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Band Merch the Ultimate Guide

Up-and-coming band or already well on your way? Either way, stop for a moment and repeat after us: Merch maketh the band. Feel free to take that sage piece of advice, pass it on and claim it as your own.

You’re welcome.

Make the right merchandise choices and you can help take your band from local legend to the big time, and make a healthy chunk of cash along the way. In fact, when you’re first starting out and not raking in the big bucks from ticket sales just yet, great-looking custom tees - or whatever else you’re choosing to sell - may end up bringing in the biggest chunk of your earnings at the end of the night.

Getting it right is important or it can end up costing you cash instead of making it for you, so here’s the Jungle Merchandise top five tips to making it big off your merchandise. (Your music is also important here, but we figure you already have that bit in hand).

1. Make some cold, hard cash

Look, we know playing to a crowd of 67 of Sydney’s coolest kids at an unannounced gig down a festoon-lit laneway is great for your cred and is going to produce some awesome photos, but it’s probably not going to produce enough cash for you to pay rent. Setting up a merch table with some amazing mementos of the evening is a guaranteed way to bring in a few extra dollars, which could keep you in beer and petrol money until the next show. Think about what type of shows you’re playing and what your fans like when deciding what to sell for the evening.

2. Use your fans as walking billboards

Think of your fans as walking, talking billboards for your band. Make sure your tees are going to last a while and have an easily identifiably band name or image on them. They also need to look amazing, fit well and be comfortable too. They have to be something your fans want to wear - the more often, the better, and they have to have a bit of appeal to them if you’re going to use them to catapult yourself to the big time.

3. Swap shirts with other bands for awesome exposure on the road

Found some musical kindred spirits also looking for a bit of extra exposure? If you think their fans could also be your fans and your fans might want to be their fans, it’s time for a shirt swap. You’ll be guaranteeing each other a bit of extra exposure and you’re going to get some great new merch to wear, too. Not only are you getting in front of their fans at their shows, but you’re going to get a nice plug in whatever shots are taken of the evening and shared online. Win win!

4. Get to know your fans at the merch table

Once you’re done playing, you may be tempted to go grab a drink or go for a wander through the crowd. By choosing to head to your merch table instead, you’ll not only be increasing your sales, but you’ll be able to interact with a whole lot more fans and create some lasting relationships along the way. Make sure you let fans know where you’ll be after you finishing playing and that they’re welcome to come over and say hi (and, you know, maybe buy something while they’re there hint hint…)

5. Go viral

We mean the good kind of viral, by the way. Doing something just a little out there can be a great way to boost your band’s exposure. You could consider doing a very limited release of one colour of t-shirt, or do a special design to commemorate an anniversary. Or you could think outside the box a little… Think about who your fans are and think what they’d like to wear or use. It doesn’t have to be something you’ll make a buck off, either. Providing fans something they’ll plaster across their social media accounts can be a clever way to get the word out quickly.

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