Earn money selling merchandise

Merchandise is a great way to make money and keep engaging your community. In this course you’ll learn what it takes to develop branded merchandise and sell it through your channel.

  • Estimated time to complete: 15 minutes
  • Level: “I’ve never sold merchandise on my channel before”
  • Eligibility:
  • Date published: May 7, 2020

Need more help with merchandise? Check out the Help Center!

Head's up: When you set your audience as “made for kids”, we'll restrict certain features to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other applicable laws. When this happens, Merchandise shelves won’t be available. Find more here.

  1. Plan to sell

    Step 1: Identify your goals.

    Do you want to make a specific amount of money every month or are you just looking to see your fans representing you in public? Set financial goals and milestones for yourself or give back to your fans if you surpass a certain amount.

    Step 2: Get a handle on logistics.

    Decide whether to do it yourself or use a merch site, like Teespring. Merchandising services will handle processing, shipping and customer service for every order, and take a cut of the sale to cover their costs while you get the remaining profit.

    Step 3: Do some trial runs.

    If you’ve decided to do it yourself, get a good handle on the upfront costs and time commitment it will require to manage your inventory and fulfillment. It’s a good idea to focus on “limited edition” items to start and see how well they sell!.

    Step 4: Know the rules.

    Before producing any merchandise, make sure it complies with YouTube’s policies.

    Step 5: Start slow.

    Test your audience’s appetite for your merch. We suggest introducing one product at a time.

    Step 6: Promote your merch!

    We find that the best method for promoting your merchandise is to wear it (or use it) in your videos. Consider creating dedicated videos about it. Show your viewers what it looks like and talk about why you chose the designs you did. Eligible creators can also showcase their products using YouTube’s merch features, look here to learn more about this.

    Step 7: Keep momentum going.

    Create special campaigns to sell your merch for holidays, reaching milestones on YouTube, or other goals for your channel. As your channel and expertise selling merchandise grows, think about creating limited edition products - scarcity and exclusivity can be very compelling to fans.

  2. Merch that adds value

    Choosing your products

    If you have a dedicated audience that comments, shares and likes your videos regularly, then it might be a good time to consider selling merchandise. The key is choosing products that will resonate with your viewers. Here are a few things to think about when designing your products:

    Make it personal! What things do fans associate with your channel?

    • Logo: Consider creating merch featuring your logo, also called branded merchandise, especially if you have a great design
    • Inside Jokes: People like to feel like they are part of a community, and merchandise that features inside jokes creates a feeling of being an “insider”.
    • Catchphrases: Merch that leverages the content your audience already enjoys in your videos, is a strong bet.
    • Characters: If your content features a character or set of characters, you should consider using them in your merch. There are many options to play around with, from putting them on a mug to creating a plushie.

    Relevant products

    Take a moment to think about products that can provide additional value to your fans. What are you an expert in? What types of products would be “must-haves” for your fans?

    Take inspiration from this trail marker kit developed by Seth’s Bike Hacks, a channel dedicated to mountain-biking. What types of products could your fans exclusively get from you?

    Ask your audience

    If you are at a loss of where to start or are unsure about producing a particular product why not ask your audience? Find out what they would value through:

    And, remember, never underestimate the power of good design. After all, who wants to pay to wear an ok t-shirt?

  3. Making great merchandise

    In this video, YouTube creator Seth from Seth's Bike Hacks discuss all the things he's learned about creating and selling merch. Every creator’s merchandising strategy is different and will depend on your audience. However, check out some of the broad principles that apply to all channels around selling merchandise.