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How to Start Selling Merch: A Step-by-Step Guide For 2024

Are you an artist, YouTuber, or a small business owner looking for additional income streams? Or perhaps you have a loyal fanbase eager to show their support? If so, learning how to start selling merch could be a game-changer for you. Not only can it significantly boost your revenue, but it’s also a fantastic way to deepen your relationship with your audience and turn them into brand ambassadors. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through how to start selling merch that resonates with your audience and amplifies your brand.

Step 1: Choose Print-On-Demand Website

A print-on-demand site is a platform that allows you to create and sell custom merchandise without the need for upfront inventory. Instead of producing and stocking items in advance, you only create products when they are ordered by customers. This eliminates the need for storage space, reduces financial risk, and allows for more flexibility in offering a wide range of designs and products.

Now let’s compare some popular print-on-demand options:

  1. Printful: Printful is an ideal choice if you prefer print-on-demand services. It integrates easily with many e-commerce platforms, making it convenient to set up your online store. Printful offers a wide range of products and high-quality printing, ensuring customer satisfaction.
  2. Teespring: Teespring is great for YouTubers and influencers who want to sell merchandise. It offers a variety of customizable products and handles production and shipping, allowing you to focus on promoting your brand. Teespring also provides marketing tools to help you reach a wider audience.
  3. Printify: Printify is another popular print-on-demand service that integrates with various platforms. It offers a wide product catalog, including apparel, accessories, and home goods. Printify also provides competitive prices, giving you more flexibility in setting your profit margins.

Each platform has its own strengths and caters to different needs. Consider your specific requirements, such as product variety, quality, integration options, and pricing, to choose the best print-on-demand site for your merch business.

how to start selling merch

Step 2: Design Your Merchandise

After choosing a platform, in comes one of the most important things to consider when learning how to start selling merch: Time to design! Regardless of whether you’re selling t-shirts, mugs, or posters, your designs should resonate with your audience and reflect your brand’s aesthetic. Use high-quality graphics, choose relevant color schemes, and don’t shy away from incorporating your logo or catch phrases that your audience associates with you.

Brainstorming Design Ideas

Brainstorming for design ideas is a crucial step that involves a blend of creativity and strategic thinking. Here are some techniques to spark inspiration:

  • Mind Mapping: This technique involves starting with a central idea and branching out into related subtopics. If you’re a YouTuber, for instance, your central idea could be your channel’s theme, and the branches could be your popular catchphrases, recurring jokes, or memorable moments from your videos.
  • Competitor Analysis: Look at what others in your niche are doing. This can give you a sense of what sells well and inspire new ideas – just be careful not to copy their designs.
  • Audience Polling: Ask your audience what they would like to see on your merch. After all, they’re the ones who will be buying and wearing it.
  • Mood Boards: Compile images, colors, fonts, and anything else associated with your brand’s aesthetic in one place. This can help you visualize your designs better and keep them consistent with your brand.

Step 3: Set Up Your Online Store

Once you have your designs ready, the next step in learning how to start selling merch is setting up your online store. We highly recommend using Shopify to host your online store as it provides a straightforward setup process and incorperates with the print on demand sites listed above. Customize your storefront to match your brand’s look and feel, create compelling product descriptions, and use high-quality product images. Remember, your online store is an extension of your brand, so make sure it leaves a positive impression.

Setting Up Your Shopify Account

  1. Create Your Account: Visit Shopify’s website and click on the ‘Start free trial’ button. Fill in your email address, password, and store name to create your account.
  2. Add Your Details: After creating your account, Shopify will ask for more information such as your name, address, and phone number.
  3. Configure Your Store Settings: Navigate to the ‘Settings’ section, and there you can adjust your store’s payment and checkout preferences, shipping rates, and tax settings.
  4. Choose a Theme: Shopify has a variety of free and paid themes available. Choose a theme that aligns with your brand’s aesthetic and customize it to match your brand’s look and feel.
  5. Add Products: In the ‘Products’ section, click ‘Add product.’ Upload your product images, write a compelling description, set the price, and assign it to a product category.
  6. Set Up Shipping: Depending on the type of merchandise you’re selling and your personal preferences, you may want to offer free shipping, flat-rate shipping, or real-time carrier rates. You can set this up in the ‘Shipping’ section of ‘Settings.’
  7. Set Up Payment Providers: Shopify supports many payment providers. Under the ‘Payments’ section of ‘Settings,’ choose a preferred payment provider and follow the steps to set it up.
  8. Connect Your Store to Print On Demand Service: To facilitate seamless processing and fulfillment of orders, connect your Shopify store to a print-on-demand service. For this example lets say you chose Printful. Navigate to the ‘Apps’ section in Shopify, click on ‘Visit the Shopify App Store,’ and search for ‘Printful.’ Click on the ‘Add app’ button and follow the instructions to connect your store. Once connected, your product listings in Shopify will synchronize with Printful, enabling automatic order processing whenever a customer makes a purchase. For in-depth instructions, check out this Printful Integration guide.
  9. Launch Your Store: Once you’ve added all your products and configured your settings, your Shopify store is ready to go live! Click on the ‘Disable password’ option under the ‘Online Store Preferences,’ and your store will be open to the public.

