Merch update: Where does the money go?

Well, after about a week of selling t-shirts and stuff, we’re happy to say that some of you actually bought them! We’ve quietly added a few more items, such as a “Learn to Spell” lyric tee in three styles, a pullover hoodie (a little cheaper than the zip, but not by much), and by fan request, an embroidered Flexfit hat. Please note that the embroidered designs come in Scorpion yellow by default, but you can also change the color of the embroidery threads in the Customize It menu. If you want the hat logo to be Ermac or Sub-Zero or Rain or Reptile or even Noob, you can do it with a simple color picker. Try it and see, and let us know if you have any trouble or new merch ideas.

The embroidered logos required a conversion fee, so those were a little bit of investment on our end — but that led me to realize that we haven’t explained exactly where this money goes. We don’t expect to make a killing or even a profit (with those setup fees we’re actually in the hole) and the selling of shirts will never take precedence over the making of music. But we are planning to use that support cash to defray various small costs that go into the entity that is Palette-Swap Ninja. Among those potential costs:

  • Merch setup fees like those (about half taken care of by our current profits)
  • Song license fees. As we’ve stated, we try to get a license for each new song we do, as if we were doing a straight cover version, just to be safe. Each song is three figures at the minimum.
  • Hosting and domain registration fees. Not frequent, but kinda crucial! We need our dot-com.
  • Gear and software upgrades. We both have plenty of instruments lying around by now, but we are still struggling to find a recording suite we both like. We’ve been through Vegas, ProTools LE, and GarageBand; we are going to try Logic Express now. Being on the same software really simplifies our process, so this is something we’d like to eventually make happen.

One other thing we’ve learned about the merch. We have found that we make an alarming amount of extra cash from what Zazzle calls its referral bonus. That is, if you buy a shirt after clicking on the link from this website to our store, it drops a cookie on your machine, and if you order within 45 days from that cookie’s timestamp, we make roughly three times what we would otherwise make on that same sale. That’s at no cost to you; it’s just that Zazzle shares more of the profits from their cut. So, if you’re going to order, pleasepleaseplease do so from our Store link. (Yes, it’s called Kat’s Eye Design and there are a few shirts in there from one of Kat’s other clients, but the PSwap stuff is sorted under its own product line on the right nav.) This little referral detail helps us a dramatic amount, so thanks!

And remember, there are almost always Zazzle coupons that you can use to get a few bucks off or free shipping or whatever — that doesn’t come out of our cut, so use them!

We has a merch

In addition to kind words about our so-called “business” cards, we’ve gotten some very nice compliments on our songs, and occasionally, they come with comments like “I would buy your songs if you sold them” or “I’d like to support you guys in some small financial way, but there’s nothing on the site to that effect.” Hmm.

We don’t sell the songs. For one, that’s not why we do it. For two, even though we believe we are legally safe under parody laws, we figure we are flying under the radar by giving it away for free. We considered one of those PayPal button things, but that seemed…uninspired. And all we really want is for you to tell your friends about us.

Hey, I know…t-shirts!

Armed with the new toon ninjas and the fresh 3D logo, Kat whipped up a few designs that we thought you might not be embarassed to wear. Zazzle is cool because you can change it around — if you want a different color or style of shirt, you can customize it until it’s something you would want to buy. Like for instance, Dan decided he wanted to do the 3D logo in Scorpion yellow but on a maroon shirt. And the moment he put it on, he was struck with creative inspiration, as you can see:

So, successful closed beta. That works.

Right now, there’s the four colors of the 3D logo, a variation on the toon ninjas, and a special shirt with some of the “Halo” lyrics on the back, in dark or light. (Plus the prerequisite mousepad, for people who do not wear clothing.) If you’re feeling really spendy, we made an embroidered hoodie, but that was basically for ourselves and we don’t expect anybody else to buy it (but if you do, use the coupon SPRINGZAZZLE for $5 off orders of $45 or more until the end of June). We’re skipping crap like aprons and tote bags, but if there are other items you would actually like to buy with our logo on it or variations on the existing designs, just let us know. (A new shirt will unlock shortly after the new song appears this week.)

We think this solves the “support” problem nicely. We make a (very) tiny bit of cash on each shirt sold through Zazzle. More importantly, with you as our walking billboard, it gets the word out at LAN parties and comic book stores across the country. So by getting a shirt, you are supporting us twice — once by buying it, once by wearing it.

And if you don’t wanna do either, well, the songs are still free and we still love you.