A couple of weeks ago we ran a comp to give away 40 Mega Awesome shirts that we had designed by the awesome Russell Taysom (he’s the chap in the last picture). The internet went bananas and we had loads of people enter – thank you for doing so. Don’t worry if you haven’t received your shirt yet. Our dispatch robots are smashing out the orders and your doorstep will soon be lightened by a Mega Awesome shirt! Feel free to tweet or Instagram us a picture of you wearing it – just like these fine people have done! A cheeky Vine would be even more awesome!
Earlier this year when we were at SXSW, we went to talk on how musicians/bands are maximising and changing the ways they sell their merchandise to their fans. I think the main thing that came across in that hour was the fact that the music scene is really evolving in terms of the actual products bands are selling and how important band merch now is – not just as a source of income but to keep the band afloat.
Please note, this is not a sales pitch. We’re in the merchandising business but we’re more interested in helping you guys out with some ideas. Anyone in a band will know the CD sales are falling and it’s now imperative to maximise merch sales. The bigger record labels now tie bands in with 360 merch deals – (meaning bands have to pay a certain percentage of profits to the label). Labels are even looking at merch sales as a metric for bands that are doing well. It’s all involved in the modern music world. Taking time with your merch shows you care and it’s a reflection of your band/image. The bigger artists are now creating cohesive campaigns across all platforms – and that ties in merch with say a new album release. If your favourite band release a new album, you’re gonna wanna buy the shirt that matches it – whether it’s online or at a show. I think that SXSW was awesome, maybe not for making us think of innovative ideas but for reinforcing and reminding us what we already knew… so hopefully these next few points will help you and your band and establish some good ideas for you to make some money.
• Fans love limited-edition merch. Number some CDs, print up some exclusive posters or maybe even a short run of t-shirts specific for a tour/release. Check out the above picture of the Paramore plectrums we printed a while back. The band won’t have made money from them but they look awesome and people will talk about them online.
• Talking about limited-edition merch. How about limited merch bundles? Combine that new CD with an awesome t-shirt.
• Innovative and strange merch. Make yourself stand out from the pack! There’s loads of extreme examples in this Buzzfeed article. From action figures to snuggies to cycling jerseys – maybe your band can’t go that extreme just yet but even the influx of Christmas jumpers (EG: Slayer, Descendents, Blink 182) could easily be mimicked by a band of any size. The Green Day brain-shaped CD is the first CD that I remember as standing out as a unique piece of merch.
• Know who you are selling to! Make a connection with your fans and make sure people know you have merch for sale online as well as at shows. Promote yourself!
• Photograph people buying merch at your shows. This can help with online sales as well as deepen fan engagement. Maybe ask your fans to send you pictures in of them wearing your band shirt?
• Give other bands or maybe even a famous band/person one of your shirts! Make sure you get a photo and send it out across your social. If you do the same for your friends’ bands, then you’ll soon start spreading the word about.
• Have someone personable work the merch table. If your drummer doesn’t like talking to people then make him go and count his sticks, whilst your extroverted bassist gets his merch on. Don’t forget to hang out at the merch stand for 1 & 1 with fans and maximise interaction!
• Make sure you’re running some sort of mailing list for your fans, so you can tell them about all your new merch ideas. E-mail lists are very important in terms of creating extra revenue (and keeping everyone up to date).
• Artwork! I think this is one of the most important things I’ve learnt. Please make sure your artwork is awesome! The better it is, the more likely it is that you’re gonna sell things. If you’ve got some money, pay an artist to create you something. If not, think of a good idea and get drawing!
• Similar to the one above but if you get a good artist to design you a gig poster, why not sell the poster on as merch? Maybe even screen print some posters… we all know how big the poster scene is at the moment. Check this out.
• Don’t just go for the cheapest merch about. You still want your fans to be wearing your shirts in five years time. There’s nothing more disheartening than seeing your band’s shirt in your local charity shop because you went for a cheaper option. Ahem.
