PK 070: Derek Rodenbeck on How to Start a T-shirt Business

PK 070: Derek Rodenbeck on How to Start a T-shirt Business 2 070 PENCIL KINGS PODCAST 070 v1

Subscribe to the Pencil Kings Podcast: | iTunes | Stitcher
Derek Rodenbeck has finally begun to find success with his T-shirt business

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to seek out people who are on the same journey as you”

~ Derek Rodenbeck

Ever wanted to know how to start a T-shirt business? In this podcast, we catch up with Derek Rodenbeck – an artist who has struggled to make sales in the past, but who recently sold out of all his T-shirt designs at a show.

So what did he do to turn things around for his creative business? Turns out the answer was much simpler than you might think…

Derek Rodenbeck: His Journey as an Artist so Far

Derek Rodenbeck’s creative journey is one many artists will be able to relate to. Although he’s always worked hard to get his creative business off the ground, things haven’t exactly been easy.

In fact, at one point, he was wondering just what he had to do to get people to buy his T-shirts. Because, although people would come up to him in the street and tell him how much they liked his designs, Derek always struggled to convert this appreciation of his work into those all-important sales.

However, that all changed recently, when a chance decision to sell his T-shirts at an event in Tampa, Florida saw Derek selling out of all his designs.

So what changed? For Derek, it was a case of what he calls “Market Validation” – in other words, he’d finally found the right audience for his T-shirts.

But it’s also about potential customers making the all-important connection between Derek and his product. It’s about him meeting his customers face-to-face and not just being an anonymous artist with a website.

He says: “I’ve found that you can’t just post stuff online – you also have to go somewhere and make it be known that this is available. And, if people like it, they’ll buy it.”

How to Start a T-shirt Business – Meet Your Customers

Derek Rodenbeck says he’s learned a lot from the recent turnaround in his fortunes. He’s learned just how important it is to meet your customers face-to-face, and how doing this can actually help you make even more connections.

He says: “People aren’t just buying your T-shirt – they’re buying you as a person and what you represent. Of course, there’s always the aspect of them liking the T-shirt and wanting to buy it, but if you get to speak to someone and connect with them, it really helps.”

Derek Rodenbeck on Developing as an Artist

Derek has learned a lot about how to start a T-shirt business over the past few months, but he’s also learned an even more valuable lesson – he’s learned how he needs to progress and develop as an artist.

He says: “The smart thing to do is to go where the people are who are interested in what I’m doing. I’m just trying to keep things as simple as possible.”


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why trying to sell your work online isn’t always enough
  • Why getting to know your customers is so important
  • How to make connections to the people who can help you succeed

People on this Episode:

Links From This Episode:

Listening options:

Subscribe via iTunes.
Listen on Stitcher Radio.
Android users can grab our RSS feed here.
Right-click and “save file as” for direct download.

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Wednesday morning 8AM EST.



PS, there is also Pencil Kings content on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Support Pencil Kings Podcasts on Patreon


If you love our podcasts, why not support us on Patreon?

Love our Podcasts? Then why not show your support for Pencil Kings on Patreon?
Each week, we speak to artists from all over the world for our podcast interviews, and we truly hope you find them as inspiring to listen to as we do.
So, if our podcasts have helped you take the first steps in your creative career, why not show your support for us on Patreon?
Just $1 or more every 2 weeks will help us bring you even more original content. Plus, you’ll get to see which podcasts are coming up next, and have your say on any topics you’d like us to cover.
Thanks in advance 🙂

1 thought on “PK 070: Derek Rodenbeck on How to Start a T-shirt Business”

  1. Pingback: Social Media for Artists: How to Gain New Followers & Clients

Comments are closed.