Merch Madness, Part 1: Is a Full-Scale Merchandising Operation Right For Your Channel?
So, you’re really getting into streaming, and you’re ready to start considering options for making your own merch. There’s a ton of information to consider when planning your merch offerings. In this new series, we’re going to take a look at the 3 major categories of streamer merch, offer best use cases and solutions for each category, and some recommendations. You may be thinking to yourself, “The Noname Nerd sells some of this stuff,” and you’d be right! With that said, we’re about community first here, so we’ll provide you with a fair analysis, and at the conclusion of this series, we’ll give you some details about how you can partner with The Noname Nerd for merch solutions if they fit your needs!
The most traditional style of merch creation is to do what we call full-scale merchandising. In fact, it was probably what you were thinking of when we said “making your own merch.” With full-scale merchandising, you make all of the merchandise ahead of time–for example, tee shirts, posters, etc–and keeping backstock on hand, so that when a customer orders the product, you ship it directly from your stock. This is an incredibly hands-on approach, but is the most straightforward.
So, what are the benefits for this style? Honestly? The big benefit is controlling the cost. When printing things at quantity, the distributor often cuts a discount for volume. The more stock you order for your store, the higher the discounts, and the more you can earn selling your merch! This method can be the most profitable if done right.
So what drawbacks do we have to look at? As you might expect, this model works best at a volume. Unfortunately, volume in this case is a blessing and a curse, largely because of how hands-on this style of merchandising is. You are in charge of everything, from creating and managing the online storefront, to stocking and storing the product, to shipping it out, even to running customer service. Somebody has to do all of that stuff, and most likely, that somebody is you, unless you can afford to hire help. Also, between having the stock, storing the stock, and running additional labor, this can be a significantly higher-overhead venture.
So, who does this style of merchandising benefit the most? Larger creators can actually benefit greatly from running their own full-scale merchandising efforts. For starters, larger creators can often land the number of orders needed to support the weight of an operation like this. Additionally, they can often afford to cover the initial overhead costs, which can be a bit expensive from the jump.
Honestly, it seems like a lot of work, but if you are a big enough streamer, it’s totally possible to do successfully. A great case study to look at is Twitch streamer and YouTube creator Ray Narvaez, Jr., aka BrownMan. For context, Ray has just over 500K subscribers on YouTube, and about as many followers on Twitch. So, while he might be a larger content creator, he’s not doing an insane volume on these platforms. Ray is doing over 100 orders per day, so he definitely qualifies for the “high volume” category. As you might imagine at that point, he’s got a rather large scale operation behind this. He’s got a small warehouse, and a few people on staff (including his wife, who helps him manage the operation). With the higher volume he does, he makes a lot more money by buying his merchandise in bulk, and selling it directly.
Full-scale merchandising is a challenge, but if you can pull off enough volume, it can absolutely be lucrative. But what if you can’t pull anywhere near that kind of order volume? Never fear! There are alternatives that will work for the smallest of streamers! Stay tuned to learn more about other types of merch. Want more resources for streamers? Check out our Discord and Facebook groups! Not already a member? Grab the links to our communities at NerdsBelongHere.com! And as always, stay tuned to this blog for more great tips and tricks!