Advice: patron-only merch or available for everyone?

Question for those of you who offer merchandise. Do you offer it only to patrons or available to everyone or offer a mix of public and patron-only merch? So far, I’ve only been offering merch using my artwork to patrons on a password-locked area of one of my websites. I occasionally make public posts about it on my Patreon when I added new items and give a sneak peek of some of the items available hoping some will be interested enough to make a pledge, but that hasn’t yielded any results yet. I’m starting to rethink how I’m offering them and whether it would be better to make some or all of them publicly available instead of patron-only. Thoughts?

Also, side question, what is your favorite PoD merch site? I’ve been using Zazzle as they have a direct-selling option that lets me make merch hidden from their public marketplace, but I’m looking to possibly switch.

Thanks in advance for any advice or PoD suggestions!

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For prints, some I make patrons only (like a special version) and some I make available publicly.

Other merch I purchase I give first to patrons as part of certain tiers and offer to other patrons for usually a discounted rate then whatever is left I put up on my etsy at normal price for others. (Patrons also often get a say in the topics of my merch so they feel involved in the process.)

After first access to patrons, some of my content goes to my POD sites (redbubble and teepublic) since they have a wider range of items I cant facilitate myself. Not everything but some things that fit the items the best. (Or get requested by fans to put up that doesn’t have a reason to not be up there.)

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Thank you for your input!

Right now, I have all of my prints available publicly on ArtStation with other merch being patron-only. I will definitely be asking patrons for their input on new merch or projects in future once I have more (only one patron right now).

I’ve heard mostly good reviews of Redbubble and really like some of the product types that they offer. Wish they had a direct-selling option like Zazzle does or a way to password-lock your store.

I do like the idea of making some merch available to everyone after first access to patrons. Will look into more ways of doing that.

Redbubble is pretty great imo. I’ve been on it for a long time. You can create items that are private, but they are private to you unfortunately, yeah. You’d have to manually order things from your end for patrons, unless there is some sort of fullfilment app that can connect a store front to Redbubble in some fashion but I’m unaware of if such a thing exists.

Teepublic is also very nice and have monthly sales (they are also now owned by Redbubble technically, but they run separately.) They have no means of private listings at all though, so that’s no help there. Simpler storefront but I quite like them. Also can’t really go wrong with $13USD tshirts when they are on sale. X’D (You can’t choose your own profit margins on Teepublic but to be entirely honest, the margins are nice and I’ve made more money there in the short time I’ve had a store there, then I ever did on Redbubble.) Some food for thought anyways.

I hope you can find something that works for you!

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Thank you! I hope so too!

I emailed Redbubble last week about if they had a way I could make a store available only to patrons, but they said they didn’t. They did think the idea of direct-selling or password-locking were good ideas and would pass them on to the right team, so, hopefully we’ll see those options in future. They did mention as you did that I could order the merch on my end and then sell it onto the patrons, but I think that makes it more complicated than it needs to be. Plus I’d rather not have me as a middle-man, but allow patrons to order merch directly from the PoD.

Thanks again! I’ll look into both some more. I’ve just not been happy with Zazzle’s interface (it is so time consuming uploading the same artwork over and over and over again!) and they keep discontinuing product without warning so now I have to go back and clean up my merch listings on my website as some of those item types might not be available anymore.

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