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Ways to Create Merch as an Artist

Merch! From Disney movies to YouTubers to football teams, nearly everyone or anything with a following has some merchandise to offer you. You can do the same too, as an artist. Really, anyone can–you just need to have a brand identity that people are willing to follow and support. Technology and manufacturing companies have made the process of creating merchandise fairly simple, so the biggest hurdle is nurturing a community that supports your creativity. 


In this article, we’ll walk you through creating a brand and merch-able brand as an artist–textile, tattoo, ceramics, whatever kind of artist. We’ll share our tips on creating a brand and building a following, how you can capitalize on that with merchandise, and how you can go about setting one up. Read on to create some merch!



Consider Why You Want to Create Merch

You can and absolutely should set up merchandise to sell if you want to. But it might take a little while to set up (unless you already have a big following), so consider whether you want to go on this journey and why. Are you in it for another income stream? Have your customers asked for other ways to support you? Are you willing and able to devote the time and effort needed to build a social media following? We absolutely support you creating your own merch, and having a focused goal at the start makes it easier in the long run. 


Creating a Brand

This is half the battle. The internet, social media, and maybe even your local downtown area are saturated with artist brands, each competing for the customer’s attention and sales. In order to create a brand that people connect with and want to support, you’ll need to think about what’s unique about yours. Are you on a mission to recycle plastic trash from the community into jewelry and more? Are you the only shop in town that sells fabrics woven with designs from your native country? 


Remember that the brand can evolve over time. As you develop new styles, interests, and and goals, those can be translated into products or campaigns that can support your artistic endeavors. But always be honest in your brand messaging; customers will happily support a brand they believe in and connect with, but may never come back if they’re deceived. 


Building a Following

This is the other half of the battle, and it really springs off of what brand you’re building. The steps are still the same, no matter your branding. And it’s all based on connecting with people. 


If you’re not on social media, get on it now! (It’s free, after all.) Make accounts on Instagram, Cara, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and start creating content. You don’t need a whole production studio and team like an influencer in the beginning (possibly ever), just a tripod/ring-light and a good phone camera will do. The content you make should be all about your brand–talk about your technique for converting recycled waste into artwork or about the history and technique of crafting patterns and textiles. The deeper you can go, the more content you can make, and the more your customers will connect with you. Rinse, repeat. Be real and honest and passionate with your content. 


Networking! Team up with your fellow artists, too, and support each other! Sign up for local art exhibitions, and make sure your social media and contact information are all visible. Collaborate with local artists on projects and cross-post and tag each other to share followers. Join a professional organization for supporting and connecting artists; there are plenty that cater to all types of artists, as well as female, minority, and LGBT artists. Build a network and connect to as many as you can; even if it doesn’t contribute to your following, you still might learn something or get new business.


Setting up the Merch

Funny enough, setting up the actual merch is one of the easiest parts of this process. There are so many companies and online solutions that can help you out, you’re spoiled for choice no matter what kind of merchandise you want to sell. That’s the first part–what kind of merch do you want to sell? Have you been getting requests for branded T-shirts? Do people keep asking if you can put your designs on blankets, pillows, or stickers? 


Made on demand products are often the simplest and easiest to produce, so they’re a good place to start. There are also plenty of companies that will manufacture them in bulk for you to pack and ship yourself if you want to use custom packaging and branding. This is also a great option if you get a lot of traffic in you are in a brick-and-mortar store/shop, and you want to stock and sell them in person. If you’ve built up a good social media following (you really only need about 10,000 or even fewer followers in order to monetize the audience), you can set up online stores that handle the fulfillment and shipping. Many apps like Shopify and Amazon can also be plugged into YouTube and Instagram to sell directly to the consumer that way. And many manufacturers can connect directly with your Shopify or Etsy stores to have the products made on demand when you receive orders! (This is something FiberArt offers with Weave-on-Demand)


Conclusion:

In conclusion, every artist has great potential to be able to utilize their creative vision and transform that into tangible products that resonate with their audience. It begins with the inception of a brand identity and builds into a devoted following. The journey towards your success with merchandise is both a strategic endeavor and an authentic expression of your creative and artistic passion. As you get your creative juices flowing, remember to stay true to yourself and your beliefs and forge meaningful connections with your followers. Whatever your path may be, your unique narrative is the thread that binds your brand to the hearts of your audience. Keep a steady pace and harness the power of social media! We are excited to see how your adventure of creating merch does for you and your brand.


If you are interested in starting your merchandising journey with woven blankets of your art or brand, just contact us at info@fiberart.com and our Artist Liaisons will set you up with your first sample!


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