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Artist Autonomy in Merchandising

Are you an artist who sells merchandise like custom hoodies, t-shirts, mugs, or prints with your artwork on them? If so, you may feel trapped working with big corporate printing companies. These businesses often take a generous percentage of sales profits and can even claim some rights to your art. To avoid such issues, there are ways to sell merchandise with more control over pricing, profits, and maintain your rights as an artist.  Here, we will discuss the benefits of avoiding those predatory corporate merchandisers, taking charge of this process yourself, and building a business that supports your creativity and income.

You Earn a Much Higher Percentage of Profits

Huge merchandising companies need to make a large cut when printing and selling your goods. On the other hand, operating independently allows you to keep a greater share of the earnings for yourself. You can price your art pieces fairly based on material costs, the time you invested, and market value. There is no corporate middleman taking a sizable percentage of your profits. Many manufacturers have started offering custom made on-demand products that will allow you to easily connect their product to your online story. This still allows to control the pricing freely, eliminate inventory, and not have to worry about handling shipping.

Your Pricing Is More Competitive and Accessible

In addition, those big merchandising firms have high overhead costs for operations, marketing, and more. This forces them to inflate prices, and this makes it harder for new artists to build a business when getting started. In contrast, you can attract more potential buyers on your own through reasonable independent pricing. You can start lower to gain a following, then adjust your prices over time. Your customers appreciate the competitive price, and the piece of artist merch it is straight from the artist.

You Own 100% of the Rights to Your Artwork

In some cases, signing with corporate merchandisers often means giving up some legal rights and control over your own art pieces. They may even claim ownership rights to exclusively use or market your art how they see fit. In contrast, operating independently ensures that you can maintain full ownership of your artworks. This means that all rights remain yours alone. Your intellectual property is protected.

You Have Freedom to Create Unlimited New Designs

Also, corporate merchandisers restrict how often you can release new designs to stifle competition with their other artists. However, when you work solo, this frees you to design and showcase as many products as your online store can handle. In fact, you can even release new artwork daily if you want! As your creativity flows, you can create new merchandise designs quickly before that inspiration fades. This way, your creativity and brand can truly shine.

You Control Quality, Materials, and Sustainability

Corporate merchandisers prioritize cheap production over quality to make more profits. In contrast, as an independent artist, you can invest in premium materials and proper manufacturing. You decide to use eco-friendly inks, soft natural fabrics, or recycled products. Taking these vital measures will help ensure that your brand reflects your values around quality and environmental sustainability. Your customers will even appreciate your uniqueness and integrity.

It Is Easier To Customize and Personalize Your Art

Unfortunately, many of these big corporations are unable to offer customized or personalized items without charging hefty fees. On the other hand, as an independent artist, you can easily customize art pieces for your customers. You can add a custom name, date, unique colors, or more. This personalized touch helps you build a more devoted fan base of repeat buyers. They will value the exclusive connection to you.

Your Brand Reputation Is Under Your Full Control. 

Also, corporations rent out your artistic brand and they may use it in ways that tarnish your reputation or benefit theirs (some may make unethical business decisions that clash with your principles). Conversely, operating independently gives you total control of your brand reputation. This ensures that your public image, marketing voice, and customer service approach always represent you as an artist accurately.

You Can Adjust Your Merchandise Line Quickly

Finally, big merchandising companies are slow, and have lots of steps in their operations. It may take a long time before they can adjust your art pieces. Unfortunately, many customers do not appreciate these delays and it doesn’t speak well for your brand. On the other hand, as an independent artist, you can quickly change your art pieces and merchandise to capture the latest trends, influences, or personal evolutions. If certain items aren't selling, you can discontinue them immediately. Also, if you want to explore a new artistic style or product type, you can add it to your line instantly without delays.  

Final Thoughts

For artists, there are lots of benefits in starting a business independently rather than binding yourself to those major corporate printing companies. You can protect your intellectual property, creative freedom, brand integrity, and ability to quickly adapt - all while earning higher profits to grow your business as an artist. Though, being an independent artist needs more personal management. Regardless, the reward is greater if you have autonomy and control over your career. Don't let a merchandising company restrain you or take financial advantage of your artworks. It is up to you to showcase your talent and creativity to those who support and empower independent artists, and FiberArt is here to support you in that journey.

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