Just 15 years ago, logo T-shirts and branded merchandise were reserved for rockstars and the pop culture elite. Fast-forward to 2019, and all you’ll need is a couple of thousand Instagram followers and a winning attitude to launch your own successful merch line.
With smarter marketing tools and a variety of new ways to sell, e-commerce technologies have made it easier than ever before to reach and monetize your audience, even with little or no investment.
Whether you’re a recognized industry expert, a beauty blogger, or a high school student with a few funny TikTok videos, Ecwid can help you turn your follower base into new revenue streams. Read on to learn how to create and sell your own branded merchandise in minutes, right from your computer or smartphone.
What You Need to Know About Branded Merchandise
Branded merchandise is a type of product with logos or original lettering that’s connected to or advertises a popular persona, organization, or event.
Almost every popular musician has their own merchandise — from Metallica to Kanye West. Social media influencers have also been known to sell merch. In fact, according to Sellfy, YouTubers that sell merch can make up to 10 times more revenue than those who profit from ads alone.
YouTubers that sell merch can make up to 10 times more revenue than those who profit off ads only.
Any product suitable for printing can be sold as merchandise. It’s often products people can wear for promotion. For example, if one of your followers wears a cool T-shirt with the name of your YouTube channel on it, someone else may see it, look for your channel, and subscribe to it.
The most popular forms of branded merchandise are:
- clothes: T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops;
- accessories: bags, caps, beanies, cases for gadgets, wraps;
- souvenirs: mugs, pins, notebooks, charms, mouse pads.
Beauty bloggers often partner with famous brands to make their own makeup lines or perfumes. Fitness bloggers sell clothes, accessories, and shoes for exercising.
Others go even further to sell anything from food to furniture. The German magazine 032с sells branded socks, duct tape, laces, and scrunchies.
Rock musicians are often people with great imagination. Kiss sold wine, knives, coffins, and funeral urns with the band’s logo. NOFX used inflatable sheep to support one of their albums, and Rammstein started selling bicycles in 2016.
As a matter of law, the rights for merchandise belong to the author, which means your merchandise also can’t be copied.
No one can use your photos or original images and prints — for example, pictures that were especially designed for a piece of merchandise — without your permission as the copyright holder. Your work is protected by copyright from the moment of creation, though you may be required to prove your authorship in order to enforce your copyright.
The name of a band can be registered as a trademark in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It will protect your rights in case of a legal argument.
If your products portray commonly used words or phrases, it will be more difficult to protect your right of authorship.
Legally, an author, as well as any other brand that has bought the right to use elements of the author’s brand, is permitted to sell merchandise.
How to Create Merchandise
A lot of things depend on the product you want to sell. Each item is produced differently. For example, you can’t use the same method of printing on T-shirts and mugs, so their prime cost and price will be different.
Step 1. Decide what you’re going to sell
Choose the things that are relevant to your audience. For example, if your band is popular among bikers, think about selling motorcycle apparel.
Or if you’re brave enough, create merch that isn’t relatable to your audience at all. For example, items with unusual sayings, funny illustrations, or anything else that highlights your style and personality. The White Stripes sold sewing kits.
Any printed product can become merchandise. It can be a commonly used item or something only your fans would understand. Is it something your audience would buy? If the answer’s yes, it’s the right product.