• Build fan loyalty! Maybe if you use something like Big Cartel, then offer a 10% discount for loyal fans? Discount codes are an excellent thing to reward loyal fans.
• Maximise your online merch sales. Make sure you spread the word via your social platforms. How are people gonna know about your rad new shirt if you don’t put a picture of it on your Instagram?
We’ll leave it at that for now. We’ll be back with three more parts to this blog series where we’ll speak to people in the know – the bands, the labels and the music shops. Bands – before you do any of the above things, make sure you have some songs! Thanks for reading!
PS: I think grunge pioneers The Melvins may have gone a bit too far with their Melvin meat!
At Awesome Merch we constantly assess our prices to make sure that you’re getting an AWESOME deal. As the sun has been shining and you guys have been ordering shirts in their thousands, we’ve decided to drop our general American Apparel print prices and share some special summertime deals on our white American Apparel shirts. White shirts are awesome for the summer!
If you don’t know about American Apparel, then here’s a little bit of information for you about them. To sum it all up they’re a high quality garment manufacturer that make their own ethical sweatshop free and environmentally friendly shirts in L.A. They have 260 plus American Apparel stores/outlets around the world that sell their clothing but they also sell wholesale to the print industry and that’s where we come in.
American Apparel was founded in 1989 by a Canadian chap called Dov Charney (you can see a video interview with him below). He’s quite the character but you can’t fault his entrepreneurial skills and the fact that American Apparel make some of the highest quality shirts that are out there today. You can improve the image and quality of your brand, business, clothing company or even your band with some awesome AA shirts.
We have THREE OPTIONS for you all to get involved with. We’ve lowered our general prices here and we’ve there’s also deals on 50 white shirtsand 100 white shirts – both with a one colour print. 50 shirts are now only £375 and 100 shirts are now only £685. That’s a one position print on the AA 2001 Fine Jersey white shirt. Prices include VAT and delivery. AWESOME. Don’t forget that we can also offer oversized prints for free! Not to mention: CMYK printing, de-tagging, custom labelling and neck prints, bagging and embroidery!
That’s enough information for you. If you have any more questions, then please mail us! Keep it awesome!
A while back we ran a series of Meet The Staff blogs where we introduced you to our staff via the medium of stupid questions. Well, I think it’s time we focused a little bit closer on some of the awesome things that our staff do, when they’re not being awesome at Awesome Towers.
James Lyall is our production manager. He also has to deal with my constant requests for pictures of him posing in Awesome Merch paraphernalia. He usually ignores me, which is fine. I would too. He is totally awesome at putting gigs on in Leeds. I know, because I’ve been to them and bopped my head in time with the music. Let’s find out a little bit more about what he does with Dirty Otter….
1) Who Is Dirty Otter?
Dirty Otter is me and my mate, Matthew Wall. We are both in our mid-twenties and have dark hair.
2) How long have you been putting gigs on for?
We are now in our 7th year of putting on gigs in Leeds.
3) Have you put gigs on in other places or just Leeds?
Yeah, we both put on gigs in our hometowns of Sunderland (me) and Birmingham (Matty)
4) What venue do you normally use? Tell us about it!
We usually use The Brudenell Social Club, which is widely regarded as the best small venue in the U.K (we agree). It has excellent cheap booze, a real life dog, and the staff are all lovely people too. We also use Nation of Shopkeepers & The Packhorse on occasion.
5) What kind of bands do you put on? Do you just put bands on that you like?
We only put on bands that we like, we aren’t promoters for any other reason really! They are usually filed under some sub genre of indie, punk, noise or pop.
6) I know this is an obvious one but tell us about your favourite/s gig/s that you’ve ever put on?
Every gig we have ever done has been special to me in some way, but our stage at Beacons Festival 2012 was one of the best days / lineups we have had the pleasure of putting together and seeing! Other standout bands for me have been Grown Ups, Metz, Cinemechanica, Meet Me in St. Louis and Colour.
7) How strong is the Leeds music scene at the moment? Both fans and band wise?
