Has anyone had any success with merchandise for their series? If so, what beyond t-shirts? Or has it been more hassle than it’s worth?
I’ve sold posters (to some degree of success) and a mug or two. The hassle if you use a site like CafePress is minimal, and for posters I basically created my own system because I had a bunch of leftover posters signed by cast and crew that I wanted to offload which was quite the process. Sold a few, but I still have some leftover that I haven’t been able to sell yet.
Unless you have an existing audience, though, it’s unlikely to move the needle much.
Aside from financial results, does merchandise add credibility (perhaps the wrong word)? If a crowdfunding strategy is used, does merchandise have a role there?
Add credibility? Maybe if it’s well designed. Otherwise, it can hurt your credibility. The best merch still looks cool to people who have no idea what it’s promoting.
Merch-as-crowdfunding rewards are great, but you need to be careful about profit margins. You’re crowdfunding a web series, not a line of T-shirts. It can be easy to blow a huge chunk of your funding on merch and shipping (especially internationally).
@w-e-spear Yeah on the whole I’d highly discourage you from making merch (especially more expensive merch like teeshirts and posters) crowdfunding perks. Especially because you’ll likely be purchasing the merch and then shipping it to them directly, which can cost a LOT (time AND money) and ultimately isn’t worth it. I’d recommend setting up a separate merch site in that case, and just offering highly personalized/unique-to-your-project digital perks for crowdfunding. Maybe postcards or small things sent in the mail, but definitely err on the side of digital rewards.
Side note: those USB cards I offered with my short film on them only needed a postage stamp,* because they weighed less than an ounce. http://multiplex10.bigcartel.com/product/multiplex-10-the-animated-short-usb-card
I produced mine with Flarian.com and highly recommend them AND this format as a cheap and easy merch item. Pre-load them with all your digital rewards (and maybe an exclusive thing), and there you go.
- Even internationally! The Global Forever stamp is currently $1.15. When I was shipping two pound books, postage ran like $35 — more than the price of the freakin books I sell.
We do okay with some merch at comic cons (wristbands are a crowd pleaser as well as signed posters and shirts). We also have a merch shop through CafePress. While we make very little money from Cafe Press purchases, it also doesn’t cost us anything to make OR ship them (they take care of all that).