What is the Amazon Merch Program? Many of you are likely searching for an easy way to pay off your debt, be it from college, a medical bill, credit cards, or any other number of sources. One good option to pursue is the Merch by Amazon program.
This might even be an easy answer to that 2% income increase each month that you are looking for as part of our 2% plan.
What is Merch by Amazon?
Have you ever thought of a cute or funny saying and said to yourself “I would love to put that on a t-shirt and sell it!”? Well, Merch by Amazon is a t-shirt printed merchandise designers dream. Why? Because with Merch by Amazon, you can make money through the sale of branded t-shirts designed by you – whether a cute saying, a funny saying, unique designs, and/or characters.
You design the t-shirt and Amazon prints, ships and distributes your branded product for you. You will then earn a royalty for every t-shirt sold with no out-of-pocket cost to you. It is listed on Amazon just like you would find many t-shirts on their site now.
How can you start selling through Merch by Amazon?
You are required to submit an application to Amazon to request an invitation, which can take several months. For example, my friend Abigail has sold t-shirts through the Amazon Merch program for over a year now. But, she applied in February of last year and wasn’t accepted until May.
After you are accepted, you can upload 10 t-shirt designs to Amazon.com. They will take your designs, print them on demand, and ship them to customers. After uploading your design, Amazon takes over from there – your work is done, and you get to keep all the profit once Amazon meets their quota. It’s one of the easiest ways to make money online as there is no investment required and just a little bit of time.
What is the potential profit after Amazon’s cut?
Amazon makes this process too easy for you to start selling and making money on t-shirts, right?
Well, don’t worry, they will take care of their expenses. But their expenses seem to be quite reasonable, ESPECIALLY when your work is minimal in the process.
Here’s what Amazon’s cut of your t-shirts comes down to:
Basically, whatever your selling price, Amazon takes a minimum of $9.80 for the basic design, on a basic t-shirt. This is not a bad price!
Then in addition, Amazon takes a 15% listing fee = 15% of the actual sales price. The chart above shows that on a $20 -t-shirt, you would make just over $7. This is not a bad profit at all with the amount of work, the fact that there is no risk and an easy outlet to earn.
There are also premium features for t-shirts and so this chart shows those fee breakdowns:
So now the next step is the design.
The tricky part is coming up with designs that people actually want to buy – AND designs that do not infringe any copyrights or trademarks either in the text, the artwork, or the fonts used.
Abigail has been doing this for over a year now and hasn’t hit on any huge, viral winners yet, but she’s been making about $20-80/month for a very minimal time investment.
Here’s one of her t-shirt designs:
It’s a fun design! It is described as:
“Just Another Day In Paradise. With silly irony, this original, distressed illustration shows a farmer man running to a barn away from a charging bull, while his tractor is stuck in mud and a tornado looms above. Perfect tee to give a farmer, farm wife, farm kids, or anyone who loves life on the land and can laugh at the not-so-fun aspects of farming.”
She shared that the more time you devote to the project, the more money you can make. For more information, she recommends the Merch by Amazon Facebook group – a great place to get answers to all your questions as you get started.
The best part of this type of venture is that it does not require high overhead or initial investment. The only investment Abigail made was to fill out the initial application and then create and upload her designs. She already works as a graphic designer, so this would be a great side gig for anyone who already has graphic design software!
If you are not a designer, you will need to either teach yourself or hire the design out to someone who is.
Abigail and her husband Joe had around $125,000 in student loan debt when they were married, but thanks to side gigs like the Amazon Merch program, they’re able to pay off their debt without involving tight deadlines or a heavy time investment. The Westbrooks’ debt is under $10,000 now, and they’ve managed to make that progress while raising children and working other full-time jobs. This opportunity has been one of those ways that has contributed to their debt-payoff, every little bit of income helps, and this is just one more way you may be able to apply a little more each month to pay down your debt.
We love this idea because it is super easy to set-up, no investment required, no start-up costs and it is a way to find an easy 2% income increase each month. As you discovered in the details above, once you spend a few hours initially setting this up…it will produce money for you without hardly any effort. Then you may one day have a design that completely takes off and makes a huge amount of money. But whether it is that 2% extra or a huge paycheck, it may be a side gig to help you!
We had actually hoped to pursue this avenue ourselves as a way to meet our next 2% income increase goal. But we made a mistake and so I want to share our story and hope that you can learn from our mistake and get it right the first time!
We have thought of so many funny and fun t-shirt designs, but implementation was a difficult feat to figure out, until the Merch by Amazon program. So we were super excited that it could be so easy!
So back in June of 2016, we applied to the Merch by Amazon through our main Amazon account. They do have a waiting list and it is by invite only.
We waited and waited for our application to be approved. We hadn’t heard, but knew it would take a while.
In September of 2016, we went on vacation for the Labor Day week. During this vacation, Amazon sent us an email that said we had been approved. I didn’t see it.
After waiting another few months, I decided to email Merch by Amazon to find out a status. That is when I searched my email to find their contact information, I found the acceptance email. I clicked on the link and my invite had expired. We had to accept the invite within a couple of weeks.
I emailed Merch by Amazon and explained that I didn’t see their response as I was on vacation. They said it was too late and I couldn’t apply through my main Amazon account. I would need to create a new Amazon account and start all over.
Here’s what the email title looks like when you have been accepted – DON’T MISS THIS IMPORTANT EMAIL. It comes once and they don’t send a reminder.
I then emailed them again a few months ago, begging and pleading to let me re-apply. I never got a response. But I then received this email just over a week ago:
So I am not sure what happened. I guess I have an active account that I finally received email notification about. So you bet that I am going to submit my first design right after this post! I will make some follow-up posts about my progress and designs so that you can track what we are doing. We actually applied for our children. What I mean is that our children have had a number of fun t-shirts they have wanted to make. So they will be designing and I will be listing them as the adult. It will be a fun experiment and great little job and experience for our kids! Plus, they may make a little money in the process.
So keep watching our progress.
In addition, my friend and co-blogger at MousekeMoms.com – Kiz, applied for the program to make Disney-ish themed t-shirts. I say Disney-ish because of copyright, so her own play on words and design that do not infringe on Disney directly. She was accepted after about 2-months. She JUST started her online t-shirt store. This was the first t-shirt she created last week:
So on this particular shirt, the profit would be just over $6.
Kiz hasn’t sold any yet, but that’s the other part of this, learning how to market your shirt. As there are thousands of t-shirts just on Amazon alone, the likelihood of someone searching for your exact design is likely impossible, but in a general search, found more easily with hundreds of other options.
The trick at that point becomes marketing your t-shirt using social media and other platforms. That’s what my next goal is…figuring out how to market my friend Kiz’s shirts and my own kids’ shirts that they design. It likely will not just sell itself sitting there. You need to market it! Again, I will share my progress and the things I learn along the way as I dive into this new money making opportunity!
One thing that Abigail has done to market her shirts is to start a Facebook page for her t-shirt business. She has uploaded the designs with the Amazon link so that she can market to her friends and family on Facebook, then they will also help spread the word! That is a great, minimal, free way to start your marketing.
Visit Abigail’s Facebook Page.
Both of these will help give ideas.
Then be watching me here on the progress our family makes on our t-shirt designs! Follow us on our email newsletter HERE, where we will be sharing our t-shirt selling journey!
Have you tried the Amazon Merch program before?
The final question to ask in this post is whether you have in the past or are currently a part of the Amazon Merch program? We would love to hear about your experience. Please leave a comment below and share your story!