As an artist there’s a very important material aspect to ones career, merchandise.
However you choose to promote yourself, whether it be through a solid street team, pushing nightly on social medias, or even just shaking hands at each event you attend, one method that is and always will be a great choice is merchandise.
Anyway, I chose to write about this because so have a few tips that I’ve collected from asking others, personal experiences, and what would interest a mass demographic. Read below to pick up some tips on merchandise for your career.
1. BE YOURSELF BY BEING YOU.
If merchandise meant to represent you as an artist why should you go with something bland? Make it unique like yourself! If not the design, add something to the ‘merch selection that you wouldn’t typically expect. Irish hip hop artist, Rejie Snow, had face oils apart of his merchandise. Supreme, although not a musician, had sent out bouncy balls with orders. There was another clothing line that used send out a candle. Whether you’re adding it to the selection or giving it away for free with each purchase, don’t be afraid to step outside of the box. With creativity in your hands, you could put a teddy bear, candles, oils, bouncy balls, masks, shoelaces, and / or anything else you could possibly want. One of the greatest thing about merchandise is you can choose almost anything to be sold.
Remember that if you’re an independent artist, alongside shows, merch is a vital way of raising money as an artist. Keep that in mind when you’re pricing your products and selecting how much products will be sold. Either way you’ll have to lose money in order to gain money. Merchandise is almost as if you’re running a second business along side your own career. You shouldn’t invest into an excessive amount of product and then risk that fans won’t purchase – it’s a real thought to think about. If that’s the case you’ll ultimately lose money. Keep the number of items low but still a good amount to make a good profit back. Always run the numbers thouroughly.
A musician from Mansfield, OH, named Taj Torrence once told me the following quote.
“Whatever you do, G, whatever your service you want to provide, market yourself. You are a business. Marketing is key. Anyone asks you for a service, talk numbers before anything else”
Sort of an add on to the previous tip, exclusivity is something that many are fans of. If you have something that not many others have but everyone else wants one, it’ll drive to fans to your booth at your next show so they can be the next wave of exclusive. Two great examples you can look at for this is Tyler, The Creator and Kanye West. There are so many who go crazy over their tour merch – I being one – that they’ll pay resell value in order to own things.
Never be afraid to find out what your fans think of potential merchandise. Post on social medias or meet them after shows and ask about ideas you may have. Doing this will not only give you more insight to your merchandise but also get closer with your fans. Being close with fans means fans will be more loyal throughout your career.
5. DON’T FORGET, IT’S JUST A SHIRT.
Take this piece of advice in many ways. Don’t forget it’s just a product, at the end of the day it doesn’t hold any special powers – if it does then sell the fuck out of that. Anyway, if you’re on stage performing and the crowd is bringing the energy, throw a piece of merch out for one lucky person.
6. OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED – TREAT IT LIKE A CLOTHING LINE.
You’d stand out as a musician if you treat your merchandise like a clothing line. Have someone keep up with all the trends, patterns, colors, materials, etc. Whatever is hot in the clothing world, incorporate your name into it. I said this tip is optional because although it’s extra work to treat it like a clothing line, it would pay off in more ways than one.
- Other clothing lines may be interested in collaborations.
- If you put in the time to have a wider variety of products, and you’ll appear to a wider demographic as far as merchandise goes.
- Not trying to be negative but if all else fails but your merch game is strong, pursue designing!
That’s all I have for the current time as far as tips and advice for merch goes. Peep future interviews to learn what people who I interview think about merch and hear their input.
After reading all of this I leave you with this:
I hope you can benefit from some or all that was mentioned in this article. I plan on writing more of these through the whole span of Orange Peel so if you have any suggestions that you feel would be worth including, let me know in the comments or on the “CONTACT” tab on the website.