If you’re looking for influencer merch ideas to give your brand a boost with an additional revenue stream, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to cover 22 of the best influencer merch ideas you can start selling today. Plus, you’ll get some great tips you can use to identify the merch that your audience really wants so you’re not wasting your energy or resources.
What we really love about the idea of influencer merch is that even smaller influencers can build a decent income and grow their brand if they have an engaged following. While most influencers with more than 100,000 followers are selling merch or products of some type, smaller brands sometimes limit themselves because they believe that they need millions of followers if they hope to sell anything.
But, it’s important to remember that a large number of followers doesn’t necessarily mean success. Just ask Instagram influencer Arii who was unable to get her 2.7 million followers to buy even 36 t-shirts. The failure here was entirely marketing related, not because Arii didn’t have enough followers. Had Arii done more promotion and created a product that matched her brand, the story likely would’ve been much different. Just take a look at influencers like PewDiePie, Zach King, Loren Gray, Avani Gregg, and the D’Amelio sisters. All of these influencers and more are absolutely crushing the influencer merch game. And you can too!
Before we get into the influencer merch ideas we’re loving right now, let’s talk about what merch sells best according to the research.
Influencer Merch Ideas to Launch Your Online Store:
- 1. Digital Merch
- 2. Hats and Bandanas
- 3. Custom Mugs
- 4. Socks
- 5. Totes
- 6. Fanny Packs
- 7. Artbooks
- 8. Lyric Books
- 9. Notebooks
- 10. Blankets and Throws
- 11. Patches
- 12. Custom Earbud Cases
- 13. Custom Coffee and Coffee Beans
- 14. Magnets
- 15. Guitar Picks and Drumsticks
- 16. Hoodies
- 17. Beanies
- 18. Tank Tops
- 19. Keychains
- 20. Messenger Bags and Backpacks
- 21. Stickers
- 22. Phone Cases
What Merch Sells Best?
Printify, a print-on-demand network, took a close look at the products that people buy most often. They found that functional, non-intrusive, versatile products were the big winners. This includes items like t-shirts, tank tops, hoodies, hats, long-sleeve shirts, and mugs. And, front-facing logos or designs won out, which is nice since this helps show off the brand message.
Brands primarily create merch with brand names or logos (81%) or an illustration of something thoughtful or funny (50%) and typically use a minimalistic brand message. As far as colors go, black is king (78%) followed by multicolor (53%), pastels (42%), and white (25%).
No matter what you sell or the colors you use, the most important thing to remember is that your merch has to stand out. There are tons of influencers, brands, bands, and artists out there competing for attention. Your merch needs to speak to your audience loud enough that they can’t ignore its call. To help you out, here are 22 of our favorite influencer merch ideas.
22 Influencer Merch Ideas to Start Selling
Real talk: lots of merch just isn’t that great. It ends up pushed into closets and drawers, collecting dust, instead of being worn and used (preferably on your followers’ own social media channels). On our list of influencer merch ideas, you’ll find the “tried and true” products that people love, but we’ve also included a few less common influencer merch ideas that will excite your followers and keep things fresh.
1. Digital Merch
Digital products are becoming quite the trend these days. From NFTs to custom digital art to phone backgrounds, digital assets are easy to sell online and relatively cheaper to produce, not to mention you won’t need keep physical inventory or storage.
Koji, a creator economy platform that offers a powerful Link in Bio tool, provides creators with hundreds of apps that can help you sell digital products as well as physical goods. Through Koji’s Sell Downloadable Files app, you’d be able to easily sell digital merch like themed artwork. Meanwhile, its Sell Physical Products Koji app lets you sell physical items, such other merch listed here, through your link in bio.
2. Hats and Bandanas
People love hats. With the different types of hats out there, it’s easy to find something for everyone. This makes them a great influencer merch idea to add to your shop. Bandanas are another good option that you can market to folks who don’t necessarily like hats but have a dog who will look great in your branded bandana.
3. Custom Mugs
Coffee, tea, or something else entirely if you’re a rebel… No matter what you put in them, coffee mugs are pretty great. Custom mugs give your followers a fun way to start their day off thinking of you. Maybe not a great influencer merch idea if your audience is younger than Gen Z, but if you have a solidly adult following, coffee mugs are going to sell.
Yes, socks. A couple of years ago, Copyhackers sent out socks to new enrollees in their copywriting school and those socks are still making an appearance on the Copyhackers Slack channel. Socks are big business. In fact, in 2018 the global socks market was valued around $11.7 billion (GlobalNewswire). Novelty socks are an awesome addition to your influencer merch store.
Totes are extremely popular (and one of our very favorite influencer merch ideas). Not only are they a functional item, but with some countries as well as California and New York in the US banning plastic bags, reusable bags are going to be more and more in demand. Plus, they offer a ton of real estate for a great design.
6. Fanny Packs
Fanny packs look good, are super functional, and they’ve enjoyed an increase in popularity over the past several years for all genders.
If you’re an artist, you probably have a lot of artwork that you’re not planning on selling as individual pieces. But that doesn’t mean they can’t make you money! Your followers will be happy to part with their dollars to get an artbook that features your work. You could even include commentary about each piece you’re including to make it more meaningful and personal.
