Dear Hunter: Episode 15 — Merch Magic
I asked my followers on Twitter to help me with suggestions for this month’s column. I was asked by some to write about sorcery and wizards, but I thought the suggestion to talk about the “business of merch” put forth by user @TeeJayDahl was the way to go.
I can only comment on how the business of merch works for Chimaira. Every band is different. I am going to do my best to give the gist vs. minor details.
Our journey with merchandise began with our original guitarist Jason Hager. He created the Chimaira logos that we still use to this day. The Chaos star and the “chimaira” font are both his creation. In the early days of the band, Jason worked at a T-shirt printing press, so this made things extremely easy, efficient, and somewhat profitable for us as we avoided the “middle man.”
This is how it worked back in ’99:
Step 1: Design shirt
Step 2: Print and purchase on our own
Step 3: Sell to fans at shows
Shirt prices varied back then, and we thought it would be wise to sell our shirts for cheap. We didn’t make much at all from merchandise back then, but it helped get our name out in the form of advertising, and we were able to use the funds for some of our needs.
Once we signed to Roadrunner in 2001, we were offered a merchandise deal through Blue Grape. The offer was a cash advance, worldwide distribution and they took care of wholesale and retail.
This was huge for us. This meant our shirts would be everywhere. This meant we didn’t have to do much of anything beyond submitting designs — and we didn’t even have to do that. A company now worked with us, and they had an enormous team of quality artists.
How it’s worked 2001 to 2006:
Step 1: Design shirt, or review submitted designs from artists
Step 2: Sell merch on road, collect royalty checks from online and retail
The biggest con of this was we wouldn’t see any money until our advance was paid off and a big part off.
When we moved from RR, we moved from BG. They were in the same building.
Since then, we have worked with a few other companies that follow the same ideology as Blue Grape. We get an advance, we collect royalties, and our shirts are printed for us. The companies also handle all of our online sales as well as do their best to advertise.
Today, we work with the company Third Degree Merch for online and touring. We work with a separate company, Cinderblock, for retail and wholesale orders.
The faces are different, but the concept is the same. We tend to concentrate more online than we used to, but a big reason is the Internet was completely different back then.
Buying merchandise from a band is a huge way to support them. It could possibly be the best. But, even though it’s a money making avenue, we still have to pay out almost 50-percent of the profit. Between the cost of the shirt, commissions, and venue fees, the money quickly dwindles.
To anyone that’s ever bought a Chimaira shirt, hoodie, hat or any other piece of merch, thank you. It’s helped us in more ways than you can ever imagine.
If you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?
And now on to the sorcery.
I had flu-like symptoms yesterday. Here is my brew to cure the weather-changing aids for the season:
Boil 4 cups of water
Dry sauté about a handful (of each) chopped onions, celery, green onions, garlic (1-2 clove), and carrots
Melt tablespoon of grass-fed butter on top of veggies after 5 minutes
Then add to boiling water
4 teaspoons of chicken stock (I use Better Than Bullion)
1 tablespoon of turmeric
1/2 tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 pinch of rosemary, thyme, oregano leaves, sage blend (I use fresh, finely chopped)
Then, I combine the veggies and seasoned boiling water to a blender for about a minute.
Takes about 15 minutes total, and you’ll feel awesome.