Whether you are a successful social media influencer, YouTuber, podcaster, or company, the idea of custom merch has probably crossed your mind. It seems that everyone who is anyone is launching a line of merch for fans and customers to buy.
Merch companies are springing up across America, keen to gain a foothold in this growing market. With so many options, how will you know which suits your needs and context best? Here are some guidelines to consider:
When interviewing merch supply companies, keep originality in mind. With many competitors launching merch lines, what will make yours different from them? You need a custom merch maker who understands the need for the products they make on your behalf to be unique and attractive. A merch supplier should have original ideas to offer you when providing options of what items you want to include in your line. Get in touch with some good brands like Redbubble, Spreadshirt, Teepublic, Zazzle, CafePress, etc. to have options on your hand.
The items you intend to include in your merch range should appeal to a target market. This means studying which type of people will be buying this merch. Understanding your fan or follower demographic makes choosing the right merch easier.
To grasp the concept of a target market, start by understanding your goals or reasons for creating custom merch and then determining the identity and desires of this group of people. Next, develop merch ideas around what that audience would find interesting and worth spending their money on.
For example, do you have a catchphrase or joke that runs through your business? If so, how will you use this to your merch advantage?
Something worth discussing with a potential custom merch maker is how they treat intellectual property. You have worked hard to create a brand, and it would be unfortunate if a merch maker takes advantage of that because there was no watertight signed agreement to protect it.
Ask your potential merch maker about standard agreements they have that ensure that your intellectual property remains yours. This includes your logo, slogan, and unique visuals or graphics you use.
A merch maker should also advise you against using visuals and designs that do not belong to you. This practice can be detrimental to your reputation and get you into a world of legal woes.
If you intend to launch a range of merch that includes clothing, keyrings, fridge magnets, and coffee mugs, would you prefer to work with one merch maker or four different ones? The answer is probably the former as working with one company is more convenient. Develop a relationship of trust with a merch maker, which is easier doing so with one company instead of a few.
Once you have established what merch items you think would appeal to your target audience, source a merch maker who can deliver it all. Some might outsource to other companies for some items. For example, your merch maker might supply fridge magnets, coffee mugs, and keyrings. However, the owner will find a supplier to make the clothing, such as t-shirts, caps, and hoodies.
Launching a merch range can be a daunting and risky prospect. Many people hesitate about doing so because they fear being saddled with an inventory of merch that they cannot sell. This leads to a financial loss as the expense outweighs the income.
However, having recognized this concern, merch makers now work on an on-demand basis. This means they manufacture merch in smaller quantities, allowing you to order only as much as you need. Once your current supply is depleted and more orders are placed, your merch maker should only be a phone call away.
This approach prevents you from having to find storage space for a merch inventory. Additionally, some merch makers ship and fulfill orders on your behalf. If this is a service you want to prioritize, ensure that your supplier of choice provides it.
As you want to keep your merch prices low so followers will buy them willingly, you need a merch maker who will not charge an arm and a leg. Merch makers charge varying prices. These variances are predominantly based on product quality.
Cheap merch of poor quality will not endear you to your followers. Indeed, it could ruin your reputation. It is essential to find a merch maker who offers good quality products at reasonable prices.