirt’s fabric. If you’re looking to produce a large number of shirts with the same design, then the investment into screen printing may be worth it for your business. Screen printing is also best suited for simple designs with limited color palettes. This is because, for each color, you will need to create a new negative and apply the ink for that color.
If you’re looking for a method that supports more complex designs, DTG (direct-to-garment) printing may be a better option for you. This method uses inkjet technology to print images directly onto the shirt, giving you more freedom in the realm of color choice and variety.
DTG printing is a great solution for smaller production runs, as it doesn’t need as much setup. But, you’ll need to keep in mind that the shirts you use need to be 100% cotton. So, when you’re looking through our list of wholesale blank t-shirt suppliers, take note of suppliers who offer this.
One of many forms of heat transfer printing, dye sublimation digitally prints graphics to be printed onto the shirt. In this process, the graphic is heated up to be transferred onto the shirt material. Unlike other forms of t-shirt printing, dye sublimation joins the ink to the fabric, rather than putting it on top and letting it bleed in. This means that the print applied won’t crack, peel, or fade in any way.
Like DTG printing, dye sublimation requires a specific type of material to work. For dye-sublimation, you’ll need to use poly blend shirts – the more polyester in the shirt’s fabric, the more saturated and vibrant the print will be.
Heat Transfer Vinyl Printing
Another popular form of heat transfer is vinyl printing, perfect for producing t-shirts in small quantities. This method requires printing the design on vinyl with an adhesive, which is then cut with a plotter or laser cutter, and finally transferring the design to the t-shirt by applying heat with a heat press.
Top 10 Wholesale Blank T-Shirt Suppliers
Now that you have a better understanding of the printing methods used on blank t-shirts, let’s take a look at the best wholesale suppliers available. For each supplier, we’ll look at their product selection, locations, and shipping prices to help you make the best decision for your business.
AllDayShirts.com is a USA-owned and operated wholesale supplier of blank t-shirts and apparel. Having been in business for over 47 years, this second-generation supplier aims to serve anyone in need of blank apparel. Whether you’re an everyday individual, a business, a school, a charity, or an organization, you’ll find what you need here.
Among their selection, you’ll find blank t-shirts, hoodies, fleece, and hats in men’s, women’s, youth, and baby sizes. AllDayShirts.com features popular brands like Gildan, Fruit of the Loom, Bella+Canvas, American Apparel, Anvil, Champion, Dickies, Hanes, Jerzees, Next Level Apparel, and many more.
One thing that makes AllDayShirts.com helpful to printing businesses is how they categorize their apparel. You can browse by apparel that best fits your printing type, from DTG and screen printing to dye sublimation and heat press printing. They also categorize based on fabric and style, helping you to easily find blends between 100% cotton and 100% polyester.
As the only supplier on this list owning their own distribution center, and with 3 million square feet of inventory space, they’re well-equipped to deliver your order quickly. They don’t require any order minimums and can even customize wholesale quotes for orders over $50,000. Orders over $59 cost a flat rate of $7.99 to ship – any orders below that threshold will be charged a $12.99 shipping fee.
While they do ship to Alaska and Hawaii, they do not currently ship internationally.
2. Blank Shirts
As the name suggests, Blank Shirts is one of the most popular wholesale blank t-shirt suppliers online. The company has been in business for 20 years and has a large assortment of warehouses all across the continental United States. They currently have warehouse locations in Washington, California, Florida, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, they’re able to ship quickly – regardless of your location.
At Blank Shirts, you can find wholesale blank t-shirts, hoodies, polo shirts, tank tops, masks, hats, jackets, and much more in a variety of colors. They carry several popular brands, such as Bella+Canvas, Gildan, Hanes, and American Apparel.
Unlike some wholesale suppliers, Blank Shirts does not have a minimum order size requirement. But, the minimum shipping charge for any order, regardless of size, is $7.95. Blank Shirts also offers same-day shipping.
