By Kim Artlip, Columnist
One of my all-time favorite movies is Spaceballs, because… it’s Mel Brooks, duh.
But honestly, it is a very funny poke at branding and merchandising. If you’ve never seen the scene with Yogurt and all the movie merchandise (it’s all about the merchandising) then you know what I am talking about today.
No matter what sport, industry or niche – you always have merchandising and branding out there. It might be the kid’s meal at Burger King or the Subway cup but there is branding out there to talk about and collect. You are always being marketed to by a brand.
Think about it. How many times have you seen someone out in a tee shirt that catches your eye? I can’t even count how many conversations I have started with complete strangers over their shirts. It might be wrestling, The Walking Dead, Marvel or just something stinking cute but it is a definite eye-catching conversation starter.
Here’s a simple exercise to illustrate what I mean. Next time you’re at the mall, take a moment to look around at what everybody is wearing. Count how many shirts you see with brands like Nike, Adidas, GAP and other popular bands on TV and movies.
You’ve just been marketed to —many times over.
For the past three years, I’ve had merchandise available on our website and at limited shows but it was b-o-r-i-n-g. Just the typical indy wrestling shirt (black, of course) with the company logo. I’m not knocking it but I finally decided that it wasn’t enough. I wanted more. So I may have gotten a little carried away but I revamped the entire IGNITE brand store.
So if you follow me on social media, I have been leaking Black Friday and Christmas deals already and I went total whole hog on variety. What does that mean? Well…..tees, motivational tee (non-wrestling), polos, sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, jackets, ornaments, bags, backpacks, totes, all-over print tees, blankets, baby and toddler wear, drinkware, houseware, laptop sleeves, pet tags, phone cases, satin posters, rally towels, and dress shirts. And I’m still adding more items. How many items? Well, there are nearly 150 products now on the store plus an entire shop devoted to trading cards. So it’s gonna be an IGNITE Christmas, this year.
Now I was asked an odd question about doing such a variety of shirts and gear. Why? My response is why not? Every time that NXT plays shows in Florida, there is always at least one fan in the audience wearing an IGNITE Wrestling tee shirt. We have consistently attracted new fans through our logo being seen on our car, shirts, hats and posters. So it makes perfect sense to me as a small business owner to take advantage of more eyes on the brand.
If you are a wrestler or brand, you should realize that people don’t just wear their favorite branded apparel just to work. They wear them to the coffee shop where they stop every morning for a caffeine fix. They wear them to their kids’ schools when they pick them up in the afternoon and to the grocery store while they shop for dinner ingredients. So you are on the fence about whether you need merch than think about this, you will have a crew that will showcase your brand everywhere they go. Your logo and brand become more visible and more recognizable, which leads to increased exposure. It’s a ‘win-win’ for you.
So when you start that Black Friday and Christmas shopping this week and next, think about all the indy wrestling companies and wrestlers out there. There are so many cool, unique gift ideas that you can choose from so bypass the big brands and support local indy wrestlers and companies. You will be helping grow their exposure and brand awareness plus you are scoring some sweet new stuff under the tree.
So since this is my Thanksgiving week column, I just wanted to wish everyone a very happy holiday filled with fun and love. Be careful if you venture out shopping and remember to check out not only IGNITE Wrestling Shop but your favorite wrestler’s social media for shirt deals this coming week. Until next time, ignite your fire, and follow your dreams.
Kim Artlip, Owner + Promoter
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