If you are a successful youtuber, musician, influencer or simply a somewhat popular person, it might be worth considering creating and selling your own merchandise in order to make some buck. In this article we will mention all the benefits of creating your own merch, where and how to start, as well as an example story of Robert’s eccentric music band that started out as a way to fool around, but now has taken a step towards recognition and fame.
What is merch anyway?
Merch is shortened from merchandise, and in a few words, it refers to branded products that can be bought. These products can be anything, but some common examples include apparel (such as t-shirts and hoodies), posters, stickers, bags, and many other things that have something printed on them. You have probably stumbled upon some merch stuff yourself - while looking for your favorite musician's T-shirt, or looking for some phone cases with the main character of your beloved TV-show. All of that stuff is merch.
Anyone can make merch, but the question is - will someone buy it? If you already have a fanbase, then this question does not apply to you, of course. Are you a youtuber and want to give the chance to your subscribers to buy some posters with your famous catchphrase on them? Are you a local musician and your loyal circle of supporters demand some T-shirts with your deep lyrics on them? Be one step ahead, create your own merch and give them the opportunity to buy it!
From “funsies” to the real deal
Robert started a music band with his two old friends from highschool to stay in touch, spend some quality time together - have some laughs, share some crazy life stories, have a few drinks and amidst all that, create some music too, of course.
After providing a little sneak peak via Youtube into the music they create during their small meetings, as well as spreading word-of-mouth around relatives and friends, people fell in love with their authenticity and the playful vibe, asking for more. Soon they had quite a number of fans who wanted to see them perform live, and not just locally. Unfortunately, Robert’s band was not supported by any music manager or label, so the live music expenses were unsustainable. After weighing their options, including quitting, they settled on the idea to make merch, and after half a year, they announced their first tour.
How did that work? By creating their own merch, selling it on a digital marketplace and offering it as a reward for donations on crowdfunding sites, they were able to cover some of the costs of gas, renting the necessary equipment, and posting some sponsored ads about their tour on Instagram. Moreover, the launch of merch brought in even more fans, because the designs themselves were cool. And thanks to the print on demand service, they don't need loads of money or effort to create their merch (more on that below).
The apparel designs they created were quite eye-catching, and soon people bought them even without knowing the band. The merch served as an advertisement, and they had also created a “clothing brand” with printed designs, which was especially popular among teens. With all the money they earned from their merch, they were able to take a step further into the world of music and turn the “Saturday leisure band” into their main job. It was just like Spotify said: fans love your creativity, and that doesn't stop at music.
How to create your own merch
So, Rob and his band made it, but how can you do it? Where should you begin? Let’s get started!
- Create designs that sell
Whether you want to sell mugs, socks, or rugs, you will need to create designs to print on these products. You can use existing designs, if you have them, for example, your logo. If you don’t have any, you can create some yourself, if you feel up for the challenge. The designs don’t necessarily have to be complicated. Even your name, written with a cool font, can do the trick, or that catchphrase of yours, basically anything that relates to you or the content you make. If you want something more elaborate, but don't have the skills, you can always hire a designer or ask your artistic friend for a favor.
- Get an online place where to sell your merch
Once the product ideas and designs are ready, you need to create an e-commerce shop to sell them on. For this step, Shopify can come in handy. This platform offers you to create an online shop with a few simple steps, but, of course, you can choose a different path of setting up your store (such as the online marketplace Etsy). Perhaps you might need a consultation from a professional to do so, but once everything is ready, the products are listed, you have to move to the next step – finding the right supplier for your particular products.
- Find a print on demand supplier
In your case, where you need to create customised products in good quality and ship them to your customers, you would probably think that it's too much work. Well it might be, if you’re not aware of all the options, specifically, print on demand (POD) dropshipping. Partnering up with a POD supplier grants you the blessing of not having to worry about product shipping and production. The company produces your products itself and then ships them to your customers. All that is left for you to do is to just inform your fans about your grand merch ideas, drop them the link to your awesome products and shake some hands with your supplier.
Your own merch - one click away!
If your merch ideas look like something among the lines of apparel, posters, canvas and tote bags (and more), you don’t have to look too far for your supplier - Printseekers is ready to print your designs on these products any time. You can easily become the new, article-worthy Robert, it's not complicated at all. See for yourself by contacting your own Printseekers personal manager, who will support you and help your merch get out there!
Go, little rockstar, we believe in you! :)