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How to Make and Sell Merch as a DJ

Terran

4 min read

Feb 11

Are you building a following on social media? Earning streams on Spotify or SoundCloud? Or playing consistent live sets? If so, it might be time to design your own merch.


A DJ packing their DJ merchandise to ship to customers

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Why Do People Buy Merch?


Merchandise is a tangible extension of any brand. It offers fans a way to show support for their favorite performer, or simply appreciate a cool design.


For DJs, it's not always just about profit. When your followers wear your apparel, they become a mobile endorsement.


4 Major Benefits of Music Merchandising


Merchandising is an excellent way to make money as a DJ, even if you only have a small following. You'll earn $2,000 faster from apparel than streams on any platform.


Here are some of the perks you may not have thought of:


  1. Free Promotion: When a person wears your DJ merchandise, they and anyone they see that day are reminded of your music and the experience associated with it.

  2. Community Building: Owning a piece of merchandise can amplify a fan’s commitment and loyalty to your brand. Think of any sports team, fans love to represent their team.

  3. Eco-Friendly Options: With the rise of sustainable practices, offering eco-friendly merchandise could become part of your brand image and resonate with people in a positive way.


How to Make DJ Merch in 3 Steps


Infographic explaining how to make dj merch in 3 steps, with a man screen printing in the background.

Step 1: Define Your Brand Identity


The very first step in the merchandising process is to understand and define your brand identity.


This includes every visual element of your brand, from your logo, color schemes, to overall aesthetic. Consistency is comfortable, and helps to boost your brand reputation.


For inspiration, consider writing down your Unique Selling Proposition (what makes your brand stand out from other DJs). The design you choose should align with your brand identity and be something your audience wants to wear.


Step 2: Brainstorm Your Product Ideas


Ultimately, to choose the right product, you will need to use what you know your target audience. Since you are likely a DJ or music producer, you’ve likely been a fan as well.


That means you might know what it’s like to be on the receiving end, and have a good idea of the industry standard.


One solid option is to keep things simple and make a T-shirt or hoodie. Alternatively, you can take more time to find the right hat, enamel pin, patch, jacket, or bag. Take inspiration from different fashion styles or attempt to choose an unusual or practical item.


After you brainstorm a few concepts and product ideas, ask your followers their opinion directly via polls on social media. Either show off some mock-ups, or describe the theme and style.


Step 3: Design and Mockup Your Products


One solid option is to keep things simple and use a text logo as the primary graphic for your merchandise. This is a popular move used by many rising entertainers who can’t yet afford a graphic designer.


If you're artistically inclined, use free tools like Canva or Adobe Express to make a custom design. If not, don't worry! You can hire a graphic designer.


Find artists who match your style on social media by searching hashtags. Or search by price on freelance websites like Fiverr. With their help, you can turn any idea into wearable merch.


Take advantage of websites like smartmockups to create a proof of concept and marketing materials. The key to designing the right dj merch is not just picking a popular product or image, it's about creating an item others will love to own.


The Two Best Ways to Sell DJ Merch


When your design is ready, you need to choose a way to distribute your products to fans.


You can either find a manufacturer to buy stock from, or set up a print-to-order system to save time. Print-to-order is when products are printed and shipped directly to customers on a per-order basis. Eliminating the need for inventory and up-front costs.


Keep in mind that the more expensive the production process is, the less money you make per sale.


Print-to-Order Merch on Your Website


Using your own platform to sell DJ merchandise gives you full control over the customer experience. Plus, there are less seller fees, so the profit margin is larger.


On top of controlling the entire journey, many web-hosting platforms offer ecommerce plugins that make it easy to sell.


Unfortunately, running a website has other responsibilities that can be more complex and time-consuming. Such as handling customer service or website maintenance.


Selling on an Online Marketplace


If you opt to sell on an online marketplace, such as Etsy or Amazon, you'll enjoy a few key benefits. These platforms offer a built-in customer base, are easy to set up, and some even handle customer service for you.


On the downside, these platforms often charge fees for listing and selling items. Plus, the heavy competition can make it tough for your merch to stand out organically.


Selling and Marketing Your DJ Merchandise


As a DJ, producer or musician, your best option is to leverage your online presence to drive sales. Especially on platforms where your target market hangs out the most. Then engage with followers, let them be a part of the process and share behind-the-scenes content. You can even run a contest or giveaway to generate more attention.


Additionally, look for natural opportunities to plug your merchandise. Wear it during DJ sets or in social media posts to get more visibility and increase the odds a fan makes a purchase.


Remember, DJ merchandise is about deepening the connection with your audience. The more they approve, the more likely you are to succeed.

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