How To Start A Merchandise Line To Promote Your Business

You can see those big businesses with their fancy swags, branded bags, custom mugs and logo t-shirts and think it’s just something for brands like Nike or Google. But more and more small businesses are building their own merchandise line and cashing in on both sales and return customer growth. In fact, promotional products can be a major part of any business marketing plan, whether you are a big name brand or a 2 year old startup getting the first taste of profit in the end. Need help getting started? Here is our guide on how to start a merchandise line for your business

How to sell products with your logo

Promotional products don’t just have to be gifts – people will pay for quality products from their favorite brands. The question is, how are you selling it? Here are some tips to help you find the right way to sell your product in store or online.


One of the most effective ways to sell your existing product or service as well as merchandise, especially if it relates to your business. A great example of this would be a coffee shop offering their own company’s branded coffee mugs or espresso cups that customers can buy with their coffee. It allows customers to show where their favorite coffee is and bring extra profit to the business.

You do not have to sell services or food to offer products. You can also offer your product as an individual product. For example, an outdoor entertainment product store may offer the company’s branded backpacks. Although stores do not have the resources to design and manufacture their own backpacks, they can buy custom branded backpacks through promotional product retailers and sell them along with other products.

If you want your merchandise to attract new customers, you can partner with other companies to share your merchandise. Let your branded T-shirts and souvenir coffee mugs sell at gas stations and local retailers along with their other products. Independent writers, like writers, can promote their image by offering their products in bookstores. Take your product to where your customers are and you’ll gain more visibility in your community.


Sometimes you don’t have much space to offer products in the location, or you can be an online company Fortunately, through the sales funnel on your website or social media, the Internet is a great place to sell products. Some of the best products sold online include:

Rewards for investors – Many donation sites offer reward packages, including merchandise, for large donations. The bigger the donation, the more product. This is especially true for artists, charities and other charitable businesses.

A drum shop – Customers love to show their support for small businesses and a swag shop is a great place for them to do so. Set up a separate store page on your website where customers can support your business by purchasing branded mugs, shirts, bags and other popular promotional products.

Exclusive event sale – A big event is coming? Go to social media and market exclusive products for celebration! This is especially true for major holidays and company anniversaries.

Want more tips for spreading your product? Check out our blog post on Social Media Gift Ideas!

How to choose the most effective product

Custom products made by Excel Sealants

What you offer is just as important as how you offer it, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. When looking for something to inspire your own merchandise line, consider these options:

  • Art: Which product best matches your industry? For example, a vineyard may offer a custom wine glass and a car dealership may offer a custom keychain.
  • Application: What can your customers buy alongside your products or services? For example, a reusable shopping bag with your product, or a gym bag for a gym membership.
  • Popularity: Would customers like to buy these? For example, customers may want a backpack more than a fridge magnet.
  • Relevance: What products does your brand add? For example, customers may ask for a shoulder bag from their favorite clothing store rather than an accounting firm.

If you want to branch out, there are many universally used promotional products that consumers will enjoy regardless of the brand of the industry. Here are some of the ones you can offer on your merchandise line that customers use every day, all day:

Design wrap 11 oz. Ceramic mugs

This mug is easy to customize in any brand with fully customizable exterior. Use one of our 99+ free design templates or upload your own unique artwork!

22 oz Eli stainless steel vacuum-insulating travel mug

Who doesn’t love their favorite drink on the go? This travel mug is smooth, stylish, high quality, fits with cupholders and easily adapts to any company style.

Alpha soft touch pen engraved with Stylus®

A pen is a dozen pennies, but this can hardly resist a pen as deceitful. The glossy accents, luxurious soft touch design, laser engraved custom impressions, and a stylus on the plunger make this pen fun for anyone to hold and use. After all, these luxurious pens can fit seamlessly into any industry.

Capston: Jackson sling bag

Trendy, convenient, and can fit into any industry, this sling bag is something that any customer will love. Leather accents and a simple design make it a fashionable day bag or a professional office bag.

Medium galina cotton tote bag

A classic cotton tote, reinforced for continuous use, it is a nice addition to any marching line. This bag can be used in any industry, can be sold online or in stores and it is a convenient and stylish home staple for any customer to buy.

Want to see some numbers on the back of the best custom merchandise? Check out our blog post covering the top statistics of promotional products.

How many products do you need?

As tempting as it may be, don’t just start stockpiling promotional products without a plan. First, decide how you are going to use them. Will it be a limited time offer for an event? A social media gift gift? Anything you pass out at the front desk? Do you want to make too few mistakes to make it exclusive or too much to spread it further? Think about what you want to achieve and how much you need to do it.

If this is your first time testing a new product, don’t be afraid to place a small order just to test the water. See how much demand your audience has for the products you choose and feel the bugs in the distribution. Worst situation? You will have some seriously happy employees who can take you home to their own company.

It is also important to think about diversity. For example, a yoga studio may require a variety of water bottles, duffel bags, and other exercise equipment to collect with their customers’ subscriptions. On the other hand, a bank may prefer to offer only branded pens and magnets. At the same time, the bank may ask for more pens to offer each customer while Yoga Studio wants to offer fewer products to an exclusive number of customers.

Design tips for promotional products

First and foremost, think about what you want your customers to remember. For most people, your logo will be a key element of any promotional product. If you do not want your imprint to be doubled as a business card (it is best to do this with pens and magnets) then you should use fewer words to emphasize your logo. After all, consumers are more likely to carry something with a trendy logo than something stuck with a promotional text.

Then there are the colors. For most products and brands, a simple single-color logo will give the most visual effect and become more memorable at a glance. Just as kids respond well to dark black in a white picture, a bright logo silhouette (or vice versa) on a dark background will impress much faster and more effectively than anything with complex parts and colors. However, if a full color logo is essential for your logo to be recognized, choose a background color that will contrast with most of the colors in your logo to make it pop.

Do you think your brand needs a facelift? Check out our blog post about rebranding for small business!

How to personalize a merchandise line

Obviously, your logo will play a big factor in personalizing your product. However, if you really want your customers to feel your company behind the product, you want to be creative. What colors work best with your brand image? Which patterns or designs will reflect your business on a commemorative mug? What sizes for magnets and notepads will reflect your art?

Your style may also reflect the materials. Are you a company that prides itself on organic products? Find products with bamboo, jute and other natural materials. Are you high tech and trendy? Offer gifts featuring rose gold accents. No matter what product you want to offer, take the time to find the best colors and materials to reflect your image as a company.

There is a demand for merchandise and each company can benefit from having their own custom merchandise. How you plan your design and delivery is important. What you offer, where you offer it and how you promote it will make all the difference in how successful your merchandise is. Start with our tips on how to start a merchandise line and see our other blog posts for ideas on how to use your new merchandise for big promotions online and in-store.

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