Very strong, there are a lot of bands old and new that are putting out great records and are fantastic live. Cowtown are always pleasure to watch, their new album is brilliant. Newer bands like Hookworms and Blacklisters are going strong too. Our faves That Fucking Tank are about to celebrate their 10th anniversary of doing rock. They are having a party at Wharf Chambers on July 6th.
8) What gigs have you got coming up that you’d like to tell us about?
Yeah we have a couple coming up in July that we are REALLY excited about! Retox (featuring Justin Pearson of The Locust / ThreeOneG Records) are coming over, they just put out their new album on Epitaph, it’s totally mint.
We also have Braid, which we were lucky enough to book. They will be playing their album ‘Frame & Canvas’ in full, and is one of my favourite albums ever!
9) Would you ever consider putting a gig on featuring the AM staff’s bands?
Never. Unless Charlotte (AM Director) manages to get her band sorted out – Skaline Dion. Which as the name suggests – will be amazing.
As you may have read last week, I blogged about some awesome creative marketing from the Daily Internet. They used milk bottles and some of our custom stickers as a promotional campaign for their internet services. The internet went crazy for this and the feedback on both their idea and the blog series was super-positive. The milk puns were less well received. So, we’ve decided to do a whole series on how you guys use your merch in crazy and inventive ways. If you wanna get involved, mail me!
Moving on to the second chapter. When we had the idea for more people to get involved with this series, I already had Colin Kersley and Alternative Aesthetics in mind. Colin first came to my attention earlier this year when he ordered some swing tags and used them as business cards (see above). I love stuff like this – hence these blogs. He also sent me rad photos which made me like him even more. To make him my all-round new favourite person, as soon as I tweeted looking for more people for this series, he replied. I dropped him an e-mail and this is what he had to say about himself and his most recent order from Awesome Merch:
I guess the most important thing to say is that I’m an illustrator/designer and I’m working towards launching an apparel brand all under the name of Alternative Aesthetics. The aim of it is for me to be able to do what I love every day! I’m furiously working away like a man possessed at the moment to get my site ready, new clothes, accessories and prints ready to launch later this year. One of the things that’s held me back in getting everything going sooner has been not having the right resources available to create the experience I want people to have from both my illustration work and clothing. Then there was one thing that just made everything fall into place to get the ball rolling…like a better version of the boulder from The Temple of Doom that easily would have flattened Harrison Ford. That thing was the swing tags in the gorgeous recycled brown stock! They were the perfect for me to make business cards with! Something a little bit different with the right amount of quirk and charm. After getting them back from you guys, I individually strung and edge painted each tag to give them the final detail and that was it….that was the direction I needed to go in.
One of the other items I needed was packaging for some transferable tattoos I’ve created. I needed some kind of small envelope and just couldn’t find anything anywhere that matched the look and feel of the business cards, so I had to get a little bit creative. I knew that the heavy duty A3 prints used the same recycled stock as the swing tags and I just decided to go for it and produce my own packaging. After a few trials with some samples, I’d got the net figured out and the double-sided design created so sent off my order. Once the tattoo packaging arrived I made a start on cutting and sticking all 200 of them and they’re looking f***ing amazing! This is just the beginning! I’ve got a bunch of other ideas to utilise other Awesome Merch products in ways they’re not necessarily intended for, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for them!
Well, well, well. Colin basically ordered or our heavyweight prints and converted them himself into tattoo packaging – genius. I’m looking forward to seeing what else he has up his creative sleeve. You can follow him via the Alternative Aesthetics Twitter. As I said at the start of the blog, if you’ve something awesome like this that you wanna share with us – GET IN TOUCH! The next blog could be about you.
Remember back in February, we ran a comp to giveaway £3000 worth of merch to one lucky clothing company? No? Well we did. And what a fantastic comp it was too! Read all about it here. I’m sure that at some stage soon we’ll run something similar. Maybe for you all and not just those lucky apparel-mongers.
