How to Start a Christian T-shirt Business

Starting a Christian t-shirt business involves combining entrepreneurial skills with a passion for faith-based messaging. This guide will walk you through the essential steps to create and run a successful Christian t-shirt business, from market research to marketing strategies.

My Experience with Christian T-shirt Businesses

First off, I want to give you a quick background on my experience starting Christian t-shirt businesses.

  • In 2006, I created a drop shipping account with Kerusso and a brand called Gardenfire. I built an eCommerce shop and started selling tees through these 2 brands.
  • In 2008, I started selling t-shirts from Sanctify Clothing. This was a huge brand at that time that sold “all-over” Christian-themed designs that were similar to the Affliction brand of apparel.
  • I sold my original site and started a new site in 2008. Within a short time, I decided to start a brand called Shining Armor. I bought and started building it out. I wanted to trademark the brand, but due to restrictions trademarking an apparel brand with “armor” in the name, I decided to sell the domain and go in another direction.
  • I started selling t-shirts in 2013 through an Etsy shop, many of the shirts faith-based.
  • In 2020, I started a brand called I built this store up to 6-figure+ in revenue, then sold it to a non-profit media company based in Tennessee. This store is still thriving today.
  • In 2023, I started a shop called The goal of this store has been to raise funds for missions in Nicaragua and Panama. I am still operating this store today and donate 100% of the proceeds to missions.

1. Christian Audience Market Research

Before launching your Christian t-shirt business, it’s crucial to understand the market. Identify the top Christian t-shirt businesses like Kerusso, Disciple Threads, Elevated Faith, and others. Analyze their products, target audience, and marketing strategies.

Key Steps:

  • Identify Trends: Research popular themes such as Bible verses, Christian bands, and inspirational messages.
  • Understand Your Audience: Use tools like Google Trends and social media to gauge what your target demographic is interested in.
  • Competitive Analysis: Study the strengths and weaknesses of competitors to find your unique selling proposition (USP).

2. Choose a Niche

Finding your niche is critical for standing out in the crowded t-shirt market. Consider focusing on specific themes like Scripture t-shirts, Christian band merch, or designs for church groups and events.

One of the best ways to choose a niche is to start with what you personally like to wear. Are you a mom who enjoys wearing shirts with Bible verses? Are you a guy who like the outdoors and enjoys subtle faith-based messages on outdoor styles? Are you a GenZ creator who enjoys combining young designs with bold messages?

Whatever your taste, the best way to determine your niche is to sell what you personally like. You know your audience because you are your audience.

Example Niches:

  • Bible Verse T-shirts: Designs featuring popular Bible verses like John 3:16.
  • Christian Band T-shirts: Merchandise for contemporary Christian music bands.
  • Church Event T-shirts: Custom designs for church events, retreats, and missions.

3. Design Your Christian T-shirts

Creating appealing designs is vital for the success of your Christian t-shirt business. Your designs should resonate with your target audience and convey the intended message clearly.

If you are a savvy photoshop or adobe illustrator designer, then I don’t need to talk about designs. You know what to do. But if you are like most people, you don’t have design skills. I highly recommend using Canva or to get started. On Kittl, there are tons of awesome shirt designs (most are not faith-based) that you can use to get started.

What I recommend is find a “style” that you really like. Then edit the text to be faith-based.

Here’s an example of a Kittl template (left below) and a quick edit to make it faith-based (right below):

Design Tips:

I recommend looking through Etsy, searching “christian t-shirts” and find shirts that have a lot of reviews and sales. Get ideas of the texts on the shirts and think of ways to incorporate these texts into your own designs.

  • Inspirational Quotes: Use uplifting and faith-affirming quotes from the Bible or popular Christian sayings.
  • Christian Symbols: Incorporate symbols like Crosses, Fish (Ichthys), Lions, and Doves.
  • Collaborate with Artists: If you have the budget, you can partner with Christian artists and designers to create unique and compelling designs.
  • High-Quality Graphics: Ensure your designs are high-resolution and suitable for printing on various t-shirt colors. For print-on-demand designs, I normally save my designs as 300 dpi, 11-12″ wide PNG files.

4. Source Quality Materials

The quality of your t-shirts can make or break your business. Choose comfortable and durable materials to ensure customer satisfaction and repeat business.

Material Considerations:

  • Fabric: Opt for 100% cotton or cotton blends for a soft feel and durability. I like Bella Canvas 3001, Next Level 3600, and Gildan 64000. Gildan is the lowest cost and gives you the best margins for a start-up.
  • Print Quality: Use high-quality printing techniques like screen printing, direct-to-garment (DTG) printing, or heat transfers. Direct-to-garment is the primary printing method of Print-on-demand companies like Printify (which is the company I used to grow I highly recommend Printify for startups due to their low cost and good quality printing. This is a great way for startups to get designs in the market without having to worry about inventory.
  • Ethical Sourcing: Consider sourcing materials from ethical and sustainable suppliers to appeal to eco-conscious consumers. I have found that this is not a huge demand in the faith-based niche, but you could differentiate your brand this way.

