Is the T-Shirt Industry Oversaturated?

Is the T-Shirt Industry Over Saturated?

Is the T-Shirt industry over saturated? In a sense, yes. To various degrees and different stages it is over saturated and over crowded. The industry is effing brutal.

Does this T-Shirt industry over saturation mean that you should not enter the highly competitive tee market? No, not at all. The problems lie with the lack of originality and the powerhouses crushing startups…be it manufacturing, distribution, or even retail. They (the powerhouses) do it by blocking, or by taking other people’s ideas.

From the designer’s perspective, it also comes from everyone having similar ideas or people blatantly ripping off other people’s concepts. The same thing can be said about T-shirt Blogging, everyone tries to do what everyone else is already doing. The key is to be different and if possible, protect that difference with everything that you have. But that is a daunting task if there ever was one, if not outright impossible to achieve.

T-shirts may not make you rich, but if you enjoy it by all means keep at it. If it brings some income fantastic. Just be original. If you aren’t making any money and that is your primary goal then it is pointless to continue.

How To Compete In the Over Saturated T-Shirt Industry.

To compete and make it in the saturated T-shirt market, look at the trends. Look at them and ADAPT to them. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing but produce a variation that goes off in its own tangent and niche market. Avoid the self promotion label/logo tee crap like Old Navy, Abercrombie and Fitch, and American Eagle do. In all honesty no one gives a damn about your name or start-up brand. Why the Hell should they pay to advertise you? Again, BE DIFFERENT. Give people what they want not want you want. You may like your drawing of Deadpool wearing a Superman cape, doesn’t mean others will or will not. Go for what you know for sure that people will like enough to buy.

That is my opinion on how to handle the T-shirt Industry being over Saturated.

hat cap

Is Embroidery Expensive

Personalize your world with custom embroidery. From monogrammed towels to bespoke baby blankets, ball caps, tote bags, and all kinds of garments and textiles, embroidery is an increasingly popular way to make something extra-special. Once the sole domain of sweet grandmothers, embroidery is showing up in everything from millennial fashion to unique gifts. You can apply a company logo for stare-worthy swag, create one-of-a-kind presents for birthdays and anniversaries, or personalize souvenirs for company picnics, family reunions and other special occasions. Several factors affect the cost for embroidery services and embroidered merchandise:

  • The amount of detail in a logo or image
  • The number of thread colors needed
  • The type of item being embroidered
  • The cost of purchasing merchandise from the embroidery service if you don’t supply it yourself
  • The choice of direct embroidery on the object or creation of custom patches to be sewn onto the object
  • The number of items to be embroidered, which may mean a volume discount

Embroiderers often charge by the number of stitches per garment as well as thread color changes. You could expect to pay anywhere from $5-$10 each for custom-embroidered ball caps to $20-$30 each for golf shirts, in addition to a digitizing fee.


For precision outcomes, many embroidery pros use computer software that programs your design into their sewing machines. When your logo or image is digitized, a file is created that the embroidery machine can interpret in order to stitch it directly onto a garment, or onto a patch that can be sewn onto fabric items like tote bags or backpacks. Digitizing the design ensures that if you are embroidering multiple items with the same design, each item will be exactly the same for a professional and unified look.

Digitizing usually incurs a one-time fee because once the image is digitized, the embroidery service can use it again for future jobs. The cost for digitizing is based on the number of stitches and thread color changes required to re-create the logo in embroidery. Digitizing fees usually average $20-$30, but may be as low as $10 or as high as $60 or more.

Thread (color) changes

Whether you’re after a custom-designed peacock on the back of your jean jacket or want simple black script for your personalized bachelorette T-shirts, choosing more hues means a higher price. Two-color logos or text-only embroidery jobs are the least expensive; using more than two thread colors will raise the price because the embroiderer must load multiple spools of colored thread into the machine.


How To Start A Clothing Company

Blank t shirt & How To Choose One

When starting your clothing line, one of the many factors that come in to play is choosing what brand of apparel blank t shirt to print on. This is a big decision, there are many different levels of price, quality, material, and fit that you need to take into consideration before you order. But not to worry, I’m writing this article to help people just like you who need help picking what brand to use. In order to keep this nice and neat, I’ll break down each part of a blank t shirt  that should be looked into before choosing one, and then go into some examples of what brands would be best for who.

Blank t shirt parts (What To Consider)

Material – This might seem like something that wouldn’t really matter because it’s “just a t-shirt” but this assumption is very untrue. The material of your tees will be felt by each and ever one of your customers, and they don’t want to feel some thick, rough t-shirt that shrinks to half it’s size when washed. Don’t go cheap.

The most popular material being used for clothing lines right now is 100% cotton, but keep in mind that just because a tee is 100% cotton doesn’t mean that it’s top of the line. We still have the quality factor to add in later. There is also a difference between 100% cotton and 100% ringspun cotton. Ringspun cotton is softer, feels nicer, and prints better.

Some other materials you might want to check out are cotton/polyester blends. A common blend that most people have heard of is 50/50 which is 50% cotton and 50% polyester. These blends are a bit softer, and the color is sometimes heathered with spots of other colors like grey or black showing up. Just a note, your typical heather grey shirt unless otherwise noted is 90% cotton and 10% polyester. Another type of blend that is growing more and more popular are Tri-Blends, widely known from American Apparel these tees are SUPER soft and have a stretchy feel to them. They are made up of 50% Polyester/25% Cotton/25% Rayon and they also typically show some specs of other colors as well. They are on the higher side in price but we’ll get to that later.

