~BuT HoW dO YoU MaKe MoNeY?~
It’s as annoying as asking vegetarians where they get their protein, and as a creator, you’ve heard it a million times. The thing is, it’s even more irritating if you have spent years amassing followers and still can’t seem to turn them into dollars.
The good news? There’s a revenue stream you may not have considered. It has nothing to do with ads or sponsored content, and it can be cute as hell.
Hear us out: Branded. Merch.
It turns out you don’t have to create tangible things to sell tangible things. Even if your brand is more about you — your ideas, your comedy, your presence — you can still make bank on physical goods.
How? Think of Celine Dion. Sure, she makes cash off ticket sales, but she also capitalizes on the t-shirt you buy at the door (#celineswag). From longtime influencers like David Dobrik to that guy with a small apartment, influencers have shown branded merch can really work.
Why? Because creator brands are the perfect match for merch: they’re niche, highly personal, and beloved by a devoted following. Known for saying something iconic? Put it on a t-shirt. Organized a meet-up? Sell attendees commemorative swag. Branded merch can range in value, too, so you can offer certain things as limited editions to your most loyal fans.
How branded merch works for creators
By now, you’ve probably explored—and maybe exhausted—your ability to earn through ads, partnerships, sponsored content, and products or services. Selling branded merch is a way of diversifying (see: multiplying) that—but the benefits don’t stop there.
Connect with your followers
On top of a new revenue stream, branded merch can grow your emotional connection with your audience—your followers will feel like you’ve made something that’s just for them. Bonus: it can help get you more followers and ensure your staying power. According to the British Promotional Merchandise Association,
- 96% of people who received branded merch said that it increased brand awareness
- 83% remembered the brand for an average of 12 months
So. You theoretically *could* sell branded merch. But it’s kind of… intimidating, right? Where do you get the stuff? How do you get it printed and shipped? What about taxes?
Don’t worry. Shopify’s got your back.
E-comm giant Shopify has jumped into the creator merch game with Shopify for Creators, a new initiative that makes it easier for your followers to shop your goods. Simply create an online store with Shopify, then stick the link directly in your social bio with Linkpop (more on that below).
Who is Shopify and how can she help?
Shopify is an e-comm platform used by millions of the world’s most successful brands to sell their stuff, ship it, process payments, and analyze the results. So far, it has helped businesses in over 175 countries earn over $200 billion.
Selling merch through Shopify for Creators
Shopify for Creators makes it easy to create products, then get them into the hands of your followers and other influencers (hello, visibility). Here’s how you can use it to go from their screens to their bucket hats.
Build your creator brand
A consistent brand will go a long way in putting out merch your followers actually want. Need a logo? Struggling to find a slogan? Shopify’s got you covered with free branding tools. Then, it helps you with the nitty-gritty, like drawing up purchase orders and creating barcodes.
Find the perfect product to sell
Choosing the right product is just as important as deciding what goes on it: 85% of people said usefulness was the main reason they’d, well, use merch. So do your followers want tote bags or branded wine glasses?
When you’ve made your choice, Shopify gives you the resources to get to the bottom of e-comm buzzwords and find the right product to sell — all while making it your own. From the best print-on-demand companies to dropshipping suppliers or safely buying from Alibaba, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
Add your store link to your bio
Once your merch is ready to go, it has to be easy to buy. That’s where Linkpop comes in. Linkpop is a free link-in-bio tool that lets you highlight your important content (read: merch) and link it to your Shopify store.
The integration is optimized for fast loading times and a clean checkout experience. Plus, Linkpop will track the products getting the most clicks, so you can grow your performance and make more of what your followers love.
Even if you’re a creator who already sells hard goods (where my #potterygirls at?), merch is a great way to diversify revenue for those times when your most popular items have sold out (or you’re taking a much-needed break).
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into what you can sell.
Selling branded merchandise as a creator
Branded merchandise is a thing that you’ve put your brand on. It can be unique to you, or it can be a pre-existing good, like a blank t-shirt, hoodie, or mug. As we said, choosing a product your audience wants is as important as branding — so don’t hesitate to get creative.
Once you’ve selected a product, you can organise printing yourself, but we recommend print-on-demand services — they take care of logistics, and you don’t have to hold inventory.
Selling digital goods as a creator
You may not want to put your brand on a tote bag, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use Shopify for Creators to sell non-physical things, like:
- Courses, group access or content (stick your logo on these if you can)
- Art (music, photos, digital paintings, animations — you get it)
- Memberships and subscriptions (daily writing prompt? Weekly selfie? You do you)
Selling NFTs as a creator
NFTs are a great way to get credit, get paid, and build your reputation as an artist. If you can not only explain what NFTs are but make them, Shopify for Creators will be a no-brainer.
Make creator cash flow
Shopify’s goal is to make it easier to start, run and grow your business. In their words, “The future of commerce has more voices, not less.” And that includes yours.