I’m in the Merch by Amazon progam! Didn’t think much about it since I heard there was a waiting list to join but had nothing to lose so went ahead and to my surprise got the approval email within 2 days!
The program is structured in tiers. Starting with Tier 10 which means you can submit up to 10 designs (one per day upload limit) and then progressing to Tier 25, 100, 500, 1k, 2k with more daily uploads increasing accordingly.
There are challenges with being based outside of the US, namely I can’t purchase my shirts directly to get out of Tier 10 (one common strategy people adopt), I’m designing for a market I’m not so familiar with (US only) and lastly, I don’t have previous experience of designing for T-shirts!!
This hasn’t stopped me from trying and researching everything I can about Merch and what strategies people use to get tiered up and in the process I have learnt a lot! It’s made me reconsider the whole POD (print on demand) model of working and realised there is much scope there outside of the traditional Society 6 or Redbuble stores.
For example, I’ve learnt things about Shopify integration with various POD providers, Etsy integration with POD, even Amazon marketplace integration with some POD via your own domain store.
Didn’t realise how many companies out there offer POD with dropshipping (Printful, Gooten just to name a couple) and how attractive this model is for someone like me who wants to explore selling something online with my own creative input.
It does require a lot of work and experimentation though...sampling the products is very important too as well as taking account logistics such as shipping and customs costs and the implications of working with a POD company is based outside of your own country.
Merch Collab is also something I mean to look further into...this is where big brands offer Merch by Amazon designers the chance to licence their artwork to sell on the Merch apparel categories (t-shirts/hoodies etc.) directly on Amazon.
I feel the POD industry is really hotting up atm and will continue to grow massively, offering an ever expanding range of products to print designs on. It’s very exciting and definitely an area that opens up so many possibilities with low upstart costs/risks.
The thing with Merch is what niche to pick, what keywords to focus on, how to list effectively and ultimately, how to get traffic to your Amazon store to start selling. I’m not going to go into detail here about the workings of this but say it’s not a quick or easy way to make money. Everyone seems to be of the same opinion that it’s a long term numbers game so you’ve got to put in the hours to learn the ropes and it will take time and effort.
I hope I can devote more time to Merch and see if I can succeed. It’s a real effort atm with all the other going ons I have with completely different projects I have on the go at once but will report back as I go.