Merchandise is a great way for people to see that you’re out there. It’s advertisement that will interest people, if you do it the right way. You want to make sure that whatever merchandise you use (i.e., shirts, hats, jackets, etc.), it connects with your music and your fans. There are thousands of different kinds of merchandise you can sell, you just have to find what works best for you. With so many ways to download music for free, sometimes merchandise is the only way for bands to get paid. That’s why we put together The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise.
The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise
In The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise, we talk about everything you need to bring with you to sell your merch at a show, how you can prepare, what items sell best, common pitfalls, and how you can make the most money selling merchandise at your shows.
Having a logo is a great way to connect with people and to spread your name further. It can be anything from your name in a font that stands out with the music to a cartoon character you designed. It’ll make people either question what it’s for or have fans connect with each other on the streets when they see someone else wearing it. Logos are the easiest things to put on merchandise to stand out. It can usually fit on just about anything. Can be as small as a pin to as big as a jacket.
There are so many different ideas on what to sell at your table. Shirts, jackets, pins, stickers, and patches are some of the ones that are best to get and most people will want. People have sold other things from leggings to underwear and anything in between. In order to figure out what to sell, look at your audience. You have people showing up at shows and fans online to give you an idea of what’s going on with them. You don’t want to get leggings if your fans don’t wear them, but if you see them wearing beanies or hats, try and make those and see if they sell. Always keep track of what’s selling, this way you know where to spend your money and not end up with too big of a loss. One thing that I’ve seen people enjoy are USBs filled with songs from the band. Not just any USBs, they should somehow connect with the band.
You want to make sure that the merchandise stays fresh. Change it up at the end of every tour, when you drop a new album, or just every couple of months. People will be interested to see different designs and possibly new things. Make sure the merchandise also works for the weather. You don’t want to be selling jackets in the middle of the summer or tank tops in the middle of winter. Know what sizes you’re getting, too. Youth sizes are very different from adult sizes.
The merchandise table is one of the most important things when trying to sell anything. It’s the thing that needs to catch people’s eyes when they walk into the room and make them want to come and buy something. It’s your store on the road and will help you to get from show to show, if that’s the only income you have at the moment.
There are plenty of things you need to bring with you to set up with besides the merchandise. Sometimes venues don’t have a place for artists to sell merchandise, so always bring your own folding table and keep a look out for the best places to set up. Keep a look out for best places even when they do have designated places to sell merchandise. Sometimes it’s a really horrible place where no one will see you, even if the band points out where it is. Once the table is set up in a good spot, you must put out the products in a way that catches people’s attentions. That’s why you should bring tape of every kind, clothes pins/hangers, and pens/markers to write with. These will help with hanging things up and putting prices on the products. I recently read something that said using a rolling tool chest is great to hold things and move quickly. Always make sure the prices are visible so you won’t have to spend time explaining prices and can talk to the fans. Talking to them always helps bring them closer and wanting to see you more. Try to be at the table before and after you perform. The fans will be so grateful.
When selling merchandise you want to make sure the person behind the table is reliable and won’t just give your stuff out for free. There are plenty of members that will do that. One band I managed always gave away free things and were actually surprised when I was able to even get them $5 one night. Giving away things isn’t bad, but you don’t want to keep doing it and you want to make sure that it will benefit you if you do. When selling things you want to make sure to have a lockbox with change already inside. This way they won’t have to wait as you get change. Also, make sure to get an app that will let you take credit cards. There are so many free apps that will let you do that now and more and more people are relying on cards rather than cash. Some artists have set prices for their products and some do it based on a donation of what the fans want to give.
Either way is great, it just depends on how much the money from merchandise means to you. Set prices will usually give you more money and usually has you break even or gain money in the end. Donations might help sell more product since fans can spend whatever they have on it. Even if you have set prices, but a fan doesn’t have enough, don’t discourage them from getting something. If you feel comfortable with doing it, take the money that they have. It will make the fan happy and you have another way of promoting yourself. You don’t have to say it to every fan and broadcast it, but helping out a fan who really wants something won’t hurt.
Summarizing The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise
to sum up The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise, Merchandise is a great way to promote your band and connect with fans. It’s one of the best ways to earn money doing what you love, and there are so many ideas out there that you can use, and even come up with that no one has used before.
The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise is a guest post by Michele Enouch.
Michele Enoch is a music business graduate from Musicians Institute who has managed and promoted bands for years. She is now working on her photography and helping performers advance in their career. Her passion has always been music and she is exploring all aspects of the industry. Michele appreciates all kinds of music and seeing music in all kinds of environments. She enjoys crocheting hats and toys, reading and writing mystery and horror stories, taking pictures of everything she can, food from around the world, and adorable animals. She is always on the look out for anything new and exciting.