A T-shirt business may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about doing a home business.
But, this can work. You just have to be different from everyone else. Create your own little niche. One way to do this, is to create "one of a kind" t-shirts. If you paint, this is a great canvas to work on.
I paint, and found this to work quite well. I would purchase plain white t-shirts, and then use acrylic paints. You can use fabric paints, but I have found that by adding a "fabric additive" to your acrylic paints, you can use them. Why buy a second set of paints! You can find this additive at any art supply store, it does not alter the color or anything.
Take your white t-shirt, and place heavy cardboard between the front and back, then pin it, so as not to move. Create something unique. One painting idea, that sells for me, is painting dolphins. You never know what scenes will sell, but I found if they were simple, without too much background color going on, that they did well. I painted a few simple paintings of dolphins jumping, and I painted them on pale blue t-shirts.
I usually use white t-shirts, but when I ordered the last batch of t-shirts, I ended up with some pale blue ones, and thought "why not?". I found the acrylic paints worked well on the t-shirts, and after it was dry. I heat set it with the iron. This makes it so that the t-shirts are completely washable. I recommend you tell your customers to stay away from the dryer if they can, or if they must, then to turn the t-shirt inside out and use a low setting on the dryer.
I stay away from any signs or logos and things like that, as you can get those with any other t-shirt business. I create one of a kind sceneries. Each on is an original. Now, you don't want to make these to detailed, as this can be hard painting on fabric to go that detailed, and you don't want to be charging an arm and a leg for your original artwork t-shirt. Something simple, yet unique. Then sign your name with a permanent black ink fine marker.
I call this wearable art. You can do the same on tote bags, and any other fabric, but there is something about having a home, unique art, t-shirt business. You can use other mediums, like sewing, quilting, or embroidery, you don't have to stick with paint, but personally I have found paint to be the quickest and very effective way to show off your original artwork and sell them.
For a home t-shirt business, to work, you need to offer something different from the iron on logos. If you prefer not to paint directly on the t-shirt, you can do some of your own photography or artwork on the computer, and print onto "printable fabric" that can be then ironed on or sewn to the t-shirt. (I found this printable fabric at the office supply store)
There are many different ideas, for creating your own t-shirt business. Try and think outside the box. I actually found doing this type of artwork fun. I started it just for fun, and although I paint other things, I still do some t-shirts for gifts.
A t-shirt, also makes a great gift, especially if you have embellished it with your own artwork, or photographs.
Try painting a t-shirt. Or if you find that too detailed, and don't wish to have unique t-shirts, you can also come up with your own design, and have t-shirts printed professionally with your own design. There are many companies online that will do this for you too, just upload your artwork or pictures to them.
T-shirts are very versatile, they make great gifts, and can also make great works of art. People like to show their individuality with what they wear, and a T-shirt can definitely make a statement. Try a t-shirt business, and find your niche.