[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]
Like it or not, the holidays are nearly upon us.
Yes, soon you’ll be hanging lights, putting out the eggnog, and avoiding the mall for fear of parking and the same 10 holiday songs on repeat.
But regardless of your stance on the holidays, there’s one thing we can all agree on—your fans deserve to know just how very special they are to you, and what better time of year to give the gift of new merch than the holidays?
Here are a few affordable merch ideas to get you brainstorming, including some actual examples from artists!
1. Holiday Cards
Who doesn’t love receiving snail mail?!
Every year for five years I’ve sent out handwritten Christmas cards to clients and writers we work closely with, as well as close friends, and I can tell you without a doubt it’s been one of the most well-received things I’ve ever done in business. You might not realize it, but people don’t really send (or get) holiday cards anymore, so getting that in the mail and knowing someone thought of them and took the time to hand write something means a lot.
Depending on the size of your audience, it might not be possible to write to all your fans, but why not do a post and say you’ll send one to the first 25 people to comment? Then, make sure it’s personal. Start a dialogue. Show them you’re paying attention and I promise, they’ll never forget it.
2. Ugly Sweaters
This one is so fun because it can be completely tailored to you and your brand and if you’d like, no two sweaters have to be the same. Here’s what I’m thinking:
You buy a couple basic $5 sweatshirts at the craft store, or even start with some pre-made ugly sweaters you find at the thrift store, and then add your own touch. Go wild decorating with your band’s own style and fines. Glitter, crazy glue, puffballs , whatever you want. Limit it to say, 25-50 sweaters that you sell at shows or exclusively with your single online. It’ll be a really unique, highly personalized experience they won’t soon forget. (Not to mention it’s gold for social media content!)
But there’s also the one size fits all route, which can be super adorable, like this Christmas Sweater Frank Turner did not too long ago
3. Hats + Scarves
Not wanting to jump on the sweater trend? Why not go for scarves or beanies instead? It’s a nice and cozy way to follow the winter and holiday theme, while standing out a bit. Plus, you can sell them individually or as sets, and you can make them winter-themed instead of holiday, so they last them the whole season long.
Bonus if someone in the band can knit a few by hand—those ones will be extra special!
No we don’t mean socks (though those would be adorable too!). What we’re talking about here is good old fashioned stockings to hang by the fireplace.
Rise Against did this a while back with a custom stocking, and while you can definitely get these custom ordered yourself, you can also take the DIY route with buying a bunch at the local dollar store and designing them with glue and ornaments to spell out your name, logo, etc. It’s a really fun and unique piece of memorabilia for fans!
5. Christmas Mugs
What better to sip your hot cocoa out of than a nice Christmas mug by your favorite band? Katie Garibaldi does this with a festive mug with the name of one of her songs (which also happens to be the perfect slogan for a Christmas mug) and her website on the back. Adorable and practical? Sign me up!
We’re just getting started! If you want to increase fan engagement then join me for my free Masterclass ‘How to gain your next 1,000 fans. 3 simple steps that lead to higher engagement, sold-out shows, and life-changing opportunities’.