As t-shirt entrepreneurs or builders of apparel brands, we’re always hungry for new, exciting ways to market the products. While the backbone our businesses are located online, the offline world offers a great opportunity to boost sales & gain vital exposure.
And no, this does not include cornering your friends and family in the living room / social events & pressuring them into buying your products. Not only is this awkward, but it is not going to help grow your business whatsoever!
Instead, you could consider creating your own event / integrating yourself into an existing one. If you get this right and you will have yourself a captive audience, a fun atmosphere & a reason to buy your t-shirts. If your brand & products are entwined with the buzz of an awesome social event, not only are you going to spike your sales & boost revenue, your brand’s exposure & reputation will also increase ten-fold.
What Kind of Events Could Be Used?
Your selection of events will depend heavily on your own interests, target audience and brand. Start by defining your target audiences, which events might interest them & how you can smoothly integrate your brand’s products in the mix. Unless you’re experienced in event planning / have a budget to match, it perhaps wiser to team up with other professionals to pull this off!
While bigger events are more kind, the most important aspect is matching your merchandise to the crowd & your target audience. The types of events you may consider working the way into could include:
- Social Events
- Sports clubs
- Local Hotspots
But for the aim of this article, we are going to focus primarily on the younger outgoing crowd with parties & club events.
Why Does This Work So Well?
Many of us like to attend themed parties or events, but it is often hard to going all out on a budget. This is specially true with costume parties; you think it is going to be Halloween Part II, but nobody has a hundred bucks lying around to drop on a costume they are going to wear once. This becomes an advantage for you; by selling tee shirts that match the party’s theme, you are going to be as popular as a merchandise stand at a concert.
If you do not have existing connections, one great way to start is by contacting your local nightclubs, hotspots and local event organizers. If you can provide value or interesting ideas and likely split your earnings with the venue, you will likely be able to charm the way into some cool events. By partnering together with local places to be, it becomes a win-win for everyone! If it is a great success, you may even be able to secure a regular spot!
What Kind of T-Shirts Designs Would You Sell?
Since these t-shirt designs are going to be based on a particular event, it is unlikely that you are going to get away with selling your current merchandise. Sure, you could offer a few of them at each party, but what the patrons are going to be looking for is specific shirts.
Thankfully, most clubs & event spaces have pretty simple themes for the night – black & white, ladies’ night, pride nights, … So with simple designs, you can come up with a popular look for these ready to get in on the fun!
If you are primarily used to selling through drop shipping, you are probably not going to have large stocks of t-shirts ready to take to an event. The idea of buying physical stock to sell can even scare you at this stage. However, you can still get in on the fun by promoting & selling your t-shirts to would-be attendees ahead of time.
1. Black Light Party
Nightclubs love to host black light parties or “glow parties”. Those typically emulate traditional raves & include lots of glow paint, neon and glow sticks. The good thing about black light parties is making a tee shirt for them is simple. Typically, all you need is a dark shirt printed with glow-in-the-dark ink / even white spaces that glow under a black light.
Another variation on the theme is a “color night”, or a “neon” event, where bright Day-Glo & neon colors are combined with black lights & strobes. This provides a lot more selections for fun shirts, including plays on tie-dye, color changing shirts, and bright & funky designs.
Whether you want to be able to charge a premium, come up with or hire a designer for, a shirt making that somehow changes when under a black light. From hidden pictures & messages to advanced printing techniques, you could have a lot of fun & creativity with glow-in-the-dark shirts that your crowd will love!
2. Birthday Parties
Kids are not the only ones who throw birthday parties. Many young adults love having private parties / their own sections at a club for their birthday. What better way to celebrate the occasion by providing the group with their own tee shirts?
The best thing about tee shirts for a birthday party is you have several options for tee shirt designs. You could have one, or a couple, of general designs for sell, like “Tom’s Birthday 2K16!” with a fun picture. You can make an exclusive design for the birthday boy or girl while selling the generic design(s) to the other partygoers. Whether you have the capabilities, you can go fully customized by including the buyer’s name, custom phrases, and more, for a shirt that they’ll love for a long time. You can even hand out a free generic shirt as an added advertising incentive, attracting those who are not part of the party & driving more sales for yourself.
3. Battle of the Bands Events
Whether your community hosts a Battle of the Bands / other live talent competition, you can set up shop like a band’s merchandise shop & sell custom event tee shirts! If you personally know of a local band or are just attending the event, you could have your designs on display.
You can obtain the roster ahead of time & see if the musicians would be willing to let you use their name & logos on a shirt. If so, you may convince them to wear yours on stage! By having some different designs for people’s favorite acts or just to say that they were there, it is a great opportunity for local sales, as well as free advertising.
4. Bartender Nights
An increasingly popular trend among bars & nightclubs is to let ordinary folks pretend to be the bartender for the night. In other to fancy bottle juggling tricks, they put on display their favorite cocktail, with the crowd voting on the favorite.
5. Sports Parties
When the big game is on at the local pub, bar or wing joint, you’re in prime position to move some shirts! You can play to the crowd with the local favorite, or divide and conquer with shirts supporting both teams. You could have a poll based on tee shirt designs to seek the most popular designs.
The biggest thing about this idea is that is isn’t exclusive to any one sport or team. It could be done seasonally, monthly or annually around major games. Once established, you would pretty much do this often as you like, provided the local establishments are happy with the arrangement.
6. Black Tie Nights
Many clubs are hosting “black tie” nights those days, which are either as formal as they sound or goofy & ironic. If it is the latter, you can definitely get in on the fun. By making your own version of the infamous “tuxedo tee shirt” / other elegantly inspired fun tee shirt, you could help others enjoy the evening.
If they need to wear your shirt to fit in or it becomes part of a party gift bag the event organizers plan on handing out, you can spread the word about your tee shirt designs in a fun & exciting environment! Whether the night is full of ballroom dancing / hosting a spy movie night, there is plenty of ways to customize your shirts.
7. Hot Summer Nights
A fun idea to beat those dog days of summer is with fun house parties, pool parties and outdoor dance events! Everyone is looking to beat the heat, but still have a good time. As the local tee shirt design expert, you may have a few different designs. One shirt you can design is a shirt that changes colors either through UV rays / from the water. This way, if it’s an outdoor event or a big swimming party at a local resort, the guests can wear the shirts & help bring awareness to your brand.
The other thing you can do is sell a “chilled” tee shirt. You could make a custom print on a few shirts, which you soak in water & freeze or refrigerate. These can be given away as prizes and maybe even worn by those looking to cool off quickly!
8. “Ugly” Christmas Sweater
The partygoers are intentionally wearing gaudy Christmas sweaters. People are hosting Christmas parties with guests trying to wear the absolute worst sweaters they find. You could capitalize on this with custom shirts specially made for that party. This can be patterned after intentionally bad sweaters or with a generic design & the group or event logo. You could come up with two designs, one for sale and one for the winner of the “bad sweater” contest.
No matter what the local event is, you could easily come up with a custom print & get some great word-of-mouth advertising. So as online t-shirt sellers, we should not be afraid of dipping our toe into the offline world, especially if it could be used to help trigger business growth.