How do I sell tea on Amazon

How this guy makes $ 150,000 with self-designed t-shirts on Amazon

Smart marketers earn millions through t-shirt portals and precise Facebook targeting. Now there is a simpler way of making money with shirts that you have designed yourself: “Merch by Amazon”. Neil Lassen made $ 150,000 in one year through the service, with no ads on any other platform. We show how it works.

A few years ago, Neil Lassen from Wisconsin was pushing shopping carts into one another in the supermarket. Now he has a t-shirt business with six-figure sales per year - as a side project. He sells his T-shirts via the Merch by Amazon portal, which is the largest online marketplace in the world. According to his own statement, he earns around $ 2,000 in a typical week and only has to sell about 484 shirts. The principle is reminiscent of platforms such as Teespring and Teezily. Lassen designs T-shirts himself, uploads the designs to the platform via Merch by Amazon and receives a share for every product sold. But Amazon's new project has clear advantages over offers like Teespring - especially for Neil Lassen.

A typical week of sales for Neil Lassen through Merch by Amazon.

Intended for game developers

Neil Lassen is looking for a new challenge while he is still working in the supermarket - and finds websites on the online marketplace Flippa, which are offered for 40,000 US dollars. “I looked at the websites and was speechless. The site was absolutely terrible. The offer was that the website could earn $ 10,000 a month. I knew if the guy could make that much money out of it, I could do it, ”Lasson told CNBC. Today he develops online and affiliate marketing strategies for larger websites and runs his t-shirt business on the side. He does this together with the Bulgarian Todor Karlikov, whom he met through an online marketing forum.

Home page of Merch by Amazon

Amazon will start Merch by Amazon at the end of 2015. At this point in time, the service can still be used by everyone without any obstacles. But marketers quickly flood the service and Amazon can't keep up with printing the T-shirts. Today, every potential t-shirt designer has to apply for the service. According to Lassen, however, sooner or later every account will be activated for the program. Amazon itself positions Merch as an opportunity for game developers to design fan shirts for their games and sell them on Amazon - even if they are not as well-known or as high-turnover as, for example, Rovio with Angry Birds. Obviously, many marketers are already on the move on Merch by Amazon at the beginning and use the service to sell products cheaply on Amazon. This is shown by some instructions for successful selling via the service.

Amazon takes over the logistics

Lassen immediately recognizes the opportunity that Merch by Amazon offers. You upload your design, set the price and fill in the title and product description. Amazon prints the T-shirts, sends them all over the world and also takes care of customer service - Prime shipping is also available. How much the shirt designer earns per product sold depends on the freely selectable price. Lassen shows that he makes about $ 8 on every $ 19.99 shirt sale, and if he sells for $ 15.99 that leaves about $ 4. Amazon keeps the rest.

Amazon shows how much remains with the retailer per sale - the amount of the payout adapts to the price of the product.

“You could look at the numbers and think, why should I waste my time on $ 4 a t-shirt? The answer is: Because you sell on Amazon, one of the most visited websites in the world. They have so much traffic per day that you will quickly see organic sales, ”says Lassen. He and his partner Karlikov cling to niches that already work well in the t-shirt market. To do this, the two of them examine the Best Seller Ranks (BSR) of various shirt designs on Amazon. "All we had to do was find something that would sell and then improve the design," he writes on Reddit. The bestseller rank for each product on Amazon is in the product descriptions and shows how well the product sells in its category (in this case clothing). According to Lassen, a shirt with a BSR of 100,000 in the clothing category sells around once a day, a BSR of 2,000 means 25 to 50 sales a day.

The Amazon bestseller rank (BSR) is in every product description on the platform.

Steal design ideas and still respect copyright

Lassen and Karlikov are discovering T-shirts that sell well, but that are not necessarily “design classics”. The process takes time, of course, because the two of them individually enter keywords in the Amazon search to come across shirts with a low BSR (high sales) and poor design. It is important not to violate any copyright - using Disney characters is the worst idea. Because Lassen and Karlikov are not really design champions, they outsource the design to freelancers in the Philippines. He has hired a designer via the Upwork platform who charges four US dollars per order - so he can collect 400 designs within three months.

Lassen sells most of his shirts for $ 16 to 19 - all organically through Amazon. To do this, you have to know how the platform works and be reasonably fit with Amazon SEO. Good design will do the rest. In terms of SEO, Merch by Amazon does not differ too much from the means available to classic sellers on the platform. According to Lassen, the title of the product and the product information (bullet points below the price) are particularly important when selling t-shirts. Important keywords are t-shirt, tee and what can be seen on the design.

Merch by Amazon easier than Teespring & Co?

In the meantime, Lassen and Karlikov say they have already sold one of their merch accounts for over $ 73,000 - it made about $ 3,000 in sales per month. The two are now working on software that enables users to search Amazon's t-shirt market for keywords. This is to shorten the long process that the two have gone through for others. Of course, they want to earn money from it and charge ten US dollars a month for Merch Informer. Lassen has invested a large part of the annual turnover of 150,000 US dollars in the development of the software.

Typical Facebook ad for a t-shirt seller on Teespring, Teezily & Co.

Sooner or later, Merch by Amazon could overtake platforms like Teespring. As Lassen already says: Anyone who can offer their products on Amazon generates organic sales through clever keyword analysis. This is hardly possible with Teespring & Co. Vendors who sell their shirts here mostly use Facebook ads and groups to show their designs to the target audience. This works quite well for some, but it costs money. We had already written down here what exactly was behind it. But Amazon is now the place where people look for products they want to buy - and thus apparently also the right environment to start a t-shirt business.

P.S .: Even a hamburger earns a little bit of money with Merch by Amazon. Here he describes his experiences.

Many thanks to our reader Ravi Deient for pointing out the topic!