A Guide: How To Make And Sell Your Own Merch

March 3, 2021

If you’re interested in how to make merch and sell it online for a tidy profit - then you’re in the right place!

Are you interested in creating your own merch? If so, you're in the right place! While the process of creating merch can be daunting, how to make your own merch can be a fun and successful venture for entrepreneurs with the right tools. 

When it comes to how to make merch, we’ve created A Guide: How To Make And Sell Your Own Merch with valuable steps for you to consider. From identifying your target market, to creating quality products and finding a reliable supplier, to creating an effective marketing strategy, and monitoring your success, you can master how to make your own merch that your customers will love and sell it successfully. 

Steps For How To Make Merch

Ready to start creating merch to put your brand on the map? Here are valuable steps to ensure your efforts support the best results!

1. Research Your Target Market 

Before zoning in on how to make merch or how to get merch, you will want to know what merch you need. By narrowing down your target audience and zoning in on their demographics, you can begin creating mech that meets their needs as well as their style preference. 

In fact researching your target audience is a critical step for entrepreneurs creating and selling merch online and in stores. It allows you to create products that meet the needs and wants of the market, which will make for a more successful product launch. To zone in on your targe audience, consider: 

  • Conducting surveys or focus groups
  • Analyzing competitor data
  • Creating buyer personas based on customer feedback
  • Studying industry trends for creating merch 
  • Understanding your audience's demographics, preferences, and behavior

By taking time to understand who your customers are and what they want from their shopping experience, you can better ensure you are creating the best merch for your customer base that’s appealing and meets their expectations. And, as an added bonus, by zeroing in on your target market, you will have an easier time with your marketing and branding endeavors. 

Photo courtesy of Palace Artois; Shown: Palace Artois custom merch: sweatshirt, hoodie, tote, accessory, cap, tee

2. Curate Your Collection

Now that you have determined your target your audience, it's time to narrow down your product selection. By using the information you gathered from researching your target audience choose items that fit with their demographics. Knowing your competitors, understanding trend forecasting, and choosing items that are unique, practical and sustainable are also important. From accessories and hats to apparel, drinkware, and more, choosing customizable items will help expose your brand to more people.

‍Photo courtesy of Anti Social Club

3. Look for Unique, High Quality & Sustainable Items

We probably don’t have to tell you that single use products are a faux pas. While fast fashion— inexpensive, trendy items—was coined by companies looking to capitalize on ever changing style preferences and seasons, it is now frowned upon. Furthermore, fast fashion often leads to bad working environments and unfair wages for workers. Not to mention all of the clothing that ends up in a landfill.  

When you opt for unique, quality designs, you can create enviable merch that can be worn and loved on repeat. From comfortable apparel to functional branded products that stand the test of time, creating merch that’s sustainable also helps ensure that your customers have a positive experience so they can become repeat customers! 

In addition, unique, quality products are more likely to help you achieve positive reviews and word of mouth marketing‚ which are some of the best ways to create brand recognition and a loyal following! When creating merch for your brand, using sustainable or recycled materials is a great example of differentiating your products from the competition and making them stand out. If your business is committed to environmental responsibility and sustainability this will also help reinforce your company’s values. 

Not only will this give customers a positive impression of your company, but also demonstrate that you are taking steps to reduce waste and conserve resources. Furthermore, creating high-quality merchandise with eco-friendly packaging will ensure that customers have a great experience when using your product which could lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Photo courtesy of Drew; Shown: Custom Hoodies, beanie and cap, tees and sweatshirt

4. Find the Right Supplier

Once you’ve determined what type of merch you’d like to create, it is important to find a reliable supplier who can help create quality merch. Using a company like Gemnote will ensure that when creating merch for your brand, your visions is brought to life. In addition, Gemnote makes it easy to design, create and send custom merchandise. 

In fact, when it comes to how to make your own merch, Gemnote gives you the best options. From creating branded merch online or working with a rep to get a curated collection of ideas to fit your brand to starting an ecommerce store. In fact, Gemnote can also help you get started creating merch with their Shopify integration. Gemnote can even help sourcing, packaging, kitting and more! See how Gemnote works and discover how easy they make it to get started. 

Shown: Custom Sweatshirts, Hoodies, and Tees 

Tips For Selling Your Custom Merch

Not that you’ve got a grasp on how to make your own merch, it’s time to sell it!

5. Create an Effective Marketing Strategy 

As with any product launch, creating an effective promotion strategy is key to getting customers interested in your merch. Utilize social media platforms, influencers, and targeted ads as part of your promotional plan. Great marketing gift ideas to build awareness and relationships can also be leveraged as part of strategy. 

Shown: Custom Jacket, Sweatshirts, and Tees

6. Use an Influencer to Market Custom Merch

One of the best ways to create and sell merch online as you have the benefit of using their already established, built-in audience. To get the best results through this medium, you’ll want to do your research on the front end to ensure you're getting the best results from your partnership. That way, you can boost your brand's exposure and getting in front of potential customers.

