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15 merch ideas to take your business to the next level 

June 11, 2024
17 min read
Ioana Neamt

Ioana Neamt

Contributing Writer

Whether you’re a musician, an influencer, a social media sensation, an artist, or an entrepreneur looking to expand your business by selling merchandise online, at some point, you’re going to run out of ideas. That’s right, selling your own merch is not quite as easy and fun as it sounds (although it is pretty fun, let’s not pretend it isn’t). It takes a lot of time and effort spent on finding the right materials, the right sales channels, the right audience to target, and how to promote your merch online. But the most difficult step is always the first one — coming up with original merch ideas that can really take your small business to the next level

Look, chances are, whatever idea you have, someone else has already had it, and benefited from it. There’s nothing new under the sun anymore when it comes to merchandising. Whatever crazy item you can think of, you’re almost sure to find it somewhere in a dark corner of the World Wide Web. 

Coming up with merch ideas that fit your business needs doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. There’s no need to think of something completely new, but to come up with ideas that are right for you and your target customers. For instance, if you’re a heavy metal artist or promoter, classic merch ideas like band t-shirts, mugs, guitar picks, or posters will always work, because music fans love that kind of stuff. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and jot down some cool merch ideas that can help you boost sales, keep your fans and customers happy, and get your name out there. 

1. Hoodies and t-shirts

When it comes to merchandising, there are certain tried-and-true strategies that have stood the test of time. This includes hoodies, t-shirts, and sweatshirts, because they are practical and easy to customize to your liking. These items of clothing are basically part of everyone’s wardrobe, whether they’re heading to the gym, hanging out at home, going out, running errands, or any other activity you can think of.

Hoodies and t-shirts are versatile and they offer plenty of opportunities for designs, from crazy color combinations to images, logos, or anything else you come up with. For music fans in particular, t-shirts or hoodies featuring their favorite band or artist are always popular, so you can never go wrong with adding this type of merch to your collection. 

2. Beanies and caps

Another practical merchandise idea that’s super easy to customize and produce relates to caps and beanies featuring your brand logo, colors, quotes, or anything else you’d like. Caps are a staple in anyone’s apparel collection during spring and summer, while beanies definitely come in handy during the colder months, so you can cover the whole year easily!

They’re small and usually made in one size, so producing these items won’t pose a major challenge. It’s all about choosing a visually appealing color palette and picking a quality, durable fabric.

3. Socks

Who doesn’t love the feeling of putting on a brand new pair of socks before getting your shoes on and going out the door? Or putting on fresh socks after a long day of walking around town in the heat or the cold? We think it’s one of life’s greatest moments, and we’re not alone. People who grew up in Eastern or Central Europe surely remember receiving socks as Christmas gifts from parents or grandparents, and while they might have seemed like boring gifts at the time, as adults, we get it.

Everyone has and needs socks in their wardrobe, and again, they’re easy to produce and customize. You can add any colors, images, fonts, letters, logos, to name a few, without spending all your budget on these items. Just make sure you pick a good quality fabric, because nobody wants socks that fall apart after just a couple of wears.

Woman carrying a reusable canvas tote bag

4. Tote bags

Whether you’re running errands, going grocery shopping, or just hanging out with friends downtown, a tote bag is versatile, casual, easy to carry, and most importantly, it can fit a lot of stuff. You can wear it as a shoulder bag for a casual and relaxed look, or throw it in your purse in case you feel like doing some shopping on the way home. Either way, it’s a practical merchandise item that’s very hip right now, especially for younger generations of clients. It’s incredibly easy to produce, as you don’t have to worry about sizing or anything like that, and just have fun with the design.

5. Patches

Ah, patches, such an old school, classic accessory. You know those metalheads with leather or denim jackets absolutely covered in patches featuring the names of their favorite bands? Yes, those still exist, and they are still popular among young generations.

They are so easy and cheap to produce and sell, yet so incredibly versatile. You can put them on your jackets, your jeans, backpacks, and purses, give them to friends as gifts, or just collect them for fun. It’s also a great way to add something extra when a customer makes a bigger order from your store. Throw in a patch with bigger purchases to build customer loyalty or offer your repeat customers a little sign of appreciation. 

Shirts, hoodies, beanies, or batches — Katana has you covered

Katana Cloud Inventory Platform helps you streamline your production and inventory management, regardless of what you’re producing.

6. Guitar picks and drumsticks

These types of merch items are obviously targeted towards music lovers or fans, but they’re also nice collectibles. Guitar picks featuring your brand or logo are easy to make, and pretty straightforward. You can make them in bulk and throw them in as gifts with repeated purchases to keep your customers happy, or add them to your merch stand at your next concert if you’re a musician.

Signed or custom drumsticks are also a fun gift, even to someone who is not a drummer. Who doesn’t love to play pretend and hit some pillows every once in a while imagining they’re John Bonham of Led Zeppelin? 

7. Mugs

Coffee mugs are definitely at the top of our list when it comes to custom merchandise items. There are people out there who collect mugs, featuring either their favorite bands, movies, athletes, writers, quotes, pets, cities, hobbies, or any other event, place, or activity you can possibly print on one.