Anyway, the lucky so-and-so’s who won were HARD TIMES CLOTHING. They won all of the above, which was quite a lot. More than enough for a new range, or to kickstart a company or reboot a brand. I promised that I’d get some pictures and never one to renege on my word, here they are. Better late than never.
Let’s start with the awesome Varsity Jackets that they won! You can see the front and back in this picture and I personally love the colour of this jacket. I think you’ll find they’re burgundy and heather grey. Delightful!
Next up: we gave away 50 American Apparel fine jersey tees. As we all know American Apparel make some quality garms and this deluxe shirt is a hit with a lot of clothing companies.
Where would anyone be without stickers? How can you promote the rest of what you do? This is an old picture but the good news is that die cut stickers not come fully cut out as standard. Awesome!
Last but not least, if you’ve got the shirts and the jackets then you’re gonna need the badges to pin on to them. Right? 25 mm badges are still one of our most popular products.
That’s it. We run so many comps that I think it’s cool to show you who wins them and what they do with the prizes. If you win something from us, don’t forget to tweet or Instagram us a picture. Thanks very much!
First up – sorry for the uber-long title and welcome to a new blog series where we explore awesome ways that people use AM products. This is not a product showcase, we’re not trying to sell you anything, we just wanna show off rad people who have thought of creative ways to use what we make for them. Secondly – I’ll try not to make too many milk puns but if you’re lactose intolerant this blog may well go pasteurise, curdle your mind and turn your brain into cheese.
A couple of weeks back I saw an interesting picture on our Instagram from Jim Cork that grabbed my attention. It was of a whole bunch of milk bottles with stickers that we’d printed around them. I instantly thought it’d make a good photo to share but why not go one step further and blog about it? ‘How dairy’ – you may shout, and you’d be right – that’s the worst pun yet.
Anyway, I got in touch with Jim and asked him why on earth he was using milk bottles with our stickers on. He had the following to say: “Daily is an internet services company in Nottingham. Our aim was to come up with an idea which would directly reach out to our local client base, using a creative approach that reflected our brand rather than using a tired direct mail approach. The classic British milk bottle was the perfect medium for us – an iconic part of growing up for a lot of people of our generation, with direct connotations of consistent, dependable service. We hand delivered the milk bottles to creatives in the local area which gave us an opportunity to meet the people that would be using our services. Our hope is that gave them a smile, something to remember us by, and hopefully something they’ll talk about to other folks in the industry.
We used your vinyl stickers so that when the milk was stickered up and put back in the fridge, the condensation wouldn’t damage the labels. It was actually real milk – we wanted something that people could actually get some use out of rather than it just being another piece of junk through the door. Initially we just sent out about 30 bottles, all hand delivered to design / digital agencies in Nottingham to good reactions. We ordered about 100 bottles worth of stickers in total, enough to run it again in the future. The stickers were a front label with the company name, a back label with a blurb about what we offer and then a cap label with the company logo.”
If you think this idea is udderly brilliant, then you can find the Daily website here and their Twitter here. It’s awesome when brands use creative ideas to market themselves. If you’ve just skimmed this blog and you think I’m talking out of my dairy-ere, then I apologise. If you’ve used an AM product in an interesting fashion and you’d like me to blog about, then you can E-mail me! If it floats my boat, or is the crème de la crème of ideas then I will try and milk it for you. I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks to Jim and the Daily for getting in touch, have a crate week!
Sorry if the title was a little bit of a mouthful, hopefully you’ve come out of the other side okay and you’re reading this blog! You may remember that a while back, Luke Hodson had the great idea to give away 10,000 stickers when we hit 10,000 followers on Twitter. Well, we ran a massive comp, loads of you entered and ten people went away as winners of 1,000 stickers each! Hurrah!
I had the honour of sifting through all the entries and choosing the ten that I thought would look awesome when printed up! The winners were: @CharlsVallance @CharleyRalphs @SarahSketchbook @anaseed_man @6TWO1 @deadweightx @msvikivortex @sandsapparel @armyofcats & @ljw_illustrates. (I must apologise to @ljw_illustrates whose stickers aren’t featured here – we sent them out before we could take photos. Damn efficiency!)