Tips for Using Influencers to Promote Your Custom Merch:

1. Partner with an influencer that best represents your brand and culture, and whose target audience matches your own- or those you would like to have. While not every influencer brings an equal amount of followers to the table, choosing one with a similar target audience to your brand is more likely to result in sales than just an influencer with a ton of followers. 

2. Know where your merch is being promoted. What are the best channels for your audience? Some examples might be Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, Spotify, and Facebook. However, the best mediums available to generate buzz are the exact platforms where your target audience likes to hand out. Afterall, what’s the point of investing in an influencer that your potential customers will never see? 

3. Create Successful Influencer PR Packages. From first impressions to timing, packaging, customization and more, knowing how to create and send merch or gifts to your influencer is important. 

You can even collaborate with a Twitch gamer and create a merch store for streamers. By targeting multiple streamers who are popular and creating cool, distinctive merch for each one you can create a loyal following for merch with major marketing power. 

Photo courtesy of Supreme, Shown: Supreme custom hoodie, tee, cap, and accessories

7. Contact YouTubers Directly 

Once you’ve got some super cool designs ready to go, we recommend getting in touch with YouTubers directly!  Because bigger YouTubers those over 50k subscribers may be hard to partner with consider starting small. Plus, with a more targeted audience segmentation chances are you will get higher engagement rates. 

In fact, research indicates that bigger is not always better - smaller influencers, or those that fall under the 10k follower mark, get higher engagement metrics than their bigger counterparts.This is most likely because they feel more connected to the influencer, by virtue of them being one member of a relatively small audience 

Get in touch with them either via email (which should be listed in the description boxes of their videos) or directly over Instagram. If you have recently watched the YouTuber, or have been a long-time subscriber, make sure to note this as well! Lead with what’s in it for them, why you want to create merch with them in particular, ideas for potential designs, and inquiries about any thoughts they have.

Photo Courtesy of Human Madeand Girls Don't Cry; Shown: Custom Merch Apparel, Hat, and Accessories

8. Open a Shopify Store 

For those without an ecommerce store, Shopify is an excellent way to get your e-commerce business going with as few hiccups as possible, precisely because it’s engineered to make you sales through the website. And, because Gemnote offers a Shopify integration, you can get your custom merch in front of people quickly and easily. 

Photo courtesy of: Billionaire Boys Club; Shown: Custom Apparel and Cap 

9. Invest in Digital Advertising 

Once you’ve got a site up and running and all operations in place, go over to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest and invest in some social paid advertising

This is a great way to get leads to your website, learn more about your target demographic, and make some sales at the same time. Pro tip here: make sure that your graphics, copy, and pictures are all of the highest quality to snap up these paid visitors and convert them into repeat customers (oh, and don’t forget to set up a Google Analytics account too for your website - this is an excellent way to learn as much as possible about your target market!). 

Tip: Make sure you capitalize on SEO to understand how to get ranking in Google’s organic search results and also consider investing in paid advertising or social boosts to market your branded merch. 

Photo courtesy of Stussy; Shown Custom Apparel, Mug, and Pen

10. Monitor Your Success

After you have successfully mastered how to make merch, don’t forget to monitor your success. Are your customers coming to your stores and making purchases? Or are they visiting your site online and making a purchase? By analyzing customer feedback and sales numbers, you can adjust your strategy as necessary to ensure that you are creating the most successful products possible!

For example, if you are getting foot traffic to your retail store but not making sales, there could be several reasons. Whether it’s not having the pricing structure, sizing, or styles for your potential customers’ demographics is hard to know without monitoring your sales and inventory. The same goes for online retailers. Is your shipping competitive? How are the online reviews for your merch? By monitoring your results, you will better know which strategy to move forward with for increased sales and success. 

Shown: Human Made Custom Apparel and Accessories

How to Make and Sell Custom Merch: That’s a Wrap!

Ready to capitalize on how to get merch without the stress? Talk to a Gemnote rep today! They can guide you through the process of product selections (from reputable wholesalers), options for the best merch customization, and finding unique ways to market and promote your merch to perfection. 

By partnering with a company like Gemnote when creating merch you can get the support you need from design and development to sourcing and production, packaging and sustainability, and even kitting and warehousing.  

We’ve created merch for everyone from Netflix to Slack, and we specialize in making fresh, high-quality products that grab attention. Check out our work to see how we can support you in creating merch. Or, discover more business advertising product ideas from our bog. 

By following these valuable steps, creating and selling your own merch doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Remember, researching your target market and creating quality products is just the beginning. When it comes to how to make your own merch, you need to find a reliable  supplier, like Gemnote, to help you best represent your brand. 

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