There are many t-shirt sites.
Do you submit to several different sites, or do you typically submit to one?
In my own personal experience, once you get a few prints under your belt with a site, it’s good to keep supplying them with designs, or at least give them first dibs on your best works.
It might even end up getting you a job!
Years ago when I first started, I submitted all my best designs to Designbyhumans.com.
Subsequently, I won over 10 prints there, and eventually hired as Art Director back in ancient history in 2009 for a short time before I moved onto something else.
I’ve seen this happen with a few other artists.
Travis Gentry used to win all the time at Shirt.woot, and is now employed by them as Associate Art Director.
Alex Solis was a multi-printed artist at Threadless.com. He now works at Threadless as a Full Time Break Dancing Designing Bad Ass.
Certainly, getting hired at a company might be reserved for top performers since there are only a few job opportunities, but don’t discount the fact that companies draw from their available internet talent pool, and that being loyal and building a symbiotic relationship with them will be your best bet in creating a long term income stream with them.
Take for example Drew Wise and Kari Fry at The Yetee.
Drew Wise and Kari Fry have been consistently supplying The Yetee with designs from the very beginning.
They may not work for The Yetee as employees, but they have a constant relationship with The Yetee, so much so they were the first to be given their own Artist Branded YeteeMart.
Another example. Valorandvellum has been printed 12 times at Threadless.
She doesn’t work for them, but in the past she’s helped to arrange Winebocon/Threadless meetups, and even offered up her couch and floor to fellow t-shirt designers to crash on. Last March, she was given the title of “Ambassador.”
On behalf of Threadless, she “will be hosting artist workshops at schools in California, with the goal of an expanded workshops program later on.”
If that doesn’t sound like the beginnings of a future longterm gig, I don’t know what is!
This article isn’t to convince you to stick with one site and one site only. An artist has to maximize their earning potential, but just know, keep good relations and build a strong foundation with a site and they’ll treat you right.
Thanks for Reading!
PS. It has come to my attention that my actions are not in line with this article since I have recently supplied designs to RIPT, Yetee, Shirtpunch, and a couple others. While working as art director the past few years, I amassed dozens of designs that I kept from being printed at competing sites. Now that I’m free, it’s a free for all. Working with all the sites is intentional. My longterm goal is to educate other artists on the opportunities that exist in this market. I will be sharing my experience. The shirt-a-day market is a voracious monster needing 100′s of designs every year, so I’m hoping the sites I’m currently alliancing with don’t mind me going into BEAST MODE and flooding the market with designs.