According to the IPA’s 2018 TouchPoints research, in the UK, spend an average of 8 hours and 11 minutes a day consuming all kinds of media. This includes the likes of YouTube that, thanks to its algorithm has mastered the art of keeping us hooked to the screen.
Times on site is worth money — lots of money. If you don’t believe me, ask British YouTuber Daniel Middleton (DanTDM) who has amassed a fortune of £15 million on the platform. But how do they make how much money? Surely it can’t be just advertising, right?
You would be right. Actually, advertising is the smallest source of income for YouTubers. Most of their money comes from collaborating with brands and — what we’re to talk about today — selling merchandise.
Before we jump in, a disclaimer. A lot of these products make reference to a video or a moment in particular of the creator’s career, which is why sometimes when we go through these items it can feel like we’re the third wheel on a conversation that only ends with an abrupt ‘Inside joke’ comment.
YouTuber merchandise it’s not mainstream. It’s not for the masses. It’s not for us don’t-know-who-KSI-is old people. These products are designed to satisfy a very particular niche with its very own particular needs and the way these creators try to satisfy such varies greatly.
In my opinion, when it comes to merchandise there are three types of YouTubers:
- Youtubers who take a great amount of time to make high-quality products that have been designed especially for their audience;
- YouTubers who hire a third party to handle their merchandise and don’t really pay much attention to it after selecting the artwork — remember they’re too busy making videos;
- And then there are those who fall somewhere in between the two.
Another thing I realised was that most YouTubers use a third-party website to sell their items. These are either platforms like Spreadshirt that make the online shop creation process easy or a website created by a manager specialised in these types of businesses. Websites are in decline, or so it seems. Especially for video personalities that spend most of their time on social media. With that being said, let’s check out some of the best YouTuber merchandise shops I was able to find….
Right now, Jenna is not selling anything because she’s switching vendors but she still gets the award for most creative merch ever which are the plush toys inspired by her real-life dogs!
Favourite: Plush toys
Why? Only one T-shirt. Really, Jenna?
At the moment of writing this blog post, there is only one item in Markiplier’s shop and that is a T-shirt referencing the YouTuber’s latest viral videos, a murder-mystery style of series where we have to discover who ‘killed’ the gamer. We can only hope we see more products in the near future!
Favourite: Who killed Markiplier?
Why? Are we supposed to wear the same T-shirt every day? We want more!
Colleen Ballinger’s funny alter ego Miranda Sings gets her very own merchandise shop, of course. The layout of the online store looks cheap and rough but it is done on purpose (I believe) since it goes along with the wacky character.
Favourite: Miranda for precedent Tote Bag
Why? Black T-shirts with artwork that features black backgrounds.
The funny YouTuber just released a hoodie for her fans to enjoy. It’s simple, just the phrase ‘I don’t know’ and an upside-down smiley face embroidered on the left breast, but it works. It comes in five different colours and it ships worldwide.
Favourite: ‘I don’t know’ hoodie
Why?: We want more merch, Grace!
“The Creator Store” – Joe Sugg, Tanya Burr, PointlessBlog and others
At the Creator Store, you’ll find merchandise for several British YouTubers including Joe Sugg, Tanya Burr and Zoella’s boyfriend Alfie Deyes. The layout of the shop is pretty clean, but it doesn’t feel minimalistic, but rather soulless due in part to the generic items that are up for sale.
Favourite: Sugg Life icon Phone Case
Why? Tanya Burr poster — not so much the product itself, but the presentation. With the plant and the candles, you can barely see it!
This shop didn’t stand up to me right away as the best designed or the one with the most variety of products, but one thing I did like is that it is very personable. It’s got an easy to read FAQ section and introduction which is presented in a light and humorous tone. Whoever wrote the copy did a good job.
Favourite: “Wake me for food” cushion
Why? Everything is sold out
This YouTuber has been gaining popularity lately thanks to his controversial videos. I get the feeling this is going to become one of those love-it-or-hate-it type of channels. The reason why he made this list is not because if what he’s selling (it only offers four T-shirts and a hoodie at the time of writing this), but the way he decided to advertise it, instead. Basically, he is promoting his own merchandise by making fun of YouTuber merchandise — I still cannot decide whether it’s brilliant or just plain stupid.
Favourite: “Epiphany” T-shirt
Why? Penis mask — he’s not selling it, but still…
Ryan Higa AKA Nigahiga
This Hawaiian YouTuber’s shop doesn’t stand out for its variety, but rather for its presentation. At a first glance, it might seem like the merchandise of a K-Pop band, which I later found out that he does have a foe/parody K-Pop band called Boys Generally Asian.
Favourite: “Lit” T-shirt
Why? Too little variety
Luis Fernando Flores, better known as Fernanfloo, is a gamer from El Salvador that currently boasts a channel of over 19 million subscribers. Not too shabby. His merch is easily recognisable since it is mostly green (his official colour) and it is well designed. Unlike other YouTubers, Fernanfloo seems to have hired a good illustrator to do some work for him.