5. Set Up an Online Store

An online store is essential for reaching a broad audience. Platforms like Shopify, Wix, and WooCommerce make it easy to set up and manage an online store.

Shopify Store 611Armory

Basic Steps to Set Up Your Store:

  • Choose a Platform: Select an e-commerce platform that suits your needs and budget. I am a staunch advocate for Shopify. They have the most features and the stores are SEO-friendly and easy to setup.
  • Design Your Store: Create an attractive and user-friendly website with clear navigation and high-quality images of your t-shirts. If you choose Shopify or any other platform, there are normally templates you can start with so you don’t have to design anything out-of-the-box.
  • Payment and Shipping: Set up secure payment methods and reliable shipping options to ensure a smooth customer experience. Shopify offers deep shipping discounts so you can print shipping labels directly from your store and save up to 50% on shipping for USPS ground advantage, for example.

6. Market Your Christian Business

Effective marketing strategies will help you reach your target audience and grow your business. Utilize social media, email marketing, and collaborations with influencers to spread the word.

Personally, I’ve had the best luck with Instagram. You can network and promote your brand easily there. It does take awhile to build up a following on Instagram, but the return on your investment will show up, in my opinion.

Marketing Strategies:

  • Social Media Marketing: Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to showcase your designs and connect with potential customers. Again, Instagram is my choice for Christian apparel brands. It’s much more personal than Meta or Pinterest.
  • Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with Christian influencers and bloggers to promote your t-shirts. This is a big one and Instagram is the place to do it. Find some smaller influencers (bigger than you but not huge) and send them some apparel. Don’t ask for anything in return but message them and let them know you’d like to send them some merch. Once they say “yes” and give you their address, send out some nice merch with a handwritten note (if possible). You’d be surprised how many influencers will wear your merch and shout out your brand without you asking.
  • Email Campaigns: Build an email list and send regular newsletters with updates, promotions, and inspirational content. This can start once you start making sales.
  • SEO and Content Marketing: Optimize your website for search engines and create blog content that attracts organic traffic. SEO takes time, but it pays dividends. Read this eCommerce SEO guide from Shopify and get started once your site goes live.

7. Manage Your Finances

Proper financial management is crucial to the sustainability of your Christian t-shirt business. Keep track of your expenses, sales, and profits to ensure your business remains profitable.

Financial Tips:

  • Budgeting: Create a detailed budget that includes costs for materials, marketing, and other expenses.
  • Accounting Software: Use accounting software like QuickBooks or Wave to keep your finances organized.
  • Pricing Strategy: Set competitive prices that cover costs and provide a reasonable profit margin. Sometimes I set really low prices or deep discounts at the beginning, just to get orders and reviews coming in. This helps your business get a kickstart. Once you’ve seen some sales and reviews, you can increase your prices to account for better margins.
  • Monitor Cash Flow: Regularly review your cash flow to ensure you have enough liquidity to cover expenses. Once you start getting orders, Shopify will offer “funding” which is dependent on your sales. If you accept the funding, you will pay it back with your profits. This can help if you need cash for marketing or cost of goods.

8. Offer Exceptional Customer Service

Exceptional customer service can set your business apart from competitors. Ensure that customers have a positive experience from browsing your website to receiving their orders.

Customer Service Strategies:

  • Responsive Communication: Respond promptly to customer inquiries and resolve issues efficiently. This is one of the most important aspects of customer service. Lightning fast responses.
  • Clear Policies: Provide clear information on shipping, returns, and exchanges on your website.
  • Customer Feedback: Encourage and act on customer feedback to improve your products and services.
  • Customer Reviews: Make sure you have a solid review plugin like Loox or Yotpo. These platforms will help you get reviews and referrals.

9. Scale Your Business

As your business grows, consider strategies to scale efficiently while maintaining quality and customer satisfaction.

Scaling Tips:

  • Expand Product Line: Introduce new products like hoodies, hats, and accessories with Christian themes.
  • Increase Production: Partner with larger manufacturers or invest in your own printing equipment.
  • Market Expansion: Explore new markets, such as international shipping or wholesale partnerships with churches and Christian bookstores.
  • Hire Staff: As your business grows, hire staff to help with customer service, marketing, and production.

10. Stay Inspired and Keep Innovating

The foundation of a successful Christian t-shirt business is passion and innovation. Continuously seek inspiration and new ideas to keep your business fresh and engaging.

Inspirational Tips:

  • Stay Connected: Engage with your community and stay updated on Christian trends and events. Set up booths at Christian events to promote your brand.
  • Continuous Learning: Attend workshops, read industry blogs, and network with other entrepreneurs.
  • Faith and Creativity: Let your faith guide your creativity and business decisions, ensuring your products remain authentic and meaningful.
Author Image

Bryan E. Robinson

Bryan E. Robinson is a U.S. Army veteran and founder of,, and Bryan is a spiritual warrior whose goal is to get God’s Word in front of as many people as possible through digital channels.