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Last updated on May 31st, 2020
Should you consider offering Merch to your followers, fans, customers, or clients?
It’s not just about making money via a new income stream – though that’s definitely a good reason – but there are many more!
These 10 reasons to start selling Merch will help you to decide whether or not it’s the right time for your business.
Why Sell Merch?
First of all, what is Merch?
Merch can be anything that you brand with your name, logo, or slogan, and offer up for sale. Merch differs somewhat from regular promotional freebies in that it’s desirable, sought after, and sold – not given away.
Items that are most frequently sold include t shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, pants, and caps, but what you offer is up to you.
Those items are most popular among YouTubers, but who is your target audience? Are you creating Merch for your gym? Perhaps water bottles would be appropriate. Have a cafe? Custom mugs or really nice reusable coffee cups might be the answer.
Casually survey some of your most enthusiastic and loyal customers to find out what they want. You can’t go wrong by asking and testing a few items first.
With that in mind, here are 10 reasons you should seriously consider selling your own line of Merch!
1. Make Money
The number 1 reason for starting to sell Merch is in order to make money.
This may be directly through the sales of shirts and hoodies, or it may be indirectly through the marketing and brand exposure which brings more viewers, customers, or clients.
Business is all about making money by giving people what they want. If you can target really cool designs and have them printed (or sewn if using embroidery) on quality garments for your audience, this will ideally result in increasing revenue.
For some, it may just be a small side income stream, but for others it can be their primary source of earnings. For example, many bands and musicians do not generate much of an income through streaming music. The bulk of their earnings come from touring and selling Merch!
2. Build Community
Another top reason to start your own line of Merch is to build a deeper and stronger community among your followers or customers. This is especially effective when your customers are in the same general geographic location, and may bump into each other wearing the gear.
For example, a local sports club has a line of Merch that was designed by one of the members. Wearing the hoodies and shirts outside of ‘sports time’ serves to create a greater connection to the club and other members, and it also raises funds for improving the facilities.
3. Create Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the third great reason to sell t shirts. Placing your name, logo, or message in front of others via Merch will make more people aware of you, and reinforce your branding on others.
Creating your own line of Merch is a fantastic way of turning your customers into walking billboards. And the more Merch you sell, the greater the buzz will be!
Brand recognition is a major factor in a potential customers decision to work with a company. If they’ve heard of you (or seen the t shirt), they’ll be more likely to listen, watch, or purchase from you.
4. Build Loyalty & Trust
When a customer or follower is regularly wearing or using your products, it creates a deeper loyalty and connection to the community. Your brand is being reinforced, even if it’s unconscious, each time there’s contact.
Besides this, selling and promoting your own physical products brings about legitimacy and trust. Someone selling their own Merch must be pretty legit, right?
5. Explore Your Creative Side
For those who are somewhat creative and enjoy design, coming up with your own t shirts can be a lot of fun, and incredibly satisfying.
It doesn’t have to be difficult either: there are basic designs, like your logo or tagline, business name or motto. Start simple and develop things over time. Most YouTubers, for example, print one of their quotes, their logo, or channel name. It doesn’t have to be a magnificent work of art!
For those who don’t have the time, or don’t feel confident enough to design your own shirts, all is not lost. There are plenty of platforms, like 99 Designs, Design Hill, or Upwork where you can quickly hire designers to do the work for you.
6. Satisfy Fans & Followers
Another reason for offering Merch is to satisfy your fans or customers: many of them want it!
When we truly enjoy being a part of something, we want to express it in praise. We want to show that we are part of a particular crowd, that we’ve attended a certain festival, or completed a special course.
Offering Merch may just allow your followers to increase their joy through being able to tell others indirectly on a cool tee!
7. Gain Influence
Stand out from your competitors by beginning to sell merchandise. Especially if you’re going to be the only one doing it in your niche!
While there is work involved in learning how and what to do, if you do your research you can’t go wrong. The corresponding jump in brand awareness and the effect of marketing in this way will lead to an overall increase in influence among your peers.
8. Make Memories & Mementos
Merch, in all its various forms, reminds us of so many things: where we were when we got it, how we were feeling at the time, the people we were with, and the things that were going on in our life. People buy Merch to help them remember a time, place, experience, or people.
I remember doing a popular (and very challenging) outdoor learning & leadership program. Hundreds of people go through the 3 week course each month, and then have the opportunity to buy Merch at the end. Many do make a purchase as a memento, and can then reminisce each time they wear it.
9. Promote Your Message
Perhaps your business has a message that needs to be shared… why not do it on a t shirt?
If you’re trying to make a change in the world through what you’re doing, you can further emphasize it through the messaging on your merch. As we mentioned earlier, most YouTube Merch is decorated with quotes from the creator – often inspirational and motivating.
10. Because You Can!
Finally, you should sell Merch because you can!
Designing and having your own products produced has never been easier. There has been a proliferation of Print on Demand sites which automate the whole process. Platforms like Printful, Printify, or Zazzle, have shirt design tools for preparing the designs, and can create all the mock-ups you need.
Alternatively, if you require the Merch in your possession for sale at gigs, there are plenty of Custom Printing sites. Order shirts from Custom Ink, Design A Shirt, or even Etsy to have on hand for selling directly to your customers or fans.
Is Merch For You?
If you’ve been reading these reasons to start selling shirts and have been ticking all the boxes, it’s time to start a trial!
Talk to your potential buyers and get a feel for the types of products and designs they might like, and then order some samples from print companies. Receiving samples of what you want to offer is very important – you need to know the product is of sound quality, and that the result is sound.
There will be some start up costs, though this should be minimal if taking the POD route. Make the investment, stick at it, and trust that your hard work will pay off!