Starting a Rhinestone T-Shirt Business

Starting a Rhinestone T-Shirt Business

The Equipment, Supplies, Software You Will Need to Start Your Rhinestone Business

Look in almost any cabinet, and you will find a staple of every wardrobe—the t-shirt. With a limitless number of colors and designs, t-shirt style has developed into one of the most popular segments of the fashion industry.

Fresh, new ideas create a steady stream of design elements, all with the purpose of elevating an ordinary t-shirt to new and exciting heights. With a touch of style, basic shirts are transformed into something more than a simple item of clothing; they become passionate statements of the wearer’s personality. There is a long list of creative ideas to make clothing unique. At the top are rhinestones.

Bella Girls Shirt Rhinestone T-Shirt Rhinestones take an average t-shirt and equip them with the elegance of precious stones. They not only make clothes look spectacular, but can increase the value of the item tremendously. It is no wonder why the rhinestone business has skyrocketed. With an eye for style and a desire to make the world a more colorful place, you made the decision to start your own rhinestone apparel business.

You see the potential for your creative expression to be heard by the world, in addition to an opportunity to make a good income. Two of the best things about becoming a rhinestone entrepreneur:

  • There are no specific skills required to start.
  • You can begin immediately, with only a small investment.

The basics of starting your own rhinestone business:


The foundation of any successful rhinestone business is in the equipment. Quality t-shirts come from quality products, but that doesn’t suggest you need a large initial investment. Colman and Company products make getting your custom rhinestone business off the ground both easy and affordable.

If the reason for starting your business is unlocking your inner creativity, consider purchasing a rhinestone transfer system. This way, you can quickly create high-quality T-shirts designs on a larger scale through your own custom templates. Systems range in price, and most of them cover everything you need to get started—from rhinestone design software and template material to vinyl cutters and a heat press.

George Knight Heat Press Top rhinestone system manufacturers also provide training classes for beginners, to help them become familiar with the equipment, as well as identifying ways to make the current, best-selling t-shirt designs. Colman and Company deliver a fast and innovative approach to start your rhinestone business; it is with the process called Brush-N-Bake. This advanced, yet affordable system uses a stencil template, which the user can then brush loose rhinestones on a transfer to create a pattern. The transfer can then be heat set permanently onto a t-shirt or other items.


The key to a fabulous rhinestone product—and the reason you probably started your business in the first place—is in distinctive designs.  With a virtually unlimited variety of styles, patterns and colors, choosing the right rhinestone transfer is an exciting challenge. HotFix Era Rhinestone Software To help make your creations leap from the imagination to the front of a t-shirt, many rhinestone transfer system manufacturers provide software that aids in planning and design. This allows you to visualize the pattern before you print template material, perfecting your ideas before cutting the form with the vinyl cutter. Hotfix Era, a simple, powerful software tool that will also work with Embroidery equipment, is a great example.


For the beginner, the most common form of rhinestone setting is the Hotfix applicator. Hotfix rhinestones are crystals that are applied with heat setting tools, either an iron or heat press. Some pre-made designs are already laid out on transfer paper, with directions on the package for application.

Hot Fix Rhinestones from Colman and Company The most creative rhinestone designers use loose crystals, called Hotfix rhinestones in the business, placing them on the fabric where they want them, adhesive side down. They then apply a heat set device until they are set.

This is a time-consuming process, and difficult for the large quantities required for a commercial business. Rhinestone crystals—which come in a range in sizes and colors—will have a extremely heavy-duty layer of heat-activated glue on the back.

Rhinestones are placed on the fabric glue side down, with the glue melting when the surface of the crystal is heated. Once both the rhinestone and glue cool, the glue holds the crystal permanently to the fabric.

Heat Press

The next critical piece of equipment for a rhinestone business is the heat press. Every rhinestone needs to be attached securely and permanently. You also need constant and even heat distribution to deliver the results that your customers want to own. This can best be accomplished with a heat press.

If you are serious about selling high-quality rhinestone clothing, then you must consider a quality heat press. It will not only increase the number of units you sell, but it will make your job easier. A few hours of trying to stick rhinestones with a flat iron and you will see the value of investing in the proper equipment.

Among several leading heat press manufacturers is Geo Knight, offering a full line of presses for every budget and occasion, from home-based beginner to expert production shops.

Sales and Marketing

There are as many ways to market your finished product as there are designs. You can start your own e-commerce site for your T-shirt business, uploading pictures of your product. To extend your reach to as many customers as possible, always offer a variety of colors and sizes for each design and clearly identify your price points. Don’t forget to mention that custom designs are your specialty!

Rhinestone Shopping Cart Sample If you are hesitant to create a personal website, eBay and other e-commerce websites can help you sell your product. Etsy is another valid online storefront which specializes in custom and handcrafted products. Many t-shirt designers get their start through a network of craft shows, concerts and outdoor markets.

Rhinestone Tank Top

Of course, the best place to start marketing your product is with a personal touch; talk with everyone you meet and offer to show samples of your work. Word-of-mouth can be the best advertising. The best thing about designing with rhinestones is that the trend is not going away soon; they are appearing on more than just clothing—everything from car decals to cell phone covers.

This is an excellent time to start a rhinestone fashion business since you don’t know where the little gems will show up next!