How much should you charge for your t-shirts? Learn pricing tips & strategies in this article.

One of the questions we get most often here at Real Thread is:How much should I charge for my t-shirts at retail? 

  1. It’s a tougher question than you might think, and there’s a ton of strategy that comes into play when considering what price point to sell your product at. So, we’ve collected some tricks of the trade to give you a launching point on how to price your custom t-shirts for retail.

Research the market

Taking a look at the current market is also an excellent way of determining what your retail cost should be. Taking a look at a competing t-shirt line to see how they price their shirts is a great jumping off point.

This isn’t to say you should just price your t-shirts at the same price, or just $1 less than your competitors, but it’s important to think about what other people are charging for their product when you’re trying to convey to your customers that they should choose you.

A t-shirt pricing calculator

Once you have your t-shirt cost down, you can use it to calculate a price determined by your desired percentage of profit. An article from Entrepreneur states that most retailers shoot for a profit margin of about 50%.

Using the 50% margin, all you would have to do is multiply your cost to produce by 2, and you’d have your retail price. But if aiming for any other profit margin percentage, you’ll use this formula:

Price Formula:
Retail Price = [(cost to produce) ÷ (100-profit %)] x 100

So let’s say you want to set your profit margin at 60%, and your shirt costs $10.00 to produce. In that example, your formula will look like this:


Retail Price = [(10.00) ÷ (100–60)] x 100
Retail Price = [10.00 ÷ 40] x 100
Retail Price = 0.25 x 100
Retail Price = $25

Simple enough, right? Now that we’ve got the mathematical part of pricing down, let’s get into some psychology.

Price for people, not for numbers

This next fact may be one of the most important and least considered factors when people are pricing their product. That fact is: People do not always act rationally.

If people acted rationally all of the time, pricing a product would be incredibly formulaic. You could plug your costs into an equation, get a price that most people would agree upon, and start selling. But people are emotional, and whether you think it or not, the price of your product is going to trigger an emotional response in your customers.

Great pricing will consist of considering human behavior and human emotion to find a sweet spot that will persuade people to choose your t-shirts. With that in mind, here are three quick pricing tactics that will help you optimize your price for emotion over logic:

  1. 1) End your price with a non-round number, rather than a zero or a five. Reason being: when humans are scanning information to make a decision, they get lazy. So, even though the difference between $30 and $29 is only $1, it feels like a lot more. And we’ll make decisions based on that feeling.

2) Bundle products together, and give a price break. Rather than stick to selling all of your products individually, think about creating a bundle package as well. Say you’re selling three different shirts for $20 each. Consider offering an option to buy the shirts together for $55 total. 

Ugmonk gives a great example of bundle pricing in the photo above. They sell a set of 4 t-shirts for $100 (or $25 each), as opposed to their normal pricing of $28 each. Centering the bundle around one theme or idea like they do gives this bundle some bonus points too!

Many words have been written on how product bundling increases revenue, so we’ll spare you the reading and give you the short version: when applied right, it works. You’ll sell more t-shirts with less effort, and your customers save money. Win, win. 

Key to bundling though: make sure you offer an option to buy each product individually as well. Some customers may just want the one item, and that’s fine. Plus, offering individually lets the customer see the deal they get by buying a bundled package.

3) Use Anchor Pricing. This means displaying the original price, then showing what you’re actually charging for it. One brand that does a great job of this Huckberry, an online menswear marketplace. Through partnerships with brands, they’re able to offer exclusive offers for their customers.

In the image below, you can see that traditional retail for the S/S Breton Shirt is $55.00. However, at Huckberry, you can get it for $44.98. This lets you know that you’re getting a deal that you won’t get elsewhere. (Notice that their price is also a non-round number!)


Happy selling!

Will Harris

Will is a word-obsessed marketer and Real Thread alum. He loves to write about creativity, great design, and of course, soft t-shirts. Outside of work, you can find him being too particular about coffee and hanging out with his