You made it, congratulations. Your band (or brand) is gaining a steady following both in the real world and on social media. Now the big question is, how take being a hobby that you pay for and make it a business that pays you to do what you love? The answer, the high holy merchandise. What better way to start reaping rewards than by giving your fans sweet swag they can show off everywhere they go?
These four items are the holy grail of custom merch. Define your brand with this stuff and you’ll be on your way to greatness.
Stickers: Some stickers are great hand outs, while others can double as money making products and advertisements. High quality Bumper Stickers or Full Color Vinyl Stickers last and look great. Kiss Cut Stickers and Sticker Packs make for unique collectibles that will really excite your fans. Cost on these will really depend on how complex your design is, starting simple you can get 1,000 bumper stickers for under $400 (one color) or put out an entire sticker pack which will cost about $7-$8 per pack.
T-Shirts: These are the bread and butter of merchandise, making customers look cool and turning them into walking billboards at the same time. Don’t get overwhelmed by the idea of making shirts. Start simple and you can keep your initial costs low while still getting a good looking product out and not driving your self insane trying become the Van Goh of the shirt world. Your iconic punk/metal/indie black T-shirt with white printing can run you less than $4 a shirt depending on the quantity you print. Then, you turn them around for $10-$15 a shirt. This puts a solid profit in your pocket while giving fans a good quality shirt at a nice price.
Buttons: Nothing says punk rock like a ripped jean jacket covered in buttons. Simple like Stickers, Buttons are a great low cost (aka low risk) option that you can get onto your fans fast and easy by selling them for just a dollar or two. Like everything else, the more you buy the lower the cost, with buttons you can get them down to 15 to 20 cents a piece from the right manufacturer.
Hats: You are truly on your way to greatness the day you see your brand looking back at you over the brim of a custom hat. While it is moving into a larger initial investment, with a loyal fan base, you will have no issue recouping it. By keeping your graphic a good size (think a baseball team logo) you can spend around $10 per embroidered hat that can turn around for $20-$25 a piece easily.
Remember the key to making money off of your merchandise is buying in proper proportions. The more you can purchase at one time, the cheaper the cost per item will be, but don’t go to crazy. It is better to start small and re-order larger to meet demand then print thousands of pieces with little demand. Unless you’re the NFL.