Evil Penguin started when my 17 year old son decided he was too cool to wear dark, gothic art. He wanted something unique, interesting and fun.
First thing to do is search what is popular and what market you are catering too. Create designs you like and think are going to sell. There are a ton of companies out there that will help with that.
I wanted to grab the teen/high school/college markets so I created a character that was cute, but also sarcastic and insulting.
I found sites that allow me to market my art and easily create t-shirts with no up front cost to me. I like zazzle.com because they also have a referral bonus and you can make more money. When you use the "zazzle star" program you can even make money back on your own items you buy personally. It's like an extra discount. :)
Once you have your store set up it's marketing time!
Zazzle has marketing tools to help you, hot links and even a scrolling view of all our products. Set up a blog, MySpace, Facebook and any other community pages you find. Copy the code from the Promotion site on Zazzle and paste into your sites. Wala - you have a direct link to your store. The more direct links you have the higher you are on search engines like google, yahoo and all the rest.
Then do some link exchanges. Go to your favorite search engine and put in Free links. You will get a bunch of sites to link share with. I set up my blog with a link share site so there are all on there. My blog also has the scrolling zazzle page right at the top.
Research keywords and tags. Make sure you have popular tags on your Zazzle homepage or they just wont generate the kind of traffic your looking for.
Top 100 sites have driven tons more traffic to my store! I went from a lousy 5 views a day to over 80 in just a day after signing up with http://funtshirts.top-site-list.com. Get your friends and family to vote for your sites too. It's easy and really helps! They reset the first of every month so everyone has a chance at the top spots! It's fair and a great way to get your name out there!
Make some eye catching banners showing discounts and specials. Post them on the Top 100 sites. Change them often so people will have new incentives to go back to your store to see new products and keep shopping!
Sure it takes a bit of time, but honestly in the month that I have been on Zazzle I have made over $50. That doesn't sound like a lot until you realize the average Zazzle user makes less then a dollar the first month!
Try these tips out and see if it doesn't help your sales increase!