Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Build your Sub Box Business with Brand Merch

March 28, 2022 Julie Ball Episode 119
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Build your Sub Box Business with Brand Merch
Show Notes Transcript

#119 - In this week's episode of Subscription Box Basics, Julie talks about having brand merchandise for your business that you can share with your audience.

Julie shares her project through Teepublic, an online platform which is also world’s largest marketplace for independent creators to sell their work on the highest-quality merchandise.


  • Why would you want to have brand merch? (2:39)
  • Julie talks about Teepublic (4:30)
  • Pros of Teepublic (9:25)
  • Cons of Teepublic (13:05)
  • Teepublic Affiliate (15:36)


Julie (00:01):

So you wanna launch a subscription box and don't know where to start. Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach, and your host here at subscription box basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm, grab a coffee, some pen and paper, and let's have some fun.

Julie (00:22):

Hey everybody. Welcome back to subscription box basics. I'm your subscription box business coach Julie Ball real quick. If you've been listening for a while and you haven't yet, would you take a moment right now to rate and review this podcast? It really helps give back and helps us in the algorithm to reach more people just like you that have a box business idea and just not sure where to start. So let's dive into today's topic. We are talking about swag about merch. Have you ever thought about how cool it would be to sell t-shirts or stickers or other types of swag that has your brand on it or that you've created for your box? Well, I have good news. I am going to tell you today about Teepublic, and our project with them. Now this is brand new to us as well. We have of course purchased, um, different types of swag with logos on it.

Julie (01:20):

Like sparkle house will grow or subscription by bootcamp, but this is a little different in that we are making it available to the public. You're gonna find all the links in a shown in the show notes. And I'm gonna share some of them on here, but I wanna tell you about our journey and take you along with us because we're literally testing this right now. You can be a part of it with us. So let's first talk about like, why would you even merch? Why do you want things with your logo or your designs on them when it comes to an existing business, like your subscription box business or one you're going to create here are my top reasons why you would want to have merch. So one it's going to build loyalty. How cool is it that there are people out there that are so excited about what you're doing and about your brand that they want to wear your logo, or they want to wear the designs that you've created for your subscription box.

Julie (02:16):

It's just a beautiful way to build loyalty. You can also build loyalty through providing branded Mer as prizes. We talk about giveaways all the time and how it can help you grow your email list. Well, here's a way to get branded merchandise, to use as giveaways. Number two, branding. Just think about all of the different clothes that you have in your drawer right now. How many of them have a brand and name on there? And you go walking around with that brand name on there, and you are just helping that company market. You are becoming kind of, I don't wanna say an influencer or a spokesperson, but when you wear something with a logo on it, you kind of are vouching for that business. And it's just a part of branding. So it'll be great for you to wear your own brand in videos and just out and about if you're going to events.

Julie (03:11):

But can you imagine if your customers are doing the same, what a wonderful extension to your branding efforts. And then lastly, we're gonna keep this really simple. It's an additional stream of revenue. If you set things up correctly and you make it where there is some sort of profit margin, then you can make more money in an additional stream of revenue for your box business. Now I'm gonna talk to you today about the project that we are testing out through Teepublic, there's lots and lots of online platforms that you could sell merchandise on. The problem is so many of them are either clunky or you have to get into the business of returns and exchanges. And you guys know me. I'm simple. I don't want to add all of that to my plate or to my team. You know, we're already spread thin oftentimes with all the different launches and all the different moving parts of our business.

Julie (04:08):

And so we didn't want to launch something that was just gonna be heavy and become cumbersome. So when teepublic reached out to us, I was really intrigued. And I was like, okay, tell me more. You know, I've seen this before, but I'm, you know, I'm open to it. Well, listen, they are the world's largest marketplace for independent creators to sell their work on high quality merchandise. And so think about that. It's a marketplace versus having your own store that you have to then drive traffic. And that was one of the problems too, when I was thinking about it, like we use crate joy. So would we have to then buy inventory for sparkle hustle grow? If we wanted to sell merch, it was either we were gonna have to buy inventory, or we were gonna set up on a platform and then have to drive traffic to a different URL.