If you’re a school or government organization, the company also accepts purchase orders. However, they currently do not accept international payments. Blank Shirts also owns wholesale apparel suppliers Blank Apparel and T-Shirt Wholesaler.
Needen specializes in wholesale blank clothing and accessories. Their bulk selection includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, tank tops, polo shirts, sport shirts, jackets, work clothes, and more. They carry more than 95 brands, including popular choices like Gildan, Next Level, Anvil, Bella+Canvas, VanHeusen, Hilton, and A4. Needen’s selection of apparel includes options for men, women, kids, and babies.
No minimum order amount is required to buy products from Needen. Free shipping is applied to orders over $89 as well, with shipping prices starting at $13.95 for orders below that threshold. Needen offers volume discounts of up to 40% off, incentivizing larger purchases.
With locations in North America, Europe, and Oceania, Needen is a good choice for international businesses. Orders are shipped within 2-5 business days, with some areas receiving 1-day shipping depending on their location. The company also owns Wordans, another wholesale apparel supplier.
4. Cotton Connection
With over 30 years of experience, Cotton Connection is an established wholesale clothing supplier. They offer a wide selection of blank wholesale apparel, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, sport shirts, hooded pullovers, socks, and more. Cotton Connection also carries brands like American Apparel, Anvil, Champion, Fruit of the Loom, Gildan, Jerzees, and Hanes.
Cotton Connection works to make its prices as affordable as possible. They even go so far as to price-match any published or special bid price for large quantity orders offered by competitors. They also don’t require minimum order quantities on first quality items, which are apparel items that have no issues. They sell “irregulars” as well, which are items that may have small production errors, such as a slight color difference. For irregular items, there is a minimum order requirement of one dozen per size and color.
Because they are located in Chicago, IL, they offer 1-day shipping in Illinois and surrounding areas. For the rest of the United States, you can expect 2 to 5-day shipping.
5. Jones T-Shirts
Jones T-Shirts has been a major supplier of wholesale blank apparel since 1992. They supply both individuals and businesses with quality clothing at low prices. Their selection includes, but is not limited to, t-shirts, polo shirts, hoodies, sweats, tank tops, hats, and bags for men, women, youth, toddlers, and infants. They carry all of the most popular apparel brands, such as Hanes, Gildan, Anvil, Fruit of the Loom, Bella+Canvas, American Apparel, Jerzees, and more.
Jones T-Shirts is located in Provo, Utah. They have warehouses in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
There’s no minimum order requirement with Jones T-Shirts, but prices will do down with higher order quantities. Minimum shipping rates range from $11.95-$13.95, with orders over $89 qualifying for free shipping (excluding Hawaii and Alaska). You can expect an order from Jones T-Shirts to take 2-5 business days to ship out. Unfortunately, they do not support international shipping at this time.
6. Blank Style
Founded in 2004, Blank Style is a wholesale blank apparel supplier that also offers printing services. When it comes to apparel, they carry t-shirts, polo shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweatpants, masks, bags, and hats for men, women, kids, toddlers, and babies. They offer apparel ranging from 100% cotton to 100% polyester as well.
Blank Style is no stranger to popular apparel brands. They carry American Apparel, Next Level Apparel, Bella+Canvas, Tultex, Anvil, Gildan, Hanes, and more.
The company is located in Irvine, CA, and has over 18 warehouses across the United States. Because of this, shipping charges for orders are based on optimal warehouse locations. This does mean that your order may come in several shipments).
Shipments over $99 qualify for free shipping, and same-day shipping is possible in some instances. International shipping is not supported for blank orders unless you work with a USA-based freight forwarder.
7. Jiffy Shirts
Jiffy Shirts is a wholesale blank apparel supplier that carries a wide selection of clothing. This includes t-shirts, face masks, sweatshirts, polo shirts, hats, jackets, work shirts, and more. They also carry popular brands like Adidas, American Apparel, Anvil, Bella+Canvas, Champion, Fruit of the Loom, Gildan, Hanes, and Next Level.
