A Step-By-Step Guide To Starting A Uniform Printing Business Online

How to start a sports jersey business

Last updated: May 6, 2024.

Nowadays is the best time for starting a uniform business. From the very first undershirt for the U.S. Navy to what the New York Times called “the medium for the message,” T-shirts are everywhere. 

Reasons Why You Need To Start A Sports Uniform Business

Custom Sports T-Shirts Are a Popular and Growing Industry

A lot of companies today, especially new ones, use T-shirts as part of their branding plan to get people to notice their brand. Printing business target market is also a great way to bring attention to social issues, speak out, and support a cause, all of which are good for market growth.

Grand View Research says that the personalized uniform printing market was worth USD 3.64 billion around the world in 2020. Between 2021 and 2028, it could grow at a rate of 9.7% per year on average.

Cicuit market share

According to the Fortune Business Insights report, the global sportswear market is projected to grow from $170.94 billion in 2021 to $267.61 billion in 2028. The intended growth at 6.6% CAGR and high demand show significant opportunities for the uniform market and prove that the custom uniform business is worth investing in.

> COVID-19 Has Accelerated Sales for Custom T-Shirts

Because of the pandemic, more clothes are being bought online. It was found by Adobe Analytics that sales of T-shirts went up by 47% in April 2020. SinaLite Marketing Data says that after COVID-19 hit North America, the number of T-shirt orders went through the roof, rising by over 400% compared to the number of orders before the pandemic. The number of wholesale users who bought printed clothes also went up by more than 16%. 

Before starting a print business, you need a great strategy and be aware of some details.

To establish your uniform business and run smoothly, you need a great strategy and be aware of some details.

Based on our experience in this niche, we've prepared this article on how to start a uniform business and avoid common pitfalls most entrepreneurs and business owners make.

Discover the essential steps for launching a uniform business, from market research and design selection to establishing efficient production processes and delivering personalized solutions for your clients. Get custom uniform design tips here and create a standout look for your business. Let's start!

Steps to start a uniform printing business

STEP 1: Know your customer and market

The golden rule before launching any business is to analyze your market and ideal customer.

What is market analysis?

This is a process of gathering information about your industry's demand – uniforms in your particular case - its niche and target market. 

The main aim of this research is to gather the information that will help you to identify your ideal customer and their problems which you can then solve with your products and services. 

This step is time-consuming but essential, as rushing with it or not doing deep research can doom your business even before you start it.

Here are some general questions you might need to find answers to:

  1. What problem am I trying to solve with my shop?
  2. Who is my ideal customer?
  3. How large is my audience?
  4. How do my customers usually order uniforms? How can I improve their experience?
  5. How much can they pay for the uniforms I sell?
  6. Who are my competitors?

You can supplement this list of questions depending on your objectives.

Try to gather as much information as possible. The more helpful information you have, you'll make fewer business mistakes on how to start your own printing business.

STEP 2: Find your ideal customer

The target audience is your ideal customers. Shortly put, it is a group or several groups of people with a specific pain you solve and get money for.

For example, your ideal customers can be businesses and members of sports teams who need to print some uniform sets according to their requirements.  

Usually, they would order uniforms by phone or manually fill out brochures. It is hard to visualize the final design and causes back-and-forth emails where you constantly send logos and mockups to your customers for approval.

Such an approach finally causes a lot of returns and errors where you need to reprint or produce the ordered item again.

The ability to order online with the live preview of any design changes allows you to solve the main pain of your customers - communicating their needs correctly to get their uniforms printed according to their needs. 

The main pain points for customers can vary, but common concerns may include:

> Communication Issues:

Problem: Customers often face issues with communicating their design needs to the printing company.

Impact: This leads to unfulfilled expectations and a significant amount of time wasted on communication with customers, which prevents the company’s growth.

> Quality and Durability:

Problem: Uniforms may not meet expectations in terms of fabric quality and durability.

