Beyond Giveaways: How to Sell Your Own Branded Merchandise

Looking for branded merchandise that you can be proud of and profit from, too? Forget single-use branded bags and “take one” plastic pens. Instead, think of mugs that become morning rituals and hoodies that double as walking billboards. Sellable branded merch goes beyond giveaways. It’s about building a loyal community of brand champions. It’s a way for your biggest fans to proudly rep your logo, while you unlock a revenue stream that complements your core business, from retail to nonprofit, to schools, and much more. 

But how do you make your own merch? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here’s your guide on how to make your own promotional products and turn your brand into a coveted fashion statement. 

Pick Branded Merchandise That Aligns with Your Audience

Below are some examples of how you can pair the perfect branded promotional products with your target customer: 

  • Coffee Shop and Cafés: When your coffee shop is the cool hang-out, for meet-ups, homework, and telecommuting, your customers want to share their status as regulars! Make it easy for your fans to spread the word (and get the clout they deserve as OG customers!) about their favorite coffee shop at work and home with personalized ceramic mugs, travel mugs, and tumblers.
  • Spas and Resorts: No one wants to leave a spa day or (weekend spa retreat!) without taking a little Zen home in their proverbial pocket. Extend the spa experience (and your branding!) to their homes with branded merchandise such as plush robes, comfy slippers, journals, scented candles, and more.
  • Gyms, Parks, and Outdoor Adventure Companies: Partner with brands like Osprey®, Columbia®, or OtterBox® for high-quality backpacks, metal water bottles with carabiner clips, and other gear that says “adventure”.

Tip: Get creative! Think outside the box with unique items that resonate with your brand identity. A yoga studio could sell meditation cushions, a bookstore could offer tote bags with literary quotes, and a pet store could design adorable bandanas. 

Focus on Quality, Profit, and Promotional Value

When you make your own merch, set yourself up for success by keeping the end-goals in mind: Customer retention, advertising, and profit. A few guidelines to keep in mind:  

  • Don’t Skimp on Materials: Invest in items that are durable, functional, and stylish. They’ll last longer, reflect well on your brand, encourage customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
  • Price Strategically: Factor in production costs, but remember, these walking advertisements are worth more than just their material value. Consider the brand loyalty and reduced marketing expenses they generate.
  • Offer a Selection: When you make your own merchandise, offer products that appeal to all types of customers. If you run a travel adventure business like the one referenced above, some customers might want a no-holds-barred climbing backpack that sports your name and is suitable for an attempt at Mt. Everest, while others might want a top quality embroidered sweatshirt they can wear back home to boast about their exotic travels (and the top drawer company that made their adventure such a success!).

Fun Ways to Sell Your Branded Merchandise

Once you’ve made your own merch, it’s time to give your customers every opportunity to make it theirs! Display your promotional products where it’s easy for customers to add them to an existing transaction at the point of purchase.   

  • Dedicated Merch Table or Corner in Your Store: Make it visually appealing and easily accessible.
  • Special Section on Your Website: Offer exclusive online deals and bundles.
  • Social Media Campaigns: Run contests and giveaways featuring your merchandise, increasing visibility and engagement.

Tip: Collaborate with local artists! Create limited-edition designs that drive excitement and make your branded merchandise even more exclusive. Promote at your store-front, farmers markets, and on community forums. 

Customize Customer Favorites for Best-Selling Sellable Merch!

Add your company logo to a product you can be confident they’ll love. These crowd-pleasers deliver the quality, trendy style, and brand visibility you’re seeking.  

Custom Otterbox® 36 oz. Elevation ® Growler Tumbler  

Custom Columbia® 15 oz. Camp Cup  

Custom 11 oz. White Ceramic Mug  

Custom 12 oz. Santos Ceramic Mug  

Custom Embroidered Osprey Daylite® Recycled Sling Bag  

Custom Catalina Cotton Canvas Tote Bag 

Sellable Promotional Products for the Double Win!

Sellable promotional products are an investment in your brand community. By offering high-quality, relevant branded merchandise, you’re not just generating revenue, you’re building a loyal community of brand ambassadors who proudly wear your logo and spread the word. So, unleash your creativity, embrace the power of customers as fans, and watch your brand take center stage – one stylish purchase at a time! 

Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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