Getting Started With Custom Products for Your Brand

Custom products and apparel have been an essential part of marketing strategies since the beginning! Whether you’re making products to sell with your brand on it, show your employees some appreciation and build morale, or focused on creating promo items to gain visibility for your company at tradeshows and events, there are just so many reasons to consider branded products. If you’re new to ordering custom merch, you’ve likely noticed that there are a whole lot of vendors and hundreds of thousands of products. This is meant to serve as a helpful guide so you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and approach the task of ordering custom products and apparel with confidence!

Product Selection

If you’ve been browsing online catalogs of customizable products, you’ve seen that the options are truly limitless. You can place a graphic and logo on just about anything you use on a daily basis. So, where do you start? We advise starting with everyday lifestyle products. These are items that you yourself likely use everyday, often without even thinking about it. Some of our most popular products that we can offer as examples include water bottles, hoodies, tote bags, pens, hats, and sunglasses. These are products that someone would likely not only be excited to be given for free at an event, but would actually use on a regular basis.

Planning and Budgeting

While we’re happy to support all of our clients, some of our favorite companies to work with are businesses who have a rough plan in mind and really spent the time considering how custom merch can help their brand. These are business owners who know exactly who their target market is, the events they’ll be passing out their merch at, and a rough idea of the quantities and budget. Understanding all of this not only prevents you from overspending on items that fail to offer value in the end, but will also make the process of selecting an item much more efficient.

Diversity is a Major Plus

Let’s be honest. No brand or business has an endless marketing budget and chances are you have a fair amount of pressure to avoid spending much on promotional products. While this is completely understandable, it’s important to not limit yourself to any one item, or theme of items. If you only print custom beach towels, you’re likely going 3 out of 4 seasons with your custom products stuffed in a closet somewhere. Selecting a few items for different target markets, seasons, and even occasions can really help you gain some brand recognition in entirely new audiences.

Research

Okay so this one might go without saying, but we just can’t stress enough how useful it is to look into all of your options. If you’re attending an event where your competitors are also present, take a moment to walk around to their tables and see what kind of giveaways they’re offering. Take note of the items that seem to be the most popular and that the crowd is walking away with and raving about. You can also jump online and start looking up similar products to gauge pricing and variations on the idea that you can make a little more your own for your brand.

Consider Your End Users

Have you ever actually caught a free t-shirt at a baseball game, or concert? Some of us have only to unroll it and realize it’s about 4 sizes too big and is so uncomfortable it’s not even oversized pj worthy! It’s so important to consider the varying body types, genders, age groups, and ability status of your intended product users. If your budget is too limited to order for different body types, consider unisex fits. Avoid flashy colors that might be off-putting to many.

Quality is Key

Nobody wants a poorly constructed waterbottle that spills everywhere with normal use, or t-shirt that gets threadbare after one wash. You might feel compelled to order high numbers of multiple products. The rule of quality over quantity could not be more important when discussing custom products.

Images and Logos Should Not Overwhelm

The key with the graphics is that they should represent your brand, be clear and easy to interpret, but not be overwhelming. Choosing a product that your logo naturally complements can help. An example of this is if you’re hoping to order water bottles and you have a logo with very bright colors that can be difficult to match, find a product that offers white. This will at least allow your logo to not appear contrasting.

We hope these tips helped you get started and we can’t wait to see what you end up customizing!

J&R Marketing is a marketing company that specializes in branding, development, custom packaging, apparel and products. If you’re interested in discussing your custom products contact us today. 

Jeana DeLaire
[email protected]

Jeana DeLaire is a Rhode Island based freelance writer and communication consultant. Published works have included a range of writing from website content and blogs to editorials and features in local magazines in the New England area. Topics include business consulting, marketing tips, Rhode Island tourism, and event coverage.