Impact: Poor-quality uniforms can lead to discomfort, damage, or a need for frequent replacements, impacting both employees and the company's budget.

> Lack of Customization:

Problem: Customers may desire more customization options for their uniforms.

Impact: Lack of customization can result in uniforms that don't align with a company's branding or specific needs.

> Sizing Issues:

Problem: Customers often face challenges with sizing, leading to returns or exchanges.

Impact: Sizing discrepancies can result in dissatisfaction, affecting the overall uniform fit and comfort.

With online uniforms personalization, customers can choose the uniform template in your online store, colorize it, put a logo on the desired place, fill in the player roster and add the design to the cart. 

You then get the design details and output files in your admin panel and can print the item as per the customer's requirements.

Thus, communication becomes much more accessible and saves you a ton of time you can spend on other business tasks. 

Ready to turn your vision into a thriving business? Contact us and explore how to start a uniform retail business and take the first step toward building a successful!

Let's go into more uniform business startup tips and find out what your audience has in common so you can better understand them.

For example, it's helpful to collect the following data:

  1. Location
  2. Company size
  3. Average revenue
  4. History of purchases

Based on this research, you can identify customer personas to build a more detailed picture of your potential customers, including information about their pains, motivations, frustrations, and ordering behavior. 

This information will allow you to understand how you can satisfy your customers' needs fully.

STEP 3: Research your competition

Your competitors are always a source of helpful information. 

Check what uniforms they sell and whether they offer personalization, and try to understand why customers purchase there. 

You can do a spreadsheet with a list of your competitors to collect valuable data about them, check them from time to time, and keep them up-to-date.

Identify their strength and weaknesses to cover how your competitors are performing and how it can shed light on areas of your opportunity to grow. 

Strengths, for example, can be the website's responsiveness, user-friendliness, and the ability to choose from ready templates rather than starting from scratch or even personalize uniforms using the uniform design app

Weaknesses, for example, can be a poorly designed site, loading speed or checkout issues, and no ability to obtain design proof before ordering.

Study their success stories or stories of similar brands. You can use their experience and understand what you can do better to have a more competitive advantage and develop a unique value proposition.

Where to find the data for your market research?

There are many ways to get information, and the best one is to use analytics tools to gather information about your competitors.


1. ClickUp

One great thing about it is that it comes with a whiteboarding tool called ClickUp Whiteboards, which lets you and your team work together to look at how your competitors are doing. With tools like a pen tool, sticky notes, highlighters, and mind maps, you can see your ideas and thoughts, come up with new ones, and make plans for what to do if something goes wrong.

2. Similarweb

Similarweb is an online marketing tool that shows you how your website compares to your top competitors in terms of search success and market share. You can keep an eye on things like daily page views, search traffic sources, visit length, pages per visit, and return rate. This website, Similarweb, is the best place to find new partnership possibilities or improve your SEO strategy.

3. Google Trends

Google Trends is a free tool from Google that lets you look at your competitors and see how often certain keywords or terms are searched for. It tells you how popular a word or phrase is around the world and in different regions. 

It's also possible to see how fame changes over time with this free tool, which makes it a great way to gather trends on how to open a printing business. Use this information to help you make plans and find marketing strategies for uniforms.

STEP 4: Pick Your Niche

Now it's time to decide what sports uniforms you plan to sell. It's a significant point before you start. 

Trying to offer as many general products as possible in your online shop may be ineffective rather than focusing on something specific which enchants your target audience. This is where the niche helps. 

For instance, if you specialize in custom uniforms, your niche can be a specific sport that is most popular among your customers, e.g., football jerseys for adults, baseball uniforms for women's teams, or school uniforms for kid teams.

Finding a niche and narrowing your target audience will help you to launch your online uniform business with minimum costs and offer a more personalized approach.

How and where to find your niche products?

1. Keyword research

Find out what and how customers are searching by conducting keyword research. 

You can simply use Google for this. When you perform a search, Google automatically completes your sentence with the most searched terms, which can bring some ideas. 

