Merchandise is important, and you probably don’t realise just how important it really is. Merchandise creates a very real revenue stream for your band other than your music, and many bands make more of merch than anything else! In addition to that, anyone who buys and wears or uses your merchandise is a walking talking advertisement for your band.
So What’s The Big Idea?
Well merchandise is big business! The idea is to produce your own and sell it on your myspace profile, on your website, at every single gig you play, and to every member of your family! Think of it this way, if you’re trying to save up money for some studio time that costs £800 – that’s only the equivalent of selling 80 t-shirts at a tenner each!
Of course you need to take into account what they cost you in the first place, but the point here is that you can make some very decent money of selling band merch and people will be even more inclined to part with their precious cash if it means that the funds are going towards producing more of the music which they love so dearly!
Let’s Get Started
Before we start designing or printing or ordering anything we need to establish what you’re actually going to put on your shiny new products! In all honesty, it doesn’t matter that much what’s on your products as long as it fits in with the style of your music and your fan base but there are three very important things that you should make completely sure are on all your products!
- Your Logo – Don’t even get me started if you haven’t got one yet! More to follow on designing a logo at a later date.
- Your Name – Bit of a no-brainer but you’d be surprised just how many people fail to do this.
- You Website Address – If you haven’t got a website address then it should be your myspace address!
What Sort Of Merch Should You Be Considering?
Think about this one with a little creativity and a lot of common sense, coffee cups seem like a great idea until you realise that very heavy box of breakable items in the back of your tour bus isn’t actually the genius plan that you had first envisioned. If you still think coffee cups or mugs are a good idea, then take it from me, they’re difficult to store, they chip and break easily, they’re heavy (and thus expensive to ship) and unless you’re a jazz musician with a fanbase full of caffeine addicts then the chances are that you’re going to have a hard time shifting them!
And just to make a short list of other things to not do:
- Coffee mugs – I’ve given enough reasons I think!
- Mouse mats – cheesy, and with optical mice as the industry
- Clocks – for the same reason as the coffee mugs
- BBQ Aprons – ultimate cheese
So here are some things that you definitely should consider:
- T-Shirts – An all time band favourite, pretty cheap if you buy in bulk, and they sell like hotcakes if you put a decent price on them.
- Hoodies – Good for the winter season, don’t bother stocking up on these in June!
- Hats – Generally good for the summer season and pretty easy to get your hands on.
- Notebooks – Everyone uses them, particularly students. Even with computers everywhere people still like to write and draw.
- Posters – If you get some decent pictures taken then this is a no brainer, they’re cheap to produce and relatively easy to transport.
Consider Merchandise Purely For Branding Too
Part of the idea behind merch is to make money, but it’s also to get your name out there – to spread the word and make sure that as many people as possible know about your band. So that when someone here’s your name they go “That sounds familiar”, or “I’ve heard that somewhere before”, as we all do so often!
What am I talking about? The free stuff! There are things that you can produce that fans love, they don’t cost much to produce and they aren’t worth charging any money for, but they absolutely are worth manufacturing and bringing to all your gigs.
Here are some great ideas that are very popular at the moment:
- Pins! – Everyone loves them and they tend to get plastered all over bags in particular.
- Stickers – Brilliant for brand (logo) recognition and tend to find their way in to the most bizarre places that can make for great competition ideas (most creative use of band stickers, etc).
- Lanyards – These cost a little more so arguably you could charge a small fee, but my preference would be to give these away too.
- Key Rings – Brilliant, cheap, and compact. Also the sort of thing that get carried around everywhere – exposure!
- Pens – A little old-fashioned but still fun and easy to produce, and tend to get lost and make their way into unsuspecting hands which can often be a good thing.
Other than the above try not to waste too much money on free stuff, while there are definite pros to these items it’s easy to get carried away and start stocking up on ridiculous novelty items like band matchbooks, band condoms, and band balloons – none of which are practical or effective.
Reposted from: Sinflip