What I learned this week:
Selling your own t-shirts is one of the most classic examples of early entrepreneurship. Everyone is involved in a t-shirt business at some point, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
There's overhead - even if you're not printing them yourself and you go to something like CustomInk.com, you still have to buy everything upfront and estimate the number of orders you're going to get.
But I recently learned that through a simple integration you can spin up your own, completely outsourced, online apparel store for almost anything - and you can do it for free!
The tools I used are Carrd, Printful, and Gumroad. Carrd is a simple, free-to-start website designer - Printful is the print-on-demand service that controls the backend - and Gumroad creates the sales interface.
First, I created an insanely basic website on Carrd. Just a landing page with a photo, a title, and a little embed block.
Then, you go to Printful and look through their catalog to find the product you want to sell - simple shirts are easy, but I'm pretty sure you can even go as far as backpacks or full jackets.
Once you've picked something, set up a product on Gumroad for that item, and make sure to label it as a physical product.
Back on Printful, make a store, connect it to Gumroad, and you're basically done. Grab the embed code for Gumroad and paste it on your Carrd site, and you're ready to sell.
It took me a bit of futzing to make sure everything worked right - I had to watch Printful's instructional video a few times and mess with some settings - but now I have a full-on store completely outsourced.
If you're starting a small fashion brand, or selling merchandise for a brand, or just messing around and coming up with something funny - it should only take you a day to set up the store with this method.