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Is there anything better than snuggling into your favorite sweater, grabbing a delicious beverage, and hitting play on your favorite album? Bonus points if the fire is crackling behind you and the scent of pine fills the room.
Winter is undoubtedly a magical time of year, and with that comes opportunity. For reflection, for lengthy writing and recording sessions, and for reconnecting with your creative side, and also for building rapport with fans. One pretty simple but lasting way to do just that is with merchandise built specifically for winter.
And while your old records, t-shirts, and stickers are still worth having around for the next tour coming up, there’s also something to be said for the “ever-changing” merch table. Just like you might sell a new tour poster each time you go out on the road, it’s worth it to refresh the kit you’re selling as often as you can. If every 6 months or so you’re coming out with something new, it adds a little more pizzaz to the whole thing, doesn’t it?
Changing it up lets fans know if they like a design, or a product, that they should act now, because it’s only going to be around for so long. It makes it exclusive. And then, as you release new designs or merch, their interest is again piqued because they’re likely to be newly compelled (and given new opportunities to) support you each time you release something new.
But, what do you even create in the winter time? Don’t worry, of course, we’ve got some ideas for you!
Creative Cozy Sweatshirts & Sweaters
Nothing says winter like a cozy sweater! There are so many options with this, from creating something DIY where you buy a bunch of blank sweaters and materials from a craft store and screen-print them yourself. Or perhaps you do it by hand for each fan that orders, you make them a custom ugly sweater. Or you can create a band sweater that you order in bulk and sell at shows and online.
The idea is to make sure it has that perfect cozy sweater vibe and is symbolic of your brand, rather than just another sweatshirt with a logo on it.
If your band was a scent, what would it be?
Creating a custom candle to rejuvenate the lost light of winter is a unique and completely overlooked option to experience with your fans. Honestly, I haven’t really seen any artists doing this, but I can tell you if my favorite band came out with a candle I’d be buying those things up.
Again, you can go completely custom here and create your own scent, or simply start with an existing candle and add your logo, lyrics, or other brand-specific notes to it. To add to this idea, think about pairing these with customized matchboxes. Consider all the fireplaces your band can be part of this winter!
A classic! Who doesn’t love to get snail mail that isn’t a bill or your college asking for a donation? You can send these to fans who order other merch online, or you can sell them to your fans in packs of five (like Radiohead did above!) as a way to wish their loved ones a very happy holiday.
Branded S’mores Kit
You can replace “S’mores” with just about anything and it’ll work, because the goal here is to attach your band’s name to something that not only speaks to who you are but will appeal to your audience. The fun part about something like this is that you can create them as ordered, so that you’re not losing money.
Plus, since it’s seasonal, you can put a time limit on it, like “we have 25 of these and once they’re gone, they’re gone!”
Then, when someone orders one you grab the supplies from your local store, print out band-branded labels that you design yourself to wrap on the chocolate bars or graham crackers and voilà! You can even wrap it all up in a cute basket with a handwritten note and ideas for different ways to enjoy the s’mores basket, and then you send it on its way!
But not just any winter mug! Just like everything on this list, it’s best if it’s customized.
How about putting some of your most beloved lyrics on the mug, or an image that appears on your record (perhaps even something tucked away in your liner notes). It could even be a funny meme, etc. While you could simply put your band name on there or your album cover (like Fleetwood Mac did above), the idea here is to make it something only your fans would truly appreciate.
If you aren’t sure what that is, do a poll with your audience and crowdsource it! Ask them: “What do you think of when you think of us?” or “What’s the first song of ours you’d show a friend?”
Cozy socks are happiness. Customize them with your band colors, band name, or whatever else and let your fans enjoy (just like Flight Facilities did in the above example!)
Scarves, Gloves, & Beanies (or All Three!)
You can customize each of these things and sell them separately, or as a warm and cozy bundle. While I’ve seen a lot of band beanies out there, I’m not sure I’ve seen many (if any) scarves or gloves and truthfully, I think that’s a mistake. They’re the perfect match for winter months.
If you or your fans live in one of the many states where our cars freeze over with ice three months out of the year, an ice scraper is a pretty perfect and unique sell. As with everything that’s just a pressed piece of plastic, you customize it with something specific to your band and watch them sell themselves!
These are just a few ideas of winter-themed merch, but there is so much more you can do depending on your band, audience, genre, and so on. Try to think outside the box here, and ask yourself: “What do I use on a daily basis, especially in the colder months?” “What do I see my fans wearing at our shows or in their IG posts?”
And then let the creativity take over. Have fun with it!
Got 10 minutes to learn something new?
Explore Soundfly’s wide array of free online courses and expand your musical skills over your lunch break! Here are just a few free courses you can choose from: How to Create a Killer Musician Website, Theory for Bedroom Producers, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed, and of course, Touring on a Shoestring.