How to Make Merch & Sell It Online (& Merch Profit Calculator)

Posted on July 28, 2021 // All, Branded Merchandise

Are you wondering how you can make and sell your own merch? 

You might be:

  • A YouTuber who wants to monetize your audience
  • A content creator who has a loyal audience and wants to monetize it
  • A company of any size wanting to create stronger bonds with your customers and employees
  • A band that naturally wants to make your own custom products and sell them
  • A charity or a non-profit that wants to run successful fundraisers

To cut a long story short, the use cases for creating custom merch are endless.

In this detailed guide, we’re going to share with you a step-by-step process for creating your own branded products

Additionally, we’re going to show you several branded merchandise examples as well as discuss what the best swag products to sell and promote your business in the most efficient way are.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to create merch with your company logo and why you should, keep reading! 

Table of Contents

What is Branded Merch?

3 Reasons for Creating your Own Merch

8 Branded Merch Examples to Inspire You (Categorized)

5-Step Process for Creating and Selling Your Own Merch

10 Best Swag Products to Sell Online

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Branded Merch?

Branded merch, also called branded merchandise or promotional merchandise, is a broad category of branded objects that feature a company logo, a company name, a company motto, or a catchphrase that’s associated with a brand. 

Branded products are used to promote a business or an event and are generally shared with a company’s audience, clients, or employees for promotional purposes.

What’s worth noting is that promotional products range from inexpensive to products of a higher price. 

The following example will illustrate how branded merch looks much better than words. 

Successful YouTuber DanTDM, whose YouTube channel has over 25 million subscribers on YouTube… 

Image Source: YouTube

… creates cool merch for his audience that he sells in his online store. 

Here’s how Dan’s merch store looks:

These t-shirts and hoodies that are branded with Dan’s diamond logo are his branded merch. 

In the same store, we find a quite wide product range, including… 

  • Hats
  • Drawstring bags
  • Backpacks
  • Patches

… and so on and so forth.

Have a look:

Image Source: DanDTM Merchandise Store

You now know what branded merch is and how it looks, but you might still be unsure about the reasons why creating your own branded merch can benefit your brand. 

Below are three reasons why. 

Here we go. 

3 Reasons for Creating your Own Merch

To put it simply, creating your own merch can generally be very beneficial for your business in terms of generating buzz for your brand and making more and more people aware of your products and services. 

Let’s get into three of the most important reasons why you should start creating your own branded products soon.

Here’s reason number one.

Reason #1: Build brand awareness

According to the 2019 ad impressions study, consumers in the US are generally 2.5 times more likely to have a positive attitude towards promo items compared to internet advertising.

Image Source: ASI Central

Statistics like this make us understand that, even though technology has evolved significantly, there are a few things that remain the same in terms of how much more people prefer receiving tangible objects when interacting with brands. 

Overall, promo products such as tote bags, sweatshirts, tumblers, and others that we’re going to see a little further down in this post, are a great and creative way to put your company logo out there and spread the word about your business. 

Let’s get to the next reason why creating high-quality products with your logo on them is a must.

Reason #2: Get closer to your audience

More than simply making your brand more popular, reaching wider audiences, and using it as an efficient form of advertising; merchandise is a great way to get closer with your audience and create long-term relationships.

For sports teams, musicians, YouTubers, artists, and various companies, merch is a channel of communication with their audiences.

In other words, professionals around the world are creating their own custom designs and featuring them on various objects as a way to give back to their audience for their love and support or also give them the chance to get a part of their favorite artist or company.

For example, let’s say that you’re a big fan of a very famous artist, like rapper Travis Scott. 

Wouldn’t you want to have the opportunity to get something that’s made by him or by his team?

Yeah, that’s what people at McDonald’s thought when they made a smart influencer marketing move and created a Travis Scott, also known as Cactus Jack, meal alongside a wide variety of merch products. 

Image Source: Instagram

The move must have worked because Travis got some $15 million in merchandise sales.

That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? 

Reason #3: Create an additional revenue stream

Following up from someone like Travis Scott making millions of dollars from selling branded products in collaboration with McDonald’s, we definitely need to say that making and selling merch can be an additional revenue stream for companies and professionals in various industries. 

YouTuber, influencer, and filmmaker Zach King is just one example of a popular personality selling custom products to monetize his fan base. 

As you can see, Zach is selling custom merchandise, thus giving his audience the chance to buy something made by his team and also monetizing his fan base which allows him to keep on producing great content for his over 11 million subscribers. 

What’s more, branded merchandise is a cost-efficient revenue stream and advertising method given that a branded pen, for example, has a cost per impression (CPI) as low as 1/10 of one cent

Therefore, we understand that all professionals and companies, no matter their size or budget, can use promo objects to create an additional revenue stream for their business and raise awareness of it. 

