The Making Of Your Favourite TV Show Merchandising
Who: A brand especially made for pop culture merchandise, and makes TV show-related merchandise and graphic tees available in India.
Known for: Merchandise for various local and international bands and comedians, like Incubus, Norah Jones, Russell Peters, Prateek Kuhad, and Nucleya.
When did they start: in 2012 by Ameya Thakur, Rahul Jaisheel and Vivek Malhotra.
How did you start?
After graduating from engineering colleges, we got placed in different companies and worked for about two years in various sectors. Once we were ready to start, we pooled in our collective savings of Rs 3.75 lakh, and quit our jobs. We had to learn everything from scratch and we also entered the licensing space, and have been steadily increasing our portfolio of characters and franchises. We are official licensees for Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, DC, Harry Potter, DC, Friends, Game of Thrones, Cartoon Network to name a few, and we’re always looking to add more characters.
How does the legality work?
Signing official licensing deals gave us access to style guides and design banks that we can use, and transform into our design set, for that particular franchise.
These style guides have a variety of character poses, ready design compositions, patterns and editorials, to which we can then add our own Redwolf design style, and use this to design our various collections. Each deal is negotiated differently and we pay out a royalty on total sales to the individual licensors. The list of franchises that we have licensed merchandise for include Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, The Mandalorian, DC Comics, Harry Potter, FRIENDS, The Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and many more.
Which is the most popular character/TV show clothing that sells the most? There are some evergreen shows like FRIENDS and newer ones like Rick and Morty. Something like Game of Thrones had a lot of hype when the seasons were running and did well, but used to dip during the breaks. The trending cuteness of ‘Baby Yoda’ and Star Wars nostalgia saw The Mandalorian merchandise do well.
How do you get merchandise designed?
We started off doing all our designing in-house. The major chunk of design work still happens in-house, and we have built a team of some very talented artists. We have always tried to approach Redwolf as being in the art business, rather than in the consumer products space. Our graphic T-shirts and accessories work as great canvasses for our designs. We do collaborations with artists as well. We either pay them a fixed amount upfront as a one-time payment to acquire the rights to use their design, or we work out a profit-sharing model where a royalty amount is paid per sale.
THE SOULED STORE
Who: A brand that sells everything from Marvel’s and DC superheroes to IPL or WWE and even Disney. The Souled Store is a one-stop spot, and widely popular for TV show merchandises.
Known for: Marvel merchandise, which sells the most.
When did they start: In 2013 by Vedang Patel, Aditya Sharma, Rohin Samtaney and Harsh Lal.
What made you think of this concept?
We wanted to launch something related to TV shows, because we were all passionate about shows and pop culture. Back then, there was no Netflix or Amazon Prime, so we watched it on YouTube. We didn’t really have a merchandising industry. If I wanted a T-shirt of character from a show, I had to ask my relatives to get it from the US, and that’s when we felt the need to create something for the Indian market, in terms of design and price. We wanted to make sure that pricing is something that a college going student can afford.
How did you deal with the legality of the artwork?
We deal with company directly, and acquire the licenses to sell these products in India. When we took our first license in 2014, we were barely one and a half years old. So, there’s a minimum guarantee that we are supposed to pay to get these licenses and back then, the major concern was if we would be able to make money off it or not. Another challenge was to convince the creators to give the license, as a startup.
Where do you design your merchandise?
We have a team of designers and the basic agenda we have is to come up with new content that we haven’t seen on the Internet. For example, if you want a Batman T-shirt, we won’t just take a logo and put it on the T-shirt, but we will try to do something more than that, something which you have never seen before.
Is the artwork for the merchandise sent to you by the TV show creators, or your team does it?
It’s a mixture of both. There’s a particular style guide that’s given to us when we design for a movie or a show, by the creators. But they are just for references and guidelines, to make sure you don’t end up doing something that isn’t acceptable to the show. So, our designers work with that and come up with new ideas, which we then send to the license for approval. Our website is also an artist platform. We help upcoming artists too. They can drop their artwork, and our design team would go through it. The artwork is owned by the artist, we own the products.
Who: A brand for all anime fans.
Known for: From Naruto to the Death Note, you will find A-Z collective pieces and clothing related to anime here.
When did they start: In 2015, by Shubham Mittal & Nitin Sajwan.
How did you start?
I have always been an otaku (anime fan). I was in my second year of Btech college (2013) when tees startups were starting to be a thing. I was searching anime tees online to buy some, but couldn’t find any good ones. That’s when I got the idea, and shared it with many of my otaku batchmates. Finally, around the end of the third year, Shubham was sitting with me during a lecture, and we just starting joking about what could we do, apart from wasting our time in this lecture. Again, I shared the idea about anime clothing and he said “Let’s do it”.
How did you deal with legality and the rights to use the anime?
Some designs are made by us. Others are provided by artists who work with us on a commission basis. All the rights belong to the artist only. We understand the hard work an artist puts into his work, and I’ve had my artwork stolen too, so I know how it can be when you use someone’s art without their permission.
Which is the most popular character/TV show clothing, that sells the most?
In India, “Naruto” is a bestseller, and a crowd favourite. No surprises here, as it is most people’s first anime. Dragon Ball and One Piece comes next. My Hero Academia and Demon Slayer are the new trending ones.
Where do you design your merchandise?
We have our very small team of in-house designers. We also have partnership with designers from all around the world who provide us with designs, as we mainly do fan arts.