8. Lyric Books
If you’re a music influencer who writes your own lyrics, offering a book of your lyrics is a great influencer merch idea that will get your followers excited. You can make it super personal with copies of handwritten lyrics pages that show off your songwriting process. You can also include commentary and notes on each song so your followers can get a deeper insight into your music.
Notebooks are a great influencer merch idea for a few different reasons. If you have a younger audience that’s in school, your followers can use your branded notebooks in class, exposing your brand to more people who fit your target demographic. If your audience is older, they still need to take notes in work meetings, so it’s basically the same thing. Plus, tons of people journal so adding a notebook to your merch store covers lots of bases.
10. Blankets and Throws
Blankets and throws are soft, warm, fuzzy, and useful. Your followers will be able to use them curled up on their couch at home, out and about at a picnic with friends, or at other outdoor events where they’re bound to get lots of eyes on them.
Patches have a bit of a “come here, go away” history. They’re often associated with bands and music, especially punk. However, with the resurgence of jean jackets, patches are a pretty awesome option for influencer merch—especially if you jump in early! We recommend launching the trend yourself by wearing a denim jacket in your content and showing off your branded patch (and the other patches you love).
12. Custom Earbud Cases
Apple’s newest earbuds are a hot commodity, so it only makes sense that custom earbud cases would be a great influencer merch idea. Nobody wants to lose those little guys, so offer your followers a way to keep track of their earbuds and keep your brand at the forefront of their minds.
13. Custom Coffee and Coffee Beans
Coffee makes the world go ‘round and it’s one of the most creative influencer merch ideas we’ve found. If it fits in with your brand, find a company like Joe’s Garage Coffee or Gillies Coffee Company to partner with.
Branded magnets are a fun way to keep your brand top of mind when they’re at home or school. You can also create and sell bumper sticker magnets so your followers can show their support no matter where they go.
15. Guitar Picks and Drumsticks
Guitar picks and drumsticks are great influencer merch ideas for music influencers. They’re not exactly useful, unless your followers decide to use them instead of keeping them on display, but they’re regularly top sellers for bands.
Hoodies are incredibly useful and popular. While they’re probably the best option for cooler months, your followers will likely rock them year round.
Beanies are another great item for cooler months, but they can easily be worn three-fourths of the year. Beanies are pretty versatile style-wise. You can get them with or without poms on top and they’re available with a knit design or even patches or embroidery with your branding.
18. Tank Tops
Tank tops are a good option your followers will want to wear in warmer months, but they can also be layered under an open button down or sweater in cooler weather.
Keychains are generally cheap to produce and can sell for a larger margin even while keeping them inexpensive for your followers. They’re simple, useful, and fun and some people like to collect them.
20. Messenger Bags and Backpacks
Messenger bags and backpacks are more durable than totes and carry a lot more than fanny packs. No matter what age your audience is, both messenger bags and backpacks are smart items to include in your influencer merch store.
Stickers are one of the most versatile influencer merch options. Your followers can put them just about anywhere to show off their support for your brand. They’re a cheap and fun way to boost brand awareness.
22. Phone Cases
Over the past couple of years, phone cases have become very popular influencer merch products. The only thing we don’t love is that they tend to be available for a limited number of devices (basically iPhones). Take a look at your analytics and if you find that most of your followers are on iOS, phone cases are an excellent influencer merch idea to add to your online store.
Tips to Find the Right Merch for Your Audience
Now that you have tons of influencer merch ideas, it’s time to talk about how to hone in on the right merch for your specific audience. Many influencers make the mistake of just thinking about profits when choosing the merch they’re going to sell. While it’s possible to be successful this way, you’re really limiting yourself if you default to just selling hoodies and t-shirts. Doing just a little bit of research into what your audience wants will go a long way towards increasing your sales and revenue.
Start by identifying the items with the best profit margins and the most demand. This is likely going to be stickers and magnets, depending on how you price and ship. But, if you’d rather offer something else, feel free. After you’ve identified the items you want to offer, you’ll need to make sure that the demand is there before making a big investment. Do a trial run with a small amount of the product and see how they sell.
It can also help to ask your followers what merch they’d be willing to buy from you. They’re the ones you’re going to be selling to, after all. If they don’t want what you’re offering, you’re not going to make any money. If you do any touring or run contests, consider including merch that you can sell as well as include in promotions without breaking the bank.
Finally, you’ll need to track your sales to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t ignore your analytics. You may find that those notebooks that you love aren’t really moving but you can’t keep your hoodies in stock. In that case, it may be better to come up with another hoodie design and stop carrying the notebooks.
Influencer Merch Ideas You Can Bank On
When you’re trying to monetize your social media as an influencer, it’s best to start with standard merch and branch out from there depending on what your followers want from you. And, influencer merch companies that offer print-on-demand services, like Bonfire or Spreadshop, are awesome options if you’re not interested in investing money up front or maintaining inventory.
Regardless of how you decide to create and distribute your merch, the influencer merch ideas included on this list are a wonderful combination of traditional and less common items your followers are sure to love.