How To Sell More Shirts

This thread is intended to be an artist community-driven thread where everyone and anyone can ask questions, share their insights and experiences, and help build up our collective wisdom on topics like how to market your shirts, developing a robust fan base, lists of best-practices, and more.

We’re all in this together, friends. And we’re big believers in the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all boats. So we’re looking forward to hearing from you, sharing each other’s successes or struggles, and helping find ways to help improve the business for everyone. And since this thread is intended to be a resource for the rookie and seasoned artists alike, lets do our best to keep posts practical, helpful, and positive. Thanks!

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I’ll be interested to see what people have to say on these topics. Social media is in a very awkward phase right now. The changes to Facebook in regard to business and professional pages severely dampened reach, and most people I know hardly use their pages anymore, or to no effect. On top of that the age demographic for Facebook continues to rise, so there’s little chance to reach any new audience. Instead, people are flocking to Instagram, but that’s an even worse place for self promotion due to the lack of ability to easily link to webpages, which is unfortunate because that’s where my largest audience is. I’ve heard that direct mailing lists works decently for people, but if you haven’t already established a mailing list, it’s hard to build one now when reaching new people is becoming harder (and with added privacy and trust issues).


I always post to my Facebook artist page, my Personal Facebook page, and my Twitter. I don’t have huge followings, so who knows if it helps. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

I do think the side sales need better attention. Some fantastic designs in there never get seen.

I’d love to see Woot post these on Facebook and Twitter, like they do the Editor’s Choice from the derby.


The most important thing is to try to reach outside of the Woot audience. Reddit can be a really effective way of getting your design seen. I posted my cthulhu art the day it became a shirt this week to r/lovecraft and it received 6k views, 99% upvotes, a couple of people are even getting tattoos of it. Super enthusiastic response.

The hard part is finding an appropriate way to let people know, hey it’s a shirt. Reddit’s rules about self promotion and links vary a lot but tend to be strict. In hindsight I could probably have outright posted a link in the comments in this case but it’s hard to tell in advance. I may have to try being more shameless in future.

Yeah, the problem is that reddit is a limited outlet. I’ve used reddit to do just what you said, but eventually you go beyond the 10% rule and your posts get deleted by mods or bots. For instance, I’ve shared too many gaming related things on r/gaming so I can pretty much never post there again unless I make a ton of posts about other things not related to my work. Many subs take comments into account- so if you’re active in discussions about stuff other than your own posts, you aren’t considered a spammer. But many big subreddits only count posts, not comments.

Note: For those not familiar, the “10% rule” means only 10% of posts/submissions to reddit can be your own material. Every subreddit has its own rules, but most follow this rule in some way.

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Someone recently mentioned their designs being stolen from sharing on reddit, but of course that happens everywhere. It seems like that is a good place to get in front of niche audiences, but right, you have to be active in the community. I tried sending my designs to Shirtoid for some extra exposure, and they were stolen instantly, (painfully so. Many thousands of shares on a design I only sold 2 or 3 of) so I nixed that. I’m planning to go the Instagram route, one of these days when I get my shit together.

I also think reaching out to local shoppers in one way or another, will help sales as well. People like to support their local communities.

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The Oatmeal did a comic on “Reaching people on the internet”, which sadly applies. It’s NSFW, so no link here.

At the top level, shirt.woot was mostly reliant on Woot’s audience and less on social media in the past years, which was where competitors grew their base. Alas, that often used “share it to win” boat has sailed away now.

(OTOH, anything against the company isn’t as widely reached. I’m sure that’s working just fine and dandy for that TEE site that folks are in a FURY over because only recently they’re delivering orders from before summer.)

Has more of the catalog been offered up on Amazon? I don’t know of all the nuances now and whether there are legal aspects or implications with some of the designs here versus licensed properties via Amazon Merch, but the audience at the mothership is hard to ignore – provided their search will actually returns shirt.woot designs available.

(cue Irk.)

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Offering the catalog on Amazon would be potentially a game changer, for sure. But just as you say, visibility in the search results and compliance with Amazon’s content rules (which don’t consider parody) would be all important.

I try to sell designs through Amazon’s Merch program and mostly they are not seen by anyone despite the massive customer base.


I’ve posted on reddit before and was instantly called a troll and labeled spam. I’ve been gun shy since.

I have a merch account, but amazon is super weird about potentially copyrighted stuff. For example, I put my Breakfast Club shirt on there but I couldn’t name it Breakfast Club even though it has nothing to do with the movie and the words “Breakfast Club” can’t possibly be copyright infringement…not to mention they have a million other shirts with the title “Breakfast Club” from third party sellers. I had weird issues like that with several designs that make the titles and descriptions poor for SEO and hard to find when searched.

I have separate facebook and instagram accounts for my shirts, but I don’t give them very much attention. I think using hashtags on twitter and instagram can help get things found - especially if your subject is topical. But for me, they’re one-offs. I haven’t hit on anything that provided any serious returns.

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I can’t imagine they really care about parody since they don’t every take down copies of my woot shirt despite repeated requests (surely, just one of many stolen designs that they do nothing about):

They don’t care about parodies (or direct copies) when it’s coming from a 3rd party reseller. But if you try to sell something through your own merch account, you’ll get denied for the dumbest the reasons.

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that was me. it made me sad. and angry.