This summer, a 25-year-old song by Kate Bush re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 and became a trending song on TikTok and Instagram. You can thank a certain series of “all things strange” for that.
It created a prime opportunity for POD (print on-demand) merchants and shop owners. Many of them were literally “Running Up That Hill” to cash in on the song (and series) of the summer with their merch.
When social media is dominated by these micro-trends, why not use them as a monetizing opportunity for your brand? Your customers want to rep apparel that feels timely and reflects their passions, like a particular movie or celebrity. The resurgence of Kate Bush is an example of something we like to call “Moment Merch”.
But how does one create “Moment Merch?” And how can it benefit you?
Step 1: Find the Right Trend
You come across viral moments nearly every day on your feed, but you want to pick ones that resonate with your audience. If your niche is board games, your audience isn’t going to necessarily engage with K-pop merch. It’s not just about making money; it’s about building your brand. But that doesn’t mean you’re limited by your niche. It actually gives you power.
Get creative and interpret these trending moments in ways other creators and merch sellers can’t see. Use your niche to put your own unique spin on a trend. This will make your merch even more appealing and help drive sales.
Step 2: Don’t Waste Any Time
Speed to market is a huge factor. Upload a design to your POD service and get apparel turned into orders within a few hours while the moment is fresh. The great thing about POD services like Spreadshop, in this case, is that once the fad fades, you’re not stuck holding gear that no one wants when it’s over!
Step 3: Avoid Copyright Headaches!
As a designer and seller of fandom-related merch, you need to make the right choices to avoid legal issues. Logos or popular photos are off limits. Although it can be tempting, steer clear of memes just to be safe. Find text and graphic elements that are like what you’re referencing, but not exact.
Design platforms like Canva have plenty of template and graphic options to choose from. These services prove you don’t have to be a professional designer to make print-ready merch designs. And it allows you to unleash your creativity!
Step 4: Get the Word Out
Post to your socials and ask for shares from your friends, family, and customers! Get samples into the hands of your followers and ask them to take photos that you can re-share on your feed. People respond to faces!
You might also want to consider boosting certain posts. You can pick how long you want your ad to run on socials like Instagram and Facebook and target different demographics and tags. This is an inexpensive way to market your merch when you don’t have time to plan out a whole campaign.
Step 5: Hope For the Best
Sometimes when trying to go viral you can cross the “t’s” and dot all the “i’s” and still strike out. The biggest successes come from those who are truly passionate about sports, music, politics, or “that niche”. The apparel that does best is usually created by the most authentic and emotionally connected sellers.
Adjust what went wrong or could be improved for your next merch drop. There’s going to be plenty of trends for you to cash in on. You’ve just got to be prepared when the “moment” comes.