New Business Ideas: A Twist on Tee Shirts

Selling T-shirts is so boring, it shouldn’t qualify as a new business idea, right? Well you’re wrong.


Entrepreneurs worldwide have come up with new twists and spins on the humble T-shirt and sweatshirt business so that your tees now have innovative designs and functions, and are sold unconventionally. These new shirt ideas are, in a word, cool:

  • (pictured above) has got T-shirts that can be scanned by a mobile phone. The T-shirts feature a datamatrix barcode, known as a “tag.” Using a mobile phone camera, a person may take a picture of the tag, and the mobile phone will read the tag and open the website of the wearer. You can choose any website, social networking page, photo, video or music to link the tag to. Great for showing off your 1000+ friends on Facebook.
  • U Love NY? Neighborhoodies helps you express your passion for New York City. You can get ultra-cool hooded sweatshirts emblazoned with the name and identity of your very own neighborhood at NY-based Neighborhoodies. The company is taking this warmly-received idea global and you should see London and Paris hoodies soon.
  • The T-Shirt Deli in Chicago goes by the tag line “T-shirts made fresh daily”. It’s not hard to see why. Customers get their shirts by selecting a “fresh”, empty shirt from a deli counter and customizing it with personalized lettering. Each letter on your T-shirt costs US$1 each; customers can use custom letters or their own design. Now you can get your favorite Albert Einstein quotes on your tee.
  • If you want to make a bold political statement with what you’re wearing, check out T-post’s “94% News, 6% Cotton” tee. The Swedish subscription-based label designs unique T-shirts based on the current news item which the newspapers are writing about. There’s a printed text explanation on the inside of the shirt which keeps you updated and informed of the major news around the world.

Can you think of new, innovative and uber-cool ideas for the T-shirt or sweatshirt business?

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This New Business Ideas Report is compiled specially for Small Business Trends from the editors of


12 Reactions
  1. Reactee ( t-shirts have a slogan and a phone number for people to text. Then you can send them a customized txt to explain your shirt. Perfect for small business.

  2. I remember years ago there were these T’s that were sensitive to change in temperatures. I think they were called Hypercolor T’s? They changed color when your body temperature changed or when someone touched you. They were pretty neat for a while and pretty popular.

    I liked the barcode T above. With so many people using cell’s and texts. . .it’s sure to be popular.

  3. Look at
    A friend, who is a true small business entrepreneur created these groovy shirts that come with funny goddesses images and quotes. It is very clear that in the T-shirt business, small businesses show much more innovation than the big brands!

  4. I thought this was a good example of building a t-shirt shop around a niche. The shop is called ItalianThings. It’s for Italians, people of Italian descent and lovers of Italy.

  5. Hi everybody.

    I’ve created a concept/design for Tee-shirts, bumper stickers and whatever else, that is huge and I know it’ll make a lot of money. Outside of being creative, I don’t know the business at all. I kind of wish I had a marketing partner that knew that side of it. I’ve been in the creative side for 20 years and I know this idea will sell big.

    Please, can someone help?


  6. I am with Chris on the barcode T. No doubt, this will be a huge seller.

  7. Jeffrey-i am always looking for new ideas for my shirt business, I would love to print your ideas and make them real. Let me know what’s up. Tom

  8. Italian T-Shirts the all Italian T-Shirt Shop all original italian_designs started in 2003 and still going strong! Italia Socer T-Shirts, Italian Pride Shirts, Mugs, Sicilian T-Shirts and more added often.
    Feel free to check us out if you like

  9. Wai U Shao Ting: There is no reason to raise your voice.

  10. You have a bunch of high-quality tips within this document. I will be signing up to your rss feed.

  11. I like the Neighborhoodies line. Their design are simple and fits the everyday style for most people.