Nobody can argue that one of the best feelings, to being a performer, is seeing someone rock a bit of your merchandise in public. It gives you that little bit of satisfaction that you’ve ‘made it’ and can make you appreciate your fan base even more. Merchandise can be difficult to create and sell however, just printing your logo onto a t-shirt does not necessarily mean it will be popular with the public. That’s why we’re here to offer you a few tips on manufacturing your merch and generating sales.
Reach Out To Your Fans
Like I said, you can’t just whack a band logo on a piece of clothing and expect it to fly off the shelves, you need a general idea of what your fans are most likely to buy. For this, we suggest a poll or survey is sent out on social media, just to gauge what your following favour. Not everybody will respond to the survey, but at least this gives you a generalised idea of what the majority want.
Choosing the right merchandise- distribution
Once you’ve grasped what your fans would happily buy, it’s key to understand what you can sell easily and even ship internationally. T-shirts, hats, hoodies etc are all ideal for shipping as the postage costs are very minimal- even shipping abroad is fairly simple. Smaller items such as phone cases, water bottles and mugs carry cheaper costs for you and your fan base. Not everything is about cutting costs however, but if you’re going to be distributing plenty of merchandise across the world, you want to maximise profit and not face those extra postage/tariff costs.
Choosing the right merchandise- brand visibility
Seeing fans wearing your designed merch is great enough on its own, but these fans are also increasing your awareness as a performer to the general public. Now, your fan base is much more than just part of your marketing scheme, but having them show off your logo/designs to the public can really increase popularity and awareness of your band/brand. Hoodies, hats and phone cases are ideal for your brand being shown out and about all over the world- you just need a distinctive design to go with it.
Creating the right design
Unless you’re AC/DC, The Stone Roses or The Who, you can’t just whack a band name on a shirt and expect it to sell. Fans are often after more detailed and aesthetically pleasing merchandise. You don’t have to have extensive detail and writing everywhere, but the right logo and colour design can make your merchandise stand out from the millions. A good example of merchandise that is simple yet eye catching is rapper Zuby’s clothing line*. The independent artist has the perfect mix of colour, differing designs and logos. He does not have one type of clothing range, but a mixture to fit the needs of all his fans. As you can see below, the striking colours make his designs stand out and you can tell what the brand is straight away- there’s no deciphering needed. *This article is not sponsored by Zuby, we’re just great fans of his designs!
For him or for her?
Men and women often wear different clothes, for obvious reasons. But creating unisex merchandise designs can help you market to a bigger audience. I’m sure we’ve all seen certain clothes, shoes and accessories for the opposite sex that we can’t purchase because they wouldn’t fit us very well. This works the same for clothes designs. By having one design for guys and one design for ladies, you can ostracise a key target market- creating similar/universal clothing eliminates this threat to your brand.
Making your merchandise
Once you have all of your ideas and designs in place, it’s onto the next step- choosing which company will have the honour of printing your goods. There are many different websites across the world wide web that can be used, but you’ll need to focus on two things; the quality of the merchandise and the price of printing. This one is all down to you guys, but here are a few websites which may be useful to you:
Sticker mule (speaks for itself) is great for stickers, magnets, custom packaging etc.
4imprint UK gives you all the merchandise options you desire- from water bottles to golf umbrellas.
CompleteMerchandise is another handy site for all of your merchandising needs.
Clothes2Order will sort you out with clothing and accessories.
All of these merchandising websites are great, but it’s down to you to pick the right one for your budget and your brand.
Selling your merchandise- online
If you’re at the point where you’re about to sell your merchandise, you should already have a website for your band/yourself. Creating a new page on your site (which is easily accessible to the public) is ideal for advertising your merchandise range. Once you have this, you can go about advertising your range and linking back to where it can be found. The best way (in our opinion) to market your merch is through social media. Let your fans be the first to know of your new products and put a bit of budget behind an advertised Facebook/Twitter post to engage more people with your brand. Sales may be slow at first, but they’ll eventually pick up with an increase of popularity to your music/band/yourself.
Selling your merchandise- face to face
The most popular route to selling merchandise is at gigs and events. It costs next to nothing to set up a small stall at an event you’re performing at and lay out all the variations of your merchandise. You’ll immediately make sales through your loyal fans at the events- and this is your opportunity to offer discounted or signed memorabilia to show your fan base your appreciation. Something as little as a signature on a hoodie is very meaningful to fans that care about you and your music.