We’ve already seen a few examples of artists and influencers creating custom products for their audience both for promotional and revenue purposes.

The section that follows particularly focuses on branded merchandise examples. 

These are categorized by use case to make it easier for you to see what others in your niche are creating.

Let’s get into it.

8 Branded Merch Examples to Inspire You (Categorized)

You’ve now got three valid reasons why creating your own merch can help your brand become more popular, among other great things.

We thought it’d be useful to categorize the different branded merch types you might be creating.

To illustrate the different categories, we are sharing fabulous examples from well-known artists, YouTubers, influencers, and many more.

Let’s jump right in.

Example #1: YouTuber Merch

If you’re an active YouTuber putting amazing content out there then we definitely recommend you start creating your own merch. 

Our example comes from Marques Brownlee, the American YouTuber with over 14 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. 

Marques generally publishes technology-focused videos. 

His Dope Tech and keyboard tees successfully manage to capture his interests and style and we can only assume that his merch resonates with the audience that follows his content. 

Here’s his storefront: 

Considering his huge following and his merch, we can see that the creator has created a very strong brand identity for himself over the years. 

Consequently,  he’s using his branding to connect with his audience and add an additional revenue stream to his successful YouTube activity. 

Example #2: Artist Merch

The second category we’re going to talk about is artist merch.

First things first, we need to underline the fact that artists of all kinds need to create their own brand products.

Why?

Because swag, as a type of physical media, allows them to create a strong, long-term connection with their fans.

We’ve all been at a tour or concert and couldn’t wait for the moment that we would go and buy the custom branded products, right?

Let’s have a look at Lady Gaga’s merchandise store:

That is a great example of how an online store manages to carry the essence aesthetics of the artist into the digital realm.

From crewnecks and tees and rugs, pillows, and socks, all merch designs are well curated to resonate with Gaga’s audience. 

Example #3: Photographer Merch

Photographers are creators that can easily design and sell their own branded products and we totally recommend that they do.

The reason why the whole process is easier for photographers is because they already own a wide range of their own designs and photographs which means that they can easily customize and sell t-shirts with some of the most amazing photographic works.

Here’s Chris Burkard’s studio:

Image Source: Burkard Studio

Unlike others that use print-on-demand sites to sell merchandise online, Chris has created a beautifully curated swag store to sell merchandise and share his new products with his audience.

Example #4: Nonprofit Merch

Creating and selling merch online can be quite beneficial for nonprofits.

Nonprofits are usually in the position of looking for money to support their cause.

Building an online store where your nonprofit can sell custom t-shirt designs, stickers, hoodies, coffee mugs, etc., is a great idea for raising money and using it to boost your activities and the people that your nonprofit supports. 

The Shelter for Cancer Families is a fantastic example of a non-profit selling its own merch online.

Their inspirational and motivational logos and quotes on items of clothing and other objects allow the nonprofit to raise money for cancer families and also give people the opportunity to donate to their cause.

Example #5: Company Merch

We couldn’t miss talking about company merch as a type of merchandise that’s generally trending.

Creating hype around your brand might include the process of making your own custom merch that your company’s supporters and clients can buy. 

The example we want to show you comes from that company you most probably know of.

Here’s the Tesla swag store!

This one might not include a very wide range of new designs on any kind of object, like other merch stores usually do, but it does sell Tesla accessories and custom jackets, which might be exactly what the Tesla audience would want to get from the company.

Example #6: Influencer Merch

It’s time to talk about influencer merchandise, which is one of the most popular categories given the fact that influencers want to be able to directly communicate with their audience on social media and online in various ways.

Using the popularity of your social media channels and channeling it into ecommerce is something Italian lifestyle influencer, Chiara Ferragni, knows really well.

Her online store where she sells her Chiara Ferragni Collection is the epitome of a successful influencer merch store with customized products any follower of hers would love having. 

Author’s Tip: Needless to say that if you’re an influencer and have just started creating your own swag, make sure to make social media posts and let your audience know about it.

Example #7: Band Merch

The second to last category of merch you might be interested in creating is band merch

Band merch is a selection of branded products created by bands and sold during tours as well as online. 

Korean pop band Blackpink, which is becoming more and more popular, owns a very successful merch store. 

Have a look:

They sell it all, from t-shirts and fashionable crewnecks to custom bucket hats, thus giving their fans the opportunity to become their walking billboards and have a piece of the band with them whenever they go.

Example #8: Sports Team Merch

Last but not least, this categorized list wouldn’t have been complete without covering sports team merch

Sports teams across the globe are known for creating amazing, limited-edition swag products that their supporters are dying to get. 

One example here is from the world-renowned Catalan football team, Barça.

