It's no secret that life in general is getting more and more expensive, and many creatives find themselves sticking their fingers in multiple pies to sustain an income. On the plus side, it is now easier than ever to sell online, work remotely, and connect with customers globally.
For tattoo artists, a great way to increase revenue is through merchandise sales. I mean, you already have the art - why not slap it on a t-shirt and sell it to a broader audience?
Besides making some extra cash, there are other perks to making merch as a tattoo artist. Merchandise increases brand awareness, it builds community and a dedicated fan-base, and when someone walks around wearing clothing with your art on it, it's basically free marketing.
"But where do I start?"
Well, it's actually not all that complicated!
If you're considering making some merch, you'll also need to consider where you're going to sell that merch.
Can you stock merch in your studio?
Will you sell it through social media?
Are you going to build an online store?
Using a range of platforms can help boost sales, but do what works best for you.
4 EASY-TO-USE ONLINE PLATFORMS
"My days are busy enough, now I need to learn how to build a website?"
Lucky for you, it's 2023, and there are e-commerce platforms you can use to build a website in no time - no coding knowledge needed. Some are free, some are paid. If you have a bit more budget, the paid options offer a couple of nice features and helpful extras, but it's not strictly necessary for those starting out.
Bigcartel is an e-commerce platform catered towards artist and creatives. They offer a free plan where you can have five products on your online store. You're able to build a unique storefront and start selling your merch, no credit card required.
This platform is super user-friendly, with an interface that makes it easy for beginners to set up and manage an online store.
Some cons to consider is that the free plan is quite limited in terms of features and scalability, and there are no built-in analytics to track the performance of your online store.
Ecwid allows you to create an online store for free, and integrate it with your existing website. If you don't have a website, you can create a one-page site from scratch, with a built-in online store to easily sell your products. This platform also offers a user-friendly interface, and you don't need to be a coder to integrate it with your existing site.
Design and customization is slightly limited, and again, with a free plan there are some restrictions. While Ecwid provides email and live chat support, the level of support and response times can vary, so users may need to rely on community forums or third-party resources for help with their store.
With Etsy, there's no need to build your own website. This platform acts as a marketplace for creators to sell their products, only paying per item listed and a transaction fee per sale. The benefits of using Etsy is that they already have a large and established customer base, it's super affordable, and the set-up is straightforward.
The downside to using Etsy is that because there are many sellers using the platform, there is a bit of direct competition. Etsy uses algorithms to determine search results and visibility of products, so this can potentially affect sales.
For those with a bigger budget, Shopify is a popular choice when it comes to building an online store. They have a Basic plan starting at £19 (for a yearly subscription) plus some transaction fees. The pros: customizable, user-friendly, and scalable. They also have pretty comprehensive customer support options. Shopify integrates nicely with social media, so you can add products to your Facebook and Instagram that direct people to your store.
The cons: the fees can get a bit high, so you'll need to factor this into your pricing strategy.
Our best piece of advice would be to start small - try out one design first, build a simple one-page online store, and take it from there. As sales increase and your brand begins to grow, you can start increasing your product offerings and get creative.
Got any merch questions? Feel free to pop us a mail! If you're uncertain about the merch-making process or have any questions, we'd be happy to chat and assist where we can.