In less than 3 years, this woman made $1 million selling T-shirts while working 9 to 5 – here’s how

Abu Mubarik February 09, 2023
Ari Simpson (second from left) with her family wearing Tees of Life shirts. Photo: Ari Simpson

In 2020, entrepreneur Ari Simpson started Tees of Life, a T-shirt brand that features inspirational messages directed mainly at women.

Simpson started her T-shirt business as a side hustle while working full-time. In less than three years, she hit a million-dollar sale, after selling more than 50,000 T-shirts.

Before going into the printing of T-shirts, she made flyers and invitations for weddings, businesses, or events, which saw her make around $200 a year. She was inspired to start her T-shirt business following a pep talk with her husband.

She launched the business with a $45 heat press from Facebook Marketplace. Alongside the heat press, old shirts and other materials she got for free from Facebook Marketplace, she started pressing T-shirts. Simpson also took online courses on how to market her new business. She went on YouTube and watched a couple of videos on marketing and T-shirt business. She also built a website for her business.

“I made a Shopify website and mock-ups of the T-shirts using Canva. It took four weeks from start to finish to get the website built, and I did it from scratch without professional help,” she told Business Insider.

“My husband and I spent $55 to buy blank shirts wholesale from S&S Activewear. We made a batch of shirts for our closest family and friends, pressed with inspirational messages such as ‘Thou shall love thyself first,’ ‘It’s the peace of mind for me,’ ‘Heavy on the self-love,’ and ‘I said what I said.’

“I asked them to buy our shirts, which were $20, and then post pictures of themselves in the shirts on social media,” she noted.

Simpson officially launched her business in 2020 after registering as an LLC. Through various online media, she sold her T-shirt and made $88,586 in gross revenue in 2020.

“I paid $5,000 to join a mastermind group for T-shirt-business owners in 2021 that taught me how to run paid advertising on Facebook. We had weekly group calls and 50 videos that taught us how to increase sales by using ads,” she said. According to her, she spent $100 a month on Facebook ads and got five to seven times the return on spend.

In 2021, her revenue hit $608,000. And after paying for social-media ads, blank shirts, shipping, and other costs, her profit was around $100,000. Today, her business has hit the million-dollar mark.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 10, 2023


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