The store gives Barça supporters and fans access to a wide variety of custom apparel items, collectibles, gifts, and accessories. 

Like any other online store, it also has a sales page where visitors can find promo items from past collections. 

We’ve seen how others are doing it, let’s get into the process of creating your own merch and selling it online. 

5-Step Process for Creating and Selling Your Own Merch

There are a few main steps in creating and selling your own merch online or in a physical store.

In this guide, we’re going to focus on the four most important steps you need to take to streamline the branded products creation process and make sure you’re creating the best swag to share with your audience. 

Here’s step number one. 

Step #1: Find a creative and reliable swag supplier

The first step is to find a creative and reliable swag supplier

This one is vital because, when you sell merch, you want to be sure that you’re going to get the quality you and your brand deserve and that you’ll offer your audience the best. 

A creative swag supplier will guide you in terms of:

  • Customization
  • Types of products
  • Pricing
  • Upfront costs

Plus, any other elements of the process. 

Moving on. 

The second thing you need to do to start selling your branded products online is to create a killer logo or a quote you might want to add to your products. 

Whether you’re going to ask your designer to create a logo for you or you’re planning to do it yourself, you need to make sure that the element you’re going to add to your products successfully captures you and your brand. 

For the sake of example, we’re going to use a design tool, in this case, a logo maker, to create a great version of our logo. 

Once that’s done, we need to upload our logo to the Swag Pack Builder

… to see exactly how the logo will look on product mockups… 

… and we’re done with the second step. 

Step #3: Choose your merch

The third exciting step to take in terms of creating your own products with your company logo is to choose the type of merchandise you want to customize.

This step is quite simple as there are some products that are simply more popular than others and you need to make sure that you’re going to have some of these most searched promo items in your list of swag. 

Our Swag Pack Builder allows you to browse through a wide variety of different product categories depending on your needs. 

Let’s have a look at the categories:

As you can see, you can choose between tech branded products if you’re going for some high-end custom merchandise or you can choose between tumblers and apparel for some all-time classics. 

Your call!

Step #4: Calculate your merch profit

Calculating your merch profit is yet another important step in the process of creating your own branded products and selling them online.

Being able to calculate your profit in a seamless way saves you both time and money, plus it allows you to get a very clear idea of the profit your brand is going to get from your merchandise creation and selling activities.

We’ve been in the swag industry for a few decades now and we know really well how stressful and overwhelming it can be for companies to calculate their profit and make the most out of the swag creation process.

For that reason, we’ve created a free merch profit calculator that you can access and use in the easiest way.

Here’s how it looks:

The way the calculator works is… 

  1. You add the types of products  you’ll be customizing
  2. Add the price you’ll buy your products at
  3. You add your sold quantity, 
  4. Input the price you’re going to sell your products at

…after putting all these values together, the calculator will automatically get you your profit [5].

As simple as it gets!

Get Your Free Merch Calculator

Author’s Note: All fields in the calculator are customizable, which means that you can adjust them to match your prices.

Step #5: Create your own swag store and sell your merch online

After having calculated your merch’s profit margin, you’re ready to actually start selling your products. 

In cases where you already have an online store, you’ll naturally want to sell them there. 

Using your social media channels as a place to sell merchandise is another good idea. 

Either way, we think having a specified swag store is the best way to promote your brand so we recommend creating one. 

It might sound a bit too hard to do, but we’ve got a solution for this one too. 

Feel free to use our website to build pop-up shops in the easiest way possible. 

We offer two different types of shops.

Have a look:

Clicking on the View Sample Shop button will show you how each option looks in detail, thus making it easier for you to choose the one that’ll resonate with your audience. 

Let’s get into the company shop sample:

As you can see below, the homepage looks like most online stores with the only difference being that all fields and website templates are fully customizable which means that you can easily adjust them to feature your branding and include your own branded products. 

We’re done talking about the different steps anyone interested in creating and selling swag efficiently can take. 

Let’s get into a detailed list of the best branded objects to sell online for all business owners and professionals out there. 

Whether you’re a YouTuber, a nonprofit, or an artist, the following list will make the process of merch-making much easier for you. 

Here we go.

10 Best Swag Products to Sell Online

As promised, in this section we’re going to talk about the best swag products we recommend for most of the use cases we discussed a little further up. 

In other words, we’ve come up with the most prominent branded items that would work for most different types of categories such as YouTube merchandise, Influencer merch, sports team merch, and so on and so forth. 

Let’s get started with our first product. 

Product #1: Phone Cases

Phone cases are our first promo item because of the product’s popularity – we all have one, don’t we?

A phone case is super easy to get personalized and customized to feature a company logo or other design. 