Coffee lovers and tea fans believe you can never have enough mugs in your collection, and we tend to agree. They’re practical, useful, nice to look at, and coffee can taste better when you drink it from a nice mug featuring your favorite band or artist. 

8. Stickers

Say what you will, call us old-fashioned, but we think stickers are still fun today, for people of all ages. Who doesn’t love to decorate their laptops, water bottles, notebooks, and other gadgets with unique stickers?

They’re inexpensive to produce and easy to distribute, whether you’re including them in orders or handing them out at events or as freebies. Plus, with endless design possibilities, you can get really creative and appeal to a wide audience. Stickers are small but mighty, offering a playful and personal touch that keeps your brand in sight and in mind.

Different posters stuck on wall in Amsterdam

9. Posters

Remember those teenage days when your entire room was covered in posters, wall-to-wall? No? Is it just us? Well anyway, posters are a fantastic merch idea because they combine art and branding in a way that appeals to a wide audience. They’re perfect for decorating any space, whether it’s a bedroom, dorm, office, or living room, adding a splash of personality and style.

With a wide range of design possibilities, posters can truly capture the essence of your brand or message. Every time someone glances at their wall, they’ll be reminded of your brand, making posters a visually impactful and memorable piece of merchandise.

10. Coasters

Coasters make brilliant merch, especially if you have people in your life who are obsessed with cleanliness and avoiding those mug marks at all costs. Everyone needs a good set of coasters to protect their furniture from drink rings, and with custom designs, they can also add a touch of personality to any space. They’re small and lightweight, making them easy to distribute at events or include as extras in orders. Plus, every time someone sets down their drink, they’ll be reminded of your brand. 

11. Backpacks

Backpacks are one of those items that you can’t stop buying — or is it just us? We can’t think of anything not to love about backpacks, honestly. They are practical, they fit a lot of stuff, they look good, they can elevate your outfit, they’re easy to carry around, and they’re customizable. Whether you’re thinking of selling hiking backpacks, city backpacks, backpacks for school, or for fashion, you can’t go wrong with this merch idea.

If your target customer base is corporate tech bros, as they’re called, add some tech-oriented features, like a laptop compartment or extra security. If you’re catering to outdoorsy people, pick a water-resistant, scratch-resistant fabric and add super sturdy zippers and pockets. No matter your target audience, backpacks are — or should be — staples in everyone’s collection, so you can’t go wrong. 

Top view of a mouse, headphones, mobile phone on a desk

12. Mousepads

We might be living in the age of portability and using touchpads, but never underestimate the appeal of a good old mouse and mousepad. Mousepads are an excellent merch idea, as they’re useful and have a large surface area perfect for eye-catching designs.

They provide a great opportunity to showcase your brand, artwork, or message in a place that gets constant attention. Plus, with options for ergonomic designs and vibrant prints, mouse pads can be both functional and stylish. They’re a practical gift that keeps your brand in front of people day in and day out, making them a smart choice for merchandise.

13. Calendars

Here’s a merch idea that your customers can enjoy year-round. Calendars are the perfect blend of practicality and personalization, making them an ideal gift or promotional item. With a new theme or image each month, you can showcase your brand’s personality, highlight special events, or feature stunning artwork.

Whether hanging on a wall or sitting on a desk, calendars keep your brand in sight every day, helping to build familiarity and connection with your audience. And who doesn’t enjoy that feeling of flipping to a fresh new page each month? It’s like a fresh start!

Bookmarks on a book  open on a table

14. Bookmarks

Bookmarks make a great merch idea, because they’re practical, affordable, and appeal to book lovers of all ages. They’re lightweight and easy to distribute, which is great for events or as little extras in orders. Plus, you can get super creative with designs — think fun quotes, beautiful artwork, or even clever interactive elements. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a cute or cool bookmark to save their place in a great read?

15. Phone cases

Everybody owns a smartphone nowadays. Most of us are even tied to it like it’s an extension of our hand. Besides, nothing makes your heart stop more than dropping that expensive iPhone on a hard surface, face down. That’s why phone cases make a fantastic merch idea.

With endless design possibilities, you can create eye-catching, unique cases that reflect your brand’s personality. They’re also a wonderful way for customers to express their individuality while keeping their devices safe. Safety first, but make it fashionable!

Keep your online business running smoothly with Katana

All these merch ideas are great ways to get your brand or online shop in front of your target customers, building their trust and loyalty. But keeping clients satisfied takes more than just cool merch. You need to make sure that merch reaches your clients in a timely and efficient manner, without issues or delays. At the same time, you need to be able to keep your inventory organized and your stock levels optimized, to make sure you stay profitable and avoid things like stockouts or unsold inventory

With Katana, you can do all of that, and more, keeping track of your inventory in real time and making sure your customers get that awesome merch as soon as possible. With our inventory management software, you can track sales, keep tabs on your inventory, see which products are top sellers and identify slow-moving items, and much more.

Request a demo now to see Katana in action and start reaping the rewards!

Ioana Neamt

Ioana Neamt

Contributing Writer
With more than 10 years of copywriting experience, Ioana has a fondness for longform writing, investigative journalism, cats, and Victorian-style mansions.

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