The most profitable YouTuber merch happens when creators take the time to create a thoughtful design that connects with their community of subscribers. Too often we see YouTubers with millions of subscribers selling merch that only features their channel’s name in the design. And almost every time, the YouTuber is disappointed by how many products they sell. Without fail, we’ve learned that more subscribers doesn’t always mean more sales.
At Bonfire, we have helped YouTubers, on all levels of popularity, create merch for their subscribers. We’ve seen the greatest successes and biggest letdowns, and we have the insight to help you have the most successful merch run ever.
Let’s explore some of the common design themes of the best YouTuber merch that’s been sold on Bonfire to learn how you can create merch that your subscribers will love.
Karleigh Klostermann created her happy life merch to remind her fans that we all have our own daily struggles that we deal with, but we should try to have a happy life even when it tries to bring you down. The design and messaging of her campaign really resonated with her subscribers and it resulted in a very successful first merch drop.
Takeaway: Being able to create content that your subscribers relate to is a crucial part of having a successful YouTube channel. The same can be said for your merch. Create merch that aligns with your brand. If you create apparel that fits naturally into everything else you’re doing with your influence, your followers will feel like they have to buy one when they see your merch.
Knorpp and South
With a loyal following of 250K subscribers who love seeing what this family of nine is up to, Knorpp and South designed their custom merch to represent their family’s beliefs that they discuss in their videos. Using a combination of colorful patterns, inspirational sayings, and their channel’s branded logo, they were able to design a selection of merch that truly reflects their family.
Takeaway: Design your merch to reflect a certain belief or concept that your YouTube channel stands for. When your subscribers see what you’ve created, they’ll feel an immediate connection to the merch because it perfectly embodies why they follow your channel.
Known for his funny videos with simple bird drawings, Berd designs his merch to feature the original Berd character that he’s known for and his 1.18 million subscribers are eager to buy.
Takeaway: If your Youtube channel has a cartoon or animated character as a part of the brand, integrate this familiar face into your merch. Featuring your well-known characters and images into the design of your merch works well because your subscribers are already fans of what you’ve created. This finally gives them a chance to get a shirt or hoodie featuring their favorite character.
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Timing can be everything when it comes to the success of your merch. YouTuber, MeatCanyon, has found a lot of success in launching new merch that’s timed with the release of his newest video. The merch features characters from the latest videos and immediately resonates with his most loyal subscribers.
Takeaway: Take advantage of the virality and energy of your freshest content. If you have a new video coming out that features something new or different, release some new merch to go along with it. You’ll be able to capitalize off of the momentum of your new video and your subscribers won’t be able to stop themselves from buying one.
Capitalizing on the popularity of his viral PSH! and Look At This Car!! videos, Ed Bassmaster was able to launch exclusive shirts and hoodies for each of his top videos that his fans couldn’t resist from purchasing.
Takeaway: If one of your videos is going viral or being turned into a meme, then you’re in a perfect position to launch some exclusive merch. The more relevant the video is, the more likely the merch will be successful.
Jess and Mclane
Sometimes, less is more. YouTubers and vloggers, Jess and Mclane, took a minimalistic approach when they were designing their MESS and 7 Tattoo merch, and their subscribers immediately loved it.
Takeaway: Your merch doesn’t always have to include complex designs with a lot of colors. Try using one or two colors at most and feature a simple graphic or drawing. Plus, minimalist t-shirts a very popular right now.
Designing merch that speaks to your subscribers, but also pushes your online brand forward, isn’t always easy. YouTuber and travel vlogger Nicole Eddy wanted to design her merch to remind her loyal following of travel and surfer enthusiasts of all the good times that summer brings each year and highlights her brand at the same time.
With these goals in mind, she created her line of exclusive merch called It’s Summer Somewhere. The imagery on the front of the shirts represents her love for surfing and the beach, and on the back she placed her branded logo.
Takeaway: Focus the primary part of your design on what your subscribers will connect with the most, and then tastefully work in your own branding or logo so it isn’t distracting or overpowering. Your fans won’t mind a small bit of personal brand if they feel like the main design embodies what they love about your channel so much.
The Food Ranger
With nearly 4 million subscribers, The Food Ranger travels the world to show his viewers how food is something that universally connects all of us. He uses his merch to encourage his subscribers to use food as a way to connect with other people and learn about other cultures. His Spicy shirt shows this by having the word “spicy” written in multiple different languages, and his Tai Hao Le shirt which he made to remind his loyal fan base of “Food Rangers” that very good food can be found everywhere you go.
Takeaway: Design your merch to feature the unique words or phrases that have become part of your channel’s language and culture. It’s a great opportunity for your devoted fans to show their love for your channel.
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