There are also organic cotton tees, which with my own experience aren’t much different from your normal 100% cotton tee, they’re pretty soft, but I’ve also had normal cotton tees that are even softer. I guess this really comes down to if you’re trying to be earth friendly with your tees, it’s more of a personal decision. Still, something to think about.

Fit – This part of a blank tee matters even more than the material. The way your tee fits should be aimed at who your target market is. If you’re selling to a street wear crowd you might want to go with a more baggy box cut tee or even some of those tall tees. If you’re aiming at people who buy funny shirts or tees with sayings on them then you’ll want to go with an all around blank that anyone would wear, not super fitted and not super baggy either. If your clothing line is meant for people who wear t-shirts everyday and want to look good in them, I would go with a fitted shirt, which is sometimes referred to as a tubular or fashion fit. Whichever fit you choose for your brand, make sure its one that your customers would wear, because if you don’t sell the kind of tees they like to wear, then they aren’t going to buy them.

Quality & Price – These two things tie together because the price you want to pay in the end really relies on what kind of quality you want to offer. Obviously, you want to offer the best quality, but sometimes this isn’t in your budget and if you’re a brand who is just starting out then you’ll want to cut costs in anyway you can. If you have the money, then hey go for the best tees you can, if not, don’t even justify your brands quality for a better price, but more so try to find the best quality you can at a price that’s right for you. It will take some research but it will be well worth it in the end, and I’m here to help you with this article. Let’s get into some actual brands.

Blank t shirt brands

What brand of blank t shirt  you pick doesn’t technically matter to your customer because they may not even know the names of these brands or know what the difference is. Especially if you re-label your shirts they most likely won’t know what brand you’re using, BUT there is another way to look at this, take a look at the bigger companies like American Apparel who have a huge name. It might be a good idea on your part to tell your customers this(that is, if you choose to USE the brand, don‘t go lying to them), but, it’s up to you if you tell your customers what brand you print on. Let’s get into each brand and which would be right for you. To save the length of this article, I’m going to stick to the most popular brands out there.

Standard Tees (Ex. Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, Gildan, Anvil, ect.) – These brands are the standard for most screen printers because they cost the least to use. They are usually 100% cotton(not ringspun) and box cut, not fitted in any way. Some of these brands DO offer a fitted version of their tees(ie. Gildan Soft Style) but they will cost a little more, still worth looking into though. If you’re a brand selling funny tees with sayings on them or selling to the skateboard crowd these brands will work just fine for you, they are a good bang for your buck.

American Apparel – American Apparel have gotten themselves a pretty big name in the clothing world, not just with t-shirts, but with just about everything; though when it does come down to their t-shirts, you can’t really go wrong. They offer 100% ringspun cotton, 50/50 blends and Tri-Blends and all come in a million color choices. The quality of these shirts is above standard, so you do pay more for them, but it’s well worth it. Especially if your brand is for people who wear t-shirts 24/7 and want to look good and feel comfortable, or if your brand has more of a fashion sense to it rather than just awesome looking t-shirts. All around, this is the most popular blank t shirts out there, for many reasons, one of the main ones being they are made in the USA.

Alternative Apparel – Think of this brand as a more expensive, equal to or slightly higher quality American Apparel. These shirts are super soft and have a really nice fit. The fabric is slightly stretchy and is noticeably thinner than your average t-shirt. The sizes are also not as consistent with other t-shirt brands, so if you choose this brand make sure you take a look at the size charts and send the message along to your customers. Overall they are decent shirts, a lot of the ladies prefer them over other brands because of the fit(we’re talking women’s cuts). If you can afford to print on these then go for it, but I wouldn’t empty your wallet over them.

Tultex – Ah, yes, the t-shirt brand with the most controversy. There are a lot of mixed feelings about this brand of blank t shirts, and to be honest, all of them are correct. The thing is your paying less for a comparable version of a fashion fit tee. Are they 100% ringspun cotton? Yes. Are they fitted? Yes. Are they nice tees? Yes. Then what’s wrong with them? Nothing. Tultex is providing you with a less expensive alternative to offering a nicer fitted shirt for your customers, and if we go back to the “Quality & Price” section of this article I’ll repeat to you that you get what you pay for. Tultex shirts shrink a bit when dried, the colors aren’t 100% consistent between batches and the sizes aren’t always spot on, BUT, for the price you pay for them, they are great tees. If you’re a brand who wants to print on American Apparel or something similar but can’t afford to pay the big bucks, try out this brand. Tultex is most definitely a close second to the big dogs. PS- They also offer a 50/50 blend.

Alstyle – Very similar to Tultex, Alstyle is a great way to put out a quality product and save a few dollars. They aren’t as good of a fit as Tultex or American Apparel and they do shrink quite a bit more, but if you’re looking to print shirts just to try out a design or for promotional use, then they will work fine. Also, they are 100% cotton but not ringspun, so don’t expect an extremely soft shirt. These would also be a decent option for someone who’s printing funny shirts or something for a street wear brand.

There are more brands out there worth looking into, but like I stated above, I highlighted only the most popular. Some other brands you may want to consider are Next Level, Royal Apparel, Bare Apparel, and Bella. There are still more but I could fill up a whole extra page full of shirt brands. I have to leave some of the research for you

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

New Product Alert

Get new product and sale alerts!


If you need support, please send us a message. 


Mailing address:
6950 College St, Suite C,
Beaumont, TX

Copyright © 2021 Stillwater Visuals, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Add to cart