After months of waiting, I was accepted into the Merch by Amazon program on August 24! Since then, I’ve already uploaded 12 designs and had my first t-shirt sale! It’s great having a new income stream that you can learn and start quickly.
What is Merch by Amazon?
Merch by Amazon is a print-on-demand t-shirt program that started about a year ago. It appears that Merch is targeted towards Game App Developers as a way for them to increase their brand by providing cool t-shirts to their game players. However, people from all occupations can use Merch as an income stream.
To earn money, you’ll create (or purchase) your own t-shirt artwork and upload it to your Merch account. Then you choose a few t-shirt settings (style, colors, price) and write your product listing (brand name, title, bullet points, description) and then wait for Amazon to approve your design.
If approved, your t-shirt is listed on Amazon and once it sells, Amazon will collect the customer’s payment, print the t-shirt and ship it to the customer. They keep a portion of the sale for themselves and give you the rest as a royalty payment.
To get started with Merch, you need to request an invitation to join. Here’s the page to do that:
Then once you fill out the form, you just wait and wait and wait. It took me 3 or 4 months before I was accepted into the program. Once you’re approved though, Amazon will send you an email:
Getting Approved Quickly?
On August 30, Amazon offered a way to get approved for Merch immediately. All you had to do was register and listen to this webinar and follow the steps that are mentioned about 48 minutes into it. Unfortunately, there was only a 24-hour window to take advantage of the approval shortcut.
You can still listen to the webinar and I recommend that you do so because you’ll learn some great tips about creating your t-shirt designs & promoting them.
I don’t know if Amazon will offer this fast approval again, but it’s something to watch out for.
Learning About Merch with Chris Green
At this point in time, it seems that Chris Green is the person that is busy teaching and helping others learn all about Merch.
For those that don’t know who Chris Green is, he is a very successful Amazon FBA Seller and the co-founder of ScanPower. You’ve probably seen him by now in webinars or speaking at conferences and he really knows his stuff. I read his Online Arbitrage book and that’s where I first learned about Keepa and CamelCamelCamel, Chrome Extensions and how to shop for Amazon FBA inventory on Amazon.
I joined his Merch by Amazon Facebook Group and noticed that he’s busy creating courses and tools to help others with Merch. I was fortunate enough to grab his Merch by Amazon Udemy courses when he was giving them out for free. So after being approved for Merch, I watched the videos and learned how the Merch Program works and learned the basics of t-shirt design. Here are the links to the courses:
If you’re interested in these courses, just purchase the Advanced course only because it includes the same modules as the Intro Course.
The actual mechanics of uploading your designs to Amazon and navigating through your Merch account is pretty easy. In my opinion, the more challenging parts of Merch are:
- Coming up with t-shirt design ideas.
- Turning your ideas into artwork by using a photo-editing program such as Photoshop or Gimp.
- Writing your product copy so that your t-shirts are found during searches.
- Learning about trademarks and copyrights so you don’t get into trouble for using artwork or words/phrases that you aren’t allowed to use.
- Knowing where and how to advertise your t-shirts.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not any type of artist or designer. Heck, if you notice, I don’t even have a Second Half Dreams logo or banner. I’m definitely left-brained.
Because creating artwork is not my thing and I wanted to get t-shirts up for sale quickly, I outsourced my first set of t-shirt designs.
Outsourcing My First Set of Designs & FIRST SALE
I signed up for their Novice Plus package which gives me 25 t-shirt designs and the titles and bullet points to use. I received 12 designs so far and on Sept 7, I had my first sale!
Now I just need to sell 87 more shirts to get my design package investment back. Then from there, it’s all profit!
Tiers and Making My Own Designs
When you’re approved in Merch, they put you in the 25-tier level. This means that you are limited to 25 designs. Once you sell 25 designs, then Amazon will move you up to the 100-tier level if you meet their quality standards as well.
I still have a long way to go before I move up to the 100-tier level. Once that happens, I’ll decide if I’ll purchase another design package or not.
As for designing my own shirts, I’m going to give it a try by starting with text-only designs.
Amazon FBA & Merch
I believe that Merch is a great way for Amazon FBA Sellers to earn a new income stream. We’re already familiar with how Amazon works and some of you may already be an expert at designing, keyword research and/or writing great product listings. Remember, even if you have the best design out there, no one’s going to buy it if they can’t find it.
What’s nice about Merch is that it’s simple and inexpensive compared to FBA. You don’t have to purchase inventory or learn how to list, label, prep & ship. Plus, Merch is a low-cost business and you can even start your Merch business without spending a dime.
***Alternate Income Stream: If you’re especially great with creating designs, keyword research or writing product listings, consider outsourcing your services to others!
The challenging part will be juggling your time between moving ahead with Merch while maintaining or growing your FBA business. Remember, Q4 is coming up soon and you don’t want to miss out on the busiest and potentially most profitable time of the year!
What’s your experience with Merch so far? Please share either in the comment form below or on my Facebook Page!