In this era of the music industry, having custom band merch is a must for every band that plays locally or on tour. Unfortunately, bands are not getting paid top dollar to play venues anymore, and they are not making anywhere near what they used to as CDs/albums are no longer a revenue stream.
But do not fear! There are still ways your band can make money! We wrote this to help guide you through the process of creating band merch and the importance of having merch for sale at shows and on tour.
Merchandise for your band - Why is it important to have merch for your band?
Bands have been selling merch for decades! The music industry has evolved over the years and it has become increasingly hard for bands and artists to make money from record sales and streaming music. However, more and more bands and artists have pivoted when it comes to making revenue.
How you may ask? One way that has been proven time and time again is creating merch. Selling merch is a means of earning some extra money at shows and on tour.
Also, having merch for sale gives the fans an opportunity to buy a tangible product to remember the show with! This is another way to build a closer relationship with your fans.
By creating your own merchandise you give your fans the chance to support you directly, it’s great for marketing and brand exposure, and you earn a bit of extra cash too.
On average, artists take home 70%-75% of ticket sales, and when a band has merch for sale they can expect 20%-30% of the profits.
Creating your band merch - Step-by-step process for creating and starting your order.
The screen printing process involves a couple of steps before actually getting to the point where we can begin applying ink to the garment.
Step 1: Finalize your logo/artwork.
- Have a general idea of the design of your logo.
- Start planning out your color schemes.
- Design in Adobe Illustrator.
- Work with a designer (we offer design services) to make your vision a reality!
Step 2: Pick Your Desired Garments.
One of the most important steps is picking your desired garments. The first step in apparel sourcing is how the blank tee fits. Depending on your customer base or demographic, the way the shirt fits should dramatically influence your choice of brand.
You want people to actually wear your shirt, right?
It’s important to gauge the consumer's wants and needs and use that knowledge when choosing the garments. The easiest way to break this down is by interest and age group.
The most commonly sold shirts for a younger demographic – 35 and younger is the fashion cut blank. Most traditional and old-school brands such as Gildan, Hanes, and Fruit of the Loom are going to have a more standardized fit that’s a bit wider and boxier.
These brands are also typically made out of a cheaper material or carded cotton which is a bit rougher than an ultrasoft fashion blank. Again, it’s super important to know your customer and understand their wants and needs to source the proper brand.
Step 3: Finalize the number of garments you would like to produce.
Most screen printing companies have minimums per design for each order. 100 garments is a great starting point.
Best Garments for Band Merch
By far the most popular swag of all time is the humble T-shirt. Every band should have T-shirts to sell because all fans love a good concert tee! T-shirts are essential and have always been a staple of women's and men's closets.
The concert tee has been the best way for fans to say “I was there”, to take a piece of the band home with them, and wear it time and time again.
Patches have been around for decades, they are a quintessential part of a kick-a** jacket.
Patches come in all shapes and sizes. If you have a custom shape to your band’s logo you might pay a little more than if it's designed to fit on a square or a circle, so keep that in mind when your band is budgeting for patches.
3. Caps and Beanies
Not everyone wears hats, but people who do tend to wear them all the time. This is one of the most overlooked merch items and a missed opportunity for any band that skips on making hats.
There are many different styles of hats to choose from. The top style we see nowadays are trucker hats, dad hats, and beanies. When it comes to embroidery, keep the design simple and reasonably sized to get the best overall look!
Caps and beanies are durable garments to sell as merch and they last the test of time. This means your band will be marketed for years!
Screen Printing and The Music Scene
There are thousands of printing companies nationwide. Most companies cater to a wide variety of different businesses. However, most printing companies are tied to the music scene in one way or another. There are so many similarities in the art form. I can’t tell you how many print shop owners we know that all have a similar start-up story.
Band merch is such a common need and there are so many cases where bands start trying to make their own merch and it turns into making merch for others. Next thing you know, a printing company is born.
However, there are a lot of printing companies that focus on more corporate promo and aren't always a great fit for printing band merch.
Here at Superior Ink, we offer a premium full package screen printing, embroidery, and design shop. Fueled by quality and driven by integrity.
Whether you are doing band merch or band promo items, our number one priority is to help you succeed with band merchandise opportunities. We are not selling a service, we are selling a commitment to passion and accountability. Our team of seasoned makers provides the highest quality products, processes, and customer service in the industry.
We provide you with a step-by-step approval process, ensuring that you are getting exactly what you envisioned. This includes digital proof, press proof, and in-person proof if desired (three ways to make sure your mind is at ease before the product is in your hands).
Additionally, you will receive a dedicated account representative to work with you every step of the way. Your products and your experience are the fuel that moves our team forward.
A Quick Note About Band Merch Minimums -
Why do screen printing companies have required minimum order quantities? - Well, there are many factors that play into why there are MOQs. There are setup costs that start with separating the art file, burning the screen, setting up the press, mixing the ink, applying the inks to the screens, and also ensuring that we focus on producing the highest quality work. At Superior Ink Printing we require a minimum of 100 garments per design.
- Forecast the next 3-5 designs
- We can build out a tech pack
- Buying in bulk is the way to go, especially when your band is going on tour. This will ensure that you do not run out of merch when you are on the road.