Choosing the best custom band merch items for your band seems easy but when you’re faced with so many options, it could lead to paralysis by analysis and tension headache.
There’s just so many choices! Sure, you want to have all the custom band merch items but you’re not sure which ones sell during your tour. If only you have thousands of bucks to throw away, then there would not be any problem. But you are a wise musician who knows how to treat your music career with some business sense, so you gotta figure out the best strategy for your band merch.
To help you make the right choices when it comes to merch, here’s our list of some of the most valuable tips when choosing your custom band merch:
#1 Choose the must-have merch items
A band can’t go on tour without the following merch essentials: custom band shirts, band posters, band buttons, and band stickers. These custom band merch items are the most basic ones and even the bands with zero budget should still make sure they have all of these items before they launch their album or go on tour. It would be a missed opportunity not to offer anything to the fans especially because if done right, bands can earn an insane amount of money out of their merch items these days. To have nothing to sell to them aside from your CDs is like saying no to thousands of dollars and opportunities to market your band. If you’re still a bit nervous on what custom band merch items to choose, make sure you at least have these essentials.
#2 Choose merch items you can buy a few items at a time
You do not want to order 5000 shirts only to have half of them stored in your garage to gather dust. You want to test out a few pieces at a time before you print thousands of tees. Even if you’re a very famous band but your design isn’t so pretty, people might still not buy your stuff. There are plenty of t-shirt printing companies that print on demand. However, they might be way more expensive than if you choose a t-shirt company that does silk screen printing for a batch of shirts. The best way to do it is to choose a company that does 50-100 shirts at a time at a cheap price but still with excellent quality.
#3 Choose a merch company that offers many customizable items
Carrying the basic merch items like tees and posters during tour is a must but you should also offer a unique item or two…something that truly reflects your band’s personality. It could be cool cassette tapes (we offer cassette tape duplication) or music cards (we sell music cards too). The important thing is, they should be able to give you plenty of options so you can come up with something more unique.
#4 Know what other similar bands sell
If you’re a metal band, check out what type of merch other metal bands are selling. You may want to consider them because they are probably the types of things metal fans are willing to pay for. Of course make sure they’re not as famous as Iron Maiden or Megadeth because those guys can sell anything. If you’re still relatively new, go for bands slightly more successful than you, and check out their custom band merch items.
#5 Of course, choose affordable ones but…quality is your number one priority
It’s important to find a t-shirt printer that won’t burn a hole in your pockets. This is very basic. Also make sure that you’re not getting gypped or that there are no hidden charges. However, don’t choose the cheapest ones either or you just might get cheap-looking products. Choose something affordable, but not cheap.
#6 Choose items that are easy to store, pack, and ship
Not all sales happen when you’re gigging. A part of your sales are done online, through your website or Facebook. And when they order from you, it could be a pain if your items expire, or are too big, or have liquids, or are hard to pack. This should be a big factor when choosing the custom band merch items for your band.
#7 Come up with merch items that truly reflect your brand
Of all the things that we’ve listed here, this is probably the most important. You should not make guitar picks if that doesn’t match your band’s personality…if it’s really not your style. You should make teddy bears if that’s your style of that’s the style of your current album.
If you want to make really badass merch items, we are here for you! Get a quote or take a look at our portfolio.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.