Plus, it’s lightweight and durable, which makes it easy to sell it online and ship it across the world. 

Product #2: Tote Bags

The second item we have for you is the ever-popular tote bag

One of the best and most useful eco-friendly promo items, a tote is a product that we highly recommend when it comes to creating branded products with your company logo.

Your audience will be able to carry your branded bag around and promote your brand everywhere they go. 

Product #3: T-shirts

Old-time classic tees couldn’t be missing from this list of best swag products to sell online. 

A fashionable, customized t-shirt with a cool logo or quote can make anyone who loves your brand feel like one in seven billion. 

Product #4: Accessories

Fourth on our list is a quite popular category of swag items. 

Enter… accessories

Branded accessories can be anything from keyrings and keychains to patches, pin lapels, and pouches to mention a few. 

The reason why these are so popular is that they’re great for those members of your audience that don’t want to buy something big or expensive. 

Plus, it’s inexpensive to ship them anywhere in the world! 

Product #5: Coffee Mugs

The fifth item in our list of the best promo items to sell online is the coffee mug

Personalized mugs can be a thoughtful piece of swag that accompanies a fan or supporter in their everyday coffee or tea rituals.

Product #6: Apparel

We’ve already talked about custom tees that are one of the best branded products to sell online. 

Similarly, we need to highlight that the apparel category as a whole includes a wide range of items that could work really well in terms of a company customizing and selling them online. 

More specifically, branded hoodies, custom shirts, and vests are some of the most popular options in terms of personalized apparel you can customize and make available for your audience to buy online. 

Product #7: Water Bottles

Custom water bottles and other types of branded drinkware, like branded tumblers, are widely customized and sold in most merchandise stores out there. 

As more and more people start focusing on using reusable drinkware and reduce their single-use plastic consumption, stainless steel tumblers and water bottles are becoming more and more popular.

We totally recommend you make sure to include a few cool designs in your merch online store. 

Product #8: Notebooks

Custom notebooks are branded items that are created and sold online by many companies and professionals. 

Many people creating merch to promote their businesses and brands choose branded notebooks as a way to spread the word about their brand given that they can be very easily packaged and sent anywhere in the world.

Plus, they are a truly useful branded item. 

Product #9: Backpacks

Custom backpacks of any type, such as… 

  • Computer backpacks
  • Sling backpacks
  • Drawstring backpacks
  • Packable backpacks

… can be personalized with your branding colors or company logo and offer your audience the opportunity to get a useful, durable, and high-quality branded item that they’ll keep for a long time.

Product #10: Socks

We’re rounding up our list of the best promo products to sell online with another very popular swag item; custom socks

Socks have been and still are a fashion garment that people of all ages use to express their interests and preferences in terms of style, music, art, etc.

That’s why they’re great when it comes to personalizing them and making them available for your audience to buy. 

Our list is now completed!

However, keep reading to see our final thoughts and also get answers to some of your frequently asked questions in relation to making your own merch and selling it online. 

Now Over to You

There you have it. 

You now know pretty much everything about making and selling your own swag. 

Making merch can be a very creative and fun process that gives you the chance to promote your brand in a thoughtful and direct way. 

Besides the several reasons why creating your own merchandise can be beneficial for your brand, in this post we’ve also talked about the steps you’ll need to take to create your own branded products as well as what the most popular products are that you should be choosing from. 

We’ve hopefully made you want to start working on putting your logo on promo items sooner than you might have expected. 

If you find yourself in need of some help along the way of starting your swag journey, we’re here to help streamline the process and make it fun. 

Feel free to contact us and make your swag dreams come true!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Making your own merch and selling it online is a great way to  get closer with your audience. 

However, we understand that the merch-making process might generate questions that we’ll try to answer right away. 

Q1. How do I make my own merch?

To make your own merch you need to follow these easy steps:

  1. Find a creative and reliable swag supplier 
  2. Design a killer logo
  3. Choose the type of products you want to customize

Q2. How much does it cost to make merch?

The cost of making your own merch varies depending on:

  • The personalization options; whether you want to go for one color designs for example
  • The quality of the products you’re going to personalize
  • The quantity of the products you’re going to customize

As a general rule, the price of making merch can go anywhere starting as low as $1. 

Q3. What is the best way to make merch?

To make your own merch, you can use our Swag Pack Builder and choose the products you want to customize as well as get mockups of how the branded products will look with your company logo. 

Q4. Where can I sell my merch?

You can sell your merch on social media, at physical stores, or online. 

To sell your products online, consider creating an online store in no time and start selling branded items right away. 

Q5. What are the benefits of creating my own merch?

Creating your own merch comes with a number of benefits for your brand including:

  • Boosting brand awareness
  • Getting closer with your audience
  • Creating an additional revenue stream

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