7 Branded Merchandise Examples: Learn to Create Merch that Actually Sells
When you think about promotional products, you probably think of items that are either given out as free gifts or thrown in with purchases.
But what if we told you there’s a way you can gain exposure through promotional products while simultaneously boosting your profits?
That’s precisely what branded merchandise can do for your company.
Here, we’ll show you how companies of all kinds are creating branded merchandise and white label products their customers are actively seeking out and purchasing.
Read on to learn about seven examples of profitable branded merchandise:
- Starbucks: Spring Cups.
- Dunkin’ Releases Makeup Collection With E.L.F. Cosmetics.
- Hard Rock Cafe: John Wick 4 and Women’s Health.
- Mouse ears from Disney parks.
- Blue Bottle Coffee coffee accessories.
- Pizza-themed swag from Roberto’s PIzzeria.
- Beer-tastic merch from Angel City Brewery.
Let’s get started.
1. Starbucks: Spring Cups
Starbucks has offered unique branded drinkware for years. In 2023, this popular coffee house released a variety of spring-inspired cold cups, tumblers, mugs, and more. Fans will love their bright color combinations.
Early collectors began initial social media groups with like-minded Starbucks drinkware aficionados in 2019. Since then, thousands of people have jumped on the bandwagon to collect this branded merchandise.
Want to give your recipients a color-changing cup imprinted with your logo? Check out our vibrant options.
Image source: Starbucks
2. Dunkin’ Releases Makeup Collection with E.L.F. Cosmetics
The fast food chain formerly known as Dunkin’ Donuts is branching out from coffee and donuts: it recently joined forces with E.L.F. Cosmetics to release a limited edition makeup collection featuring eyeshadow, primer, lip glosses, and more. The line is available exclusively at elfcosmetics.com and Ulta Beauty.
The branded merchandise helps both organizations focus on their communities. All branded merch have donut-inspired names, flavors, and scents.
Dunkin’ donut holes and beauty products may seem like an unlikely combination, but the most successful branded merchandise is sometimes the kind that customers don’t even know they want.
Feel like following in Dunkin’s footsteps? Take a look at these custom lip balms.
Image source: Dunkin'
3. Hard Rock Cafe: John Wick 4 and Women’s Healths
Hard Rock Cafe apparel has a long following from its famous branded tees that revolved around different cities several years ago to its most recent focus on John Wick and women's health.
All designs have been so undeniably stylish, creating a pent-up demand for this brilliant branded merchandise.
If you’re feeling inspired by Hard Rock Cafe’s sought-after merch, create some branded t-shirts your customers will love.
Image source: Shop.HardRock.com, “JOHN WICK X HARD ROCK ADULT FIT HOODIE ORANGE LETTERS DESIGN”
4. Disney: Mouse Ears
Branded merchandise can not only sell, it can grow in popularity for more than 50 years — just look at Disney’s iconic mouse ears.
First introduced in the 1950s for cast members of “The Mickey Mouse Club,”the mouse ears are an excellent example of a brand creating demand for its merchandise before it’s released.
By the time the mouse ear hats were made available to consumers, legions of “The Mickey Mouse Club” viewers were already primed to make a purchase, according to DisneyExaminer.
Today, the beloved hats and headbands are a social media sensation. On Instagram, the hashtag #mickeyears has more than 840,000 at the time of writing, #minnieears has more than 760,000 and #mouseears has nearly 450,000.
If you want to create your own take on the iconic mouse headbands, just contact us and let us know what you’re thinking. Even if the product you want isn’t available on our website, we’ll work with you to make it happen.
Image source: ZiggyKnowsDisney.com, “Millennial Pink Minnie Mouse Ears and Spirit Jerseys Coming in April to Disney Parks”
5. Blue Bottle Coffee: Coffee Accessories
Local businesses, take note: you don’t have to be a massive corporation to successfully sell your branded merchandise. Case in point: Blue Bottle Coffee’s merchandise, which includes aesthetically-appealing travel mugs, ceramics, and glassware.
Founded in 2002 in Oakland, Calif., Blue Bottle Coffee quickly became a local hotspot. Today, it has expanded to 11 U.S. locations, as well as several more overseas.
Perhaps the company’s limited number of locations is part of what makes its merchandise desirable to customers: With a travel mug or tote from Blue Bottle, customers are representing a smaller chain that may be seen as more “authentic” than a corporate giant like Starbucks.
For evidence of the popularity of Blue Bottle’s merchandise, just take to Instagram, where the tag #bluebottlecoffedripper has more than 250 posts at the time of writing.
Image source: BlueBottleCoffee.com, “MiiR Commuter Cup”
6. Pizza-Themed Swag from Roberto’s Pizzeria
Roberto's Pizzeria in New York has a unique brand identity and has built a loyal following of through a fine selection of swag and apparel. The pizzeria is heavily associated with counterculture in the community and effectively uses graffiti-style images to convey their brand.
Looking to sell your own branded apparel? Take a look at our vast selection of custom t-shirts.
Image source: Robertaspizza.com, “Pizza Dom Tee”
7. Angel City Brewery: Beer-Tastic Merch
As the craft beer industry has exploded, so too has the beer enthusiast’s desire for brewery-specific merchandise.
One prime example is Angel City Brewery, a well-loved Los Angeles-based craft brewery. In addition to the swag they offer for sale at their downtown LA pub, they also allow customers all over the country to purchase their branded items online.
The popularity of independent beer makers’ merch amongst locals and tourists alike is great news for local breweries, distilleries and wineries everywhere.
With beer tourism booming in cities from Oregon to North Carolina, it’s clear that customers’ thirst for both great ale and local promotional products won’t be drying up anytime soon.
To create your own custom beer-themed merch, start by browsing our selection of beer and wine products.
Whether your company is small or large, you don’t have to just give away your branded merchandise and white label products for free. With an appealing design, recognizable branding and a loyal customer base, you can create travel mugs, t-shirts, coasters and more that shoppers will love.
Who knows—with a little luck, they might just fly off the shelves.
Image source: Angel-City-Brewery9.MyBigCommerce.com, “IPA Glass”