How To Start Anime Merchandise Business?

Apply for the license

Running an anime business isn’t the same as making t-shirt designs based on your favorite characters and uploading them to Redbubble. If you want your business to survive after a few sales, you will need to obtain a license from the copyright and trademark owners. Without a licensing agreement, your merchandise could be confiscated at the border or you could be sued and shut down your business to intellectual property (IP) owners.

There are two types of licensing agreements, Sanshee’s Sarah Fetter explains in an interview with Shopify: exclusive licensing, which means only you can make and sell merchandise, and non-exclusive, which means you’re one of many sellers. However, even if you have a non-exclusive contract, you will find that you can make some items, such as t-shirts, while another company makes pillows or pins.

The products of print on demand

If you have the budget and space to store or display merchandise, your best option is probably to produce them in bulk or purchase licensed books, figurines, and toys from manufacturers. If you’re only selling merchandise online and are on a tight budget, print on demand may be cheaper when you start.

POD companies like Printful, Printify, and CustomCat can print a variety of items, including posters, pins, mugs, T-shirts, jackets, blankets, pillows, shoes, and a list of other items that seems to be growing every month. The benefits of using POD services are that there is no need to stock inventory and when your customers ask for one, it will be in their hands within a week or so.

The drawbacks of POD are that your cost per item is higher than when you buy in bulk and you don’t have the ability to inspect each item before it reaches the customer. You should always ask for sample items before offering them to your customers so that you can check the quality.

Market research

Keeping track of what other merchandise sellers offer is important in any business, including one that sells souls. However, if you just rely on this, you will always be ahead of the competition. To get a head start, you will need to stay on top of all anime including games, movies and comics on the horizon and what fans are enjoying the most.

Online business

If you are aware of the modern techniques of the business, then you can benefit from an online business system. Fortunately, the places where you’ll find the most up-to-date information, like Reddit and the many forums dedicated to anime, are the same places where much of your marketing should take place. Create accounts on these websites, review them daily and post frequently. Build relationships with other fans and post when you have a new product announcement. If you’re starting a brick and mortar, get involved with the local cosplay community. Seriously consider sponsoring local events and promoting them from your Facebook page, as well as on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. If there are no local events, start a few. If you can’t get interested in a cosplay or anime event where you live, chances are that opening a store in your community won’t be a very good idea. Apart from online business you can visit the famous anime merchandise Malaysia for a better experience.

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Written by Jason Hansen