Someone with experience in e-commerce wants to develop merch for my YouTube channel, and split the profits 50 / 50. Is that fair?

by cruyfff. Posted on Sep 10, 2020    5    17

Just a little background: I've been a YouTuber for over 5 years, have over 100,000 subs and a pretty loyal core audience of long-time viewers.

I know I could sell some merch, and have played around with designing some t-shirts. I just never launched them because I didn't feel the quality was quite there, and didn't want to be yet another dude on the internet selling lame t-shirts. Plus, the business side of YouTube doesn't interest me much. I prefer staying focused on the content.

But after getting approached by someone who has developed merch for other channels, it caught my attention. It just seems to me that splitting the profits 50 / 50 is giving up a lot of value. Especially since I know very little about their workflow or professionalism. Maybe it only takes a few days for them to get a proper website and some merch set up? Whereas I've been growing and building the brand for 5 years?

On the other hand, maybe that's the wrong way to look at it. Since I'm not making anything right now, it would all be profit... Still, something about the deal feels off to me.

How does it look to you?

If I go forward, what sort of questions should I ask? Thanks!


-JoeAnderson 1

Since they're approaching you, seems like you should therefore get the larger share. After all, it's your content ... neither of you would have anything if not for that.

They mostly just have the initial investment in the design, after which their ongoing cost is close to 0 (I'm guessing). Maybe a larger percentage up front for a short period of time, then a much lower one thereafter. 30% for the first 3 months, then 15%, then down to 5%? I'm just pulling stuff out of the air though, I have no experience with such a deal.

  cruyfff 2

That's an interesting idea with scaling down the % ... that would definitely offer me better insurance on the future. Thanks!

Doubledipchip07 1

Despite the popular opinion I actually believe it is a fair deal, if you're not willing to invest the time building the store yourself and he is willing to do the design and maintenance.

People might tell you that launching a web store is easy and they might not be wrong, but planning and getting the design of the interface right with appropriate content takes a bit time, that you might not have or better oriented towards growing your channel.

If the quality is there and he's doing all store related tasks, this is extra revenue for you that you might not otherwise get. 50-50 seems like a fair deal.

Piccoleti 1

50/50 seems way too much. Would that person be generating 50% of your monthly sales? Really? I think you need to look at the added value that person will bring and ajust profits according to it. You could start with a lower % at first then increase it with time.

harrisonswales 1

I have a lot of experience in e-commerce, but not necessarily influencer merch. From my perspective this is a bad deal for you. Setting up the site, getting some pretty good designs made, and doing a littler marketing planning is super easy for any ecom guy. Without you and your ability to reach your audience, there is no value. If I were in your position I would lean towards a 75/25 split. Once the ecom guy sets up the site and stuff he'll pretty much make passive income while you continue working. I would not do 50/50.


What value is he bringing to demand 50% of the profits? You could easily hire someone on Fiverr to design tee-shirts or other merch. Heck, ask your audience to submit drawings for tee-shirts and select a winner from them. Recognize them on your channel and you don't have to share the profits on these shirts. (unless you want to). I know some YouTubers who sell on eBay and refer their audience there to purchase the merch. That is an option if you don't want to buy a website or pay to have one built.

If it were me I would pass on this opportunity.

MountainOriginal 1

Can't say whether 50/50 is a fair deal or not because there are many factors (e.g. what percentage of your audience is actually going to make a purchase, what the average order value will be, etc.) Building a professional looking website (which is easy to use for the customer) might be quite expensive. Researching your content and audience and creating selling designs is also time consuming. Then, who is going to respond to customers, deal with returns, wrong sizes, wrong colours? So, there is some risk for both sides.
One way to do this could be to set some targets. For instance, their services cost $1,000. You can split profits 50/50 until that amount of money is paid to them. And then drop to a lower number.
But, honestly, there are simpler ways of doing it. If you have monetisation on for your channel, you can set up YouTube & Teespring integration and sell products right under your videos and no need to worry about making a website and dealing with customers.

RelicBeckwelf 1

Not fair at all. " designing merch" usually involves sending out existing graphic assets out to a merchant company that slaps the graphic on products and charges a bulk price for the products. This guy would be a middleman at best, definitely not worth 50% of profits.

  cruyfff 1

Yeah that's what I was thinking... their work isn't too difficult to be asking that much. Appreciate your reply

noob-dev 1

Now, this is an area I have absolutely no experience in, but I've heard creators of the same size or bigger using print-on-demand services for usually a 0-10% fee that are very high quality. If you feel like those popular services aren't enough, sure go for it, but even people with millions of subs still use spreadshirt or teespring, so personally I see no need for it.

Edit: Roberto Blake has a lot of experience though, look his videos up

  cruyfff 1

Yeah, I was playing around with Teespring and Printful when I was thinking to launch merch myself. I ordered some samples, and on one the sizing was off and another the quality wasn't so great.

Maybe my standards are too high, and I need to realise that ppl don't need a high quality shirt from a youtube channel haha... just feels like selling something that isn't good would be disrespecting the audience

noob-dev 1

Maybe, but they're the most used and recommended platforms by and for creators. Just make a logical decision that will neither tarnish your reputation with your subs buy will also not demolish your income. Profits from these POD services are 100% whereas with this dude you're getting 50, that's a unbelievable drop

EBeewtf 2

If they’re approaching you, they’re probably not legit. That’s how I’d look at it. Sounds like a scam and a good way to get screwed/have a legal issue.

crowdext 1


don-p1etro 4

First I dunno when you say 50/50 is that just on the shirts or everything your channel makes?

If its the latter then deffo Not. But even if its just for the merch then You Dont need Him.

This is the question you need to ask yourself first before asking him. And that is What VALUE does he bring?

  1. Traffic - You already have 100k subcribers and bringing in traffic By yourself. So you can promote it on your Youtube page yourself!

  2. Quality - All t-shirts are made from cotton so I dont know what quality is this guy going to bring? Theres plenty of custom shirt making companies out there, that will even drop ship ur merchandise.

    3.Design - Is he going to design the merch? You can ask for other designs hes made and see if you like it, and maybe pay him a one off fee for the logo designs etc

    Either way 50% seems too much.
  cruyfff 1

Hey thanks for the reply! It's good food for thought.

Yup, it would 50 / 50 on profits from the merch, nothing else.

The value in this situation would be:

  • design the t-shirts (and other merch)
  • create a website / storefront to sell them
  • plan a launch event / strategy (??)

    At least, that's how I see it working. Since this person is also earning more as product sells, they have incentive to make it good and create a strategy to keep merch moving.

    I would just post the occasional promotion for the gear.

    At least, that's how I imagine it working. I need to get clarification on exactly what I'd be doing and what the value added is, though
don-p1etro 2

Ok Im going to answer each one by one.

-design the t-shirts (and other merch)

Theres plenty of freelance graphic designers, like I said if you like his designs, negotiate a one of cost for the designs.

-create a website / storefront to sell them

You can do this yourself. buy a domain from someone like godaddy n use A shopify store front. Easy setup, they take a small percentage of each transaction.

  • plan a launch event / strategy (??)

    Ok I dont know what event you or this guy has got in mind.. All you need to do is, on your next video say hey guys i have just launched a cool merchandise line, please click the link below if you like to support the channel.

    Now this is the most important thing you need to ask yourself.. Who Knows you? And would be interested in buying your merch apart from your viewers and subscribers?

    I dont know where this guy is going to advertise ur merch, but the only people willing to buy a Youtube creator's merch are their subscribers and you have direct access to them!