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Band Merchandising
On The Cheap

By Brett McCarron

Logo items are not only a great promotion tool, but they can also earn your band extra money.

Everyone likes to hear your band when you play for free, but you still need to pay the bills. Wouldn't it be nice if there was an effective way to promote your band, build a buzz, actually let you make money from doing free gigs, and still not cost anything up front? Stay tuned, for there is a way...

Welcome to the word of band merchandising. You've seen the T-shirt and swag booths when you go to a concert. Ever wonder how much money they take in? Ever wish you could get a slice of that pie?

Your local printer or silk screen shop will be happy to take your hard-earned money and convert it to a T-shirt. There's a screen (plate) charge to get your logo ready for printing. More than one color adds extra costs. What shirt colors do you get? There's a one carton minimum. What shirt sizes to buy? Another one carton minimum. Men's or women's styles? More minimum orders. And what do you do with the cartons of old shirts, when you change bands or the name of the act?

Lucky for you, one supplier has harnessed the power of the Internet to the efficient "on-demand" model that lets everyone do what they do best. You supply the band name and artwork. The customer makes the ordering decisions. The printer creates and delivers the product. Profits go to you (or are split with the band). The customer uses the item and creates a buzz about the band. More people flock to your shows. Before long, you're bigger than The Beatles. Hey, wake up! You're dreaming again. Fame and fortune are up to you, the printing and merchandising is what this article is about.

The good folks at CafePress.com let you select from a huge number of potential items, ranging from T-shirts to coffee mugs, to offer your listeners. They let you pick the selling price. Sell items at cost to get your name in front of the public (with no risk to you), or sell them at a profit to improve your bottom line. CafePress - build a custom logo store for your band -- FREE! (logo simulated)

Your band's own online store

CafePress makes it easy as 1-2-3 to build a free online logo store. First, prepare your logo or artwork. It can be a full color photo, a monochrome graphic, stylized text, hand-drawn artwork, whatever. Scan it and upload it. It's as easy as sending a digital image from your camera to an online photo processor.

Next, pick the products you want to sell. They are broken into groups such as apparel, prints and cards, mugs and ceramics, home decor (wall clocks, mouse pads, pillows), and more. They can even print your audio CDs!

Last, launch your online shop. CafePress even hosts it for you for free. Just link to from your MySpace, blog, or band home page. My sister, Laurie, has been using the no-profit option to improve goodwill on her RoyalPaperDolls.com site. You can do the same.



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