Create Your Own Custom Merchandise
Have you been watching your competitors selling customer merchandise and wondered if you should join the fray? There is no better time to jump on the merch bandwagon than now. Start thinking about what a merchandise range could do for your brand. If you have a successful launch, it will grow your follower and fan base.
Now that you have decided to make merch part of your brand, you might be wondering what to do next. Here are some steps to follow for creating custom merchandise:
Find a partner you can trust
One of the most crucial decisions you will make during this process is finding the right custom merchandise maker. There are hundreds of merch makers to choose from, as you will see after a quick online search, and the best suggestions for this are JetPrint, Teelaunch, CustomCat and Lulu Xpress. The secret is finding one that will work with you to ensure your vision becomes a reality. The relationship with a merchandise maker should be one built on trust and mutual respect.
Your initial response might be to use the cheapest merch maker you find online. However, this could be your merch line’s downfall. Merchandise manufacturers offer different prices, which are often based on product quality and related services. For example, some merch manufacturers provide the complete package: they produce merch and handle the process’s shipping and fulfilment aspect. Others might only manufacture your products.
Merch makers’ terms might also differ on other fronts. Some insist on producing goods in bulk, forcing you to buy a batch of merch and then sell it. This is risky as your first merch ideas might not sell well. Others operate on a print-on-demand basis. They only make what you need according to your order volumes.
Put your imagination to work
Knowing who will make your merch dream come true, move on to the next stage: designing the merch range. First, decide what merch will appeal to your followers and fans. This will depend on the brand and what it is famous for.
The most popular merch items currently include t-shirts, hoodies, caps, phone covers, and coffee mugs. However, there is no need to limit yourself to what everyone else is selling. Think outside the box, and you might come up with something so unique that it will blow competitors and fans away alike.
Your merch design should incorporate your logo, brand name, or slogan. Some brands include a catchphrase or joke they are popular for on their merchandise. Your merch maker might offer you design services as part of their package. Alternatively, hire a designer who can put a merch prototype together.
Test it out
Before committing to a design, have a one-off of each merch item made to ensure that it meets your requirements. Sometimes, a design that looks great on paper does not do well on a coffee mug or hoodie. It may take more than one design before you find ‘the one’.
Do not be afraid to reject a design once you have seen a prototype. If something does not feel or look right, trust your instincts. You are putting your name and brand on the line with this merch, and you can ill afford to have it backfire.
Decide on a sales strategy
As you prepare to launch the merch range, decide how you plan to sell it to customers. Will it feature in a chain of physical stores, be sold online, or a combination of both? Negotiate watertight sales deals with partners well in advance.
For online sales, evaluate your options. You could choose to market and sell merch through online retail platforms or create a merch store attached to your social media accounts and website. Many potential buyers prefer buying directly from your brand.
In the months and weeks leading up to the merch launch, start sharing teasers with fans. This includes social media posts hinting at a merch range and encouraging followers to keep watching this space for more details.
Ensure you have a launch promotion that will entice buyers and get them hooked on your merch. For example, include a free keyring with every purchase. People like to feel they are getting value for money. Once they fall in love with the merch, they post about it or tell their friends about it.