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A guide for small musicians to boost their merch table sales – invest in must-have items like a branded light box and stickers

Music and events

By Una Balode

As covid restrictions are finally coming to an end, cafes and clubs start to open, and live shows are happening again. If you are a small musician or a band, you’re probably worried about the attendance. What if just five people come and they don’t even like our music? But fear not – people are stoked to get out and shake it during live shows. We were stuck in our homes for a “little” while. A thing that you should pay attention to is your merch table. At first, it doesn’t seem that important, but keep in mind, that after an unforgettable show, your merch table is where you keep up your appearances and earn an extra buck. This guide includes tricks such as investing in must-have attention-grabbing items, like a branded light box, and tips to make your table stand out – pick the perfect location and others.

1) Have ACTUALLY original merch

Of course, a good old T-shirt is a fundamental piece of your merch because it is the most accessible piece of clothing that everyone needs, but the key to attracting people with your merch is selling something that screams your name. Think of something original and unique, for example, tote bags are a topical accessory – both eco-friendly and stylish? I’ll have one. For inspiration, check out this Mac Demarco’s tote bag here. Other cool ideas are iron-on patches, socks, or signed posters of your band’s album artwork, tour dates, etc. Think of merchandise that’s individual and special to your band – don’t be afraid to get weird. The White Stripes once sold sewing kits with buttons and Cannibal Corpse sells these stalker gloves.

2) Location is key

The location of your merch table plays a huge role in your selling success, because if you hide in the furthest and the darkest corner of the venue, nobody will be able to find you… If possible, put your merch table where there is the biggest traffic – for example, near the entry. It will be the first and the last thing that the audience sees. It is wise to call the venue beforehand to know if there even will be a spot for you to put your booth – you don’t want any disappointing surprises when you arrive. Call them to know where will the area is located, what things do you need to bring, what lighting will there be, etc. Also – get there early.

3) No tables? Sure, I have my own

Even if you’ve called beforehand, you never know what could come up. It is clever to invest in a folded portable table that you can take with you on your gigs. It is wise to have your own table because if you have very little merch and the offered table at the venue is huge, it will look a bit abandoned, or vice versa – if you have loads and loads of merch but have a tiny table, your merch composition might look a bit chaotic and messy. Your own folded table is also a good way to prepare the appearance of it, you can bedazzle it with your band logo, stickers and posters with your name, so it stands out in the crowd even more.

Branded light box to promote your band's image

4) A branded light box to promote your band

If you’re trying to get people to buy your merch and they cannot really see it, that’s something you need to think about. Also – light makes your booth much comfier and inviting. A great way to promote yourself and make people notice you is to use a branded light box, because 1) it works as a lighting tool and helps people to see your merch better, and 2) it attracts people with its unique look. You can design all six sides of this branded light box – put your logo on one side, social media handles on the other, maybe your website or upcoming concert dates on others – the possibilities are endless. This is a great tool to make your booth look more professional.

6) Give away free stuff to spark interest

People are most likely to buy something small, cheap and that attracts their attention. Even better if it is free! Cheap impulse items to spark the fans’ interest will make them look around more closely and get more things. Think of some original items to give away for free or sell for a very small price – stickers with your logo, guitar picks, matches, lighters, candy, playing cards, or bracelets. Once again – be original and don’t be afraid to get a bit eccentric!

7) Be outgoing

The last and the most important thing to make your merch booth successful is to interact with your fans. Don’t be shy! Talk to them and ask them questions about the show – how did they like it, which song did they like the best, how did they found out about your band? Take selfies with them for the memories and tell them to follow your band account on Instagram. By speaking with the actual artist, the fans will feel closer to you, and getting that personal attention will make them more likely to buy something from your table.

Summary

It is vital to keep in mind your merch table because for a small musician or a band it is a great way to earn more revenue from doing live shows. It is the place where your fans will see you and interact with you, so you need to make this booth unapologetically YOU. Constantly think of new and creative merch ideas, if one item isn’t that popular – switch it up! Think about the location and the table situation. Invest in a branded light box that will help to promote your brand, and finally – get some small items that people can take with them for free or for a small price that will make them look around and get other, more expensive things. Your show doesn’t stop after the last song but after your last merch sale!

Image credit: flickr.com, printscanada.com, hayleykiyoko.tumblr.com

By Una Balode

A third-year journalism student with a passion for video montage and horror movies. Una loves being creative and learning something new every day, whether it is writing, painting, or embroidering. Having a huge spot in her heart for movies, her dream is to once create a successful documentary.

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