When should we start production of merchandise for this summer ?

- Categories : Tips

Summer, with its array of festivals and tours, represents a crucial period for music bands and labels eager to maximize their revenue through merchandising. To fully capitalize on this flourishing season, early planning and production of your merch are essential. So, when should you start producing your merch for the summer? Here's a comprehensive guide to ensure that your summer merchandising strategy is a resounding success.

Understanding Production Timelines

The first step is understanding production timelines, which can vary depending on several factors such as the type of products (t-shirts, vinyl, cassettes, etc.), the complexity of designs, and the volume of the order. As a general rule, it's advisable to allow:

Textiles: 2 to 3 weeks for production and delivery.

CDs/Cassettes: 3 to 4 weeks for production and delivery.

Vinyl: 12 to 14 weeks, potentially requiring longer lead times due to their increasing popularity and limited pressing capacities.

*Also, remember to allow a week for file verification by the team to whom you will send them.

These timelines may extend during periods of high demand, particularly just before summer. Hence, it's crucial to start the process well in advance to avoid any delays.

Incorporating Design Time

The design of your merch is just as important as its production. Allocate 2 to 4 weeks for the design process, considering the back and forth between you and the designers or suppliers. Well-thought-out design can significantly enhance the attractiveness of your merch and, consequently, your sales.

Strategic Planning

January to February: Ideal start for planning and designing your merch. Utilize this time to finalize designs and determine the necessary quantities.

March to April: Initiate the production of your items. This leaves you enough time to adjust quantities based on pre-orders or initial interest.

May: At this stage, your merch should be in the final stages of production or in the process of delivery. Take this opportunity to refine your marketing strategy and prepare sales channels.

The Importance of Pre-orders

Pre-orders, launched in spring, can serve as a barometer for your audience's interest and adjust production volumes accordingly. They also ensure a source of income even before the start of summer, helping to finance additional production if needed.

Why Anticipate?

In addition to production and design timelines, anticipating allows you to:

Test market interest: Adjust your offering based on reactions to early samples or designs shared on social media.

Seize last-minute opportunities: Having stock available enables you to seize unexpected opportunities, such as invitations to festivals or bulk orders from distributors.

Reduce stress: Avoid the pressure and stress of tight deadlines, allowing you to focus on your music and performances.


The key to successful summer merchandising lies in anticipation. By starting planning and production of your merch in the early months of the year, you not only ensure that your products will be ready on time but also maximize your chances of commercial success during this lucrative period. Invest the necessary time in design, strategically plan production, and use pre-orders to your advantage to make summer a record season for your merch.

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