You can see the wide range of designs that won and how stickers can be used in all spectrums of life to promote what you do. In this ten, we have artists, stickers for packaging, clothing companies, a Honda enthusiast website, a DIY brewery and Army of Cats’ awesome Cameron vampire sticker. No bands though – maybe next time!
The good news is that when we hit 20,000 followers, there’ll be a next time, we’ll give away 20,000 stickers and I’ll blog about 20 winners! One more thing: don’t forget that we’ve recently just launched sticker packs and now all custom shaped stickers will come fully cut out as standard! It’s been a sticker filled week! That’s it. You’re done.
PS: I hope that the Vortex Brewery actually saved some stickers for their bottles instead of sticking them all over their faces!
I love it when I get a message from Luke Hodson telling me that we’re launching a new product. Sometimes he sneaks them up on me and before I know it, we’re swimming in the buggers! Anyway, we’re currently sorting out a bunch of new sticker options, starting off with sticker packs.
What does the website say? ‘Custom sticker packs are an awesome way to present your vinyl stickers, adding value and interest to a super popular product. Sticker packs can include die cut or straight cut stickers printed in full colour and packaged into bags with a custom printed and folded header.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself.
The good news is that as well as these awesome new sticker packs, all custom shaped stickers will now come fully cut out as standard! That means that they’re even more awesome. You can still pick up 250 custom shaped vinyl stickers for only £50! The even better news is that more sticker options are on their way and we’ll be launching them very soon.
What now! We’ve 20 Awesome Merch sticker packs to give away. If you wanna win one, do the following. Follow us on Instagram and leave a comment on THIS PHOTO with the #stickerpacks hashtag! It’s that easy. Comp ends at Midday, Wednesday May 29th and the winners will all receive some awesome free stickers! As always, the comp is only open to the U.K. Thanks!
The Instagram winners are: @snelephant @benbravery @louisewhitmore @storeexclusive @weheartarts @tim_bullock @doodlecats @aglasshalf @wordsoncespoken @henryeh @tommypopcorn @teamnekouk @sew_devine @andyfoster91 @mike_greenhill @georgeastt @ibecharlie @lozinception @thelucashardy @rebelgeeza – mail Jhon@awesomemerchandise.com with your address and you’re sticker packs will be in the post soon! Please make sure it’s a UK address! Thanks
It’s my pleasure to welcome you all to another instalment of AWESOME BANDS! I love my job! I’m pleased to tell you that POLAR are the latest addition to our excellent merch roster. We now have ten bands on there with lots more in the musical pipeline. Talking about good music, you can actually check our staff Spotify playlist right here.
Back to POLAR! These dudes have been rocking the hardcore punk scene since 2009. There used to be five of them but now there’s four, which is a really good number of people to have in your band. Look at The Beatles. They did alright for themselves. Anyway: POLAR are nothing like The Beatles musically, their own vicious brand of hardcore has spawned a debut EP in 2010 and an album in 2012 called Iron Lungs, which was released on A Wolf at Your Door Records. It gained rave reviews and the fine people at Punktastic gave it a mighty four stars.
They must be doing something right because Drop Dead Clothing have snapped them up and will be releasing their latest E.P for them. If you order something from Drop Dead, you’ll get a copy of the Inspire Create Destroy E.P for free, or you can just pay to download it. This will be happening on May 27th! Hardcore music fans – get that in your diaries! I think it’s cool that a clothing company is releasing something like this… I think it’s an innovative way to promote a band and it shows how popular clothing companies now are. You can’t imagine that happening five years ago (please don’t tell me someone did this five years ago). Good on them!
Anyway, it’s been our honour to work with Polar and print their merch up for them. You can buy it right here. The guys are busy on the road and are constantly playing shows all round the U.K, so make sure you go and see them! If you’re in Leeds, then they’re playing GHOSTFEST at the end of June. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. That’s it for now.. more Awesome Bands soon!