Favourite: Christmas T-shirt
The first thing that stands out from this YouTuber is the owl avatar he has designed for himself. It is on his logo and spread across his various items.
Favourite: Gold logo bracelet
Why? Not a big fan of the mask
Just in time for Halloween, the infamous YouTuber released a book with stencils so you can carve your very own Jake Paul pumpkin! Whether you love him or hate him, he gets a 10 for creativity on this one. Among other items, you can also find tie-dyed hoodies, smartphone cases and his signature sunglasses.
Favourite: Pumpkin Carving Stencil Book
Why? Another mask. Just a bit too much.
You probably already know, but it bears repeating that PewDiePie has the biggest YouTube channel. Period. Over 50 million subscribers at the time of writing this post. Which is why I find it surprising that he is lacking a bit in the merchandise department. At the moment, you can only acquire official merchandise through the Represent website. We miss the old PewDiePie shop where you could find the foam brofist.
Favourite: Long-sleeved ‘Respek Wahmen’ Tee
Why? Where’s the Foam Bro Fist? It still reminds me of something I cannot mention on this blog.
This British singer/songwriter is known for her original songs and her quirky vlogs where she talks about diverse subjects from her latest visit to the optometrist to mental health. Her shop doesn’t offer a lot of variety but the products displayed are cute and well designed.
Favourite: Crop top, we don’t have the stomach to pull it off but it’s still cute.
Why? Is it tho?
“Unicorn Island” – Lilly Singh AKA IIISuperwomanIII
From the moment I clicked on this website, it stood out from the rest. Nowhere will you read IIISuperwomanIII merch shop in here, this place is called ‘Unicorn Island’ and it’s a site where her fans can gather and celebrate their favourite YouTuber. Worth mentioning is the lookbook which is the first I’ve seen in an online shop of this kind. The only downside is that you cannot buy directly. When you click on a product, it takes you a landing page on District Lines which doesn’t feature all of the products than the first website. Bummer.
Favourite: Super snapback
Why? Featuring a product that you cannot buy.
We might be cheating because this line, technically, does not enter into the ‘YouTuber Merchandise’ category but it is designed by a YouTuber which is why we’re letting it slide. Hila Klein, a half of the h3h3 duo, just launched her first clothing line called Teddy Fresh. It is meant to have a higher quality value than regular merchandise and I can see what they mean. Judging by the pictures, these are garments that could be found in any clothing shop.
Why? There’s nothing bad to say here. It’s a really nice collection.
What we like about PJ’s merchandise is how cohesive it all feels. Most YouTuber’s shops feel a bit ‘al over the place’ with inspirations and references that are just thrown in there but here the illustrations pull it all together.
Favourite: Lullaby Cube Pin
Why? No T-shirts? We can fix that, PJ. Just give us a call *wink*.
The gamer’s shop checks all the boxes: It’s a platform that is well designed (powered by fanfiber), it’s got variety and a strong branding across all the items. I cannot vouch for the quality of the products, but they sure look good.
Favourite item: Septiceye Sam Plush
Why? Flat cap? It’s probably an inside joke I’m missing *.
* Update: A kind reader has let me know that JackSepticEye often wears a flat cap while recording his videos – and I have also learned that I should do more research before starting to write.
Rhett and Link
The hosts of Good Mythical Morning have set up an online store with a good variety of items and an easy to navigate layout. The products are well designed and represent the pair’s quirky sense of humour quite well. Although I wonder if they maybe went a little too far with the grooming products.
Favourite: Friendship Tee
Now, this is a channel I didn’t know. In a sea of gamers and beauty vloggers, a group of guys that combine sports and comedy is actually refreshing. Their merch shop stands out from the rest by miles. When you’re in there it actually feels like the site of a retailer rather than a YouTube channel. Also worth mentioning is that they offer products for children — not something you see very often when it comes to Youtuber merchandise.
Favourite: Dude Perfect Performance Tee (perfect for the gym!)
Why? All Sports Flag (are you guys planning on starting your own country — or something?)
Dan & Phil
I will get it out of the way right now, I may be biased because Dan and Phil are two of my favourite YouTubers, but their online shop it’s just so bloody awesome! Their merchandise clearly reflects their quirky personalities and sense of humour and though it might feel like they go overboard at times, it just feels so right here. May the power of the whiskers be with you.
Favourite: Truth Bombs Board Game
Why? Europe Tour Pass (if you can buy it, then it beats the purpose)
Now, this is what I call a merch shop! Once upon a time, Smosh used to be the channel with the most subscribers on YouTube, that is until PewDiePie took over and they were left in second place (right now 15th), but that didn’t stop them. What started as a joke between two mates it eventually grew into a franchise that encompasses ten YouTube channels, movies and music. Of course, the merch had to follow. On their shop, you’ll find everything from hoodies, to sweatpants, T-shirts, calendars and everything else in between.
Favourite: The winter games merch is dope. I particularly like the pink hoodie on the promo pic — or do I like it because it’s being worn by WesTheEditor? *Swoon*
Why? Anthony’s bobblehead. That doesn’t look like him. It doesn’t even look like the same species. No, just no.
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