Many creators bolster their income by selling merch online. Fans love to show their support by sporting hats, shirts, phone cases, and anything else their favorite creators dream up. YouTube even designed the Merch Shelf feature to help you make more sales.
If you aren’t selling merch yet, there’s no better time than the present. Here’s everything you need to know to get started.
Set a budget for your initial product run.
Like any entrepreneur starting a new business, you’re going to need a bit of capital. Set a reasonable budget for the initial run of your merch designs. Factor in costs such as website maintenance, shipping, and returns.
While you can expect a return on your investment, you should prepare for it to take some time to make that money back. You might consider taking out a small personal loan or asking a business partner or sponsor to invest in your merch store.
Create a few simple designs.
Your first products should be created with a large audience in mind. Keep the designs simple for mass appeal. Your channel logo, catch phrase, or popular video quotes are all good places to start.
The products you start with should be simple as well. T-shirts, hats, and pop sockets are always popular choices. You might also consider mugs or hoodies. If you aren’t sure what products to release first, do a poll on Twitter or your community page to get audience feedback.
Name your merch shop.
Whenever you launch your merch shop, the online platform you use will ask for a name. It could be as simple as “The [Your Channel Name] Shop.” However, if you plan to sell only certain items, you should name your shop accordingly. For example, if you plan to sell clothes, you might call it an online boutique. If you plan to sell makeup, call it a cosmetics company.
You can also get creative with your shop name. Hank and John Green from vlogbrothers named their merch shop “DFTBA” after their channel’s popular catchphrase. Safiya Nygaard named hers like a clothing line, calling it “Fiends by Saf.”
Start an online store using Shopify or TeeSpring.
Once you have your product designs and shop name ready to go, it’s time to choose the platform on which to launch your store. Platforms like Shopify make setting up your online store easy.
If you plan to use the Merch Shelf feature then you’ll need to set your shop up with TeeSpring or one of the other approved merch retailers. You can find the full list here.
Do a promotional photo shoot.
In order to promote your new merch, you’ll need some promotional materials. Arrange a photo shoot to show off your new designs. Recruit friends to model with you, and hire a photographer to get enough shots for you to use to promote the products for the next few months.
You should get two kinds of promotional shots. The first should be for the website. Get clear shots of the products so customers can see what they’re ordering. Secondly, get more fun, eye-catching shots to use to promote your merch on social media.
Once you’ve got your online shop and promotional materials ready to go, it’s time to start promoting your new merch on social media. Show off your designs to your fans and share your store link in your video descriptions.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.