The 4 P’s Of Tees (Part 3: Pricing)

This is part 3 of the 4 part series taking a look at how you can tell the difference between a good tee like the 80s graphic tees and a bad tee! Over the past couple years IATT has developed a scale for grading t-shirts in four different categories, those categories being Packaging, Printing, Price and Presentation.

If you missed the first two articles you can view them here. Packaging | Printing |


Price might be one of the most important aspects when it comes to purchasing clothing online. After all consumers are a lot more willing to spend their hard earned money if they feel the product is worth it.

So what is the right price to sell your t-shirts for?

This is definitely not a simple answer as with every t-shirt company has different variables to take into consideration when setting a price for their t-shirts. Variables can include cost of paying the artist to design the shirt, cost of the blank shirt, cost of printing, packaging, promoting supplies, payroll, photography, website maintenance and upkeep and I’m sure many others.

A company also needs to take into consideration where they are in the t-shirt food chain. Companies such as Johnny Cupcakes> can easily fetch $35.99 for their tees because they have built brand loyalty and people trust and know their quality. What drives me absolutely nuts is when startup clothing lines come in pricing their tees in the $30 or higher range, without building up trust or brand loyalty with their customers.

When first getting your brand out there, I always suggest to sell your tees in the $18-$24 range. At that price your are going to get a lot more customers that will try out your brand to see how your quality is and establish trust in your brand.

Once you hit that $25 and up range you really should be an established brand that has some credibility because at that point a customer is making more of a commitment to your brand, and is a lot less willing to part with that kind of money on a unknown brand or product.

But by all means DO NOT sacrifice the quality of your product in order to keep your t-shirt prices low!

Try and keep your costs low on shipping supplies by buying mailers through eBay, you can usually find poly mailers for dirt cheap on there. Also ask for first time order discounts with screen printers or catch them when they are having sales. If you cant afford American Apparel or Alternative Apparel tees, use Anvil 980’s or Tultex 0202’s, while they are not as nice as AA, they are a great stepping stone. I have seen brands such as Vicious History, do a great job starting with Anvil 980 shirts and then when they started getting orders and money coming in they were able to bounce up to American Apparel tees.

Lastly, SHOP AROUND and network! Maybe you have a skill that you can trade with an artist for a lower commission rate on a piece, maybe you run a blog in which you can trade advertising space for a lower cost on buttons or stickers. Just take your time and look around before making decisions because there are lots of deals to be had out there if you look. Take for example my sister site, That site allows you to promote your upcoming Clothing Line release for FREE, and the brand that gets the most votes get’s $250 in free stickers! Things like this can go a long way to keeping your bottom line lower.

Balancing quality with cost is a tricky thing to do. Quality is EXTREMELY important when you are trying to start a brand. You will never get a second chance to make a first impression, so do it right! That being said just know that when you launch your tees, buyers can be extremely cautious when buying something from a new company or site, so keep your as fair as possible while still making a profit and build your following.

Part 4: Presentation Coming Soon!

  • Esteban

    Hey, nice post. It helps a lot. Hey, about the video of you and the other guy promoting pong deck. Is that guy the actor from american pie?

  • hahaha, no just the co owner of Pong Deck and a buddy!

  • Marioeliz85

    If we’re just starting off and we price our shirts at $24.95 using a good quality shirts with a seasoned screen printer will we be able to raise prices if/when we get more brand loyalty?

  • James

    Depends what kind of a brand you are trying to build. For most small scale t-shirt brands, created in the bedrooms of their owner on bigcartel, with very little startup capital I would deffinately agree with this.

    However, there have been plenty of brand new brands with a very high price point, that are very succesfull. But these are serious businesses, not just a bedroom venture. These have tens/hundreds of thousands pumped into their launch.

  • I definitely think that is a fair starting price. And yes as you gain more loyalty and trust, yes prices usually rise

  • Jmacevedo01

    Wheres part 4?!?!?!?!?

  • yeah where is part 4 ; ) I need to get on that!

  • Pingback: The 4 P’s of Tees (Part 4: Presentation) | I Am The Trend()

  • Pingback: [clothing lines] how much profit do you make per t-shirt - Page 3 - T-Shirt Forums()