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Articles on designing your own custom merch, growing your brand, and managing manufacturing as a small business.

How to Manufacture a Custom Product

Manufacturing your own custom merchandise is an excellent way to stand out in the crowded world of e-commerce. Custom merch lets your inspirations shine!

It doesn’t matter what type of product you choose, custom merch is an incredible way to stake out a claim for your brand in the modern market. Everyone from street vendors to international brands are selling shirts, hats, patches, pins, masks, and more… So one of the only ways to truly make an impact in the jam-packed market of today is to imprint your unique style and swag on the merch you sell.

Let’s dive in and learn more about some of the custom products you can manufacture easily, as well as how to go about doing it. 

custom embroidered machine

Ideas for Custom Products You Can Manufacture 

You can make anything custom, but here are some ideas for custom products that you can manufacture without too much hassle:

 

  • Patches 
  • Pins 
  • Coins 
  • Medals 
  • Lanyards 
  • Socks 
  • Masks 
  • Hats 
  • Beanies 
  • Hang Tags 
  • Backer Cards 
  • Woven or Printed Labels 
  • Stickers 
  • Cufflinks 
  • Money Clips 
  • Keychains 

How to Manufacture a Custom Product 

After choosing the product you want to manufacture, the next step is to do your research and find the company that can make it for you (once you’ve come up with your design, of course!). 

You want to make sure that you find a company that has expertise in manufacturing, so take your time researching. Even if you have an incredible design, if you go with a company that creates low-quality products, your design isn’t going to do you any good. Pay attention to the brand’s website, but don’t let a nice website fool you. As the saying goes… Don’t just a book by its cover!

Questions to Ask Yourself

Not all of these questions will always be applicable, but it helps to have some basic questions in mind when you do your research. Ask yourself these questions as you think about your decision. Otherwise, it will be hard to pick and choose between the myriad options available online.

How long has the brand been in business?

You don’t want to work with a manufacturing company that is new to the industry. You want a company that has a lot of experience and relationships with factories. 

What’s their turnaround time? 

It’s best if you identify your deadline whenever you query a company. Don’t say you don’t have a deadline (even if you don’t), because there are a lot of manufacturing companies that won’t deliver your product for months, and if you don’t determine a hard deadline they can string you along. 

Once you determine a deadline (or make one up) they will be forced to let you know if they can deliver in that timeframe. In addition, you’ll have written proof of their promise to come back at them if they don’t deliver. Be wary of brands with long or unclear turnaround times, especially with sites that rhyme with Dalibaba 🙂 They are notorious for this!

How much will production cost? 

You don’t want any surprises, so make sure the company tells you the pricing, including shipping and any special options you may want to add. It’s important to compare pricing with other companies, but don’t just look for prices that are way below average. You want pricing to be competitive with other companies. If pricing is too low or too high, that’s a major red flag.

What are their reviews like? 

Don’t make a decision solely based on reviews, because let’s face it… the only people who take time to leave reviews are the ones on either end of the curve. In other words, they’re often either the customers that had an amazing, unusually impressive experience or the ones that had a downright horrible one. That being said, you don’t want to use a company that has nothing but negative reviews (red flag) 

What is their quality like? 

If you have extra spending money, it’s best to order a sample beforehand, that way you know exactly what you are getting. If not, at least be prepared to ask the company questions about their quality.

What is their MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity)? 

This is important to ask this question because a lot of companies that have a high MOQ won’t allow you to order a sample before placing an order. This is also important if you are ordering less than 500 pieces of a custom product. If you’re just ordering merch for a club or small organization, for example (or just for yourself and friends or family), then you’ll need a low MOQ. You don’t want to get stuck buying an amount that you don’t need.

Is their staff knowledgeable? 

Ask as many questions as possible and make sure they know the answers to your questions. You don’t want to work with anyone that doesn’t know about manufacturing, or that’s simply outsourcing all the work to a foreign country. Work with folks who know what they’re doing. 

Do they offer special options? 

You want to work with a company that offers a variety of special options. Without special options or add-ons, you aren’t taking advantage of what true custom manufacturing can offer. Special options are the icing on that cake that really make your custom product stand out from the crowd! 

Manufacture Your Own Custom Products with The/Studio Today

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