Julie (04:57):

So what Teepublic does is they have a marketplace and what's beautiful about marketplaces is there's built in traffic. There's people in there that are searching for types of merch using keywords that you can put in your listings that you can be discovered for. Of course you can share your direct link as well, but I love the idea that it's a marketplace. So when they reached out, I said, okay, this is interesting. Tell me more. Um, of course I wanted to get samples because we have certain levels of quality that we expect. And if we're gonna put our designs on them, we wanna make sure that they're quality. So I got a couple of samples, I got a mug, I got a notebook and I got a t-shirt and a sticker. And they were all really impressive and they arrived pretty quickly as well.

Julie (05:46):

So I was like, okay, okay. Let's, let's keep this conversation going. And I talked to an account rep and I said, okay, how easy is it? Or how difficult is it to set up a listing? And she said, here's a link you can register here. All you have to do is upload your designs and give them descriptions and, you know, put in some of those keywords. And then you have the opportunity, think of your marketplace listing as like a storefront, like a one pager. And so you have an opportunity to brand it in a cover image and then a profile image. And so we did that and we had already had some designs made. We were just ready kind of to, to test this out. Anyhow, we were just looking for the right platform. And when I set it up, I think I probably spent, maybe 30 to 45 minutes just setting things up, uploading it.

Julie (06:38):

It was so easy guys. So I'm really, really excited to share with you about T public. If you're just, you know, ready to look at our designs, you can go check it out at, and it's gonna redirect you to our marketplace list. So you could do the same. If you have a marketplace listening. Now, of course we have like a, you know, URL, but you could do the same. You could create a merch page that redirects to your marketplace listing. So you can go check out the designs. I'm really excited to hear what you have to say. We put things up there, uh, like, you know, a packing day shirt and we put a shipping dayT-shirt trying to think about what you as the subscription box business owner might want to have for some of your social media images. So if there's a design that you're dying to have, then you should DM us at subscriptionboxbootcamp on Instagram and let us know.

Julie (07:36):

So we can create the designs that you, you want a need for your business. So of course you can go take a look at our designs. We encourage you to check 'em out by the ones you want, um, and let us know what you think. Cuz again, this is kind of like this test, this journey that you're coming on with us, and I will continue to keep you guys updated on how it's going. Um, as you decide, if this might be fit for you, but listen, if you're thinking about setting up your own marketplace listing, head on over to the show notes right now, because I have a special referral link for you as well. Okay. So next I wanna talk to you about the pros and the cons of how their platform works. And I think this is important because again, we were looking for the, the right type of platform and we had very specific things that we were not willing to do, like returns and exchanges in customer service.

Julie (08:26):

So let me go down my list of pros and cons for Teepublic. So let's start with pros. Number one, it was easy. Like I told you guys, it did not take me long at all to set things up. They have a very easy onboarding process. When you upload your design, you at that point, get to choose what products that it's going to be listed on. So do you just want t-shirts do you want long sleeve t-shirts do you want hoodies tote bags, tapestries. They have so many products over a hundred different product types. So you get to choose what products and you don't have to print it on everything. You get to choose what colors you want available. So for example, if you have have a design that is colorful, you might not want to print that on a dark colored t-shirt or maybe if you have a white design, then you can only print it on dark colored t-shirts otherwise it's not gonna show up.

Julie (09:25):

So you get to choose specifically which colors that your design is going to be available for. You also get to play around with the alignment of the design. So do you want it like right in the center or do you wanna make it smaller or larger? They make it super easy for you to adjust the alignment on different products. And I'll just give you another quick example. Like we had a design that we put on t-shirts, but we also put on mugs, but we had to align it differently for it to show up right on the mug. So you had have over a hundred different product types to choose from, and they've got some good brands on there too, like high quality. And I'm gonna read this from their, their website as well. This is another pro and it has to do with the products is it says, um, that they are, you know, their environmentally friendly.

Julie (10:14):

I'm gonna read this right from the website. It, our printing partners are held to sustainable non-hazardous and toxin-free production standards. D T G inks that's direct to garment. Inks are 100% biodegradable water-based contain no animal byproducts and are vegan friendly. Additionally teepublic's apparel products are all certified by WRAP a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethical manufacturing through labor standards and education. Can I get an amen? I love that this company really holds those values in high regard and by partnering with them, by listing on them, you can, can be a part of that as well. And you can feel good about the products that you're printing. So they are environmentally friendly, they support ethical manufacturing. I love that. And then another pro that I wanted to tell you about is, you know, I kind of talked to you about this already, that the marketplace has built in traffic.

