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Music Nomad Article: Tips for your Merch Business

Tips for your Merch Business

By: Steve Gerstman at http://www.cutmerch.com


You should always offer a CD, if you have one, if nothing else.  The next thing would be the quintessential merch product, the t-shirt. Those are your two staples. After that, and depending on the size of the venues you play and your sales, you might consider a baseball cap, girl’s shirt, more t-shirts.   


You should use all your efforts to promote yourselves.  If you have a logo, use it consistently.  If you have a CD out, make sure your other items look like they are related to it, and to you.


Try to make your displays as attractive as you can.  Don’t count on the venue to have anything to help you do that.  Bring lights, extension cords, display boards, tape, scissors, whatever you might need to display your merch in the most godforsaken places, because that’s where they could put you!


While you want your merch to reflect “quality” (this subjective term is very dependent on who is using it – you, in this case), make sure that it is done “right,” without spending more than you have to.


Planning ahead is the key here.  Any time you play in front of people without merch, you are probably leaving money on the table.


You need to keep excellent records, starting by knowing, down to exact numbers, what you’re bringing to a venue, and making sure that what you sell is precisely equivalent to the cash. There should be only a few people, one is the best number in this case, who have the authority over the inventory, including giving it away. 


You don’t want to overload yourself with product, especially if you’re not sure of what will sell.  Forecast your needs and realistically judge how many products, and how many of each you are going to need. You don’t want to have to go to press for a dozen shirts of 3 different designs.  That won’t work


If you’re playing to 100 people, bring 2 or 3 items. When you get to Madison Square Garden the number of items will grow, but don’t try to overload your smaller shows with lots of different items.  It not only is much harder to manage, it just looks bad


If you’re going to play in Syracuse, be sure that you’re not offering the same t-shirt you brought six months ago.  Most of those people out there already saw that shirt.  Keep it fresh.


You need to keep in mind a very simple concept: When you have sold out of your merch, you will need to buy more.  It’s great to have money for gas, hotels, whatever.  But when you spend money needed to buy more merch, well, you are essentially back to square one.  Earmark the cost of each item and put that money away.



© Copyright Cut Merch 2009


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