You can also use keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush. These tools show the average number of searches for each keyword which can help you understand if the niche you're discovering is worth investing in. 

Typically, such tools also suggest other keyword ideas and become your uniform store business guide.

2. Google Trends

Google Trends is a free tool that shows the popularity of specific Google searches and suggests related queries and topics that might seem attractive.

For example, we've chosen Hockey Jersey. You can see quite clearly that there's been skyrocketing growth over the past several months. 


Google Trends analytics for uniforms

You can also set a period from 2004 until today to understand if this niche is stable or has only high search intent seasonally.


Google Trends analytics for jerseys

3. Online communities 

One of the other ways to find a niche is to check some popular online communities like niche forums and social media groups. 

You can read members' posts, discussions, and comments to understand what is trendy and niche ideas for uniform business

In addition, try to start a conversation and be actively involved. It will help you better understand this audience's pains and develop your value proposition.

Contact us to uncover the essential steps and insider tips on how to start a uniform store business, and turn your passion into a successful retail venture! 

STEP 5: Choose an eCommerce platform for your online store

To list your products, accept online payments, and manage orders, you'll need to launch your online uniform store. 

Start by finding the best eCommerce platform to meet your needs.

There are two ways.

1. Choose from ready eCommerce platforms.

You can use ready eCommerce platforms, which allow you to set up the website quickly without any coding, fill the product catalog, and go live.

There are multiple types of eCommerce platforms:

> Hosted - e-Commerce platforms such as Shopify, Adobe Commerce (Magento), BigCommerce, Wix, Squarespace, etc. Such a platform provides an eCommerce as a Software as a Service (SaaS). "Hosted" means that the application or platform is hosted on the provider's server and doesn't require installation on your premises or further hardware management. 

> Commercial - eCommerce platforms such as nopCommerce, some versions of Magento (Adobe Commerce), etc. that are free but provide copyright removal keys. This means each page of, for instance, the nopCommerce store will contain a "Powered by nopCommerce" link at the bottom of the footer if you do not purchase a copyright removal license.

> Open-Source - eCommerce platforms such as WooCommerce and OpenCart, which have open code available to the public. Best for those who want complete control and the ability to customize the solution according to their needs. Statista states that Shopify, Squarespace, and WooCommerce are currently the most popular eCommerce platforms in 2023. 

When choosing an eCommerce platform, we recommend paying attention to the following:

> SEO. The platform you choose should be SEO-friendly, allowing you to correctly implement your technical SEO to make your website visible to crawlers and drive organic traffic. 

> Speed. Website speed loading is a top factor for users when they make online purchases, especially from mobiles. For instance, if the page loads over 3 seconds, it leads to a high bounce rate and low conversions. 

> Security. Website security is essential when you want to look like a trusted source for your customers. Ensure the e-commerce platform is secure and supports HTTPS/SSL certificates, so your customers can make secure payments.

> Customization. The ability to customize is vital if you want to meet your and your customer's specific needs. The eCommerce platform should allow you to customize your shop per your requirements. For example, you might need to customize the theme to meet your branding, create personalized buyer journeys, and offer intuitive payments. 

2. Build a web-to-print website from scratch.

Sometimes, ready eCommerce solutions do not fit as they cannot cover uniform printing company needs fully.  In this case, the alternative option would be to build a web-to-print website from scratch tailored to your requirements and branding. 

Custom-developed eCommerce solution gives you complete control and limitless possibilities to make a specific journey for your customers, set pricing logic according to your business model, create the website design you wish, and implement powerful SEO. 

A tailored solution also gives you independence from any providers as, in most cases, you own the code of it. You can manage it on your own or with your developers' team.

Finding uniform manufacturers is crucial for your business. If talking about uniforms or apparel, you might need to work with the manufacturer, so you should send order details to the producer.  The process becomes more challenging if you work with many manufacturers, so managing this process manually takes time and effort. 

