As you can see from the title, I sold more t-shirts on Merch by Amazon in December 2018 than I have any previous month. I’ve been selling on Merch for 29 months now, so this is a pretty big deal for me.
Merch by Amazon, at this point, is a 100% passive income business for me. (I’ll explain more about this later in the post).
But honestly, seeing months like December rejuvenates my drive to upload as diligently as I used to. I’ve actually came across a few niches that I’m going to experiment with to see if I can get any shirts sold. These niches have very few shirts, but seem to be selling – so who knows. I may start spending more time uploading again soon!
I know it’s been a few months since my last income report, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to write another considering I just hit this amazon milestone.
It’s February. Why are you just now writing this report?
I’ve received several emails over the past few months asking when I’ll be posting another Merch by Amazon income report. Trust me, I wanted to write about this one for a few weeks!
The main reason I’ve been holding back writing the income report is because I wanted to wait until the “January returns” were out of the way. While I was extremely happy and grateful I sold so many t-shirts and wanted to share it with you, I felt like I owed it to you guys to also show you how many returns I received after Christmas.
I figured most returns would be returned sometime in January, so I decided to hold off on writing this report until early/mid-February. Which brings us to today.
(Just as a sidenote, for 2019 – I’m going to be doing “quarterly” income reports instead of monthly.)
I don’t think the landscape of Merch will change a whole lot this year, so I don’t want to promise monthly reports like I’ve done in the past. I think going forward, quarterly reports will give you a better perspective on things I’ve done to maximize sales.
It may even help show which seasons are better performers for me due to holidays, seasonal trends, sports, etc.
Quarterly Income Report Schedule
- Q1 income report: Jan – Mar 2019: Expect this in April 2019
- Q2 income report: April-June: Early July
- Q3 income report: July-Sept: Early Oct
- Q4 income report: TBD
Don’t worry – I don’t expect you to remember these dates. If youjoin my mailing list, I’ll send you an email once the next post goes live! (Don’t worry, I don’t spam. The most I do is send out newsletters whenever I publish a new blog post or income report)
Total T-Shirts Sold
In December 2018, I sold a grand total of 370 Merch by Amazon t-shirts.
To put things in perspective, my two “best” months before now were:
- July 2017 (287 sales)
- November 2017 (285 sales)
Now, does that mean that December 2018 grossed me the most profit?
Unfortunately, no. (Although I wish it did!)
But, you have to remember that things have changed drastically in the world of Merch by Amazon since those days. I’m mostly happy with all the changes that have been made – I don’t consider Merch to the wild, wild west anymore.
But, nevertheless, it’s important to note that some policy changes on Amazon’s side have caused lower royalties which is why more sales ≠ more money (if comparing between previous income reports)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still extremely happy with how December 2018 performed. So, without further ado – so let’s dive into the numbers!
Of the 370 t-shirts that I sold, I made a grant total of $1,113.98 in Merch by Amazon royalties.
In terms of gross profit, that is my 4th best month ever. (The other 3 months were between $30 and $200 difference of December’s total, so in all honestly – I didn’t make a lot less than the other 3 months.
Here’s a PrettyMerch screenshot as proof:
What Contributed to the Lower Profits?
I know what you’re thinking:
You sold 83 more t-shirts in December 2018 than any other month. Why didn’t you make more money?!
I’m glad you asked, because I have the answers you are looking for. 3 main things led to lower royalties despite the high number of sales
- Royalty decreases over time
- Returns now being deducted
- Bulk sales of a low-royalty t-shirt
I can’t remember exactly when Amazon increased the listing price of each t-shirt – I think it was at the beginning of 2018 – but that has definitely played a factor in lower sales. Amazon states that is “due to rising costs to ship/manufacture products”
Even a quarter or two per shirt really adds up! (I can’t find the exact number the royalties decreased by, but for this example let’s just say .50 cents).
If I sold 370 shirts, at a -.50 cent royalty from the previous year, that adds up to a $185 difference. If it was only .25 cents – that’s still a $92.50 difference.
