You’ve probably seen that there’s a shiny new Freelance Mum tote bag doing the rounds. Beautiful, isn’t it? And as bright as you’d expect from such a brave, bold and bonkers brand!
Faye isn’t the only business owner I know to go down the merchandising route. You may remember Mel Bound from This Mum Runs who was speaker at one of the St Paul’s meetings last year. Her company sells everything from sportswear to inspirational prints, all of which are branded – and her mums love them. And FM members Hullo Creative have created a whole shop full of gorgeous products including mugs, totes and prints.
So should you be investing in getting merchandise designed and made for your brand?
Here are two reasons why you should:
1) Brand merchandise can create community
There’s a lot of talk about ‘tribes’ at the moment, and for good reason. Relationships are what great businesses are built on. Whether you call it a tribe, a community, a family or something else, the group of people who loyally support your business will love the chance to show off their association with your brand. It’s all about creating that sense of belonging.
2) Brand merchandise can create an income stream
Merchandise may never be your main income stream, but if you can build up a steady trickle of orders then it could be a good source of relatively passive income. By providing your customers with products they really want, which add value and are priced right, you’ll stay front of mind and hopefully that will lead on to more work or sales in the future.
There is a cost involved, of course. So if you’re going to do it, then you need to think carefully before you go ahead to make sure you make the most of the move.
• Think about what people want: You might love chunky coffee mugs, but do your customers? If not, there’s no point investing the money because you won’t make it back in sales. As with all marketing, your thinking has to start with the people you’re wanting to buy your products.
• Make sure you invest in quality: If you’ve got a quality brand then you need to make sure that’s reflected in the quality of the products you’re offering. There’s a world of difference between a notebook with thin pages and a plain cover, and one with a glossy embossed cover and thick luxurious pages.
• Think about your sales platform: If you’re planning on selling your merchandise (as opposed to using it for promotional give aways or as client gifts) then you’ll have to think about the practicalities. Do you have a physical shop or a regular meeting spot where people will be able to buy? Or will you set up a shop on your website? Remember to factor things like postage and packaging into your costings!
Personally I love a good tote bag, and regularly cart my laptop and paperwork around in the original Freelance Mum bag I got when I first came along. If you’re thinking about going down the merchandising route, why not ask Faye about her experience?
This blog was written by fellow Freelance Mum, Rin Hamburgh.
Our beautiful merchandise designed by fellow Freelance Mum, Lucie Gray at Paper Aeroplane Creative.
With photograhy by fellow Freelance Mum, Nicola Jane Photography.
PS The Freelance Mum merchandise, is currently only available at our events. A little on line shop will follow soon, but if you’d like some thing, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.