How To Make Custom Band Tees That Will Sell

Merchandise is a key component of most musicians’ income plan. Band CDs don’t sell like they used to and streaming royalties usually don’t add up like they should, so many artists now rely on the money they may get from selling items such as clothing, stickers, pins, and the like. There’s nothing wrong with that, as it’s simply how the music industry works (for now), but if you’re going to sell products like t-shirts—which are usually the most popular offering in band merch stores—you should at least do everything possible to ensure you’re making as much cash as you can.

Read on below and try out some of these ideas when it’s next time to create some new custom t-shirts to sell.


In This Article:

  • Custom Merch Options
  • Design With A Larger Audience In Mind
  • Choosing Quality Materials
  • Keep Your Band Tee Designs Fresh
  • Put Your Tees On Sale


Custom Merch Options

If you want more people to buy more t-shirts from you, make sure you’re giving your fans options! If you only have one or two styles or colors for everyone to choose from, you’ll still be able to pull in some extra cash from your merch, but if you go out of your way to differentiate your offerings, you’re more likely to please a greater number of listeners.

Of course, the trick here is finding the sweet spot. You can’t print too many different styles, as having t-shirts made is costly, and if your store or merch table is too full and your fan base isn’t massive (at least not yet), you’ll end up losing money on unsold items or after discounting them heavily (more on that later). There’s no exact science that will help you here, so cut yourself some slack as you figure out what works for you and your audience.
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Design With A Larger Audience In Mind

Take a quick look at the online merch stores of a number of artists and bands you like. You’ll probably see that most, if not all of them only offer t-shirts emblazoned with the group’s name or perhaps the title of a song or album. It’s easy to understand how so many acts reach that design decision, but you might be able to sell more items if you change up your thinking.

Sure, you want to have t-shirts (and more) for sale that feature your logo and the names of your popular works, but what if you began including an option or two that were more for those who don’t always want to promote you? Band t-shirts are essentially just ads that people wear, and that’s not for everyone.

As you begin creating your next round of t-shirts, do your best to come up with items that are beautifully designed, instead of simply promotional. You can find creative ways to include your band’s moniker or something else related to you, but perhaps they’re not the focus. Personally, some of my favorite band shirts are ones that can double as interesting, eye-catching designs in addition to a show of support for a musical act.

Start thinking less like a band trying to get their name out there and start trying to incorporate designs that people will want to buy and wear based solely on how they look. You might not receive quite as much free band promo, but you may end up making money in the end. 

Are you getting ready to release something special? You handle the merch, we’ll handle the social media music promotion, and the radio promo too!


Choosing Quality Materials

Most people who purchase band t-shirts know by now that they shouldn’t expect great quality garments…so imagine how thrilled they’d be if they opened a box from you and the item inside surpassed what they’re familiar with? As you begin looking into printing your next round of designs, do some research and see if you can find merch companies that offer more high-quality selections.

Of course, you’ll want to find a balance between paying more for quality and still managing to keep prices down for your customers. They may be willing to pay a bit more for better t-shirts, but don’t charge too much, or you may find this plan backfiring.


Keep Your Band Tee Designs Fresh

This may be hard for artists and bands just getting started who don’t sell much merch, but for those who think it might work for them, take a page out of the books of the top stars in the music industry. Many of the highest-earning celebrities know that they need to offer new merch items regularly—and frequently—in order to maximize making money from those who love them the most.

Some of the biggest players in the business release merch collections that tie in with each new album, single, or tour. On top of that, they’ll drop new products around holidays or the changing of the seasons. They also keep in mind anniversaries and sometimes bring back popular items as well.

Again, don’t create too much merch, or you’ll have boxes stacking up and you may lose money after discounting everything, but if you offer exciting and beautiful products to your fan base and change things up often, they might just keep buying, you’ll begin to build a new fan base too.

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Put Your Tees On Sale

This article has mentioned sales more than once as a negative thing, but they don’t have to be! In fact, discounting select items in your store or on your merch table can be a fantastic way to score a few more sales and to clear out products that simply aren’t moving like they should.

From time to time, it can be a great idea to mark down older items, and that gives you an opportunity to promote said sale via your social channels, on your website, and in your email newsletter. Don’t push too hard, but let your band’s social media followers and fans know that there are great savings to be had. These promotional messages may bring in people who can’t help but go for a bargain, as well as those who might not have been able to afford regularly-priced merch.

Merchandise is just one part of a new album promotional campaign. If you’re not sure what else you should be planning, give Planetary Group a call and let’s make sure you’re doing everything you need to be successful, we’re the pros when it comes to music promotion for indie bands: (323) 952-5050.