How to make your own merchandise – 5 easy steps to create and sell

Keeping your audience engaged is the real key to success. Creating and selling your merchandise will help your audience remember you while also creating the opportunity for interaction and engagement. 

Here are some easy tips to help you out!

 Have you ever enjoyed an experience so much that you felt the need to buy a little souvenir to remember it? Did you really need it?

Welcome to the magical world of merchandise

Now, what if I told you that you could create your own merchandise? What if your artworks could be replicated into mugs or teddy bears?

WHY

As we’ve said on the previous article on How to make money as an artist, there are many creative ways of making a living out of your art besides just selling your artworks.

Diversifying your offer is a great way of keeping your ideal consumer engaged while giving your audience something to talk about.

PRO TIP: Merch is also a great way of building your own brand. Include a little detail that recalls your work in every object – a signature or a logo for example. 

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WHAT

The possibilities of merchandise are infinite, but we can identify two main different types:

1. Normal. This is the usual merchandise you can find in any gift shop or at the exit of a museum or gallery. 

There are tote bags, mugs, water bottles, key rings, USB drivers, face masks, patches, teddy bears, socks, hats, bracelets, pens and so on.

Examples of merchandise.

 2. Special occasions. This is when you can really get creative: think of a festivity and design something themed. 

It could be Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, St.Patrick’s day, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Cat’s day, whatever’s day…

All you have to do is transfer your works of art into those little everyday objects and the game is done!

WHERE

There are many websites where you can create merchandise at low prices. 

It depends on the city you live in – because they will have to ship it to you – but you can always find good deals online!

There also are worldwide on-demand printing services. 
Merch by Amazon, Bonfire, and Design by Humans are just some examples.

Once you created your items you can start selling them. You can share them on your Social Media profiles, post them on dedicated websites such as Etsy, Depop and even ARTMO

PRO TIP: Many on-demand printing websites like Bonfire or Redbubble also allow you to launch your campaign and sell your product. 

HOW

  1.  Think: Why would you want to make your own merch? Who are you selling it to? Why should they buy it?

    To make the most of your merchandise you really have to know the answers to these questions.

    Think of how you usually interact with your potential buyers and why they value you and your work.

    Then, think of you: do you have any recurring style, motif or catchphrase?

  2. Design: This is the fun part, especially for you artists. Now you can play with colours, fonts and styles. You can do some research on trends or inspiration as well.

    printify make merchandise

  3. Create: There are plenty of websites to create T-shirts, tote bags or customised mugs. The pricing varies but they all require the same things: quality.
    The images you upload need to be high or printing quality, otherwise the merch will be blurry and not well-defined.

    Ideally vector files such as .pdf , .ai , .eps are the best, but also .tiff , .png or .jpeg are fine as long as they are high resolutions (300 DPI at print size).

    Don’t worry about resizing your pictures. Usually printing websites such as merch.ly or printify.com adjust it for you.

    Rick and Morty promotion merchandise giveaway Social Media Instagram

  4. Promote:  It all starts with social media. This is where you regularly meet and engage with your audience. First you need a catchy feature image that shows you – or someone else – wearing your products.

    If you are not able to do it yourself, there are many websites that offer pictures and mockups to which you can add your designs. Check out Placeit (12$/month) or Canva (free).

    Make sure you create several photos for your merch and mix your content so that you don’t seem too pushy. For every picture of your merch post at least two unrelated pictures.

    Remember that you can schedule your posts on different social media platforms.

    There are some tools that can help you with that such as Buffer or Smart Queue!

     

    To increase engagement and sales chances, you can try several tactics. One is building up hype around your merch and then releasing it when your audience engagement is peaking.

    Another stratagem is offering discounts or making limited editions.

    Remember that you can also sell your merchandise on other platforms such as Etsy, E-bay or Amazon but watch out for hidden fees!

    Try ARTMO, the commission-free platform where you can sell both your art and your merchandising.

    There are some platforms such as Teespring Boosted Network that can help you sell in various online marketplaces. Unfortunately they are quite expensive in terms of fees and they do not ensure a monetary return or exposure.

    e-commerce companies where to sell art online

    Another idea is to promote your merch through e-mail marketing.

    There you can thank your customers for their purchase, leave them a discount code or source new ideas asking them what would they like next.

  5. Engage: Keeping your followers involved is the real key for social media success. Asking your audience to interact and get involved with your promotional campaign can increase interest in your merchandise and boost your sales.

    Wondering how to do that? Easy peasy! Just ask.
    Ask to share a picture of them with your merchandise or to simply spread the word by sharing your content.

    PRO TIP: you can create a catchy hashtag that they can add to their pictures so that it’s easier for you to repost their content!

Coca Cola asked its customers to take a picture with the product and share it with #shareacoke

Don’t forget to also check out the article Looking to sell you art online? 5 Tips to help you increase your digital sales!

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