Looking to launch your own merchandise line?
Content creators worldwide are capitalizing on the opportunity to launch their very own merch. This can be a very lucrative venture for anyone with a sizeable following. Aside from monetary gain, selling merchandise promotes brand awareness, increases your exposure, and fosters a sense of community among your followers. Gone are the days when content creators must partner with a design or printing company to produce their own merch. Today, it’s easy to start offering custom merch to your audience. This step-by-step guide will detail exactly how you can get your own merch line up and running, and it’s far easier than you might think.
1. Know your audience
The first step in launching your merch line is getting to know your audience as much as possible. This goes beyond simply knowing what demographics your content resonates with. Before you begin designing or selling any merchandise, you need to know what kind of products your audience wants to buy. Your audience will be the customers of your merch line, so you need to ensure you are making products that they actually want to purchase. A great way to conduct this research is to look at similar creators that have launched merchandise. How did their audience respond? Was their merch line well received? If you can find a content creator with a similar audience, it should be relatively easy to determine what products will sell well with that group. You can also ask your audience directly by using polls and comments to learn more about what your specific following would like to see in a merch drop. Whatever you decide to do, knowing your audience and their shopping habits is a critical first step.
2. Generate merch ideas
Once you grasp the type of merchandise your audience typically likes to buy, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas. You can draw inspiration from merchandise released by creators but differentiate your line from others. Nobody wants to buy merch that is bland, unoriginal, and uninspired. Take time to think about your content, your audience, and any special or unique characteristics. This could be a logo, a catchphrase, or other things. If you have something central to your community, like a certain saying, include that in some of your merchandise. It’s important to capitalize on what will set your merch apart from the rest and make your audience want to purchase it.
3. Create sketches and mockups
After brainstorming your merch ideas, you can begin the design phase. For this step, you may seek help from a graphic designer or someone with experience creating merch. It’s always nice to offer your audience variety with different styles or various color options. When possible, ensure that the chosen styles and colors suit you and your content. You want something recognizable as yours, so don’t be afraid to let your personality come through in the design!
4. Find a printing company
With your merchandise mockups now completed, you’re ready to seek a company to print and ship the merchandise for you. Many print-on-demand companies can accommodate this type of task; popular examples include Printful, Printify, and Teespring, but there are plenty of others. When deciding which company to use, there are a few important factors to consider. First, you want to ensure your chosen company offers the colors and styles you want to sell. It’s also important to check what kind of cut the print-on-demand service will take out of each order, as you want to ensure that you are still making a decent profit on each sale. Avoid companies that take too much of your profits away, as this will create a need to raise prices for your customers. Price your merch line reasonably so as not to make it too expensive for your audience to afford.
5. Soft launch and promote the merch line
Now that the merch line has been designed and a printing company selected, you can begin promoting and soft launching the products. A great way to do this is to order a few pieces from the collection and post content of you wearing the merch. This will generate buzz about the upcoming merch launch. Posting “teasers” leading up to the actual merch drop can also be very effective. Make sure you are reminding your audience of the date and time that your merchandise will be released.
6. Releasing the line
Having given your merch line enough time to drum up some exposure and excitement, the time has come to release it officially. Use any and all social media platforms to announce and advertise the launch. The more people that see the new line, the better! To ensure everything goes smoothly on launch day, communicate early and often before the release. The last thing you want is for your most loyal followers to miss out on the launch because it wasn’t properly announced.
7. Showcase the merch purchased by your audience
The promotion doesn’t stop once the release day has ended! Once your merch is delivered to the customer, encourage them to post pictures or videos of themselves wearing it. You can choose to comment or share these posts. Doing so will create post-launch hype that will lead to more people placing orders or, in the case of a limited run, encourage your audience to ensure they don’t miss the next launch!
Launching your own merch line doesn’t have to be complicated
Hopefully, you now understand that launching your own merch is far easier than it might sound. The steps in this guide will help you if you want to launch your own merch line, or you can save this for future reference. Happy launching!
Hey y'all! My name is Kirsten Ford, and I'm a Master's student at the University of Kentucky. I'm also Kentucky born and raised! I started writing for Hello Loyal in 2022. As a student who turned freelancing into my part-time job, I love creating content that helps other people find their way in the creator and gig economy. When I'm not working on space projects or writing, I love to spend time with my cockapoo, get outside, play video games or hang out with friends.