As we are in the business of getting into the business of art, it is important to have a product to sell. Without something to sell, how do you expect to start making a living? Whether you are a crafter, a musician, or a writer, you must find out what your product is. For crafters, this is a rather simple question. Crafters are one of the most likely artist types to understand the need for a product and the idea of taking your wares to market. Hats off to crafters, here. For other artists, the runway may be a bit longer to creating that novel or that album. But beyond the book or CD, we wanted to provide a few other ideas that you, as an artist, can explore to turn your name and talents into dollars.
Name Your Product
Merch is a great way to grab a few extra bucks and promote your brand at the same time.
Guitar Picks: http://www.claytoncustom.com
– Also consider creating guitar pick necklaces.
Buttons: Try PureButtons.com or another company that offers competitive rates.
Stickers: Try Stickerobot.com or StickerGuy.com or similar company.
Clothing: Try Asteva.com or similar.
Magnets: DiscountMagnets.com, Zazzle.com or similar.
Clothing: Try Asteva.com or similar.
Bookmarks, Notepads, Postcards: Try PrintSafari.com or similar.
– Turn your quotes or poems into magnets and notecards. Frame the postcards for instant art. Collaborate with visual artists to create a quotes series, your words their art.
Stickers, Buttons, Clothing, Postcards, Notepads, Tote Bags, Mugs. There are tons of great ideas. Visit a few custom merch websites for more inspiration. Just be sure it fits within the price and the market you are selling or promoting to.
Also, there are many companies that will do print-on-demand so you can sell your merch online. They do all the work, producing and shipping the product and you don’t have to carry a large inventory. We do recommend that you carry some, however, as many of your sales will likely come from your fan base at your shows and concerts.
Name Your Price
Nowadays, a dollar is a good place to start. Most anyone can spare a dollar. Start with a piece of merch you can sell for that price. That’s where guitar picks, stickers and buttons are a good option.
Custom your design. Promote your brand. Buy a bunch for less than $0.30 each and sell them for a dollar at your concerts and shows. That’s $0.70 profit on each one. If you buy 100 of these you will be seeing profit after the first 30 items sold.
As your popularity and your fan base grow, consider investing in t-shirts. Shop around and find good quality digital or silk screening company. Be sure to ask about set up cost. A per color or per screen price is common so you want to ask how many screens it will take for your image. Also, if you have a front and a back image to print, the set up and per shirt price doubles. These are all things to consider. Send the company your image and as A BUNCH of questions until you are sure you understand the process. Call around and get at least 3 quotes so you are sure you are getting a good rate with good quality.
Price your t-shirts around $15-$20 and sweatshirts at $25-$30. Be sure to do the math on how much it will cost to produce each t-shirt to ensure that you are actually making money in this venture. There are places out there that will sell shirts in bulk for as low as $3-$5. CottonHeritage.com is a good place to get shirts at a good price with good quality. You can even schedule an appointment to go down to their warehouse to check out their shirts.
Name Your Market
We’ve talked about finding your market before. Consider the types of people you perform for and what their needs and wants might be.
Remember, the high school and college market carry backpacks and binders. This is great for selling those stickers and buttons.
If you go to a lot of open mics and hang out with a lot of musicians, selling custom guitar picks would really make sense for you.
Look at where you are performing and hanging out. Do the people you run around with like to advertise their interests in their wardrobe? T-shirts!
Keep a keen eye toward who your market is. You may have a really clever idea for a product, but if it won’t sell to your market, it’s useless. Know your market and stay with them. You can even do surveys to find out what they really want and how much they will pay. SurveyMonkey.com is a great way to run a quick, free survey. Give it a shot!
So, in closing, figure out what type of product you want to put out. Decided on a price based on your profit margin and what you think your buyers will pay. Finally, consider your market.
Once you have these three things nailed down. Get a design laid out and it’s full steam ahead. Having merch is another great way to get your brand out there and to make some extra dough. And when your book or album is released, you can throw in a piece of merch for free with purchase. Everyone loves free stuff, and that gesture can go a long way. But for now, there’s no need to wait. Put together a great little piece of merch and start selling!
So, get going and have fun!
1) Name Your Product.
2) Name Your Price.
3) Name Your Market.
4) Get your product design and purchase items to sell.
5) Post all this on the comments section below and the event page.
– C. R. Cohen
Chelsea Cohen’s love affair with words and the arts has lead her on a lifelong journey as a poet and writer and an art activist, founding Artists Underground, to bring networking, resources and advice to artists, and joining forces with Soapbox Nation to provide creative career consultations and artist services to help artists get further faster.