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The Merch Thread

edited June 2013 in The Toolbox
What kind of merch do you sell at shows (beyond just the books). Or what kind of merch have you seen other people successfully selling? And where are some good places to get this merch done?

I usually do free bookmarks at my table, which I get printed at overnightprints.com. They often have deals going where you can get discounts on bulk orders, and they have high-quality printing. Currently they're running a deal on postcards - which I've considered printing a mini-comic on and possibly handing out with purchases.

Some buddies of mine do t-shirts very well, but they go to a different printer every time they order. Always looking for the best deal.
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Comments

  • I have my sketch cards, original art, prints made of that art and the big binder of Marv's pages from our books.
  • @RussellLissau, is the original art stuff you've done or stuff from your collaborators?

  • I give away postcards that my Sydney-based publisher comped me.

    Also, for some reason a lot of punters snaffle up my business cards. I guess there's some nice art on them.


  • edited June 2013
    All my drawings, aside from Marv's pages, @brandonseifert.
    And lately I got pins from @pjperez to give away, I forgot those.
  • @RussellLissau - when you say "pins" do you mean pin-back buttons?

    As for merch, I really need to figure out what to do with the metal printing guy.  I REALLY like the product, I like the prices and I like the mom & pop operation.  But... beyond character-based rulers (which can double as bookmarks) what can I make?  Because bookmarks and rulers are often given out as promotion items -- not for sales.

    I'd like to come up with something like the headbands / head plates like Naruto.  Not that I want to make that specifically, but something in that unique realm.
  • Yeah, buttons.
  • The Brits call them "badges".
  • I used to have a button maker (the kind you hand pressed).  I made a couple of dozen, but I ended up giving it to my friend.  It became one of those things where my time was taxed doing it by hand and the quality was what I paid for.

    If I do buttons again I'll just have a service do it.  Or, I'll get a decent button machine that does the job I need (without going hog wild into the craft production).
  • I have friends who do buttons for me. I thought about getting a button machine, but I know that would just take too much time away from making the comics.
    I give out sketch cards a conventions,  sometimes they are used a as business cards when I run out.
    Depending on which conventions I go to, I bring different merchandise.
    There is one specific fantasy/sci-fi convention (that I now call my craft convention) where I do a bunch of sewing and create stuffies and dice bags (it's more of that kind of convention)to go along with my comics. Because I am one of the few people who actually have comics at their table, it gives me a bit of an edge.
    The bags are a constant though, because everyone eventually needs bags and they are cheap enough to entice people to my table.
    I hadn't thought about bookmarks though. That's a really great idea.

    As far as professionally done merchandise goes, I know many of my friends have used this company:

    The next question I have is, what companies are everyone using for T-shirts right now?
  • I'd also like to know a good source for T-shirts. 
  • My last batch of T-Shirts came from ACME PRINTS in Arizona.
    However, I'm only posting that as a cautionary tale... because I was not too thrilled with the product.
    The price was good, but the turnaround was not (I needed them before San Diego Comic Con, they said it would happen and it didn't.  They were two days late).

    The shirt printing was good.  If you HAVE THE TIME, they are cool.
    But shop around.  There are a plenty of silk screen T-Shirt printers out there.
  • Right now my wife and I are looking at button makers / presses.  I'm balancing whether it's best to rent one, buy one, or just just have them made by a company.  The paid order by a company is the cheapest, however you don't get to own the press and the only buttons you get are the designs you send them.  If I owned the press (and we all like it when we own the press) then I can make what I like and when I want and do it for as long as I own the device.
  • I have this button maker (and so do several people I know): http://www.tecre.com/catalog.php?p=25 
    It's so easy to use and there are rarely any "duds". It easily paid for itself the first year. And the refill parts they sell are fantastic. So much better than competitors. I went through several cheaper machines. I don't think I'll need another. (Can you tell I like it?)

    King Screen in Atlanta does good work at a good price. http://www.kingscreen.com I like the fact I can skip the shipping and pick them up. ;)



  • @GregCarter - so all your buttons are 2 1/4?
  • So how much does it cost to make each button and what're you all selling them for?
  • I want a button maker that has optional settings.
    Also a LOT of folks are wearing the smaller buttons nowadays.
    Though I'm sure *all* buttons sell.

    So yeah... how much are you selling them for?
  • The 2.25" supplies are $60 for 1000 buttons. I sell them for $2 or 3 for $5. We sell a TON.
    I used to have a 1 1/4" button maker but it was cheap and broke. They sold okay, but the margin is so much greater on the large ones. If we start doing more comic cons I might get another - the smaller ones sold better there. The parts for the smaller buttons are $48 for 1000 and we sold them for 50 cents or three for a dollar. 

    As Yoda said, "size matters not". Large and small buttons will sell. We have so much stuff on the table and are limited on display space which made the decision to go for the larger profit rather easy. 

    As you can see, we don't give them much respect on the table. And they still sell like crazy. Right there in the middle they catch people's eye as they go by. Shiny object... can't resist...

    image
  • I've been back and forth about buying a button maker. The big thing that's been keeping me from buying one is time. Making buttons can be time consuming and as with anything that I've been choosing to either do myself or outsource, I've weighed how much time this will take away from me creating comics. So I'll ask the people who have button makers, how time consuming is it?
  • If you have a decent machine (like the one I have now) it takes up no time at all. Even a quick sketch or text treatment makes a good button. And then I can stamp out enough for a couple of cons while watching an hour of anime.
  • Yeah, the buttons can be good... but I fear, as @_Beth_Wagner_ is that it will take up time.  Yes, even a little time, like an hour or so.  I could easily hand it off to my wife to do, that would be the best solution.  Then it is *no* time against me.
  • An hour I could commit to. Any more than that....
  • (I oughta get me one of them wifes.)
  • This is why I say I need a lackey
  • Interns!
    Interns!

  • Yes, but you can't abuse interns.....or can you? :D
  • edited July 2013
    Some photos of the *metal* bookmark / rulers for Five Weapons.

    image
  • @Jimmie_Robinson - those are wonderful, I like Joon's the best. 
  • Yes, but you can't abuse interns.....or can you? :D
    That's the best part about them! :)
  • In that case.....I want one!
  • edited July 2013
    The metal bookmarks were a hit at San Diego.  They are hole-punched with red ribbons knotted to them as tassels.  The cool bit... I tied the ribbons like neckties, so they're miniature versions of the school uniform tie.

    The red ribbon has "Five Weapons" printed on it.
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