If you're wondering how to start a customized uniform business, at LiveArt, we provide custom development services for print businesses. We can build robust and scalable solutions for your requirements, including custom eCommerce integrations. 

Share your requirements brief with us, and our expert team will get back to you to suggest the best fit for your particular case.

STEP 6: What's essential in your online custom uniform shop? 

Your website should be a place where your customers' needs will be fully met, especially if we are talking about the
launch of a printing business niche.

Your customers want to easily communicate their requirements: how the uniform should be colorized, what colors should be used, where the logo should be placed, which fonts should be used, and how the player roster list should look.

Plan your customer journey

The ideal customer profile you might have prepared earlier can give you a better understanding of what your customers expect from your online shop and how you can craft the ideal flow for them.

Start with the following questions:

  1. Will the customer use ready templates or design uniforms from scratch?
  2. Will you provide the ability to order solo or team orders? This can affect the purchase flow and your pricing model. 
  3. Which customizations can the customer do? For example, the most common scenario is colorizing uniform panels, adding one or more logos, adding a names and numbers list, choosing a font and its color, and selecting sizes.
  4. Can customers preview customization in a live mode or just choose options?
  5. Will you provide any limitations, such as minimum or maximum order quantity?
  6. Will the customers be able to order the uniform online, or should they contact you for the quote?

When creating an ideal flow, ensure it's user-friendly, intuitive, and responsive to mobiles. These points are crucial for customers and directly affect conversions and customer experience.

Enable personalization with jersey design software

Today customers want to be a part of the creative process when ordering custom products and expect brands to provide them with such an opportunity.  Moreover, they are willing to pay more for exclusive and unique products made especially per their needs.

To provide the best personalization experience, consider involving uniform design software, which can be your unique selling point. This web-to-print software with various features allows your customers to design uniforms online, see changes live, and order the design. 

By putting the personalization process in the hands of your customers, you can free yourself from permanent calls and back-and-forth emails. 

High-resolution output files you receive, after customers submit their designs, allow you to print the uniform according to customers' needs, saving your time and reducing print errors.

LiveArt jersey design software for eCommerce


With LiveArt jersey design software, you can provide such a level of personalization to your online shop.  The tool is simple to use while providing powerful features your customers can use to communicate their needs via the design process. 

The designer is responsive to all devices, allowing your customers to create designs on the go.  You can start with an out-of-the-box solution if it meets your needs or request a tailored web-to-print solution if you have specific requirements and want a unique customer journey.

Contact us for a personalized demo to check how our tool can fit your business.

STEP 7: Market your online uniform shop

Once you launch your store, it's time to tell your prospects about it and get the first leads. You can choose different
marketing for uniform companies, for example, organic search engines, social media, email marketing, paid marketing, and display advertising.

Start working on search engine optimization to rank higher on Google. However, consider that SEO takes about 6 to 12 months to provide results. It's a long but reliable process that can bring you consistent organic traffic for free.

There are three main directions you can start with: 

  1. Do keyword research to understand which keywords you should use for your titles,     description, and content to bring you traffic relevant to your business;
  2. Implement correct technical SEO - make sure your pages are indexable and crawlable by Google;
  3. Use internal linking to help crawlers understand your site structure and simplify navigation for your customers.

If you need immediate results, you can start with Google Ads or Facebook ads, which allow you to target your specific audience or join online communities to tell about your new business to potential customers.


Online shopping is growing fast, so now is the best time to start. 

Starting a printing business online can be profitable with a deep understanding of your target audience and the right tools to solve their pains and provide a great customer experience. 

Share your requirements with us if you want to explore how our jersey design software can streamline your uniform business and improve communication with your customers.

Author Info

Volodymyr Yatsevsky
As CEO of LiveArt, I am passionate about leading a software company and providing expert consultation on solution design. With 15+ years of C-level experience, I specialize in leading the development of web-to-print solutions. When I'm not navigating the software world, I enjoy making music!
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