How to Use Amazon Merch to Sell Your T-shirt

Suppose you’ve thought of the greatest idea for a custom T-shirt. It makes you laugh, it makes you think. You tell your friends and it makes them laugh, it makes them think.

What do you do now?

Well, you could look to start up your own T-shirt business. However, in a saturated market selling a T-shirt online can be tricky. If you’re a bit of a T-shirt designer and looking for an easy, cost-effective way to make and sell T-shirts and reach more customers, Amazon Merch is the perfect platform.

On Merch by Amazon, you create and list designs right on Amazon, receive great customer service, and—here’s the great part—there are no upfront costs. No more ordering printed shirts in bulk and waiting for customers to start getting interested, figuring out how many printed shirts you need to sell to cover costs and start turning a profit.

With Amazon Merch, you pay a fee to Amazon and make a profit on any shirt you sell—without having to do lots of T-shirt printing first. How much of a fee you’ll pay will depends on the price you set for your shirt?

Sounds easy, right?

Well, it is, but there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s easy to design a custom T-shirt and hope people buy it. It’s a little more difficult to make a T-shirt that people will buy. Plus, you need to make sure they can find it among the hundreds of thousands of T-shirts listings in the Amazon marketplace.

Invitation Only

Currently, Amazon Merch is by invitation only. It was so popular when it launched that they needed a way to keep it growing at a steady pace instead of with an explosion.

If you visit the Amazon Merch website, you can request an invitation. We can’t give you an estimate of how long it will take to get an invite because it depends on how many other people are waiting. It could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

In the meantime, though, it’s time to start planning.

Designing the Right Shirt

A great thing to do while you’re waiting for your invitation is to spend the time doing some research. When it comes to figuring out what shirt design will sell, think about the following things:


      Who are you trying to sell to?

      What tools will you use to design your shirt?

      What’s big in pop culture right now?

      Is there anything you have a unique interest in?

      Are you going to use words, images, or a combination of both?

      If you’re trying to sell a specific brand, band, or business, how can you incorporate existing logos, slogans, etc. in a design that people will want to buy?


How many designs you can sell is determined by a tiered system. Initially, you get 25 designs. Once you sell 25 shirts, you’ll be upgraded to the next tier where you have 100 designs. There are seven tiers in total that take you all the way up to 4000 designs. After the seventh tier, you’re eligible for an invitation to the pro level.

Focus on starting small. Don’t just put up 25 designs just to have 25 different shirts out there. Make 25 shirts and create a T-shirt that you think have a great chance of selling.


To try to figure out what’s selling, you need to do some additional research. Unfortunately, there’s no straightforward way to find Merch shirts on Amazon. One way to do it is to look for best selling T-shirts and figure out if they’re made through Merch.

When you look at a T-shirt listing on Amazon, there are two things that give it away as a Merch listing. First, in the photos of the item, you’ll find a photo of the shirt and a sizing chart with women’s, men’s, and children’s sizes. That’s it, just the two photos.

Another thing to look for is in the photo of the shirt. You’ll see that the tag is a long, narrow white rectangle. This is a characteristic of a Merch shirt. Once you identify one, it will become easier and easier to find them.

You can also look under the novelty category and narrow that down to T-shirts to find a lot of Merch designs.

From there, you can see how popular a shirt is by checking out its rank in the best sellers. It’s important to point out here that you shouldn’t be looking for designs to copy. You should never steal someone else’s design.

But if you see that, say, shirts about baseball or feminism are selling well and you don’t have a design for those things, maybe you should come up with one. Whatever you come up with should be unique and stand out from the others.

You also want to find something that doesn’t have a lot of competition. If there are 300 stores selling shirts with the same theme, no matter how unique yours is, it’s still going to face a lot of competition.

The idea is to find an idea that’s popular and approach it in a unique way.

Designing Your First Shirt

You’ll need a way to make your T-shirt designs come to life and there’s no reason you can’t get started working on it while you’re waiting for your invitation to Amazon Merch to arrive. Brainstorm. Look at some of your favorite novelty tees for inspiration. Get to work. 

Design Candyis the perfect place to get started. You’ll pay a low membership fee and we provide "agency quality" designs for only $10.

The best part is that once you buy the designs, you own the rights and can do whatever you want with it. No worrying about copyright infringement. A Design Candy membership lets you have access to talented designers and gives your designs a bit of an edge over your competition.

Don’t just list a lot of subpar T-shirt designs and hope they’re going to sell. Sure, if you make thousands of options, chances are a handful of them might be popular. But by putting in just a little more effort and spending some time figuring out what’s working and what isn’t, you’ll fare far better in the end.

You can be more successful with 25 tees than 4000… if you have the right designs! Sign up for a Design Candy membership and let us help you make a better impression.