Had the royalties not changed – this would have been my 2nd best month ever, in terms or royalties earned.
Returns now being Deducted
Ii December, I had 11 eleven returns. This totaled -$37.19 in profit.
Again, this wasn’t always something we had to worry about with the Merch by Amazon program, but I do understand how this was costing Amazon millions and millions of dollars per year.
So, I don’t hold this against them at all. People have different sizing requests, and ordering clothing online is always a gamble. You never know exactly how something is going to fit.
And if you order something as a gift for someone – things get even trickier.
Bulk Sales of 1 t-shirt
Have you ever uploaded a t-shirt that you honestly thought would never sell, but then it sells really really well?
Well, I had my first experience with this. I’m not talking Solar Eclipse virality, when some people were selling thousands and thousands of solar eclipse. But, I did have 1 t-shirt that sold pretty well over the span of a few days.
29 total sales, netting me a total of… $2.34.
That comes out to just 8 cents profit per shirt.
Now, 29 sales of 1 t-shirt is nothing new to me. I routinely have a few shirts that sell more than this during the summer months. But the fact that I had sold that many of 2-3 days was pretty staggering.
Still though, with every new sale I felt like kicking myself for not increasing the price the of the t-shirt months ago. Lesson learned!
Just as an FYI – The shirt I’m referring to was in the teaching niche, so I can only assume a teacher bought it for other teachers or it was shared in a teaching Facebook group.
Looking Back On Previous Goals
As I was wrote this post, I decided to read through all of my previous income reports and blog posts. Reading through everything was… was very humbling. I started my Merch by Amazon journey to earn some passive income for my family. We lived in a small starter home, had a newborn son, and were slowly outgrowing the space.
I re-read about how extremely passionate about Merch by Amazon I was, saw how it could make me money, built a business around the platform, and started blogging about my experience.
And now, 29 months later, I couldn’t be happier I decided to join the program. I’m definitely not uploading tens or hundreds of shirts per day, but I still – even to this day – log into my Merch account to check my sales.
Setting longerm goals is something I’ve been a huge fan of. Writing down goals, especially publicly in a blog post, holds myself accountable. I had completely forgotton that I set these goals. So when I say it’s humbling to see the things.
Here’s a few quotes I found that really resonated with me, because Merch HAD helped me achieve these goals I had set for myself:
Over the next 6-12 months, I have two stretch goals for myself.
- Pay off my car loan (12k balance)
- Move my family into a larger home.
While I’m still working on paying my car off early (using 100% of the earnings towards additional payments nowadays) I did move my family into a larger house. Much of our down payment came directly from the Merch by Amazon earnings.
I had written those goals in August of 2017. 12 months later, in August 2018 – I moved my family into my new home.
By my calculations – I earned $7,741 from Merch by Amazon in those 12 months!
As I mentioned earlier, Merch by Amazon isn’t my full time. I don’t spend much time uploading, researching, outsourcing, or tweaking keywords anymore.
But, every once in a while I get the urge to jump right back into it. Most recently, I uploaded about 40 new shirts in January 2019, and I’m already seeing sales on these new shirts. Nothing has changed; the same research tactics still work now the same as they did back then.
All in all, Merch is not dead and it’s not going anywhere. At this point, Merch is 100% passive income for me.
Sure, things have changed and royalties has decreased slightly. But if you spend a little bit of time now, you will start to see sales. Sales that may continually bring you profit month after month.
I know a lot of you have the drive to make money online, just as I do. Whether through affiliate websites, FBA, dropshipping, blogging, etc.There is no quick and easy way to make money online – all of those avenues either cost money to be successful.
Having bought/sold several affiliate websites, I can tell you Merch by Amazon is lot scary of a business to get into than MBA. And, it’s free.
All you need is to research research research, use recommend tools & software, and be patient. Sales will trickle in eventually!
Thanks for reading along guys! I’ll check in with another income report in April.