Step 4: Product Fulfillment and Shipping

With print-on-demand, you can create and sell custom merchandise without investing in upfront inventory. The best part? The fulfillment and shipping process is automated, making it hassle-free for you. Here’s how it works:

  1. Design your products: Create unique designs for merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, or phone cases.
  2. Integrate with a print-on-demand platform: Choose a print-on-demand service provider and integrate your online store or platform with their system.
  3. Customer places an order: When a customer places an order for your custom merchandise, the print-on-demand service takes care of printing the design onto the chosen product.
  4. Production and shipping: The print-on-demand service handles the production process, including printing, packaging, and shipping the product directly to the customer.
  5. Profit: You earn a profit from each sale, with the print-on-demand service deducting the production and shipping costs from the sale price.

Print-on-demand fulfillment offers several advantages, including:

  • No inventory investment: You don’t need to hold any inventory upfront, reducing financial risk.
  • Customization options: You can create unique designs and offer a wide range of products without the need for manufacturing or storage.
  • Hassle-free logistics: The print-on-demand service takes care of production, packaging, and shipping, saving you time and effort.
  • Scalability: As your business grows, the print-on-demand service can handle increased order volumes without any additional burden on your end.

By leveraging print-on-demand fulfillment, you can start selling custom merchandise with ease, focusing on design and marketing while leaving the production and shipping to the experts.

how to start selling merch

Step 5: Marketing and Promotion

You’ve set up your shop and listed your products, but how do you get people to buy? Successful merch selling requires effective marketing and promotion. Share your merchandise on your social media channels, website, and email newsletters. Consider leveraging influencers to reach a wider audience. Don’t forget to engage with your audience and encourage them to share photos of their purchases.

Best Marketing Practices By Industry

For YouTubers

As a YouTuber, content is king. To ensure success, focus on creating high-quality, original, and engaging content that resonates with your viewers. Incorporate SEO techniques to boost discoverability by including relevant keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags. Don’t forget to cross-promote your merchandise in your videos, whether it’s by wearing your merch or showcasing it in a subtle and authentic way. Collaborating with other YouTubers can also help you reach a wider audience and foster community growth. Remember, consistency and authenticity are key to building a loyal and engaged subscriber base. Keep experimenting, learning, and evolving your content strategy to thrive in the dynamic world of YouTube.

For Small Business Owners

For small businesses, establishing a reputable online presence is essential. Make use of social media platforms and SEO strategies to drive traffic to your e-commerce site. Showcase merchandise and engage with customers to build loyalty. Offer exceptional customer service and ensure a seamless shopping experience. Regularly analyze your sales data to understand customer preferences and tailor your product offerings accordingly.

For Artists

Artists can effectively leverage the power of social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to showcase their work and engage with a wider audience. By creating visually compelling posts and linking to their online store, artists can provide easy access for potential buyers to purchase their artwork.

To connect with followers on a deeper level, artists can use engaging stories and live streams to share behind-the-scenes glimpses into their creative process. This not only adds authenticity to their brand but also fosters a sense of connection and exclusivity. (This technique works well on short form content platforms)

To create a sense of urgency among buyers, artists can offer limited edition merchandise or prints. This limited availability can generate excitement and motivate potential buyers to make a purchase before the opportunity is gone.

Step 6: Analyze and Optimize

Learning how to start selling merch doesn’t end once you’ve made your first sale. It’s crucial to continue analyzing your sales and performance metrics to identify what’s working and what needs improvement. Use this data to optimize your designs, pricing, marketing strategies, and more.

Optimizing your merch could involve various strategies such as:

– Refining your designs based on customer feedback and preferences

– Adjusting pricing to find the sweet spot that maximizes both revenue and customer satisfaction

– Experimenting with different marketing channels and tactics to reach a wider audience

– Collaborating with influencers or brand ambassadors to increase visibility

– Offering limited edition or seasonal items to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity

– Streamlining your production and fulfillment processes to improve efficiency

– Leveraging data analytics to identify trends and patterns for informed decision-making.


Now that you know how to start selling merch, it’s time to put this knowledge into action. Remember, selling merchandise isn’t just about making money. It’s a way to connect with your audience on a deeper level and give them a tangible way to support and represent your brand. Good luck!

This is just one of the way’s to monetize your YouTube Channel. If you’d like to learn more, check out our post on 8 Different Methods To Monetize Your YouTube Channel.

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