On Jiffy Shirts's website, specific products are identified as “Jiffy 1st”, which will help identify which products are in stock and will ship faster than others. Among their Jiffy 1st shirts are brands like Gildan, Bella+Canvas, Anvil, Jerzees, and Hanes.
With three warehouses across the United States, Jiffy Shirts claims that 98% of orders can be delivered in one or two days. For orders over $59, shipping is free – any order amounts below that threshold will be charged at least $5.45 for shipping. However, they do not support international orders, nor orders from Alaska or Hawaii, at this time.
8. The Adair Group
In business for over 50 years, The Adair Group supplies a variety of clothes and brands to meet your printing business needs. Their selection includes t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, tank tops, polo shirts, sweatshirts, tie-dye, underwear, hats, and face masks. Several popular brands make an appearance on their site, such as Hanes, Gildan, Anvil, Jerzees, Delta, Rabbit Skins, and Fruit of the Loom.
The Adair Group carries both first quality apparel and slight irregulars at a value price. They even have a section for $1 shirts, polo shirts, and more called the “Bargain Basement.” While The Adair Group does not have minimum order amounts, only certain products can be purchased by the piece. Most products must be purchased by the dozen.
You can expect orders from The Adair Group to ship either the next business day or within 48 hours, depending on when you put in your order. They currently do not offer international shipping.
ShirtCotton is a wholesale blank apparel supplier that carries a wide variety of clothing items. Their selection includes blank t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, polo shirts, bags, and hats in both adult and kid sizes. They offer popular brands such as Bella+Canvas, Next Level Apparel, Gildan, Dickies, Yupong, and many more.
If you’re looking for a specific fabric type due to the printing method you’re using, you can browse their selection of blends. They carry 100% cotton, 100% polyester, cotton blends, poly blends, and tri-blends.
With several warehouses located across the United States, they’re able to offer fast shipping in most cases. Some orders may qualify for same-day shipping, but most orders will ship out on the next business day. ShirtCotton offers free ground shipping on orders over $99 as well. For orders below that threshold, the minimum shipping cost will be $9.95.
10. ClothingShop Online
Based in Hermosa Beach, CA, ClothingShop Online is a wholesale supplier of blank apparel. They market themselves as a clothing solution to both individual customers and businesses who need bulk orders. On ClothingShop Online, you can browse their selection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, gym apparel, face masks, and more. They offer a variety of popular brands to choose from, including Adidas, American Apparel, Anvil, Bella+Canvas, Champion, Fruit of the Loom, Gildan, Hanes, Jerzees, Q-Tees, and many more.
Discounts are based on order quantity, ranging from 5% to 15% off of your order. There are no order minimums either, staying true to their goal of providing discounted apparel to anyone.
Free shipping can apply to orders over $59. ClothingShop Online also offers 1-day, 2-day, and 3-day shipping depending on your location. They have several warehouse locations in Texas, Illinois, Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, and New Jersey.
Currently, they only ship within the continental United States – meaning they do not ship to Hawaii or Alaska.
How to Start Selling Printed T-Shirts Online
Establishing a line of products is one of the most important aspects of starting a new business. But, the next step is determining exactly how you’ll be selling those products.
Building an online t-shirt store, printing your own designs, is one of the easiest ways to start your new business. It removes all the cost and hassle of finding and a brick-and-mortar location to sell your products in. And, consider that statistics stating that eCommerce is expected to make up 22% of all retail purchases in 2023. There’s never been a better time to insert yourself into the market.
Before print-on-demand solutions supplied many online t-shirt stores, custom t-shirts were printed in-house. But, don’t be mistaken – printing your own custom t-shirts isn’t an outdated practice by any means. In fact, businesses that start dropshipping can end up expanding to in-house printing once they become successful. It allows for better control of your end product, and it lowers the cost.
Choosing the right supplier for your blanks can help improve that process even further. Have you decided which wholesale blank t-shirts supplier you’d like to work with for your business?