selling - featured image

Selling Without Inventory: Can Everybody Do That?

Featured image by Mabel Amber from Pixabay 

Do you have a great idea for a T-shirt or novelty item but no idea how to go about selling it? Maybe you’re a super fan of a film or video game. Or maybe you have thought up a sarcastic remark that people of a certain political persuasion would enjoy. You probably assumed you would need to buy tons of T-shirts and mugs then rent or buy a printer before you could begin selling to customers.

Fortunately, the digital age has made everything easier. Sales are no exception. You can now design novelty items such as T-shirts, tote bags, socks, and coffee cups without ever owning a single piece of inventory or even a printer.


How Selling Online with On-Demand Ordering Works

It is easier than ever to start selling your T-shirts and other products online. All you need to do is learn how to start an online business. You will quickly learn that there are companies that can print your novelty items on demand. Whenever a customer orders one of your products, the company will print it and send it to your customer.

In order to get started, you will want to design your product. Some on-demand printers will provide online tools that you can use to type a phrase or create a picture. They should have several fonts to choose from and a plethora of T-shirt and sweatshirt styles that come in many colors. You should be able to choose from several different mug and tote bag styles as well.

The best of these companies will offer an embroidery option. You can have an embroidered design on a T-shirt or a pair of sneakers. These could become some of your best-selling items.


Once you have your design, you can create an online store on a sales platform such as Shopify or BigCommerce. You may have to pay a small monthly fee for your store, but many platforms offer a free trial.

You can then connect your store to the on-demand printer that you have chosen. Whenever a customer orders one of your products, the on-demand company will print it up and ship it out. The company will take the cost of printing and shipping out of the customer’s payment. Even if you only sell one shirt, you will not have to pay anything.

Tips for Success with Selling Online

The most successful shirts and mugs will contain a pop culture reference. One of the best-selling shirts ever was “Vote for Pedro,” which referenced the indy cult film Napoleon Dynamite.

It is a good idea to focus your T-shirt design on a particular character from a film. However, it is wise to avoid using catchphrases that might be trademarked.

You can use social media to market your products but remember to use it wisely. Just putting a shirt that you have designed on your Facebook page or Twitter account will not work for selling your products. Instead, you should join groups for fans of the film you are referencing. Or hashtag the film on Twitter. Pinterest is also an excellent place to display shirts you want to sell.


Just to give an example, if your T-shirt has an inspirational phrase or word on it, you should post it on pages and websites that are geared toward self-help and wellness.

What Are You Waiting For?

Gone are the days when you had to spend money to make money. Your brilliant idea can become a reality even if you only have a few hours a week to devote to it.

So start selling your brilliant novelty items and T-shirts online today. Don’t wait a single minute longer.