216: Merch by Amazon: $53k in T-Shirt Profits in 10 Hours a Week

Elaine Heney 300Note: Click here to download Elaine’s tips and strategies for running a successful merch business.

I’m excited to introduce you to a new Buy Buttons opportunity under the Amazon ecommerce umbrella called Merch by Amazon: it’s a print-on-demand service for t-shirts now (and perhaps other merchandise in the future).

My wife and I have already made our first sales on this platform and it’s become our latest side hustle obsession.

To help me explore this business model, I invited Elaine Heney on the program. She’s an app entrepreneur, a former Amazon FBA seller (a biz she actually sold), and last year she sold over $128,000 worth of t-shirts through Merch by Amazon program, of which $53k was profit. You can follow along with Elaine’s Merch adventures at MerchEntrepreneur.com.

The advantage Amazon has over other print-on-demand sites is their massive daily organic traffic. Elaine doesn’t even need to do any marketing to promote her shirts, and using their interface is as easy as uploading a design, choosing colors, and clicking a button to list your shirts.

There are no monthly fees, and no inventory risk.

In this episode, Elaine takes you through the steps you need to take to start an account on the Merch by Amazon program. She shares how she finds graphic designers to help with her t-shirt designs, how to use the Merch by Amazon platform, and some of her best tips for creating designs that will sell well.

Download the Free PDF Highlight Reel:

Click here to download Elaine’s tips and strategies for running a successful merch business.

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  • Business Law Advocates – Mention The Side Hustle Show for $30 off your first month of on-demand legal support.


  • The processes Elaine used to upload more than 6000 t-shirt designs in one-year while working just 10 hours a week.
  • How Elaine turned over more than $128k in merch sales in 2016.
  • How to get started with Merch by Amazon.
  • How Elaine comes up with new ideas and designs for her t-shirts.
  • How to use the Merch by Amazon platform in a few easy steps.
  • Why you don’t need to have any graphic design skills to run a successful merch business.
  • How to deal with copycats stealing your designs.
  • Which other t-shirt selling platforms are also good for a side hustle income.
  • Elaine’s #1 tip for Side Hustle Nation.


Download the Free PDF Highlight Reel:

Click here to download Elaine’s tips and strategies for running a successful merch business.

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14 thoughts on “216: Merch by Amazon: $53k in T-Shirt Profits in 10 Hours a Week

  1. Thank you so much for this episode! I haven’t listened to SideHustleNation much, but I definitely be listening more now if you provide this mush AMAZING information in one episode! I have been researching different ways to make some passive income without a lot of upfront costs and this hit the nail on the head! I didn’t even know this existed until today, I already applied and can’t wait to start designing shirts! Thank you Nick and Elaine so much for your insights!

  2. One of the most frustrating ventures I’ve tested out… granted, I was not using Amazon for the t-shirts, I was using Teespring and Teechip. I had marginal success on a few campaigns, but could never really hit a stride.

    It can take dozens and dozens of tries to get a single sale on a campaign, if not more, and it’s difficult watching the marketing dollars disappear when the campaigns don’t work. Everyone seems to be vying for the same niches, using similar designs. And when you try and learn how to improve what you’re doing, very few who are actually having success will help because they don’t want to negatively impact their sales. So you get a bunch of people who are having marginal success offering guesses when you ask questions. And you also have to be careful when asking questions about designs because of the copy cats.

    Then there’s the copyright infringement side of it, which makes it difficult to capitalize on a lot of current pop culture trends. Even when you try and avoid trademarks and blatant infringement, you can have a design that is getting sales and then it gets shut down by Teespring, and you lose all the marketing dollars you put into it.

    It’s probably still working for some people, but like with a lot of marketing out there, it sure seems like it’s only working for a small group of people. And it certainly seems like a tough market to get into and have success in these days. Maybe I’m wrong, which is probably often the case :)

    Glad to see Elaine having success. And hats off to the others who are making a living doing it.

  3. Really nice episode Nick and Elaine.
    Just wondering though where did the 67,000$ go (120,000 revenue – 53,000 profit? Was that to pay for designs or advertising or…?

  4. Thanks so much for this extremely informative episode, Nick and Elaine! It really resonated with me because it is exactly the type of opportunity that I dreamed about. But I had no idea that Merch by Amazon existed, or even that print-on-demand existed. I’ve applied for my invite from Amazon and I’m now hard at work designing T-Shirts (learning about GIMP as I go) and also learning as much as I can about Merch By Amazon and other POD sites. I’m a visual artist and can’t wait to transfer my skills to this! Thanks again!!

  5. Great episode and nice work Elaine but I would really like to see the products from all the people making so much money on Selling T-shirts. I always see “make all this money”, “this is how”, “buy my book” or whatever but never see their stores or products.

  6. This was a great episode. This is something I’m able to do for free, and with only a little time here and there. I haven’t been approved for merch yet, but I’ve already gotten a sale on red bubble. Just wanted to say thanks for the show

  7. Does anyone happen to know what shirts Amazon Merch offers? Brand? Model#? Colors?

    I’ve looked for more information and can’t seem to find anything.

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