Whether you are just starting out as a new band on your local music scene or you’ve been in the industry for a couple of years already, you’ve probably thought about making some brand merchandise already. After all, it’s what bands have done for decades – they’ve always had stuff available for their fans to buy, so you should do exactly the same right?
Even though you might think that in today’s digital age where everyone downloads music, there really is no point in selling any physical things. That really isn’t the case, though. Almost every successful band needs to keep on selling various types of merch to help them boost their income. If you want to make your music a full-time career, then you will certainly need to sell a lot more than just records, music downloads, and gig tickets.
So, are you interested in starting to sell some great merch for your band? Here’s our complete guide to the best kinds you can sell as well as some useful tips on running a merch table.
Why Start Selling Band Merch?
First of all, let’s think about why it is actually so important to start selling band merchandise. There are a number of reasons why bands will need to sell merchandise, and they aren’t all related to money. Read on to find out more!
- It Provides An Extra Income.
One of the biggest reasons why so many bands create merchandise to sell to their fans is because it can really boost their overall income. Nowadays, not many fans will buy records, CDs, or any other form of physical music from the bands that they love. That’s all down to the popularity of free streaming services, such as Spotify. The music is available for free online, so there isn’t much point in most fans buying hard-copies of music. This has meant that some bands’ incomes have taken a hit. However, you will still be able to sell concert tickets and merchandise. Fans will always want to come and see you live and they will also want to buy T-shirts, pin badges, and other kinds of merch to show off just how big a fan they are. If you choose the right kind of merch to sell and price it correctly, then you should see your income can be greatly boosted by selling various kinds of merchandise.
- It Can Help To Build Your Band’s Brand.
Many bands also find that creating merchandise can help them turn their band into a brand. Once you do make a brand for your band, you will find that there are a lot more things you can monetize. The first thing you need to do is to create a band logo. This can then be placed on any official merchandise that you create. By creating a unique brand, you should find that more and more people start to recognize your music and merch, which can really help to increase your popularity and help you on your journey to becoming a household name.
- It Helps To Spread Your Band Name.
When merch starts to support your brand, you should find that your band’s name begins to spread, which can help you create an even larger fanbase. When someone wears one of your band T-shirts, baps, or wears a tote bag with your logo on, it will be seen by a lot of different people. A few of them might be interested and could check out your music, and eventually will become a fan. So, if you do want your popularity and fanbase to grow, then it really is worth selling plenty of merch.
The Best Kinds Of Band Merch
Now that you have read about all of the benefits of creating and selling band merchandise, you need to think about what exactly you are going to sell. Bands can sell pretty much anything they want to.
Of course, there will be certain things that your fans will expect, so it’s really important that you have some of the more traditional types of merch on your table. That way, you can be certain that you will have some really strong sellers. Here is a quick list of some of the best types of merch that a band can sell.
Bands have been selling T-shirts for decades. They are an incredibly popular option with fans who all love showing off their favorite bands on their shirts. There are various ways you can design your bad t-shirts. For instance, you might just want to print your logo onto them. Some bands choose to have their album art printed on their shirts, while others decide to get completely new artwork designed just for their t-shirts. Whichever one you want to do, it’s worth speaking to a professional t-shirt designer who can help you make an awesome print.
Not that many bands sell mugs as their merch, but it’s a really good idea to start selling them as they sell very well amongst fans. You can design them in the same way as band t-shirts – either just with your logo, or your album artwork, or you could create a completely new artwork just for them!
Another classic kind of merch that fans always want to buy is band posters. I’m sure that you had a few different band posters on your bedroom walls when you were growing up; you might even still have some in your home! Well, nothing has changed with fans, and posters are continually one of the best-selling kinds of band merch. If you don’t already have some for sale, then you really should think of getting some as soon as possible!
- Tote Bags
Do you already sell tote bags? If not, then think about getting some designed right now! Over the past few years, more and more fans have become interested in buying tote bags, possibly because it’s a slightly more discreet way to show your allegiance to a band – certainly when you compare carrying a bag to wearing a t-shirt! They are also very easy to make a profit on as well!
Patches can be sewn onto any kind of material. More often than not, bands sell patches that show their logo, and then fans buy them to sew into backpacks or jackets. These will be very cheap for you to buy and create, but you should be able to sell them for a considerable profit when selling them on to fans.
- Hats And Scarfs
Baseball caps usually go down really well as band merch, but your fans will also need some kind of headgear to help keep them warm in the winter months. So, why not also sell some wooly hats and scarfs? These can also be adorned with your logo and will sell really well at all of your winter gigs.
The Best Strategy For Running A Merch Table
- Don’t Forget A Tip Jar
Make sure you always have a tip jar on your merch table. You should find that people are then willing to throw in any loose change that they might have. You can then share this out between the people who you get to run the table so that they aren’t working for nothing. If you are manning the table yourself, then this is some extra pocket money for the band!
- Think About The Best Location
Make sure you are able to place your merch table somewhere where a lot of fans are going to pass it by. That way, almost everyone will notice it and will be likely to check it out to see if there is anything they fancy.
- Encourage People To Sign Up For Your Mailing List
It’s also a good idea to have a sheet of paper out where fans can add their email address to be added to your mailing list. You can then increase your number of subscribers you are regularly mailing out to. If you have a large list of mailing list subscribers and keep them updated with new tour dates and merch releases, then you will find that things are quick to sell.
- Accept Card Payments
Don’t miss out on a sale just because someone doesn’t have enough cash on them if you only accept cash! Ideally, you need to start accepting card payments as well. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be too difficult as there are now lots of apps you can use to take card payments on your smartphone. The more types of payments you accept, then the more sales you will be able to make.
- Hang Out At Your Own Merch Table
Fans always want to see the band after a gig. They can then ask for a selfie or autograph! If you hang out at your merch table, then fans will definitely come over to see you. They will then notice the merchandise and will be a lot more likely to buy something!
So, if you don’t already sell any band merchandise, you can now see why it’s important that you start doing so!