Julie (11:14):

Listen, go check them out on Instagram. Teepublic has 198,000 Instagram followers. They have an audience already, and you know that they're, they probably have a large email marketing list and all kinds of other marketing tactics that you can be a part of. You don't have to be starting from scratch and bring your whole audience. So I love that. So the last pro that I wanted to talk about is one of the biggest reasons that we chose them. They handle shipping returns and exchanges. They have a contact us page where you can just share with your audience. If someone reaches out to you and says, Hey, bought a t-shirt need to ch exchange it. You just respond to them, create maybe like some swipe copy that your customer service, um, you or your customer service team member can share a direct link to their contact page.

Julie (12:05):

And Teepublic will handle it all for you. And I love that. That is again, one of the biggest reasons we chose them. Okay, love, let's talk about the cons. So one of the cons is that you do just get a listing. So this is not a website, but maybe that's not a con, I'm not sure. It depends on what you, what you're thinking about. Um, the, the problem is that with a website, I feel like we have more control as a business owner, but with a listing, we don't even choose a template. We don't choose anything except for, you know, uploading our designs, putting in a cover image. And you know, what's the name of the shop and the profile picture. So you don't have a lot of customization, but maybe again, that's a good thing. Maybe that takes away, you know, the possibility of decision fatigue coming into play.

Julie (12:52):

So it is a listing, it's not a website. Another con is that there are fixed prices. So because Teepublic manages the marketplace, they fix the prices. You do not have control over the prices that you want to list. Now, keep in mind that they use data to make good decisions about price points and how well are gonna sell. Um, they also do run specials. So if something's on sale, you can promote the sale. Um, if there is, you know, otherwise it's going to be at full price, but they're really, really reasonable. And I love that because I want my designs to be accessible. I don't want them to be boutique style like overpriced t-shirts, you know, I want people to get their hands on them. That all being said, one of the biggest cons is that you are going to have smaller earnings from some, from teepublic than some of the other platforms.

Julie (13:49):

So for example, on a classic t-shirt, maybe you'll earn $2 or maybe four dollars, depending on the price point, the style. And if it's on sale or not, um, for maybe a hoodie, you might expect to earn somewhere between four and $8. So it's not a ton of money, but look, they've made it so easy and you don't have to do returns or exchanges. So that was one of the things that, you know, is a little sad that I, there's not a huge profit potential, but it's such an easy way to add this additional stream of revenue. We're gonna add it as a link to our website. We're gonna add it in our link tree on Instagram. We're gonna promote it here. We're gonna promote it in emails. So just think about all the ways that you can push people to your listing. If you want merch, and you want a simple way to get it out there, you guys gotta try this.

Julie (14:42):

Here's another cool thing is that you sign up to be an affiliate for teepublic, and then you have your own listing. So if you find other designs that you feel might be a good fit for your audience, you can share your affiliate link to their marketplace listing. And so there's, there's different ways to earn I'm reading this directly from their website. So I get it right, but you can earn up to 31% on your own designs, and you can earn up to 11% on curated designs from other artists that have things listed that have their designs listed. And I think it's so cool because you honestly could just go into the marketplace, find designs that your audience might like and just share immediately. You don't even have to start your own merch store. But that being said, I, I think it would be really, really cool and additional stream of revenue for you and your subscription box business.

Julie (15:36):

If you did your own listing, now I wanna know what you think you have got to DM me at subscriptionboxbootcamp on Instagram. Let me know what you think of our designs, what designs you want for our subscription box business owner swag store. And let me know if you started your own listing. I want the link so I can check out your designs and share with our audiences as well. I hope this episode was as fun for you to listen to, as it was for me to create. And to invite you along this journey with us, go check out our merch store. Now it's at, and use the link in the show notes to get your own marketplace listing on teepublic. Oh, I cannot wait to see all the designs that you come up with. This is gonna be so much fun. Thanks as always for listening. And I'll see you in the next episode.