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Does using a custom merch provider make you money?

So your drummer’s all over the custom merchandise thing. In fact, he’s pretty certain the people of Sydney haven’t seen band merch as amazing as he’s come up with, ever. He ordered a bunch of t-shirts online and, even though the writing washed off after two wears, at least the colours were right…until the third wash when they mysteriously came out a strange peach colour.He says they’re still OK for people to sleep in, though, so why are your fans sending emails to complain?

Be honest, you’re starting to have some doubts about his talents as a merch mogul.

Meanwhile you’ve got six more boxes of soon-to-be-peach-coloured tees in the hallway of your Mum’s house and she’s threatening to sell up and move to Noosa, the drummer’s girlfriend says if she has to spend one more night on the merch stand she’s going to set fire to it (and you're pretty sure she means it) and if you’re being honest, you’ve pretty much had a gutful of the whole operation.
I’m burning this shit down boys

There’s a few big advantages to calling in the merch professionals to handle things for you intead.

Better Advice:

You’re there to play music, not be an expert in design, branding and production. You wouldn’t hand a designer your guitar and put them up on stage for you, after all. Calling in a professional is going to get you access to a whole lot of good advice and deals. You can access wholesaler discounts, professional sellers for shows, fast and accurate accounting services and good advice on product availability. Calling in professionals helps you separate out the merch side of what you do into its own business, so you can focus on the bit you like.

Good Quality End Product:

Whipping up your band shirts for rock bottom prices from Al’s Super Cheap Shirt Shack may save you a buck in the short term, but if your shirts end up falling apart after a couple of wears, not only are your fans going to be annoyed, you’re cheating yourself out of some precious long-term exposure. Calling in the experts can help you make sure your merch is going to go the distance, because every time that shirt gets a wear, your band is getting an extra plug. Quality screen printed band shirts are worth every cent.

Minimal leftover stock:

Whatever stock you don’t end up using is money that comes directly out of your hip pocket and we’re guessing you’d probably rather put that cash into something else. An expert merch provider can give you advice on how much to order and when, while negotiating the best price for you. Their projections will come from years of experience, which should end up saving you cash.

Ongoing support as your popularity grows:

As your popularity grows, you’re going to have less and less time to devote to merch, but that’s when the biggest profits can be made. Having the systems in place to scale the operation up as you need to is going to save you a whole lot of time and energy.

Experienced designers:

Merch companies know how to design merch that sells - they do it for a living, after all. While it may be tempting to get your little brother to do it for free as part of his first year graphic design course assessment, you’ll end up paying for it at the other end when the design doesn’t translate to sales.

An online shopfront:

Sell your merch online, 24/7, while you sleep, while you’re on stage - whenever. Setting up your own e-commerce operation can be hard work and expensive. A custom merch provider should be able to offer an online shopfront as part of the service they offer, even arranging the shipping of your merch for you. They’ll also take control of the customer service aspect, meaning you’re not spending hours emailing back and forward with an irate fan who ordered his t-shirt three sizes too small and now wants you to foot the bill.

You, free of the stresses of merch. You look so happy.

You’ll know when it’s time to step back from your merch table and concentrate on your music instead. If your preference is that it be run as a business that can generate the cash you need and grow along with your success, it may be time to make that call.

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