As an artist, creating new streams of revenue is essential for your overall brand growth. Merchandising is one of the top ways artists, both big and small can use to develop a wider income stream as well as make their fans feel a part of their brand. We break down how to sell merch like one of the biggest fashion brands right now, Supreme.
Build An Audience First (non-Supreme related)
In order to generate a single sale at all, there has to be some kind of demand for your merch. This comes in the form of building an audience through social platforms and live events. What we see many artists doing is launching t-shirts and hoodies with an insanely small fan-base. Just to clear things up, there’s nothing wrong with this, but the idea is to actually “SELL” your products. As you build your following, gauge interest by asking your fans if they would buy your merch. This can be done via Instagram Story polls or by asking your fans to DM you if they’d purchase something you created. Getting feedback from fans will help to determine if there is demand for your merch at all.
Limited Stock - Supremes Best Secret (not really a secret, haha!)
One way Supreme drives sales is by utilising what’s known as “FOMO”, which is an abbreviation for “Fear of missing out”. Supreme typically drops new merch each week, but the catch is…. Once stock is sold, that’s it. Finito. The only other way to buy stock from that drop is to buy it from resellers who then bumb up the price up to 10x’s the retail price.
You can utilise “FOMO” by creating limited edition merch drops. For new albums, singles or as you please. You can even sell physical copies of albums that comes exclusively with a piece of limited merch. Believe us, people HATE to miss out on something, so try using “Limited Stock” to see how your sales go.
This tip sounds obvious, but is something that MUST be addressed. If you’re going from design to selling in a matter of days, the chances are the designs aren’t so great, and you’re just not taking your merch line as seriously as you could be. Unique designs take time. Not always, especially if you’re going for a simple and minimalistic look, however, even minimalism needs to be well thought out first. Before coming to an agreement on a design, research your favourite artists and study merch that sells, including designs, types of merch, and so on. This will help you build a vision for what you plan to sell.
Collaborate With Brands
Earning from your own merchandise is cool, but you know what’s even cooler? Earning from your merchandise whilst driving sales from another brand. - Supreme do this by collaborating with brands like “The North Face”, “Nike”, “Vans”, and many more. If your merch is beginning to pick up in sales, reach out to brands (both big and small) and ask if they’d like to collaborate on a merch release. As mentioned in step 2, make this a LIMITED release with a premium price. Die-hard fans will support you for sure.
Utilise Influencer Marketing
Although Supreme didn’t pay celebs to wear their stuff, a lot of influencers drove their sales through the roof, which is exactly why you should invest in influencer marketing. At it’s current state, Influencer marketing on Instagram is INCREDIBLY affordable, which is the greatest reason to get in now. Just to put things into perspective, you can get a shoutout on a page with 100k followers from around $50. that’s 100,000 eyes on your merch.
Use Posters And Stick Them In Random Places
Yeah, this one sound a little dramatic, but believe us, Supreme used it and it WORKED. Focus on getting high quality shoots taken of your merch line and stick posters (where legal) around busy areas such as subways, bus stations, etc. Although this may be a slower approach to marketing, it’s just another way to build long-term awareness for yourself. Remember, nothing happens overnight.
Build an audience first. Take your time to do this
Use “Limited Stock” to drive attention and sales.
Be Unique - What sets you apart from other brands? Materials? Designs?
Collaborate with brands!
Utilise Influencer Marketing