How to Create a T-Shirt Brand Like Warby Parker and Tom’s Shoes – POD Weekly #46

POD Weekly #46

How to Create a T-Shirt Brand Like Warby Parker and Tom’s Shoes


When selling t-shirt online, it can be difficult to differentiate from competitors. In the past, we’ve written about choosing the right collection of designs can help set your business apart and connect with customers. Today, we’re taking a look at a print-on-demand shop that has found success by focusing on a bigger cause for their brand than selling merchandise, in a style similar to Warby Parker and Tom’s Shoes.

Alley & Rae Apparel sells a variety of printed merchandise, including tees, tanks, sweatshirts, mugs and more. With each sale, a portion of proceeds is donated to organizations working to help end hunger in the United States. So far, they’ve donated an impressive 19,110 meals and have a mission to grow that beyond six figures!

Alley & Rae Apparel Cause Marketing Bonobos Warby Parker

The number of meals is displayed prominently on the home page, as well as on each product page, in a large graphic, making it quite clear to customers. Of course, it’s more than a brag, it’s letting customers know their purchase helps contribute as well, giving them a reason to shop with Alley and Rae.

The shop, which runs on Shopify, works with Pledgeling to make donations. Through their Shopify app, Give & Grow, it’s easy for any shop to donate to any of over 150,000 non-profit organizations, or to contribute towards a fund of multiple like-minded organizations, as Alley & Rae has done.

Of course, their success can’t solely be attributed to their cause marketing. Like Warby-Parker and Tom’s, who make a donation with each purchase of a a pair of eyeglasses and shoes respectively, they also offer products their customers want. Featuring well designed tees with great lifestyle shots, their products have a strong-female ethos among a variety of easy-to-navigate collections.

Social proof is everywhere on the site, with plenty of product reviews, tons of Instagram shots, and a nice collection of media logos showing where they’ve been featured. Their social media accounts are impressive, and have likely been boosted by strategic influencer marketing campaigns.


If you’re struggling to come up with a story from your brand, try finding a non-profit cause that may fit well with your brand. Alley & Rae Apparel has used a Shopify app to donate nearly 20,000 meals, which in turn has helped them better connect with customers. It’s not the only key to success, but can go a long way towards setting a brand apart from competitors, similar to Warby-Parker and Tom’s Shoes. 



Each week, we share content from a variety of sources intended to help print-on-demand sellers. Get even more links by following us on Facebook or Twitter


Want to create a great #ecommerce shop? Check out this list of free @Shopify apps that includes the print-on-demand app @Printful

The 25 Best Free Shopify Apps for Small Business Owners
Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Small Business Trends

“Shopify is the place to be for small business owners and solo sellers looking to make sales online. With close to 400,000 active customer stores and $29 million generated during 2016 alone, the renowned e-commerce platform has only increased in popularity among small businesses and their customers.”1


People are increasingly shopping with #reusable tote bags. Tap into the trend by creating bags that tap into passions

Why you need to sell print-on-demand Tote Bags in your eCommerce store!
Jonno KITE

“How to sell tote bags
With governments, businesses and individuals all under pressure to cut their plastic use – and consumers more keen than ever for custom merchandise – the (already considerable) popularity of tote bags is likely to soar in the coming months and years.
This creates a huge business opportunity, and in the next part of this article, we’ll walk you through how you can take advantage by selling tote bags in your store.
Define your audience
We’ve touched on it above: what really inspires people to carry round a tote bag with a particular design on it is that it reflects their passion.
So, in order to successfully sell tote bags – with ‘successfully’ being the operative word! – you need to tap into a particular passion. It’s the same for any item of merchandise.
If you’re lucky enough to be an influencer – a musician, artist, photographer, YouTuber or content creator with an existing audience – this is easier. After all, your audience’s passion will be for you and your work. You already have the audience to tap into and market to. (And, in many cases, you’ll already have the artwork, logo or illustrations to apply to your products.)
Just head to the Kite Shopify Merch plugin and install it to your Shopify store. Fire it up, and upload your band logo, a slogan, strapline or artwork as a high quality PNG file. You can then drag, drop and tweak your way to a fantastic tote bag your followers are going to need to have.”2


Here’s 25 free fonts to download. (Hint: You can upload fonts #DesignJar, our design tool that lets anyone create great looking designs easily)

25 Fresh Free Fonts For Graphic Designers
Muhammad Faisal Graphic Design Junction

“In this free fonts you can find handmade brush fontsfree script fonts and best fonts some amazing Bold and Italic fonts for Headlines and Headings. These fonts are very useful for designers who are really know’s the important high quality typefaces and fonts. Take a look at beautiful commercial fonts for professional design, based upon suggestions from designers all over the world.”3


Need some t-shirt design ideas for some custom t-shirt designs for the holiday season? Get design inspiration from this @RedBubble collection

Trending Themes to Inspire Your Holiday Designs
Official news and updates Redbubble Blog

“The holidays are a busy, joyful time of year for most people and they are turning to you for help. If you’re wondering what these consumers have in mind for their naughty and nice lists this year, we can help you out a bit.”4



Order custom t-shirt designs with free revisions to take advantage of these opportunities. 

October – December  Holiday Shopping
Wed, October 31    Halloween
Sun, November 11    Veterans Day
Thu, November 22    Thanksgiving Day
Fri, November 23    Black Friday
Mon, November 26    Cyber Monday

Bold entries are new since last week




  5. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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