Stop Having An Opinion On Shirt Designs – What You May Dislike Sells!
This post is also available in: German
This is a unique issue that I keep seeing in the Merch community so I decided that I should probably address it. New designers or people jumping into the program are often found saying that they simply design what their hobbies are and what they like and never really look anywhere else for design ideas. Half the time, the complaint is that they made a bunch of shirts that they LOVED but are stuck frustrated that out of 100 designs, they are barely making 5 sales a month.
On almost the flip side, you have all these design services popping up (which we are reviewing slowly, I promise!). People buy designs from these services sight unseen half the time, and then when they get the design, they absolutely hate it. They do not like the subject matter, they think the design is ugly, they think the design is too simple. Every excuse for not liking something, I have probably seen it when it comes to design and what is “good” and what is “bad”.
Both of these crowds have the same issue though. They fall in love with a specific type of design or style, and they stick with it. Why? This is NOT a hobby, this is a business. If you want to make money you need to treat it like one.
Smart Merchers follow where the money is being spent!
Find out where people are spending money, and get designs created, or create those designs yourself. Give people what they want, not what YOU want. You literally do not matter in this equation. You have to remove yourself from the equation if you want to make something of Merch. We have always been taught that the customer is always right (and that certainly is not always true), but when it comes to Merch by Amazon, I think the saying fits perfectly.
Ugly Design Clears 5k Royalties
To illustrate this point, I thought I would tell a personal story about one of the designs that my designer got back to me.
This happened about 8 or so months ago, but I was doing my research and I came across a niche that did not really make any sense to me. The niche was women and chickens. Specifically the term “super sexy chicken lady”. Now, while this may be strange, and I did not really understand why people would go into this niche, I knew one thing. There was money there. I hopped into it before 100’s of designs in this niche became the norm. Today this niche is absolutely swamped but back then it was easier to stand out.
In fact, at the time, I had the best design on Amazon for that specific term, and I started to see organic sales start to flow in. 1-5 a day was a pretty great thing to see as I did my research properly, and started to dominate the niche.
Then something funny happened. This Ugly shirt that only cost me $4 and that all my friends who saw it laughed and made fun of it, started selling 20 units a day. Then it went up to 30 units a day. Then it spiked to 50, then up to 70 units a day! I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Why was this niche so popular all of a sudden? I had not done anything to spike the ranking but was certainly not complaining.
Took me a few weeks to find out but eventually I saw that someone had stolen my exact design and put it up on Teespring for $27. They must have been running a massive ad spend, because all of that traffic was coming to Amazon to find the shirt (which was priced much lower than $20). This is honestly the best scenario of someone copying you, I could not believe it!
The moral of the story though, is that even with the organic sales of 1-5 per day, this design costs me close to nothing, and was super ugly. It was a “bad” design by all means of the word and I would never in my wildest dreams wear it.
I did not care about any of that though. I was chasing the customers and I knew exactly where they were spending money.
You may have noticed this design if you use the Merch Hunter (which you should be using!). Notice the eraser marks at the bottom of the image? Is this a perfect design? No, far from it!
But guess what?
This design (at the time of writing this), is ranked #4 in clothing right now. I have no doubt they probably sold 1,000 of these TODAY alone!
Here is another one. I personally think this design is not very good at all, but simple sells!
Priced at $19.99, they are getting a nice $7 royalty and guess what? This great piece of art is ranked at 5k BSR. 20-40 sales a day EASY and this probably took someone 3 minutes to create.
3 Minutes of time for an extra $200 a day? I am pretty sure you would all take that!
Finally we have this masterpiece. I am pretty sure most of you would agree that this design is not very good. In fact, I would almost call this bad.
But who cares! This beauty has a BSR of 10k and certainly outselling most of your designs because they decided to jump on a trend and go for it!
Wrapping It Up
Just because you like something in particular, does not mean that everyone else does on Amazon. You are not designing for yourself. You should NOT be getting attached to the designs you make or purchase. Stop having an opinion on if the shirt is good or bad and just post it already! Some of the things that end up selling will blow you away when you take a step back and simply create designs on niches where people are spending money.
After all, this is a business and you need to run it like one. Do your research, create and upload. Your opinion on designs is not going to pay the bills!