Starting custom merch orders for influencers works differently than a one time bulk order. Here's how we navigate and began working with TikTok influencers.
How it Works
We call each new online store a launch. A launch includes a couple unique designs that are 1-2 ink colors, which makes them easy to print. Each launch includes 2-3 items of apparel. For example a launch might include t-shirts, hats, and a sweatshirt all with the same design so that each launch is consistent. Each launch is designed as a "set" of apparel so they can be worn together.
Each influencer has a custom website designed for them. We use Shopify to achieve the online stores. We cover everything including custom font, colors, photos, and mission statements for each influencer. Adding photos of customers to the website make it more personal.
While Campus Ink does do some marketing on our personal page for the influencers, they personally do most of the marketing for themselves. Prior to launches the influencers will ask their followers what they want to see or mention that a new launch is coming. This gets their followers excited for new merch and some even repost on their personal pages.
Getting followers engaged and excited for launches is important. Another tactic that the influencers have used is going live on TikTok. One time Lara gave people shout outs on live if they bought an item during the live. This worked extremely well. Another idea is to do giveaways. They've engaged followers by saying if you send me a screenshot of your order receipt they'll facetime with you.
When engaging TikTok followers coming up with unique ideas is important.
Haley Allen, our Marketing Director works with 2 Tik Tok Influencers with both over a million followers. Haley works with Lara Ann (@laraannn) who has 2.5 million followers! They are friends from college and were in the same sorority. After Lara grew her following on TikTok she asked Haley to design her custom merch. Lara had a slogan, "I'm Never Wrong". Her followers caught on quickly and the first launch sold $9K. Since then they have had 7 stores open.
The other TikTok influencer Haley works with is Niki Patton (@niki_patton) who has 1.6 million followers. Niki contacted Lara after Lara's first launch saying she was impressed with the quality and designs. Lara told her about working with Haley and Campus Ink and they started working together.
Niki and Haley are now on launch number 5. Their approach is slightly different. Instead of using a single catch phrase each time Niki prefers using positivity quotes that encourages / supports her followers mental health. Using phrases like "You Matter", "Keep Going", and "I hope you're smiling" to name a few.