Merchandise: What You Need To Know About Creating And Selling Your Merch
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In today’s music industry it is really hard to make any meaningful profit just by playing gigs and selling your album(s) (if you have any, that is). Especially if you’re a beginner, you can already relate to how hard it is when you invest all you have, and yet your returns grow slowly and painfully. Things don’t happen overnight, but there is always something you can do to help yourself. If you have built a fan base that is willing to support you and your work, and appreciates your effort in what you do, you should start thinking about investing in merchandise.
Benefits of selling merchandise
Merch is a great way to connect with your audience and your fans. Not only that it helps you promote your work, but it also allows those who appreciate your work to support you by buying it. Merchandise is a great way to expand your artistic expression.
What are the things that you can sell as merch?
The possibilities are endless. Really. As you may assume, the first thing we associate with merch in music is T-shirts. But, you can always get more creative than that.
Especially nowadays. Buttons, magnets, stickers, key chains, bracelets, posters, mugs, hats.. you name it. For example, my friend did this thing where he put his music on one of those USB business cards, and designed them with adding his logo at the front, and contact information at the back of the card. They’re small, practical and very unique.
Your merchandise and your audience
Your audience and your fans are very, very important. Their feedback is of extreme meaning. Merch is a great way for you too, to show them how much you appreciate them. Not just the other way around. Everyone likes a T-shirt, but it would be really cool if you could add other things in the merchandise you offer.
Get creative, but also follow the style and the taste of your audience. I like to think every musician out there has something specific that connects them to their fans, and brings their fans together. Whatever you’re about as a musician, it has something specific. Use this to give your fans not just merchandise, but also a cool item that goes into their collection and fits their image.
The cost of merchandise
Okay, so whether it is T-shirts, bracelets, posters, whatever, you need to invest in ordering them and buying them, so then you can have product to sell to your fans. There are tons of companies you can find online, that will print your logo on whatever you want. But of course, you need money for this.
If you’re not able to afford this option, a cheaper (but a more time consuming) one, is to order a blank product to print on, and do the printing yourself. There are also websites on which you can simply upload your design and then whoever likes it, can order a piece of product with your design on it.
You can save money by having less colors used while printing, using a certain material etc. So, look into these things, and create a design that can be more affordable when you look at these technical stuff. And something that can look good when you apply it on the product.
There’s another cost here as well. The cost of merchandise from your audience’s perspective. Don’t go all crazy on making something too expensive for people to buy. Yes, merch should get you income (and trust me all your fans understand this, and they are willing to support you), but at the same time, merchandise is something symbolic. Take your time and effort to find the balance between these two factors. This way both sides are happy.
The importance of good design
Good design is appealing to the eye. You don’t have to overdo anything. You just have to master the beauty of simplicity. If you, yourself can’t take care of this, I do recommend contacting a designer. Either that, or take your time to learn how to do it.
Here’s the thing. For me personally, good design isn’t just something appealing to the eye. I think, there’s a bit of a fine strategy in this one. For example, if your design and the product you print on is unisex, this way you will have cool print and save some money.
So, take your time to pay attention to fine design. There’s great benefits in it.
Selling your merch
You can deliver some of your merchandise to local music shops. You can put a merchandise stand during your live shows. But, today, most of your customers will be online.
Consider opening your online merchandise store with all the items and their price presented. Spread the word about it through social media. If you’re not able to do this, create a little catalogue and post it. Put an e-mail where fans can reach out to buy a piece of your merch.
When it comes to having a merchandise stand on your gigs, you can consider making good deals here. For example, if one buys two shirts, they get a poster for free.
If you can invest money in merchandise, I recommend you to do so. Remember: fine design, affordable price, and above all, something that your fans will find meaningful.
Off you go!