The Four Ways Businesses Use T-Shirts - Part 1: Sell Them!

Create a clothing line with your brand - Selling custom shirts as a brand awareness strategy

Everyone loves a great t-shirt, and according to the Advertising Specialty Institute, 44% of the American population has a promotional t-shirt!  I myself actually own a t-shirt that I was given when I bought the Windows 7 operating system years ago.  And though it isn't the most awesome t-shirt in the world, for some strange reason I still appreciate it and wear it (mainly on gardening days and for workouts...but still).  The shirts we're featuring in this blog are much better looking than my Windows 7 shirt because they are infused with personality, style and attitude (no offense to windows...).  Ask yourself, whether you own a business, or you have a fairly defined personality as an independent contractor or celebrity status - Ask yourself, "Do I have a brand that is cool enough to put on a shirt, that people will want to wear?"  If you own a business, or you have a fairly defined personality as an independent contractor or a celebrity status, you will likely easily be able to turn your brand into successful t-shirt business.  And, my guess is that if you don't already have some interesting art to work with, you could with enough work and effort!  But on to business....

Business Type #1 - Gyms

 The cover photo for this blog features Jerbo Nerny, who is a Brazillian Jiu Jitsu champion several times over.  He is very well respected within his community, and a truly inspirational person by virtue of the shear magnitude and breadth of his accomplishments (you can get an idea from all the medals...)  Jerbo has created a clothing line out of his "pimpit fight team academy" and sells the garments to his gym customers.  In addition to Jerbo, we work with several other gyms who have leveraged their personality and business persona into a clothing line. 

Next Level Fitness in Palm Desert and Afterburn Fitness in Valencia and South Bay, California each have a fairly active t-shirt clothing line.  They will create designs every 2-3 months and order enough to satisfy the demand of their clientele.  All of the gyms featured in this post are generally well-reviewed on Yelp! and go the extra mile to be the best that they can be.  This creates a tangible business persona that translates well into being captured by a t-shirt graphic.  For a more in depth look at Afterburn Fitness, check out my blog on the 6 things Afterburn Fitness is Doing Right for some insights into how to pull off a successful gym-based clothing brand.


168 Fitness in La Crescenta, Results Fitness in Newhall California, and Grit Gym in Iowa City, Iowa use a more targeted approach to their t-shirt sales.  168 Fitness will sell their shirts and they will also give away the tote bags.  They use the tote bags for a general branding strategy and their shirts to identify a specific competition or event.  Grit Gym and Results Fitness both offer very personalized services as well, and as such their customers are hardcore loyal fans.  Their designs properly translate the grit and determination that they inspire in their training sessions.

 Business Type #2 - Retail Brands

Runner's Lane in Santa Clarita California is a retail shop devoted to everything a runner could possibly need.  Shoes are certainly the obvious product, but they also sell jogging activewear, nutrition, and marathon training.  In the process of selling runner's gear, they have created a persona that is identified with running greatness, and this translates into a brand quite easily.

Business Type #3 - Celebrity

We were really thrilled to get to print t-shirts for Stan Lee Collectibles, the merchandising project of the creator of Spider Man, and other classic American fictional heroes.  Stan Lee is very active in the comicon scene, and he makes several appearances throughout the year at the conventions.  He was wanting to have some t-shirts to sell in addition to his other merchandise, and so he came to us with the design you see here.  And he also signed a few for us, which was very cool!

The guys at Biohacker TV have created a Youtube channel where they talk about taking various supplements to help the body achieve its fullest potential.  In support of the channel, they asked us to print their shirts for them.  If you are appearing on social media to represent your company, there are few better ways to get your brand out there than wearing a t-shirt with the brand on it for all to see!

 Bottom Line

If you have already established a brand and it is successful from other efforts, using a t-shirt to capture that brand and monetize it is a natural and easy thing to do.  It is a way to leverage the success that you have already achieved and turn it into an extra revenue stream.  This post has not been about starting your own branded clothing line from scratch.  This is an entirely different kind of activity with its own concerns and problems.  We have had many startup clothing lines come to us over the years to print their garments, and then we watch them struggle to gain a following.  Starting a clothing line from scratch is quite the gladiator contest, with only a handful of winners.  But if you have already won some form of branding gladiator contest, then double down on those winnings and start a clothing line based on that brand.  Let us help you with all your t-shirt branding needs, as all of the business on this page have.

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Afterburn Fitness is a gym that has a location in Valencia and Venice Beach.  They have a really cool logo, and they have turned the logo into not only the brand identify of their gyms, but also a clothing line.  They have a steady stream of customers because of all of the unique fitness events and programs they offer regularly.  They buy their garments in bulk from us, provide us with the designs, we print them, and then Afterburn sells them at retail to their customers.  They have very impressive designs because of the  eye-catching content that translates perfectly to the screen printing format.  Click 'read more' below to look at the details of how they have made a successful clothing line.

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